How to Start a Small Business For Teens

How to Start a Small Business For Teens

By: Katelyn Dayley

Starting your own small business is a great way to make extra money, meet new people and gain valuable experience. But how do you get started? And what if you’re a teenager? Can teens really start businesses? The answer is yes! Feeling inspired? Here's everything you need to know about starting your own small business, no matter your age.

Find Your Passion

The first step in finding a good business idea is to find something you enjoy. Do you like to cook? Can you draw? Are you a master at math? Maybe it’s arts and crafts, or maybe it’s something else entirely.

What are some of your favorite things to do? What makes you feel happy and fulfilled when doing them?

If you're are good at math, then maybe you could make money tutoring other kids who need extra help with their homework. Or if you have an artistic eye, perhaps you could start a custom painting business. Do you find yourself naturally good at a skill other's find valuable? Or do you see a need for something in your community?

When I was a senior in high school I noticed that there weren't a lot of options for senior picture photographers but the demand was high. Because I had learned a little bit about photography, I built up the confidence to advertise some of my pictures to the world. I was able to do pictures for about 6 seniors that year!

Don't underestimate the value your skills can have to others. You can build something great out of your skillset, creativity, and uniqueness!

Do Your Homework

You'll want to do some research before you begin any kind of business. A good place to start is by looking at the market and competition in your area. Who are the competitors? What do they offer? How can you make yourself stand out from them? You may also want to look into what customers need, or even just asking friends or family members if they have any ideas for products or services that might be needed. Think about what resources are available to you--is there a certain skill set that one member of your team has that could be beneficial in starting or running a small business? Finally, it's important for teens not just starting out with businesses but anyone interested in starting a company should learn about legal requirements such as permits and licenses needed before opening their doors--check with local government offices like city hall or town hall first!

There are different limits to the max amount of money you can make in any city before you need to legally register your business.

Test the Waters

If you're unsure about your business idea, get feedback from friends and family. They will be able to tell you what they think your business is missing or could be improved upon. If possible, it's also a good idea to speak with an experienced entrepreneur who has been in the same shoes as you.

You can test out your ideas for free by setting up a website or social media page and gathering feedback online through comments, likes, shares and retweets. If people are interested in learning more about what it is that you're doing with this startup idea of yours then chances are there's something there worth pursuing further! 

There's a very real thing called "imposter syndrome" that will make you feel like you're not good enough to put your ideas into the world when you first start out. Just think that nobody has ever started something without going through that phase. Even the biggest companies have to start from ground zero. No one can tell you you aren't good enough!

Develop a Business Plan

A business plan is a formal document that covers all aspects of your start-up venture. It can be used as a roadmap to help you make decisions along the way, and it will make you look much more professional when applying for funding. Here's how to write one:

  • Understand what you're trying to accomplish: What are your goals? Do you want to create new products or services, or bring an existing idea into a new market? A clear vision will help guide everything else.

  • Determine who will read it and why: Who is going to use this document? Investors and lenders want an overview of how much money it costs to run the business, how much revenue it brings in, and how profitable that makes things on average over time (or over different periods). Customers just want proof that there's demand for whatever product or service they're buying from us; if we don't have any customers yet then our business plan needs more than just numbers—it needs customer testimonials!

Gather Resources

  • Learn as much as you can! To get started, you'll need to do some research and preparation. If you don't know much about the industry, start by learning as much as possible. Read books, magazines and online articles; talk to people who are already working in the field; learn about the competition (both your direct competitors and other businesses in your area that offer similar services). 

  • Make mistakes. Starting a business is never easy—and it's inevitable that at some point along the way, things will go wrong. Be prepared for those times when everything seems like it's falling apart! When this happens, try not to panic; instead focus on finding solutions while giving yourself time to recover from any setbacks. Every time you "fail" you are really just learning what doesn't work and getting closer to finding the right path!

Start your business on the right foot legally.

Research will also teach you about all of the legal requirements for running a small business—from taxes and accounting practices through hiring employees or contractors. The more research you do now before launching your company will save time later on when it comes time make big decisions like hiring employees or signing contracts with suppliers/vendors if you reach a lot of success quickly.

Another tip: keep track of all your business expenses and keep them separate from your personal expenses for when tax time comes around!


Know that you don't have to continue your business forever. Even if you don't plan on doing it for the rest of your life, starting a business can be a valuable learning experience and help you find out if it's the right path for you! I think everyone should try running a small business at least once. 

There’s no doubt that starting a business is hard work. But if you take the time to research your idea, develop a solid plan, and gather the resources you need, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. If you follow these steps carefully and diligently, then we promise that your small business will be successful!

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