The entrepreneurial spirit does not discriminate by age, nor does success. Many high-performing entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban and Fred De Luca started their first businesses before they were 18 years old. De Luca (founder of Subway) opened his first restaurant when he was 17 years old, and Cuban (Shark Tank businessman) started selling garbage bags. door to door at age 12.
In this article, we will outline our top 30 profitable business ideas for teens. Some companies are better suited for teens looking to earn a little money after school, while others are perfect for young entrepreneurs with a desire to start something from scratch and watch it grow.
- 1 TEACHING AND COACHING COMPANIES
- 2 COMPANIES OF SPECIALIZED CRAFTSMANSHIP
- 3 WRITING AND PUBLICATION COMPANIES
- 4 ART AND DESIGN COMPANIES
- 5 LIFESTYLE BUSINESS
- 6 CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE COMPANIES
TEACHING AND COACHING COMPANIES
1. ART LESSONS
If you love art and enjoy meeting and working with people, an art lesson business can be a fun and rewarding activity. You will need to create structured lessons so that your students have a path to follow as they learn an artistic skill.
You don’t need much to start an art lesson business. You can provide your own tools (brushes, pencils, paper) or you can ask your students to provide their own. This is a great business for young people because it can be started for free from home. You can even reserve a space at your school or library at no cost. Your hourly rates will vary based on your skill level and the nature of your lessons, but most can charge at least $ 25 per hour, making it a great way to start earning and saving money.
2. HOME TUTORING BUSINESS
If you have a knack for a particular subject at school, then you may consider starting a home tutoring business. You can create your own lessons or just help students complete their school assignments while making sure they understand the material. As a student, you are in a unique position to find people who need additional help.
Since you can tutor from your own home or that of your students, the start-up costs are practically nil. You may spend some time and money on advertising, but with a captive audience of students at your school or in your area, simple flyers can be very effective. Most in-home tutors charge by the hour and help students with a specific topic. With experience, you can charge anywhere from $ 30 to $ 40 per hour, which makes for a lucrative and rewarding business.
3. TEST PREPARATION BUSINESS
If you’ve mastered the art of standardized testing and want to share your secret with others, starting a test prep business can be a lucrative pursuit. Specializing in a particular test (like the SAT or ACT) is a good way to find students to teach, and if you’re in high school, there will be no shortage of potential clients. Using test prep books and giving general advice about taking tests are two ways to help struggling test takers improve.
The start-up costs for this business are low and the only expense you may have is buying a test prep book and website. Offering help to friends and classmates is a great and easy way to get started and build a good reputation. Test prep tutors can generally charge more per hour than regular tutors, as it is important for most students that they do well on tests.
4. MUSIC LESSONS BUSINESS
Giving music lessons can be a great way for a teenage entrepreneur to earn money. If you have a lot of experience playing your instrument, you can easily find students who need additional lessons or help.
Startup costs for a music lesson business can remain low, especially if you require your students to bring their own instrument. You will need to buy some sheet music, but you can easily teach lessons in your own home, your student’s home, or even at school if possible. As you build your reputation, you can increase your rates. Music teachers typically charge $ 30 to $ 60 an hour, so this business can turn out to be very profitable over time.
COMPANIES OF SPECIALIZED CRAFTSMANSHIP
5. SOAP MANUFACTURING BUSINESS
A soap making business is a good opportunity for those who enjoy working with their hands. Making quality soap is a skill anyone can get, but it takes practice. Running a soap-making business includes buying raw materials, blending and creating fragrances, making the soap, and selling the soap.
The materials for making soap are quite cheap, so the profit margin in a soap-making business is good. To get started, expect to spend around $ 500 on soap supplies and equipment. You will also need to spend some money on marketing and setting up a website if you decide to sell online. The earning potential for this business will vary based on the type of soap you sell and how far you can expand your business, but the potential for growth is great. What starts out as a small side business has the potential to grow into a national brand.
6. JAM BUSINESS
Starting a jam business is perfect for anyone who enjoys cooking for others. This is another great flexible business that a teenager can start in their spare time.
The initial costs of making jam are very low, especially if you start small. You can spend less than $ 300 total on all the canning tools and ingredients to make your first batch. For starters, most jam companies sell their products in a local market or strangely. A good way to grow a jam business is to find a local restaurant to bring your jam. Like other specialty companies, the earning potential is high, with full-time efforts generating around $ 1,000 per week.
