Can a teenager have a small business? Just because you're under 20 doesn't mean you don't want to make money and get real-world business experience. But with many employers being hesitant to hire underage workers, it can be difficult to find exciting job opportunities.
Luckily, there's an ideal solution: Start your own business, become your own boss and do the kind of work you want to do. Not sure what kind of business to start? One of these 25 small business ideas for teens is sure to be right for you.
25 Small Business Ideas for Teens
From classic gigs like lawn mowing to new industries like livestreaming, there are a wealth of small business ideas for teens.
1. Dog Walking and Pet Sitting
If you love animals, why not start a dog walking or pet sitting business?
With dog walking, you'll get paid to walk dogs on a regular basis. Some clients may only need a weekly walk, while others may request them daily.
If you choose to pet sit, you'll be responsible for the full-time care of your client's pets during a specific time frame — this could range anywhere from a couple hours to a couple weeks.
Whichever one you decide to pursue, you'll be joining a rapidly growing industry. Between 2020 and 2027, the overall pet sitting market is expected to grow by 8.7 percent:
And once you turn 18, you can even sign up to be a sitter and walker on an app like Rover that finds clients for you.
2. Lawn Care and Gardening
Got a green thumb and some lawn care supplies? Put it to good use by providing lawn care and gardening services in your area with this small business idea for teens.
From mowing lawns to clearing out weeds to watering plants, there are tons of lawn- and garden-related tasks that people would much rather pay someone to do than do themselves.
For teens who are particularly knowledgeable in a given subject area, whether it's math, science, history or English, tutoring can be an excellent way to start a business. And this can be a great small online business idea for teens since tutoring can be done via Zoom or another video-sharing platform.
The academic route isn't your only option, though — you can also offer private lessons in music, art or sports, depending on what you're skilled in.
If you enjoy working with children, you already have what it takes to start your own successful childcare business.
And if you really like taking care of kids and also want to experience life in a foreign country, you can even apply to become an au pair once you turn 17.
5. Graphic Design
Want to combine your artistic and digital skills into a lucrative business? Become a freelance graphic designer online.
Fiverr, for example, welcomes sellers as young as 13 years old (as long as their parent or legal guardian is the one in charge of their account). Whether you want to design simple logos or entire website themes, digital marketplaces offer a convenient place to offer your services.
6. Selling Handmade Goods
Whether you like crocheting, woodworking, knitting, painting, sculpting or something else entirely, chances are there are people who want to buy your creations.
If you want to sell online, consider starting your own Etsy shop as a great small business idea for teens. Or if you'd rather sell your handmade goods in person, check out local craft fairs and art festivals to look into becoming a vendor.
7. Selling Secondhand Clothes
Love finding unique and vintage clothes? Turn your hobby into a business by selling secondhand clothes on platforms like Depop, Poshmark and eBay.
You can source the clothes you sell from your own closet, or if you want to start a longer-term business, you can shop for clothes at thrift stores, consignment stores and estate sales and resell them online.
We don't have to tell you that livestreaming has exploded in popularity. And with some streamers making millions of dollars, there's clearly money in it:
You probably won't be able to become the most popular streamer on Twitch or right off the bat, but if you like entertaining and engaging with viewers, then you could start to generate income after establishing yourself on the platform.
9. Becoming a Social Media Influencer
Just like becoming a successful livestreamer, becoming a social media influencer isn't a quick process.
But once you've built up an audience and started reaching out to brands and potential sponsors, you can start getting paid to create content on the platforms you love.
10. Freelance Writing
The internet runs on content — just look at your constantly updating social media feeds for proof. And whether it's in the form of blog articles, Twitter posts, TikTok captions or marketing emails, someone needs to write all that content.
That's where you come in: If you've got a knack for writing, spelling and grammar, you can start your own freelance writing business as a teen. Offer your services on a site like Fiverr and let customers come to you, or check job boards for writing gigs — the choice is yours.
11. House Cleaning
There aren't very many people who love tidying up their house over and over again, which makes house cleaning a perfect opportunity for you to make some cash.
You can choose to offer basic services, such as vacuuming, sweeping and dusting, or you can provide more in-depth cleaning, including scrubbing the toilets, microwave and oven.
Whichever option you go for, your customers are sure to appreciate the extra help.
12. House Painting
If you've got a steady hand, then you could start a business as a house painter. Whether it's by painting every wall of a house or simply touching up a dingy porch, there's money to be made from painting.
You're not limited to houses, either — if you live in an area with lots of single-family housing, you'll likely be able to find plenty of people who need their fence repainted.
13. Flipping Items Online
From cameras to smartphones to sneakers, there's a huge variety of items you can flip for a profit.
And depending on the type of items you choose and the number you're able to sell, you could make anywhere from $100 to $5,000 per month.
