With December 2015’s unemployment rate for American youth holding steady at 11.2 percent, our mission at Junior Achievement of Central Texas remains critical. We help children of all ages discover inherent skills and passions and express their unique creativity. We are preparing them to be the financially literate innovators of tomorrow by nurturing their entrepreneurial spirits.
Mentorship in the form of local business owners who dedicate time and wisdom is invaluable to our movement. Many budding entrepreneurs are already tapped into an ability that serves as a springboard into their vocational path. Let’s look at 10 viable kid-run business ideas that could be the first step on a path of prosperity and fulfillment. Kids learn planning, marketing, management, problem solving, accountability, communication skills, and self-confidence, while filling a real local need.
1) Baking Maven
Child chefs and bakers are all the rage on food TV networks. Combined with the rapidly rising eat local movement, special diets (gluten-free, vegan, raw), and the abundance of famers’ markets, a child who loves to bake can do very well catering to these crowds. Sell specialty breads and desserts at local outdoor markets and festivals, and watch the “dough” rise.
2) Pet Care
“One Kid and a Leash” gives pet-loving children the chance to earn cash while providing a too-busy or gone-all-day pet owner with peace of mind. Parlay the dog walking into “One Kid and a Pooper Scooper” for yard clean-up. Expand into dog bathing and pet sitting while owners are out of town. Kids 14 and over are eligible for a free account on Care.com, where dog walkers earn $11.50 hourly on average.
3) Pet Products
The rapidly growing pet industry appears to be impervious to recession. Owners continue to spend heavily on dog treats, toys, and accessories. Pet lovers in the U.S. spent an estimated $60.59 billion on their beloved four-leggeds in 2015. An enterprising kid can find dog treat recipes online and quickly carve out a thriving business. 10-year-old Ryan Kelly created his first batch of wholesome homemade treats for his rescue Beagle puppy and went on to grab $25,000 in funding on "Shark Tank." Kids can sign up as one of his company’s marketing reps.
4) Handmade Arts and Crafts
Artisan-crafted jewelry, furniture, greeting cards, soaps, and pottery have never been more beloved. Kids with an eye for design and fashion find a receptive audience in virtual marketplaces that cater to handmade goods on platforms like Etsy. A simple interface and reasonable fees make Etsy ideal.
5) Clever Images and Witty Words
If you’ve got a budding graphic designer, writer, or photographer in the family, sites like Café Press and Zazzle make it super easy to print images and words on clothing, calendars, mugs, and mouse pads. A child can build a store in just a few hours, stock it with a variety of unique items, and market it to friends and family to generate an income stream.
6) Tech Tutor
Kids with an aptitude for all things tech are perfect candidates to provide a “Rent a Grandkid Geek” service. Seniors and Boomers often need help setting up a smartphone or tablet, and a child who knows her way around a frustrating gadget might feel like a godsend. Getting low-tech adults set up on new computers and offering a trouble-shooting repair service is another very marketable skill in our increasingly tech-reliant society.
7) EBay Seller
A motivated kid can get set up as a seller on the world’s largest marketplace in under an hour. An enterprising child can enjoy competing bids or instant “Buy it Now” sales on outgrown toys, clothing, and electronics culled from home. There’s also a healthy commission to be made on anything sold for neighbors and relatives. Many people want to divest their homes of unwanted but still valuable items but lack the skills required for online reselling. A child who taps into this niche can earn a tidy 20 percent or more commission.
8) Car Care
Americans love clean cars, but most of us hate to wash them ourselves, let alone detail the interior and exterior. A hand car wash service that also includes TLC for the carpets, upholstery, chrome, tires, and glass is well worth the cost to many busy professionals.
9) Home and Office Cleaning
Professional commercial and residential cleaners charge from $20 to $40 per hour for light cleaning. Angie's List members reported paying up to $150 for biweekly house cleanings in 2014. Kids who enjoy keeping things tidy and organized can really turn a profit on weekends by offering neighbors and business owners their services for less. Who likes to dust their own mini blinds, clean carpets, or scrub kitchen appliances on precious days off?
10) Yard Work
Ninety percent of Americans want to live in a home surrounded by grass, trees, and other living vegetation, and they want their yards to be well maintained. Unfortunately, caring for it all usually requires far more time than homeowners have. Energetic young nature lovers can “rake it in” offering:
- Leaf blowing
- Lawn mowing
- Gutter cleaning
- Snow shoveling
- Fish pond scouring
- Swimming pool cleaning
- Tree trimming
Teens can “branch out” from yard work into pressure washing and deck refinishing to establish themselves as invaluable home maintenance partners to busy neighbors.