My friend and I are 15 and interested in starting a pet-sitting business.
We would like to know how old we have to be to do this job and how
we should get started.
The Career Doctor responds:
Many teens — your age and older — are starting their own businesses
rather than work for minimum wage in some part-time job. And the skills
you develop in starting and running your own business will have long-lasting
You and your friend need to contemplate a number of considerations
but the most important one is whether one or more adults are willing to
support and assist you in your plans. I am not saying the adult should
run your business — just that you have an adult’s approval and support
when needed (like when dealing with an angry customer).
So what are the keys to starting your own business?
Here are a few rules you need to follow to ensure some level of success:
- You must be able to promote the business to potential customers and
clients — thus you need to be able to talk with people and be able to try to
sell them something.
- You must be able to make a profit with your business. Sounds kind of
obvious right? But it is sometimes harder than you might imagine.
- You must know one of the most important rules of marketing (and one I
force my students to chant) — you have to satisfy the customer! You must do
a good job in your business or you are going to lose customers.
- You must avoid serious errors — in actions of judgment — in running your
business. If you do something wrong regardless of whose fault it can cause
anger disappointment bad publicity and at the ultimate — a lawsuit.
- You must be prepared to work long hours at establishing the business –
and then even more hours running the business. They call it work for a reason –
you need to be truly dedicated and determined to establish your own business.
Get more ideas for other teen business as well as more details about how
to do so in my article Job
Ideas for Teens 15 and Younger: Beyond Babysitting and Lemonade Stands.