How a Kid Can Successfully Start a Business

A young entrepreneur selling lemonade at a very affordable price; finding the right price is the key to success.
A young entrepreneur selling lemonade at a very affordable price; finding the right price is the key to success. | Source

Earning Money As an 11-, 12-, 13- or 14-Year-Old

Under the age of 15, it is hard to find ways to earn money. You can't drive, are too young to be hired by a restaurant or business, and it's still risky to sell to strangers without a trusted adult around (and without new customers, a business cannot grow). However, a little bit of help from a parent or another trusted adult can make a world of difference!

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Have a knack for cooking? Begin your own sweets bakery, making cakes for everything from birthdays and anniversaries to graduations!
Have a knack for cooking? Begin your own sweets bakery, making cakes for everything from birthdays and anniversaries to graduations! | Source

What Do You Like to Do?

The very first thing is figuring out what you like to do that other people might pay you for. For example, you could:

  • Make and sell jewelry
  • Babysit or pet-sit
  • Edit photos or videos
  • Bake
  • Wash cars
  • Clean
  • Do yard work

That idea is the beginning of your own businesses!

The most important part of all of this is that you enjoy the activity. If you try one job out and don't like it after the first few gigs, think about it some more and choose something that might work better. Ask an adult to help you brainstorm activities that use your passions passions, talents, and strengths for your business!

Discuss the Basics With Parents

Once the type of business is decided, it is time for the big talk with the parents. Parents will have to take care of everything from taxes and paperwork to legal matters and bank accounts, so they must be involved and have some influence in the business. This is not to scare anyone off, as an unofficial business could still be operated. However, should it become highly successful and profitable, it will be necessary to make it official so that taxes can be paid as required. This is highly unlikely as most kids do not earn a livable income from the small odd jobs that they find, so it is not a huge concern for the most part.

Customers, Promotion, Scheduling, and Working

Once you've got your idea, these are the most important parts of beginning your own business!

When you knows what you will be doing, you have to let people know what service or good you are offering! This is called promotion. From telling people (either in person or through email or social media) to posting signs, get the word out that you are the person to go to for what you are selling. This will begin to pull in customers.

Once customers begin to flow in, you will have to learn how to properly schedule your customers so that you can work for them during their free time, after school, or on weekends. Ask your parents for help coming up with a system so you do not miss appointments. Home-schooled kids tend to have a bit more flexibility, so this is a wonderful opportunity for those students.

Once the customers are scheduled, you can begin to work! All kids should discuss this with their parents, as you may need assistance with promotion, communicating with customers, determining prices and rates, and transportation.

How to Determine Prices and Rates

It is important to remember that supply and demand is what determines how high of a price is on a service or product.

Supply means how much of your product or service is out there. For example, if you're mowing lawns, the supply for your service is how many other people are also offering to mow lawns where you are.

Demand means how many people want your product or service. Live in a neighborhood with a lot of rock gardens, or with very few yards? Not as many people need their lawns mowed, so the demand for your service would be lower than if you lived in a place where everyone has a lawn.

If there is a low supply and a high demand, you can charge more money. If there is a high supply and very little demand, you can't charge as much money—you might even need to sell something else. Your business choice should reflect this. A low rate helps beat out competition, but it could mean that you are working for too little as well. A price that is too high will deter customers. Compare your ideal rates to those of businesses and other service providers in your area. It should be slightly lower than the competition. This way, customers will see that they have the opportunity to get the service or product and save money!

Check out this vintage ad for a lemonade stand. These days, kids are a lot less likely to try to earn money from the world around them through different odd jobs. Our kids can change that and become the new age child entrepreneurs!
Check out this vintage ad for a lemonade stand. These days, kids are a lot less likely to try to earn money from the world around them through different odd jobs. Our kids can change that and become the new age child entrepreneurs! | Source

How to Promote a Child's Business

When you decide to start a business, your parent will likely be involved in a lot of the work. Ads must be created in all different forms and sizes, complete with text, photos, and more. A phone number, email address, Facebook page, and website should all be set up. This gives potential customers more methods of communication, making it easier for them to order the service or product.

