By Pam Molnar
With today’s economy being what it is, teens are having a hard time finding work. Jobs that have traditionally been filled by teenage workers in our society are now being filled by under-employed adults and recent college graduates. If a teenager is without a job during their high school years, where will they get the money to buy a car, save for college, or even have a little spending money for a trip to the movie theater? Entrepreneurship is the answer.
As a third-generation entrepreneur, I can tell you that starting and maintaining your own business is not easy, nor is it something for everyone. It takes hard work, self-motivation, and perseverance. The majority of teen businesses are service-oriented and many of the families in your neighborhood can benefit from those services. Take a look at some of these ideas—would any be a good fit for your teen?
Pet-sitting: Pet-sitting involves caring for someone’s pets while they are on vacation or away for the day. A pet-sitter will be responsible for giving fresh food and water, walking dogs and cleaning out cat litter boxes. Pet-sitters need to be early risers and have the ability to get back and forth to the pet’s home 3 or 4 times each day. Although a pet-sitter does not spend the night, he is there to bring in the mail, water plants or take the garbage to the curb.
Tutor: Teens can use their skills to tutor younger kids in a variety of areas. If your teen plays an instrument, he can work with younger students to keep up their skills over the summer and improve their technique throughout the school year. Teens who play sports can share their talents with younger athletes who need to improve their throwing, hitting or dribbling techniques. And, of course, academic tutors are needed to help with math, reading, or ACT prep.
Memory Preserver: Busy families tend to collect hard drives full of digital photos but have no plan or the time to preserve them. Teens can back up files, send out pics for printed photos and put them in albums. Families may also enjoy a video montage of special events like baptisms or their daughter’s basketball tournament. Memory-preserver services may also include scanning non-digital photos or converting VHS tapes to DVD.
Summer Nanny: Babysitters are needed for both working and stay-at-home parents during the summer months. For parents who work out of the home, they need a Mother’s Helper to entertain the children. Working parents who leave the house during the day may need someone to walk or drive their child to the local pool or summer activity. Babysitting is not only for teenage girls. Mothers of boys often look for an older boy who can relate to their sons’ interests.
Power Washer: After this long winter, the wooden structures in the neighborhood could use a cleanup. Power washers are simple to use after you have had proper instruction. Rent one at your local hardware center and offer to wash a neighbor’s deck for free. While he gets a clean deck, you will get a chance to perfect your skills and get a reference on your work. Pass out flyers to homes with wooden decks, fences and play sets.
Online Retailer: An eBay retailer is an awesome job for teens as you can post, pack and ship at any time during the day. Teens can start by selling their own items, like books and gently used clothes, and then replenish their inventory with good deals found at thrift shops and garage sales. Craftier teens may enjoy selling their creations on Etsy. Some seller categories include jewelry, photography, art, and personalized items.
Yard Work: Yard work goes beyond just mowing the lawn. Teens can extend their seasonal business to offer their services year round. Spring is the time to clean up flower beds and fertilize. Fall is the time for raking leaves, cutting back flowers and planting bulbs for spring. If you live in a northern climate, teens can extend their services to include snow shoveling. Customers with dogs may also need pet waste removed.
Odd Jobs: Odd jobs can mean a variety of things to different customers, so it is best to be prepared and know your limitations. Make a list of the things you can do and hand it out to friends and neighbors. Odd jobs may include washing the dog, weeding the garden, painting, sweeping out the garage, or helping to serve dinner at a party. Doing odd jobs can be a good match for someone with a busy schedule as many of the jobs can be done in a few hours.
More Online Jobs for Teens
Looking to supplement your earnings with multiple streams of income? Consider increasing your bank account with jobs from these online companies:
Fiverr, Slice the Pie, My Survey, Swagbucks
Parents: Please read several reviews and search for scams before allowing your teen to sign up for an online job. Never pay for a membership to start working for an online business.