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    What Are the Best Business Ideas for a Teenager?

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    teenage business ideas canada

    From car washing to pet sitting, we’re taking a look at a few of the best ways for teenagers to start earning some money. Read on for tips to help you embrace your inner entrepreneur!

    Some people catch the entrepreneurial itch early on in life, leading them to be especially industrious during their teens. Exercising these skills during one’s formative years is a great way to build valuable habits that are useful later in life. For example, gaining experience with managerial skills, saving techniques, and sharpened business acumen are all great reasons to get a head start honing these important abilities.

    In this article, we’ll be taking a look at a few of the best teenage business ideas to help young entrepreneurs start making some income.


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    4 Ways to Start Making Money as a Teen

    Community Work: Ask around the neighbourhood

    For many teenagers, business opportunities can come from all around the neighbourhood. Neighbours often need help with everyday tasks, and are usually willing to pay for that assistance.

    Here are some ideas that could have you building your first business from just a few steps outside your front door:

    Yardwork

    Asking neighbours if they need help with yardwork is a great way to earn some extra money — and there’s plenty of tasks to be done year round.

    Below are some of the jobs that you can do as a young business owner to keep your revenue flowing all year:

    • Winter. Many people just don’t have the time or energy to get out their shovels and ice salt come winter, so this is a great time to go door-to-door asking your neighbours if they would be interested in paying for your help. There are other ways to make money during this time as well, such as helping setting up holiday decorations.Pro tip: If it snows overnight, bundle up and head out early in the morning to ask your neighbours if they want their snow removed, since this is when doing it themselves may seem particularly unappealing.

    • Spring. As the snow melts, it can leave plenty of lawn care jobs for you to do around your community, such as raking up deadfall that was still around before the first snowfall. There are also opportunities for recurring work, such as aerating, fertilizing and seeding the lawn, or cleaning out the eaves, as needed.

    • Summer. One of the busiest yardwork seasons, summer is a great time to ask your neighbours if they need ongoing lawn mowing, outdoor plant- and lawn-watering, or weeding.

    • Autumn. Fall is another season with plenty of lawn work to do before the first snowfall. Leaves are falling constantly, meaning plenty of raking and bagging is required. Grass is still growing late into the fall season as well, meaning you can still get work mowing lawns.

    Remember that your services can essentially act like an advertisement to the other homes in the area, so be sure to take every care that it’s work you can be proud of. Once word gets out about you, you’ll have everyone in the neighbourhood asking if you can take care of their lawn!

    Some folks would rather not have you asking every time their grass is getting long or snow is piling up. Instead, you could set up a contract where you shovel every time it snows in the winter, and mow their lawn every two weeks in the summer. This way, you can bill them monthly or bi-weekly, either at a set cost, or depending on how much work you do.

    After you’ve got your clients locked in with main jobs like raking leaves, shovelling snow, and mowing the lawn, you can try upselling them on other jobs like watering plants, weeding their garden, and other common lawn chores.


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    Housework

    After you’ve proven yourself and gotten to know your neighbours with some lawn work, it could be a good time to offer other services like taking care of indoor chores.

    Some examples of indoor business ideas for teens are:

    • Cleaning. Many busy families may not feel like cleaning their homes after a long day at the office. This is a great opportunity for you to make some extra money doing their laundry, washing their dishes, and generally cleaning up around the house.Related read: How to Start a Cleaning Business: A Guide in 6 Simple Steps

    • House sitting. While on vacation, many people appreciate having someone in the neighbourhood drop in every once in a while to make sure everything is in order, take in their mail, and keep it clean for their return. This also helps make the property look like it’s been lived in in case someone notices that it seems like a vacant property and, therefore, a good target for theft or vandalism.Related read: What Temperature Should You Keep a Vacant House At?

    • Babysitting. Everyone needs a night off, and for families with young children, these evenings can be quite the relief. Offering babysitting services is a great way to make some extra cash, and often you don’t have to do too much — entertaining the children with arts and crafts, playing with toys, or even just watching movies or TV shows can make up your whole evening.

    • Pet care. For many people, pets are considered family members. However, they can sometimes be a bit too much to care for with all the other responsibilities on your neighbours’ plates. Offering to take them for daily walks can be a welcome help.Also, while many families take their pets with them on vacation, for some it’s just not possible or financially feasible. Charging more for house sitting fees if there is a pet to look after is a great way to combine these two services.

    The above are just a few of the ways that you can start building your empire from just a few doors down. Many of these ideas also provide experience working with negotiations and contracts, both of which are useful introductions to later business dealings.


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    Skill-Based Ventures: Use your natural talents

    Everyone has certain proclivities that make them interested in specific areas and industries. Whether you’re left-brained or right-brained, spending time thinking about what your natural talents and passions are can be a great way to discover your niche, while making some money.