Ads should be placed on online classifieds, in newspapers, at popular pedestrian corners, on store billboards, and more. Door-to-door advertising, and calling up friends and family are both options. Word-of-mouth is a very important form of advertising when it comes to the business of a kid, as it is more likely that the potential customers are safe.

And once you get someone to buy from you, keep in touch! They're more likely to buy again than someone who never has. Keep phone number lists, email sign-up programs, regularly updated Facebook pages, and more. By keeping in contact with past customers, they will not forget the business and will be much more likely to return for more in the future.

Keeping a very detailed schedule will help you learn not only responsibility and organization skills, but also time management and customer management. Vital skills as a young entrepreneur!
Keeping a very detailed schedule will help you learn not only responsibility and organization skills, but also time management and customer management. Vital skills as a young entrepreneur! | Source

Scheduling Customers for Services and Products

Once potential customers begin responding to ads, you or your parents can begin responding to the interested consumers and building schedules. Keeping a schedule of your clients and their needs allows you to keep your tasks neat and tidy, complete all projects on time, and keep all customers happy. You wouldn't want to forget about someone who wants to buy something from you—he or she likely won't come back!

A schedule is very important, because it is very bad if a customer is forgotten or enough time is not allocated for a particular job. You also do not want to be late for a job or appointment. Keeping everything organized, punctual, and satisfactory is very professional and keeps customers happy.

Working and Keeping Customers Happy!

After everything else, it's time to work! You can set up your business so that you are paid before or after services are performed or products are sent to the customer. Different business models require different payment structures. After the transaction is complete and the work is finished, you will be very happy to see that the customer is enthralled with your work; this is very rewarding!

In order to keep the customer happy, you need to offer fair prices and helpful services or products, stay true to your word, do all of the work as you have advertised, be on time with your job and delivery, be kind and appreciative to the customer, and thank them. This builds a worker's and a business's reputation through testimonial sites and word of mouth. Keep your customers happy and word will spread—bringing more business for you!

Never Give up

Once a business has been started, it will be easy for the business to flop over and fail. I cannot stress enough how important it is to continuously care for and believe in your business. If the owner is not wholeheartedly involved in the operation, it will not stand a chance. By keeping up with your businesses needs and nurturing it, the company will stand to see many more positive, profitable, and promising days. Never ever give up on your business; remember, the going will become rough at times, and it is up to you to triumph over the challenges!

Learn how a kid can successfully start their own business, and write their own financial future.
Learn how a kid can successfully start their own business, and write their own financial future. | Source

Comments 56 comments

kidscrafts profile image

kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

I think it's a good way for kids to learn about business, and money and it's also a good use of their free time :-)

Thanks for sharing!

angryelf profile image

angryelf 3 years ago from Tennessee Author

It really is! I started my own business when I was 15, raising some of the best pet rats within 150 miles :) I made quite a bit of money doing something I absolutely loved. Picking and choosing genetics and lines, breeding with generations I'd raised (I raised to a 6th generation in one line before!) and being able to get sooooo excited when labor started on one of my baby girls. I never got tired of raising them, and I'm ACTUALLY going to be expecting my first litter in over 2 years soon- I just rescued a sweetheart girly from being turned into snake food, and her and our other rat are lovebirds about now (not a concern, considering I always find amazing homes EVERY time!)... I cannot wait to see some bouncing happy babies! The most important part is I saved another sweet girl from a death sentence. :)

Romin Mirmotahari 2 years ago

I'm 14 years old, and I founded/operate I think that more schools and communities should teach children of the business opportunities at an early age, so that they had a "feel" and sense of what's it like to run a business, and how to do so.

In my case, I spent days and nights browsing Google for "How to make websites" "which tax forms should I fikk out" and stuff like that. I have to say, now that my website is making thousands per month (and growing!), its extremely rewarding. Of course, the workload is enormous. But I just feel that kids all over the world deserve to do what I did.

