How to Start a Teen Business

Some entrepreneurs start young, and there are no rules that say
you need to be in your twenties or older before you start a
business. If you’re just earning a few dollars a week, there
probably aren’t any big advantages to creating a formal business
right now. But if you’re making more than that — or you want
other people to take your work seriously — it might be worth
going a step further.

If you’re too young to form a business yourself, your parents may
be able to help. If your state does allow teenagers to register
their own company, why not stand out from the crowd and boost
your business to the next level?

Some entrepreneurs start young, and there are no rules that say you need to be in your twenties or older before you start a business. If you’re just earning a few dollars a week, there probably aren’t any big advantages to creating a formal business right now. But if you’re making more than that — or you want other people to take your work seriously — it might be worth going a step further.

If you’re too young to form a business yourself, your parents may be able to help. If your state does allow teenagers to register their own company, why not stand out from the crowd and boost your business to the next level?

We know it can be daunting to start a teen business, and we’re here to help. We’ve helped over 250,000 people form their business and provided answers, guidance and support to transform them into entrepreneurs.

Here is our simple guide to starting up a successful teen business. We’ll share some business ideas that are suitable for kids, teens and students, and let you know how to get your business off the ground. From exploring the types of business you can start to the legalities of setting up your business and the realities of your day-to-day operations, this guide is here to help.

Read on for some insight into creating your own teen business and becoming an entrepreneur.

Why You Should Become a Teen Entrepreneur

You might be surprised at the number of teen businesses out there. Here are some interesting facts:

Around a quarter of teenagers work in
some capacity

8 out of 10 teens want to work for themselves

Between half and three-quarters of teenagers
who work have some sort of side business
to earn extra money

4 out of 10 teens want their own business

This is why teen businesses are so exciting. So how can you be part of that success? We're here to help you figure that out.

Business Ideas for Teens, Kids and Students

There are several different types of teen businesses that you can start. Here are some of the more popular options:

Strong research abilities

Start Blogging and Writing

Being a teenager gives you a unique perspective on life. You can use that perspective to share your views and ideas while connecting with other young people. Blogging is a low-effort business to start: You can write when you have the time and monetize your blog through advertising, affiliate marketing or selling products you’ve created yourself.

Good math skills

Sell Products on a Marketplace

If you’d rather sell products instead of services, a third-party marketplace like Amazon or eBay could be ideal. You’ll need to find the right niche, understand profit margins and ship products, but this can be a great way to get started with ecommerce and online retail. Find products that other young people are interested in, source them and sell them online at a profit.

Excellent forecasting abilities

Create and Sell Products

If you have artistic talent, you can even sell the products that you make. You can do this through a marketplace like Etsy, or create your own store to sell art, prints and other creations. Websites like CafePress and Zazzle will even put your designs onto items and take care of everything else for you.

Powerful attention to detail

Offer Tutoring and Coaching

Many teenagers provide tutoring and lessons to their peers and younger kids. If you’ve got some skill at helping others, tutoring and coaching are in demand.

Great flexibility

Provide Babysitting Services

Babysitting is a popular job for teenagers, and if you develop a good reputation, your services could be in high demand (and command higher rates).

Good marketing skills

Holiday Decorating

Offer to help neighbors with decorating their home around Halloween, Christmas and other holidays.

Great flexibility

Yard Work and Chores

Many people want help with their yards and gardens. You could mow lawns, weed, water plants or trim hedges, for example.

Good marketing skills

Run Errands, Do Chores and Complete Odd Jobs

There are plenty of other business ideas for teens like assembling furniture, running errands or helping people to move into or out of their homes.

Other teen business ideas include:

  • Dog walking
  • Garage sales
  • Selling food and drinks
  • Clothing or jewelry design
  • Pet grooming
  • Washing cars

Validating Your Teen Business Idea

Remember, the ideas above are just a starting point. You can define and tweak exactly what type of teen business you want to run by conducting your own research.

But don’t assume that just because it’s a teen business, running it will be easy. You will need to be polite, reliable and prompt. You should complete services as you say you will, and make sure people are happy with the result. This will help to build up your reputation and can generate good word of mouth and more sales.

