With the economy limping towards recovery and unemployment rates still high, the teen population is finding it harder and harder to find work because adults are competing for the same minimum wage jobs. But there’s an alternative for your teen—starting a micro business.
What is a micro business? It is a very small, one-person business that you can start easily and quickly with what you already know or own. Students can spend as much time running a micro business as they wish and can even close it down during busy times.
The best advantage for teens to own a micro business is that it not only brings in extra cash (often more than imagined), but students end up learning a great deal about business, money and themselves. It may lead to an entrepreneurial life or at the very least, prepare students for higher learning opportunities.
Bestselling author, Carol Topp CPA, wrote Starting a Micro Business as a step-by-step tool to help teenagers earn money while learning how to start their own business. A micro business is simple to start, usually home-based, low risk, educational and easy for a busy student to run. This book offers ideas, a business plan, starting with no debt, pitfalls to avoid and resources to get a teenager started making money running their own micro business.
In an excerpt from her book, Carol lists 10 ideas that any teenager can start this spring to help them make some money of their own, gain responsibility and a sense of accomplishment:
- House cleaning: Offer to tackle large jobs like washing windows, moving furniture, etc. Many people are grateful for a young, strong teenager to help them with heavy lifting. What is easy for you might be very difficult for them, especially if they are an older person.
- Routine house cleaning: Some customers need regular house cleaning and may hire you on a weekly or monthly basis. Don't wait for them to ask: offer to come weekly or twice a month and see what they say.
- Attic cleaning: Offer to help people do a job that they put off, such as cleaning an attic.
- Garage cleaning: A big job that can earn you big bucks!
- Yard cleanup: Offer to trim bushes, pull weeds, plant flowers and spread mulch to spruce up a yard.
- Car and van cleaning: People spend a lot of time in their automobiles and their cars and vans need frequent cleaning. Melissa gladly paid to get her van cleaned inside and out every week because her four children could really make a mess in it. You can make some cash by offering to clean a van inside and out.
- Organize. Organize a house, playroom or garage. Charge the customer for any bins, tubs and labels that you purchase for them and then add on the value of your time. Take before and after photos to use on your advertising fliers.
- Declutter: Do you love HGTV shows on organization? You might be able to find someone to hire you to declutter their house like you see on TV.
- Garage sales: Advertise, organize and run a garage sale for your neighbors. Get several neighbors to participate together and really earn the bucks!
- eBay sales: Offer to sell your neighbors' stuff on eBay and take a cut for yourself. Combine the decluttering, garage sale and eBay tasks into a full package to help your customers profit from their excess stuff.
Personally, I thought those were all great ideas that I wish I could start my pre-teens doing - curse you child labor laws! [NOTE: Of couse I'm kidding about that, ever since we've moved here to the mid-Atlantic region our 7 and 9 year olds have been working daily 10 hour shifts in a West Virginia coal mine. They may miss a day or two due to the black lung - but I digress.]
Carol is a serious author who packs tons of valuable, easy-to-understand information in all of her books. If you're curious about her expertise and background, here's a bio blurb I lifted from her web site: MicroBusinessForTeens.com
Carol Topp, CPA advises teenage business owners though her Micro Business for Teens book series. Carol’s day job is accountant to business owners, and she enjoys teaching teenagers to succeed beyond their dreams. Students appreciate how she shares what they need to know in clear and helpful lessons.
If you comment on this blog post by Friday April 22nd you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a complete set of Carol’s teen business book series absolutely free – see the titles listed below. The drawing will be held on Monday April 25th. So help equip your young adult with the real world knowledge and skills they need to succeed, simply by commenting on this blog – you can share the micro business idea that you think might be the best bet for your teen!