Business is certainly avoided as a subject for elementary and middle schoolers, which is a shame.

Nice article BTW!

scd 2 years ago

make own spices

Mariyah 2 years ago

Im a 12 year old who was looking for money to have a bday party at skate ranch and now i think i have some solutions thanks!!!!! ^.^

Monica 2 years ago

I am 12 and I'm looking for money so I cean start a cupcake business and I think I have some ideas


bnh 2 years ago

I am 11 and I did not have any idea where to start with the business I wanted to start and now I do. Thanks!

Emily 2 years ago

I sell shells and I am 12

gg 2 years ago

Im 12 and now i have an idea whooooooowhoooooooo

Cayla Fletcher 2 years ago

Hi, I'm 13 and I tried starting my own business when I was 11 and it didn't work. I did all that hard work and nobody bought anything. I tried handing out dog walking flyers 2 weeks ago and I have got no calls to do some dog walking. I just don't know what to do now. I feel like I am all out of Ideas. My Mom says to just keep trying. But it gets frustrating when you do a lot of hard work and nothing happens... I don't know if I should try baby sitting. Or pet sitting. I don't think I could stay the night for ether one of those. I tried making lip Balm and that worked. I got at least $50 out of that. I spent all that money on my new Tablet. I don't know if I should keep making lip Balm for a living or make soap. I LOVE making soap. But sometimes it makes a big mess (Just like lip balm). And I just don't know what to do now.

Please Help! *

angryelf profile image

angryelf 2 years ago from Tennessee Author

Cayla, I advise that you stick with the lip balm. It is OBVIOUSLY a business model that works for you. Build upon it! Add different flavors, colors, varieties. Perhaps custom made packaging (adding photos, names, etc to the tubes). Expand this beauty oriented business WITH soaps. You can offer gift baskets too. Soap will add to your line. If you see success with these, keep going. At 13, you need to think cheap, practical, and necessity. Lip balm is cheap, it's a practical purchase for beauty that almost every woman and girl buys, and something everyone needs to protect their lips. Soap is the same; it's cheap, practical, and necessary. Apply these principles to ANYTHING you decide to add. Maybe perfumes??? What special angle does your business have? Does it donate to help someone or something in need (animal welfare, muscular dystrophy, abused children??? Is it environmentally friendly??? Is it easy and cheap for peers and friends?? Does it make a unique purchase/gift? Think about all of these, and I hope you see success Cayla!

Cassidy Berns 2 years ago

I've needed money and still don't have money or ideas and I'm 13years old

mechelle 2 years ago

my son wants a cupcake business but after googleing it I've seen nothing but "kids cupcake business shut down". How I get him started with a cup cake stand successfully?

angryelf profile image

angryelf 2 years ago from Tennessee Author

Mechelle, it could be because of the FDA. What you will have to do is once the cupcake recipes are finalized, you need to send a sample to be analyzed. Once it's done, they will send back a report with a nutrition facts list; this could potentially be the issue. Different states have different legislations regarding out-of-home food businesses, so just check your local laws regarding small scale food production :)

Churd3 2 years ago

I may have a few ideas

Robert hess 2 years ago

how do I make quik money daily

Kiyah 2 years ago

Ive practically tried EVERYTHING I just think I should give up. HELP

Andrew kobulia 2 years ago

Its sumer time now im 13 year old boy im making movie theater i got progector an 60 lari=about 35 dolars il firs start with selling rally cheap tichets only night times 3 movies a day thcket will cost 2 lari=1.20 dolar or so(1dolar=1,76 lari) so after i get some money maybe 3 days if sucsesful ill buy movie seats after that ill make fast food shop near popcorn ect. And then buy big leather like on circuses and make day movie theaters too

Jennifer 22 months ago

Omiword! Thanks so much for the article!! I am saving up for a horse, (hey, I can't ride my dad's horses forever!) and now I have some ideas! I'm thinking about lots of ideas, either writing stories, (I'm pretty good at that) or breeding something. The only problem with the breeding idea is that I have no idea how to do that.