7. GIFT WRAPPING BUSINESS
Gift wrapping is great for bringing extra cash over the holidays. You can set up stands near department stores or offer your services at home. This business is ideal for students, as most business will take place on weekends and during vacations.
You should expect to invest some time and money in creating an attractive, professional-looking booth and purchasing supplies. However, the high profit margin of this business means that its earning potential is good. It can be difficult to grow your gift wrapping business from season to year, but wrapping gifts during the last few months can be lucrative for a short time.
8. SEWING BUSINESS
A sewing business is a great way for a talented seamstress to earn some extra cash. This business offers a lot of flexibility and can be great for young people who are particularly interested in current fashion trends.
Start-up costs are low, especially if you already own a sewing machine. While you’ll likely start small, offering simple repairs and patches, students can seek unique opportunities to grow their business by offering help with custom design and construction for school plays or mending uniforms for sports teams. As your reputation grows, your customer base and earning potential will expand as well.
9. DO CANDLE BUSINESS
Any creative and crafty person can enjoy starting a candle making business. It is a great way to do business from home. You can sell your candles to friends and family, at craft fairs or weekend markets, or online through your own website or Etsy store.
The initial expenses are only a few hundred dollars for materials. Your growth and profit will largely depend on how many candles you can make and how much time you spend selling them, but a diligent candle maker can build a fairly large and lucrative business.
10. EBAY STORE
This job is ideal for motivated entrepreneurs who are already familiar with eBay. Knowing what sells well, how to get the best price for products, and how to make your ads stand out will promote success in this business. While you’ll need to make sure your items are presented well and follow up with buyers, this business can absolutely fit a busy student’s schedule. It’s also a business that you can build around your personal interests and expertise, making it fun and lucrative.
The growth potential is limited only by the time and scope of the seller. Finding a specialty or niche that sells popular products that you are passionate about is a great strategy for success. With low start-up and maintenance costs, there is virtually no limit to your earning potential once you go live.
11. MARKETING BUSINESS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Next on our list of teen small business ideas is a social media marketing business. Young people have grown up on social media, making them uniquely skilled at understanding how to use and navigate all the major platforms. If you are passionate about how social media platforms work and you love using them to communicate with large groups of people, social media marketing can be a great business for you.
Starting a social media marketing business doesn’t have to cost a penny. If you have access to a computer or smartphone, you have the ability to start a social media marketing business. Potential clients can range from individuals to large corporations. High-earners in this business earn more than $ 100,000 a year.
12. ETSY STORE
If you love making handmade products or browsing for unique vintage items in your spare time, you might enjoy running a business on Etsy. This is a great outlet for young artists looking to sell their work or anyone who is passionate about producing and selling well-crafted products. Marketers must have the skills necessary to find or create the products they sell, basic computer skills, and experience in marketing and / or advertising to help promote their products.
These basic skills plus a strong entrepreneurial spirit can turn your hobby into a lucrative business opportunity. While you will likely start small, this is a business that you can grow over time and shape to fit your school schedule and beyond. Serious salespeople are chipping in six figures, so this is a great opportunity to start a business that can grow with you.
13. LIVE STREAMING BUSINESS
For most young gaming enthusiasts, making money playing video games is living the dream. With enough enthusiasm and drive, this can become a reality. To do so, players need to sign up with a major streaming service, like Twitch.TV, and be prepared to spend several hours each day streaming their game and working to build a following. Those who acquire enough followers to become partners (over 500 on Twitch, for example) will start making money from the traffic they generate.
Winning and maintaining enough followers requires very strong gaming skills. You will also need to be adept at navigating social media to promote yourself, respond to comments, and build a broad online presence. The goal is to get enough followers to become a partner on your streaming site. Those who do can earn thousands of dollars every month while doing what they love.
WRITING AND PUBLICATION COMPANIES
14. INDEPENDENT WRITING BUSINESS
There are a lot of freelance writing opportunities available to teens. With the growing reach of the Internet, companies are publishing more content in an effort to reach audiences around the world with a variety of perspectives. This is also a great opportunity for anyone considering a writing career to start building a portfolio.
Beyond the cost of your computer, Wi-Fi, and advertising, startup and maintenance costs are almost non-existent. With low costs and great growth potential for those who can find constant or long-term clients, the profit potential is good. Established freelance writers can earn an average of $ 30,000 to $ 50,000 a year.