    Here are a few common small business ideas to start your own venture and leverage your skills:

    • Teach music lessons. Perhaps you started taking band class early on and continued learning the instrument you picked. Or, maybe you grew up with instruments in your house that you ended up taking lessons with from a young age. Either way, that time spent learning your instrument could pay back in dividends if you decide to start teaching music lessons to other people. You can start with putting up flyers in your neighbourhood, or posting on Kijiji or Craigslist to get your first clients.

    • Tutor younger children. If you’ve got a specific interest in a particular subject, teaching it to younger children can be a great way to make some extra money and bolster your knowledge in that subject at the same time. Even if you’re well versed in an area, explaining it to someone else can teach you aspects of it that you had never thought of before. Tutoring experience also looks great on applications for jobs and colleges, making this time well spent.

    • Learn a technological niche. For those with an interest in computers, learning a niche can be a great way to start making money from this passion. Web designers, graphic designers, and those with a pension for data entry can all find ways to make good money early by selling their products or time.And if you have an aptitude for playing video games, some of these skills can be easily transferable into this field, making it a good path for those looking to get into that industry, or study it in school.

    • Start a goods business. If making things or reselling things is more your style, starting a goods business can be a great way to start building this skillset. Whether you’re learning how to sell your stickers online, building up your Etsy store, or reselling jewellery, creating an online goods store can help you understand trends in an industry that you’re already interested in.This is also a great way to learn about online retail sites like Etsy, how to build up an online presence on Amazon, and even how to sell on eBay.


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    Transport Services: Use your vehicle

    Learn your way around, making money while helping others. Even if you lack confidence with reading maps, there are plenty of great free delivery routing apps to help get you to your destination. If you own a car or have reliable access to one, that can open up plenty of opportunities for ways to make money on the go, such as:

    • Delivering goods. While most delivery apps, such as SkipTheDishes, Uber Eats, and DoorDash, require their drivers to be at least 18 years old, there are likely multiple businesses that will hire you to deliver food or goods for them. Oftentimes, the only requirements for these restaurants or boutiques are that you hold a valid driver’s license and are at least 16 years old.

    • Start a moving business. While owning a truck or van is best for this, having any vehicle gives you the opportunity to help out those looking to move residences — and they’re often willing to pay handsomely for it.

    • Branch outside your neighbourhood. Having a car also gives you the ability to reach neighbourhoods outside your own, so you can take advantage of this by offering many of the services we’ve discussed above to other areas. Whether you’re looking to offer yardwork, babysitting, or music lessons, you’re sure to find plenty of opportunities in your surrounding area if you have the ability to reach them.

    And once you set this business up, you can quickly expand it into something more. For example, if you live in Texas, a courier service in Houston could take the load off of you—literally. From there, you can hire employees who can do even more tasks for you.

    Other Opportunities: Old standards and modern gigs

    The above are just a few ways that teenagers can make money in a more entrepreneurial way, but you’re really only limited by your imagination.

    Whether you’re looking to work part-time on weekends or after school, or full-time during the summer, here are some other great options to make some cash in your free time:

    • Work at a restaurant. While you may not be able to serve alcohol until you’re of age, many restaurants will hire minors as bussers, dishwashers, or line cooks. You can also work at an unlicensed restaurant as a server or drive thru worker. One major benefit of working at a restaurant is that you’ll likely receive tips on top of your minimum wage.When working for a restaurant, flexibility is important. Start in the front as a hostess, or in the back as a dishwasher, and be ready to advance as server positions become available.

    • Become an influencer. While it can take some time to gain a good following, becoming a social influencer can be a very lucrative way to gain extra money.Writing a blog is another great way to build an online presence, while exploring your interests. This can also take a while to build up enough of a following that brands will want to work with you. But you’ll be able to gain lots of valuable writing experience along the way.

    • Work at a pool. Offering your time at a local pool as a lifeguard or swim instructor is another great way to earn some extra cash. While you may need some formal training and certification, this is generally a job that will pay more than minimum wage. And since most pools are government run, there’s plenty of opportunity to get into other municipal jobs afterwards.

    • Find a job in retail. Working retail is a great way to earn some money as a teenager, and it’ll give you lots of valuable skills, such as customer service experience, collaborating in a team, and working under pressure.

    Earning money when you’re young is an ideal way to build valuable financial skills, save up for college, or start an emergency fund. It’s also a great time to start looking into investments ⁠— the earlier you start, the more time your money has to grow.


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    The Importance of Insurance for Small Businesses

    No matter what type of business you get into as a teenager, you should always make sure you’re protected with the correct Business Insurance policy.

    Not only will your potential clients take you more seriously, but it could also end up saving you lots of money should something happen. For instance, if someone’s pet gets hurt on your watch, they could come after you for damages, regardless of whether or not it’s your fault.

    Having the correct insurance protects you from having to pay out-of-pocket for legal fees, damages, or other costly expenses.

    Get coverage that’s tailored to your needs with APOLLO Insurance. We make it easy with a simplified online application that will have your policy emailed directly to you within minutes.


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    Originally published November 14, 2022, updated February 28, 2024

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