thanks anyway!

anna 22 months ago

I made hair bows for $5 ea and they are cute

angryelf profile image

angryelf 22 months ago from Tennessee Author

That's a great idea Anna! I'll have to be sure to share that with the other kids! I'm glad you found your own little method! :)

Alexis 22 months ago

Hi! My names Alexis and I'm 12 years old. I really want to buy gymnadtics equipment for my house but when I added the prices of the equipment I needed together the total was: $919.97

I have 200 from saving up from my birthdays and Christmases but I obviously need a lot more money! I can't start my own business because I want to own my own gymnastics place and I'm only 12. I just want a temporary job so please give me some suggestions

ZAP'd Designs 22 months ago

I am 14 and wanting to start up a graphic design business. I am wondering if I need a business license for selling graphics online. I am not even sure if I can have a business license. Anyway, I have a lot of experience with graphic design and communicating with clients. I hope you can help me out.

angryelf profile image

angryelf 22 months ago from Tennessee Author

Zap, you shouldn't need a business license, as many people operate as "independent contractors". This just means you are privately contracted (in other words- instead of considering yourself a business, you are considered as a temporarily hired employee to do a task, but are not a real employee of the company.). You can ask your parents for more information, and you can find it online as well. A good head start would be to search for "independent contractor for minors under 18". In order to file taxes, you will need parental assistance. You will need a paypal account in order to business online. You can have your parents help to set this up for you :)

ZAP'd Designs 22 months ago

I already have a PayPal. So I do need to pay taxes yearly? If so, can I put my yearly income on my parent's tax return forms? Than you so much.

angryelf profile image

angryelf 22 months ago from Tennessee Author

I cannot really give you tax advice, but you will need to discuss this with them- kids your age work at mcdonald's, many mcd's hire starting at 14 with most common being 15/16. Minors have to file taxes too, but their parents usually do it. You would have a couple options, from paying in taxes quarterly (every 3 months, the deadlines are listed on the IRS website), or paying them at the end of the year. You will need to discuss with your parents to better understand this. You could even consult a tax service (such as HR Block) for advice for your special situation.

Zoe 21 months ago

Hi I'm doe and I having having problems making money before summer comes and I am only 12 years old well going to be in Feb. 18th so can u help find some ways to make money

zoe 21 months ago

I also want to no a small idea for a small businesses

lovelygal 20 months ago

Hi! I am 12 and I have tried a couple of businesses that have failed, but I think I've found the perfect one......... blanket making! I know how, really enjoy it, and am willing to try selling them. Any advice? Thanks!

Jacobb9205 profile image

Jacobb9205 20 months ago from Gloucestershire

Great ways for kids to earn money!

angryelf profile image

angryelf 20 months ago from Tennessee Author

lovelygal, try selling them on places like ebay or etsy!

Vivi 20 months ago

I am 12 and ive been begging my parents if i can start a business but they keep saying no and that i need to pay attention to school plus im not allowed to go anywhere without a parent i know how to do a lot of stuff like make bows, blankets, pom pom rugs, a whole bunch of stuff cause im a diy freak!! I love makin stuff! And i also don't want to sell candy at school cause i don't want to change from the kid that can't say no to the kid that makes people pay them for a little piece of food and im allergic to any kind of animal fur so i have no idea on what to do to get money other than chores cause my parents always forget to pay me cause tgeir to busy with their business! PLEASE HELP

angryelf profile image

angryelf 20 months ago from Tennessee Author

Vivi, you need to sell your stuff on Ebay or Etsy. Let the income pile up, then tell your parents you want to withdraw the money and put it in a savings account. When a parent sees a kid with a good hunk of money who wants it in a savings account, they'll usually do it in a heartbeat. Which, I highly recommend a savings account; at the age of 12, you need to be worried about saving for your first car, and college. I hope this helps!

Vici 20 months ago

Wow i didn't think you would answer thanks!