15. TRANSCRIPTION BUSINESS
This business is ideal for teens who need to work through their busy school and extracurricular schedules. Most of the work involves the audio or video transcription that has been provided to you. The job is also ideal for those who write fast, have great attention to detail, and are comfortable using computers and other related software and technology.
Startup costs are low, but the growth potential of a transcription business can vary significantly by industry. Medical transcription, for example, has exploded in the last decade. But no matter the subject, if you provide fast and accurate work, you can build a successful transcription business. Your speed and accuracy will also largely determine your earning potential, as the project bills many transcription projects. The faster you work, the more you can earn.
16. DATA ENTRY BUSINESS
Data entry businesses are great for detail minded people who are comfortable using spreadsheets and word processing programs. Since it is possible to find flexible part-time data entry work, this business can accommodate a student’s busy schedule while providing valuable work experience.
Start-up costs are minimal, with little more than what your computer needs to start your business. A small business with just one or two people will generally accept a handful of clients and establish a relationship with them that will last for years, making it a great company that can grow as you progress from student to professional.
17. CHILDREN’S BOOK BUSINESS
If you like to write, draw, or tell stories, starting a children’s book business may be right for you. Children’s books have consistently sold more copies than adult books thanks to the amount of reading children do compared to adults.
Startup costs for a person who wants to self-publish ranges from $ 5,000 to $ 15,000, but with more flexible and affordable desktop-publishing resources that appear all the time, it’s easier than ever to publish on a budget. Because of this, the earning potential is very high. Successful children’s book authors earn more than $ 100,000.
ART AND DESIGN COMPANIES
18. 3D PRINT DESIGN BUSINESS
This is an ideal business for someone with a background in sculpture, carving, or other modeling. It is also important to understand the mechanics of a 3D printer and the market for 3D printed products. Many buyers of 3D printed products have specific needs that can only be met by someone with a deep understanding of the software involved.
The costs to start a 3D print design business generally start at around $ 8,000 and include a printer, software, website, and some initial marketing efforts. However, a great way to get started in this field is to design products and have a third party print them. In this way, you can make a name for yourself in the business and expand over time when they read it. Like any business, your earning potential is entirely based on the number of contracts and products you can make and sell.
19. GRAPHIC DESIGN BUSINESS
Graphic design is the creation of art for magazines, websites, physical products, or more. This business is best for artistic minded people. You can create logos, text or any other art that you or your client envision.
It can cost less than $ 2,000 to get started. You will need a computer and some type of graphic design software such as Adobe Illustrator. In the beginning, many graphic designers work with ad agencies or use platforms that connect freelancers with stakeholders. If you’re a student, designing logos for your school or local sports teams can help you create a quality portfolio. It is normal to charge clients between $ 25 and $ 100 an hour.
20. PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS
If you enjoy taking photos and helping people remember life events, starting a photography business may be right for you. While you will need some training and practice when it comes to technique, no formal education is required. This is a great business venture for teens who can find work photographing school and social events.
Although the start-up costs can be a bit higher (a good camera, lighting equipment, a computer, editing software), there are practically no ongoing costs. Plan to spend $ 2,000 to $ 5,000 up front. As you develop your skills, it can be expanded to cover weddings or other special events. When you’ve reached this point, the earning potential is exceptionally high.
21. PHOTO EDITING BUSINESS
If you have a background in photography and photo editing, starting an online photo editing business can be a great and lucrative pursuit. While many photo editors also work as photographers, this is not a requirement. People with social media savvy can do particularly well when finding a wide variety of customers online.
Start-up costs are low and include a computer and photo editing software. If you include a good website and some advertising, you can still easily start the business for less than $ 5,000. When starting out, you can offer to edit photos for school or local publications to build your portfolio. Over time, if you continue to grow your business, it’s reasonable to earn a 5-figure annual salary that has the potential to approach $ 100,000 per year.
22. ILLUSTRATION BUSINESS
An illustration business is a great way for talented and artistic teens to earn money. Some potential jobs include illustrating books, creating cartoon characters, or designing storyboards. Keeping up with digital illustration technologies is also important in this industry.
The start-up costs for an illustration business are low, including art supplies and art software. You can start smart, creating illustrations for school newspapers, local publications, or designing special gifts for friends and family. Your earning potential will expand with your growing portfolio and reputation. Professional illustrators make about $ 55,000 per year on average, but specializing in a particular market can help you earn a six-figure income.