Here are some further tips:

  • Identify your unique selling points (USPs): This might be surprising, but even though you "only" have a teen business, you still need to offer something unique. Whether that’s what you do, your reliability and speed, or your unique approach, figure out what makes you stand out so you can capitalize on it.
  • Understand your market: Clearly identify exactly who your customers are likely to be, where they hang out and how you’re going to reach them. If you’re running a local business, this could be as simple as talking to your neighbors; if you’re online, you’ll need to do a little more research.
  • Talk to clients: Speak with potential customers to understand what they want from you, and validate this by asking if they would commit to spending real money on it.
What Are the Main Challenges for an Amazon Seller Entrepreneur?


The thing to learn here is that it’s okay to say “no” to your first, second or third teen business ideas. Very few teen entrepreneurs get it right the first time. In fact, getting it wrong is often a badge of honor! Still, you don’t want to waste too much time, energy or money on the wrong initiatives, so ask and answer these questions honestly to find the right way forward.

Your Teen Business Might Need a Plan

Teen businesses that just earn you a few dollars don’t need a business plan, but any company that's going to become a success can really benefit from one. A business plan will help you define how you’re going to run your business, market yourself, get sales, make a profit and grow.

Business plans force you to get your thinking in order and show your commitment to your teen business. Though they can vary slightly, a good business plan should all cover the following areas:

Here’s what you can expect in an average day
  • 1 An executive summary with the most important points from your business plan
  • 2 Your goals and what you hope to achieve with your teen business
  • 3 A description of your teen business, background information and context
  • 4 A market analysis and likely demand
  • 5 An overview of how your teen business is structured
  • 6 Your business model
  • 7 How you will market and sell your offerings
  • 8 Financial projections, revenue and profitability
  • 9 Appendices

Choose the Right Business Structure and Register Your Teen Business

There are five main business structures you can have in the U.S., and it’s important to choose the right one. We’ve shared your options below. They are:

Choose the Right Business Structure and Register Your Amazon Business

Sole Proprietorship

This is the "default" business structure and is what your teen business will be if you decide not to create a more formal structure. If you’ve just got a very small venture that’s only earning a few dollars, this business structure is fine — as long as you understand that it doesn’t provide any legal protections against liability.

Limited Liability

Partnership

This is a type of business that is formed when two or more people work together without creating a more formal business entity. Like a sole proprietorship, it may not give you all the protections your teen business needs. Also, it may be difficult to get a long-term commitment from another teenager or young person to form a partnership with you.

Series LLC

Limited Liability Company or LLC

The most common type of business entity, an LLC is fast, simple and inexpensive to set up and maintain. It protects your personal finances and assets — if you’re serious about your teen business and want to see it grow, this is an ideal choice.

S Corporation

S Corporation

This is a more complex type of business and isn't generally recommended for smaller organizations, like a teen business.

C Corporation

C Corporation

These are the largest and most complex types of businesses and are typically far more than the average teen entrepreneur will need.

For more information on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of businesses, please see our in-depth guide. If you’ve still got questions, we’ve answered them to help you choose the right business structure.

In some cases, our recommendation for a teen business would be to create an LLC. We’ve got a complete guide to everything you need to do, and we can even set one up for your business. LLC formation does vary from state to state, but we’ve got you covered, wherever you are.

Setting up Your Teen Business and Business Operations

Once you've legally created your teen business, you’ll need to get some other things in place.

Location

The location you work from will be defined by the type of teen business you start. Some businesses can be run successfully from home, although others may need a specific location.

Equipment

Depending on the type of teen business you run, equipment needs will vary widely.

Marketing

Marketing to your local neighborhood is much easier than marketing to a broader audience. Spend some time and effort identifying who your audience is and the best channels to reach them. If you’re selling online, you will probably want an awesome website, but you'll also need to get branding, newsletters, digital ads, social media accounts and other channels in place. If you’re selling locally, then signs and flyers should work.

Software and Processes

The right software and processes will make running your teen business much easier. See our list of the best apps and software at the end of this guide.

Finances and taxes

If you make more than $400 a year (around $8 a week) from your teen business, you will need to keep careful bookkeeping records and file business and personal taxes. Here at Incfile we can even help you file your taxes. If you have an LLC, you will also need a separate business bank account.

Our Start a Business Checklist will get your business going in the best possible way.

Conclusion

The internet has made teen entrepreneurship available to everyone. If you can find a great idea, build a niche, develop your reputation and put together a solid business plan, you will have every chance for success.