Vivi 19 months ago

What if my parents wont let me sell stuff online .__.

Isabelle 18 months ago

So I'm 14 and looking for a little extra cash, and I think I have an idea. I'm pretty good with cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. I have figure out that if it cost about $10 to make a three layer cake, either 8" or 9" I can probably make around 10-20 dollars per cake. I don't know how much to sell things for, and I don't know where to begin. Please help

charlie 18 months ago

i need money but my mom wont let me do any thing and when i ask about money she screams what should i do

Emma 18 months ago

Hi I'm Emma and I really want to start a baking business but I have a lot of questions. I created a webpage on but it costs About $200 to open an online store to let people place orders... how do I get that money??? Also, how do I get people to come to me instead of the other companies that are downtown??? And lastly, how to I reserve my ideal company name??? I don't have any legal experience and have no idea how to move forward from an idea. Please help me!

Dr.Aussie 15 months ago

I'm ten and I want to earn money.

bubbles 14 months ago

I am 12 and I used to sell stuff but only at scool and first I made bows then istarted making rubberband braclets then I made ducktape wallets I made money but barlly any so I want to start a new bissnes but I don't know what to sell help!!!!

Kaegan 14 months ago

I am 14 and I was wondering if it was ok if I took Photos and sold them. I need to invest in a camera but after that do i need a licence. Please help!

Katie 14 months ago

I'm eleven years old. I've been itching for the money and I wanted to know if there was something I could make because I have lots of material for bracelets and stuff that could be sellable and cute but very cheap to do. My family's poor so I had to buy my own iPod touch 5 and now I want something bigger but I got to buy it so I thought I could make a business so I could have money now but in my future too

Megan 13 months ago

I like to make things like bath bombs and infinity scarves, but I don't know how to sell them. I am also 11, and have no money to spend on supplies. If you have an idea of what I should sell, please respond. Also, I don't know how to price things. I am planning on selling the bath bombs for 1.00. Is that to low??

Sarah 12 months ago

Hi, I'm 11 years old as well, and I have a passion for baking and cake decorating. I have been thinking about applying for a stand at my local farmers market but I have no idea about how to approach my mom about it...Please help me!

nelson mouton jr 12 months ago

hey im nelson im looking for a job im 14 my mom not getting alot of food in the house so i wanna know how can i help get food in my house i dont wont cps in i just make money my number is 8327032381 call or text thx u

Zoe 11 months ago

Hi i am Zoe and I am going to be 12 on December 9th. I love to bake and do crafts. But I don't know what to do for a job. I am saving up for a phone. I don't know which one I would get more money. Please help me.

Lizzy 9 months ago

I'm 13 and I want to start a business selling plushies/Needle felted animals Online. The only thing I'm worried about is my Parents not allowing me too. :( They're very strict! :P

matt 8 months ago

thanks for the ideas now im making money redesigning shoes THANKS!!!!!! ☺☺☺☺

scarlet 8 months ago

im 10 and i whant to start a buisness a dance and singing one tgat gave me ideas

LL 4 months ago

Any other ideas on how to make money as an 12 year old this summer!!!

S.D (my initials) 4 months ago

i agree with you LL

Ella 3 months ago

HI! This article was posted a long time ago but i thought there is no harm in asking. So I was wondering what do i do if i really want to start a business but i am not allowed? i really enjoy baking and baby sitting but i dont know which one to do.!!??

Gabbie 3 months ago

Hi, I am 12 years old and want to start a lip gloss business. Is it made of edible products. Can you please tell me how to go about doing this? My mom says I cant just sell online, I need to be licensed. Is this true? do you know how much this will cost so I do not get into trouble? Thank you!

Deamon 2 months ago

Hey, I'm 14 and have started thinking about making an online cupcake buisness? Any advice?

lily 5 days ago


Angelo 5 days ago

I'm 13 years old. I want to make an online business and my parents are willing to finance/help me starting it up. Can I register my business and company under my name? Can I open a business account? Where do I get information about registering in Texas? Thank you very much.

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