23. MAKEUP BUSINESS
Anyone who enjoys working with people and has especially good makeup application skills can enjoy running a makeup artist business. Making a name for yourself on social media can go a long way.
For starters, you can create your portfolio by putting makeup on your friends for events like prom. This is an excellent business to start as a teenager. If you establish a reputation among your peers early on, your clients will return for special events throughout their lives. The start-up costs are quite low as most makeup artists work outside of their home or travel to their clients. As your business grows, you can make a sizable profit, with the most successful makeup artists even making six-figure income.
24. CHILD CARE BUSINESS
Childcare is a $ 5 billion-a-year industry, making it a great bet for responsible teens who love children. It can be difficult for parents to find reliable and trustworthy child care options. When they do, they are likely to hold onto this valuable resource and share it with their friends. This business is also extremely flexible and easy to run regardless of your schedule.
Start-up and maintenance costs are minimal, helping to maximize profits. Nannies charge an average of $ 13.97 per hour nationally, with large regional variation. While most businesses will remain small one-person businesses, it’s also entirely possible to expand your business over time by helping connect clients with well-vetted babysitters in your area.
25. HOME BUSINESS
Running a home care business is a great opportunity for any responsible teenager looking to help others out while earning some money. Caregivers should be comfortable caring for a variety of pets. The success of your homecare business will largely depend on the reputation you can build and subsequent word-of-mouth recommendations, but the potential for growth is good.
Earning potential depends on number of clients and consistency of work. For starters, this can be a great weekend and holiday bargain. If you can rely on repeat customers throughout the seasons, this can be a very lucrative business.
26. PET SEAT BUSINESS
Pet sitting is a great business idea for responsible animal lovers looking to make money doing something they love. Pet sitters can offer a variety of services such as walks, direct feeding, or home care as an alternative to the kennel.
The costs are low as most pet sitting businesses are run out of the home. At first, word of mouth advertising can be very effective. While you will likely start small, over time this business has the real potential to grow. With such low costs, the income potential for pet sitters is good, and independent business owners earn up to $ 57,000 per year when they work full time.
27. PASSING DOGS BUSINESS
The next step on our list of teen small business ideas is a dog walking business. If you are an animal lover looking for a flexible job doing something you love, starting a dog walking business can be a great option. Whether your goal is to earn some extra money or build a lasting business, dog walking is a dynamic and rewarding activity.
Consistent, strong customer service and effective advertising will be critical to your success. Pet owners are a huge market, making the growth and profit potential of your business limited only by the number of dogs you can walk each day. Full-time dog walkers can make impressive earnings of up to $ 80,000 per year.
28. PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZING BUSINESSES
If you love organizing or have perfected the minimalist lifestyle, sharing your talents with others as a professional organizer can be a great way to earn money. You will need to be a compassionate and understanding person that others feel comfortable welcoming into their messy or disorganized homes. While it is possible to create a flexible schedule that works for you, it is important that you stick to your project deadlines.
Startup costs are low as you will need little more than advertising. Since this is considered a luxury and specialty service, even when starting out, you will be able to charge a decent hourly rate. As your reputation grows, this business can easily turn into a lucrative full-time career. Some professional organizers contribute up to $ 115,000 a year with very little overhead.
CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE COMPANIES
29. LAWN CARE BUSINESS
If you like working outdoors and have an entrepreneurial spirit, consider starting a lawn care business. This business is a popular way for teens to earn money during the summer.
While it can be expensive to buy your own lawn care equipment, a viable option is to start with the family mower. If you don’t own any equipment, expect to invest around $ 3,000 in the equipment you need to get started. If you eventually expand your business full time, you can earn up to $ 50,000 per year. Offering services like pruning, aerating, and fertilizing can separate you from your skills.
30. CLEANING BUSINESS
Last on our list of teen business ideas is a cleaning business. Anyone with an eye for detail and a strong work ethic can excel in a cleaning business. Ideally, you should also be physically fit and comfortable with a great deal of manual work every day. You will work hard and interact with a variety of people, so energy and good customer service skill will go a long way.
Smaller cleaning businesses operate as one-man shops. You can easily start small, working on weekends or after school, and build a solid reputation. Over time, this part-time pursuit has the potential to develop into a full-time career. Larger operations employ staff or hire subcontractors. Some companies franchise their model and charge franchise fees. As such, the earning potential can range from $ 50,000 per year in millions.