Okay, you’re somewhere between having an old-fashioned neighborhood lemonade stand and working at a real job. So, what are some job ideas for teens that fall between?
Many states have laws that limit when teens can get a job and how long they are allowed to work per-week, so how are you expected to make the money you need for clothes, a new phone, dates, future tuition, a car, etc.?
If working for someone else doesn't appeal to you (for example, busing tables at a local restaurant, or working in the stock room of a copy shop), consider this: go into business for yourself. It's not as radical of an idea as you might think. Read on!
Before going into a list of job ideas for teens, let’s go over a few rules of the road you need to follow to ensure some level of entrepreneurial success:
- You must promote the business to potential customers and clients. In other words, you need to talk to people and try to sell them something. Without customers, you do not have a business.
- You need to make a profit with your business. That sounds kind of obvious, doesn’t it? But it is sometimes harder to make a profit than you might imagine. You need to set prices — and stick to them (and collect them) — above your costs.
- You must know one of the most important rules of marketing and sales is that — you have to satisfy the customer! You must do a good job in your business or you are going to lose customers. Also, the better you are at satisfying customers, the more likely that they are going to recommend others to you — so you can actually increase your customer base just by doing a good job.
- Think about online reviews. If you have a positive experience with a business, you're inclined to leave a five-star review. If you have a negative experience, you're inclined to leave a one-star review. The internet and social media allow your customer’s opinions to spread beyond their immediate group of friends. While you don’t need to set up an online review system, you shouldn’t discount the power of word-of-mouth.
- You must avoid serious errors — in actions of judgment — in running your business. You are running a business, so make sure an adult family member knows exactly what you are doing in your business, and if anything bad should ever happen, make sure you face it immediately and deal with it (and reach out to an adult if you need serious help).
- Always be professional. At times, your customers may treat you in a manner that’s unprofessional. This is no excuse to become unprofessional yourself. If you are in business, you must be the bigger person – no matter the circumstances.
- You must be prepared to work some long hours while establishing the business, and then even more hours running the business. They call it work for a reason. You need to be dedicated and determined to establish your own business.
Okay, so those are the ground rules. Before you begin brainstorming on the topic of job ideas for teens, you should study these rules carefully. They are not meant to scare you, but instead to help you do a better job at getting started.
Running a business can be a great experience for you. You can make money, you can gain valuable experience, and you can use the business on your resume and college applications.
And, yes – you must include this experience on both your resume and college applications (BTW: we can teach you how to write a resume). It helps to show both potential employers and your future university that you’re self-motivated and ahead of the pack.
So, what are some job ideas for teens beyond a lemonade stand or babysitting? Here goes:
A cleaning service
You may hate doing your chores at home, but getting paid for doing them is completely different. You could offer complete housecleaning services, or specialize in one or more areas, such as attic, basement, or garage cleanups.
A yard maintenance service
There is always something that needs to be done in a yard. This is an excellent job idea for teens. For example, you may mow lawns and do weed control in the spring and summer, rake leaves in the fall, and shovel snow and plant for the spring in the winter.
A car-detailing business
With so many people working multiple jobs and having such busy lifestyles, very few people have the time to care of their cars. You could offer a weekly or monthly service of washing, waxing, and vacuuming.
A pet-sitting service
This may be more of a summer business when people tend to go on vacation, but you might be able to have a year-round business by offering pet walking, bathing, and cleaning services.
A computer tutor and website development service
Are you a whiz with technology? Well, many adults are not, and you could stand to make good money helping people learn to use computers and develop websites for their families or for their businesses.
A catering service
Are you good at cooking and baking? This is another one of those great job ideas for teens. In these hyper-busy times, if you can provide a service that offers well-cooked meals, you could do stand to do quite well.
A painting service
If you have some experience — or there is a few of your friends that want to go in business with you — you might consider a painting business. People are always renovating their homes, both inside and out. You could paint exteriors in the warmer months and interiors during the colder months.
An errand, messenger, or delivery service
This idea works best in larger cities where there are more people and public transportation, but these are busy times, and people need help running all sorts of errands.
An educational tutoring service
If you have expertise in one or more areas — music, foreign language, math and science, or others — you could offer tutoring sessions to children, teens, and adults in your neighborhood.
A webpage designing business
If you are a master at creating webpages, perhaps what you need to do is brainstorm a concept for an online business — where your potential customers can come from anywhere in the world, not just in your local neighborhood.
A freelancing service
If you are truly gifted in a certain field, such as writing, drawing, or photography, consider starting a freelancing business where you sell your services to various businesses and media outlets.
There are lots of other job ideas for teens out there. If none of the ones noted in this article appeal to you, do a Google search using the term "job ideas for teens" to get some additional ideas. Best of luck!
When the time (and age!) comes to graduate to the big leagues and look for a job with an established business, let LiveCareer help you out. Our resume builder and cover letter builder can help you craft top-notch job application documents in very little time. Also, check out our extensive guide to interview questions of all stripes -- some common, some not-so-common.