14. Car Washing and Detailing
If you live anywhere in the U.S., chances are that most of the people who live in your area drive cars (and if you're 16 or older, you might even drive one yourself). Every one of those cars will need to be washed at some point or another, and you can be the one who gets paid to wash them.
To earn even more money, you can offer detailing services too. That typically involves thoroughly cleaning, polishing and waxing the exterior and interior of a car and generally fetches a higher price than a standard exterior wash.
15. Live Performing
Anyone who's skilled at playing an instrument, singing, dancing or another performing art can make money as a performer, and that includes teens.
Depending on the laws in your city, you may be able to start working as a street performer right away. That means you simply do your performance on a public street and passersby can give you a tip if they'd like.
Alternatively, you can look for more formal gigs that involve performing at restaurants, shopping centers, fairs and more, depending on the kind of setting you want to work in.
16. Photography and Videography
High-quality cameras aren't cheap, but if you can get one then you can also make money through photography and videography.
The list of things you can take photos and videos of for money is long — special events like weddings and parties are the most well-known, but you can also get paid to:
- Take portraits (either of people or of pets)
- Create video house tours
- Do real estate photography
- Take pictures of local shops' products
- Create photo and video content for brands' social media accounts
17. Pet Waste Removal
If you don't mind getting your hands (or rather, gloves) dirty, then you might want to consider getting into the pet waste removal industry.
Just hear us out: It's simple work, there are no age requirements and the startup costs are low. All you need are some basic and affordable supplies, including trash bags, gloves, a shovel and safety glasses.
Pet waste removers (or "pooper scoopers" for short) can also make a surprisingly large amount of money once they build up their client base, with some making $40 to $45 per hour by servicing four clients per hour.
Got strong typing skills and a busy schedule? Think about starting your own remote transcription business.
When you're just starting out, you can expect to earn about $10 per hour. But as you gain more experience, it's possible to earn as much as $25 per hour or more:
You'll get to set your own hours, and you'll earn money by listening to audio files and converting them into text. If you're 18 or older, you can sign up to be a transcriber on sites like TranscribeMe and Rev.
If you're under 18, though, you can still offer your transcription services on sites like Fiverr, or simply contact local businesses to see if they need anything transcribed.
19. Data Entry
Another viable small business option for teens with busy schedules is data entry.
In this field, you'll simply enter data on your computer using the client's preferred method — which usually involves Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. That's it!
You can find remote data entry jobs through online job boards, or you can sell data entry services on a marketplace like Fiverr.
20. Delivery Driving
If you have a car (or bike, in some cases!) and are over the age of 18, then you can make money delivering food, groceries and other items via apps like:
Even if you're under 18, you may still be able to find gigs delivering for local restaurants. Ask around and see what's available!
21. Seasonal Chores
From shoveling snow to raking leaves to putting up and taking down holiday decorations, there are many types of seasonal chores you can do for people in exchange for money.
And since this work is temporary by nature, you won't have to commit to anything if you don't want to — just take down the Christmas lights, put out the lawn chairs, get paid and go.
22. Pressure Washing
A basic pressure washer can cost as little as $100 at your local home improvement store, but you can make that expense back in just a few hours of pressure washing or less.
Start by simply offering to pressure wash your neighbors' driveways, house siding and walkways at a discounted rate. Once you've gotten some practice in and gained some clients, you can try offering your services to nearby realtors and homeowner's associations (HOAs) too.
23. Window Washing
If you have a sponge, a bucket and some dish soap, then you already have the tools you need to start your own window washing business.
Just remember to decline any gigs involving exterior windows located on the second floor or higher — those types of jobs are best left to the pros.
24. Furniture Flipping
Teens with an eye for interior design can make extra money by flipping furniture for cheap.
To start, find some affordable furniture at a local thrift store. Don't pay attention to cosmetic flaws, but do try to pick pieces that are made from quality materials or have an attractive design.
Next, simply repaint the furniture and sell it for a higher price. You can do so at craft fairs, flea markets, antique shops or even online — it all depends on what works best for you.
25. Selling Produce
Have the space and supplies to grow your own fruits, vegetables and herbs? Then you can earn an income by selling your produce at a nearby farmer's market.
Just be sure to check its age restrictions beforehand. They vary from market to market, so you may have to run your booth under the supervision of an adult in order to comply.
Start Your Entrepreneurial Journey Today, No Matter Your Age
Becoming an entrepreneur as a teenager can seem intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. With creativity, determination and the 25 ideas listed here, you can start your own small business whether you're 13, 19 or somewhere in between.
So the next time you find yourself wondering if a 14-year-old can set up a business or if a teenager can have a small business of their own, know that the answer is a definite "yes."
And once you know what type of business you'd like to start, check out our free Start a Business checklist. From choosing a name to building a website, we've got you covered.