Many children hope to develop their own sense of self-sufficiency through making their own purchases - even if it’s just the latest Marvel toy.
Your kids can pursue their interests if they have some financial stability. In order to make the transition from being given money on a silver platter to having to work for it, children need assistance from adults.
Kids who work will start thinking about and making plans for their ideal future and will understand the value of money. In order to achieve long-term financial independence, building a safe learning environment that rewards hard work is essential.
Why Early Jobs Result in Greater Success
Children who work for a living learn the importance of working hard. Children gain a greater understanding of the price of spending a dollar by earning one.
Kids are encouraged to consider ways to acquire the next dollar more quickly by earning just one dollar.
Both Walt Disney and Warren Buffett benefited from this fundamental early education as they worked to achieve financial independence. Walt Disney began by selling his drawings to neighbors, while Warren Buffett worked odd jobs and delivered newspapers until he was 12 years old.
If your teen can turn a hobby or passion into something profitable, that’s even better!
10 Jobs and Small Business Ideas for Teens under 18
Even if the profits aren’t huge, learn to make $1 before trying to make hundreds.
So, the first step to becoming a teen entrepreneur is learning how to make money. Here are ten ways for your child to make an early profit. From jobs to mini-enterprises.
1. The Lemonade or Pencil Stand
Pay: $1.50/lemonade or pencil
A lemonade stand only requires lemon juice powder, fresh lemons, ice cube, water, sugar, plastic cups, and a big jar.
Help your child put up a lemonade stand in your front yard and invite your neighbors to try this refreshing drink. Hot outdoors? Maybe you could open a lemonade stand, or sell cool drinks to people.
If a lemonade stand doesn’t work, try encouraging your teen to sell pencils in school! Kids often break pencils, or lose their pencil cases throughout the school year.
Pencil business models:
- Buy a 12 pencil pack for ~$8
- Sell each pencil for $1.50
- Pencil is free the 1st day
- Every day the pencil is not returned, charge $1
2. Homemade Baked Goods
Pay: $2/cookie or baked good
Everyone loves food. And pastries are even better! Selling home baked goods can even be a group event.
Cooking is a necessary skill for every person, so why not monetize it in a fun way?
Baking with your teen might also be a fun way to bond and even discuss some light chemistry topics.
Consider baking some of your favorite goods, and selling them to neighbors, classmates and friends.
3. Sports Coaching
Pay: $15/hour (minimum wage in CA/NY)
Parent of an athlete? Ask your teen to consider coaching the junior sports teams. Club teams could always use an extra hand! And by teaching others, your teen gets to practice their own skills.
If your child started playing early, encourage them to reach out to their old coach. If not, perhaps volunteer at local recreational centers.
Even better, help your teen become a private coach for a young athlete!
4. Life Guarding or Swim Instructor
Pay: $15/hour (minimum wage in CA/NY)
If your child is a strong swimmer, consider signing them up to be an official life guard!
Although the certification process is not easy, becoming a life guard early on is well respected and a true sign of determination, strength and care for the community.
Your teen will get early work experience in an extremely meaningful role! If your teen is on a swim team, ask the coach for life guarding connections.
If the larger role doesn’t sound appealing, your teen should always consider private/1:1 teaching! Sometimes, individual lessons for younger swimmers can pay better and give your teen more control over their personal schedule.
5. Selling School Notes/Old Textbooks
Although a more common practice for college students, high schoolers can also benefit from additional resources to aid them through their courses.
If allowed with your school and if your teen takes detailed notes, ask them if they know any struggling students who might benefit from notes from upperclassmen.
College note-sharing sites, charge as much as $20/unit of notes!
Textbooks can get extremely expensive. While it’s hard to justify selling a textbook back at the full price, perhaps consider selling it back at half!
6. Dog Walking and Pet Sitting
Whether they are someone else's or their own, children adore pets. In order to prepare kids for adult life, taking care of a pet helps them build up their responsibilities.
Neighborhood or city, pet ownership boomed with the pandemic! And now that people are returning back to in person work, these pets need company.
After your teen gets back from school, perhaps they can take all the neighborhood dogs on a walk!
Perhaps charge $5/dog/day.
So, if there are 5 dogs and your teen walks them all 3 times a week:
- 3 days * 5 dogs = $75/week
It’s not as lucrative as an official job, but your teen at least has control over their schedule.
7. Lawn Mowing and Yard Work
Live in a rural or suburban area? Level up the community by helping out with lawn mowing and light gardening.
Professional gardeners and lawn mowers can get expensive, or at least cost more than the average teen would charge!
Perhaps your teen can charge $10/lawn and mow 10 lawns every Sunday! That is a weekly profit of $100.
Your neighbors might love to support a budding entrepreneur.
8. Creating Art
Do you want your children to explore their creative side or do they have artistic talent? Encourage kids to create images, and then consider selling them to relatives and friends.
They'll start to realize the value of their creative sides while pursuing quality work as they produce increasingly better art.
9. Thrifting / Selling Old Clothing
Does your teen have a lot of clothes? They might be able to use apps like Depop (selling clothing) or Goat (trading shoes) to make a profit on old clothing.
Second hand shopping is a great way to give back to the environment, by preventing further fast fashion, and cleaning out your teen’s closet!
Have an academic child? Even if your child is not getting an A+ in every class, sometimes young students just need that extra guidance to re-iterate concepts and offer 1:1 attention that you cannot get in many classrooms.
Consider asking friends if they have younger children who could benefit from this! From there, leave the salary negotiation to your teen.
We’ve seen teen tutors charge up to $30/hour, depending on the complexity of the subject! Compared to the cost of a professional tutor, many parents might be happy to support your child and elevate their own.