21 easy business ideas to start as a teenager

February 7, 2022

Online business has been a way of life for many young entrepreneurs for many years. But the last two years have seen opportunities skyrocket as remote (or virtual) business has been normalized around the world. But there are still quite a few ways for high schoolers to earn money in real life. 

Working at a clothing store or burger joint are still common jobs, but teens should pursue work that sets them up for success after graduation. Whether you’re going to end up in the corporate world, working for a small business, or starting your own entrepreneurial empire, these jobs will help you learn important skills while you’re still in high school. 

Teenage entrepreneurs, try your hand at these business ideas!

We’ve included in-person, online, digital products, and physical products. You’ll be soaring beyond minimum wage in no time. Here we go!

  1. Teach swimming. This is especially easy if you already work at the pool. Parents are always looking for 1-on-1 swim lessons. This may seem too easy, but who doesn’t like easy money?!
  2. Make commercials for farmers market vendors. Do some quick searching to see which businesses participate in the local farmers market and don’t have any online presence. Start by offering to make them a video promoting their food or other products. 
  3. Teach music. Any instrument, any level. You might be a 3rd-year piano student, but you’re already in a position to offer affordable lessons, especially to young kids. 
  4. Web designer. This might sound advanced, but there are website needs for coders of all abilities. One way to get a quick start is to use a freelance site like Fiverr.
  5. Wash cars. You don’t have to wait for summer, and the equipment is cheap. Drive through the neighborhood knocking on doors this weekend, but remember to keep the gear in the car with you. Be ready for the customer who asks you to start right away!
  6. Clean houses. Maybe your parents don’t pay you for this, but other people sure do! Windows, floors, basement organizing… people need help. Think of people who might not be physically able to do regular house chores. They’ll be thrilled you’re starting a business. 
  7. Walk neighborhood dogs. Believe it or not, this is an enormous market. The skills involved with animals might seem lowly, but the business management skills you pick up will be invaluable! 
  8. Resell products on ebay or Facebook Marketplace. This form of business has been around for ages, drawing many people to buy and sell at flea markets. The premise is simple: buy something cheap, then resell it for a profit to someone else. 
  9. Tutor academics. Even if you’re not a math scholar as a 10th grader, there are 5th graders struggling to pass exams. Hiring outside tutors is often very expensive, so if you have a grasp on the subject, maybe you’re the person to help 
  10. Lawn care. Try this solo or working with a friend. You’ll split the profits, but you’ll also be able to take on more clients in a day without getting overly exhausted. 
  11. Social media marketing. Volunteer social media marketing internships can be a great first step into earning money. Many small businesses and entrepreneurs outsource their social media posting. 
  12. Candles and other specialty crafts. Part science experiment, part hobby, all business. People love homemade crafts, especially if there’s a connection to the place they live. So if your community has some recognizable features, turn them into crafts.
  13. Teach art. The internet has definitely taught us you don’t need to be an adult to have some serious artistic chops! Try an online platform like Teachable to get started.
  14. Run livestreams for other business owners. This can be done in-person or remote. Operating a livestream is complicated, and you might be the perfect person to help manage multiple screens, comments, etc. while the host is speaking.
  15. Babysitting. Of course we have to include this, because the need will always exist! Don’t ignore the obvious opportunities. One way to grow this business is to become a babysitting scheduler who takes care of the details for others.
  16. Macarons, cookies, and other baked goods. Shrobana is a high school student who sold tons of macarons to raise money for families to buy laptops. Following that success, she continues to sell using her Instagram.
  17. Graphic design. One of the easiest careers to jumpstart as a freelancer. Graphic design is all around us, which means the business opportunities are plentiful. Logos, clothing, customized figures for brochures, and so much more.
  18. Teach a language. ESL (English as a second language) was a booming market before the pandemic, and now that online teaching has grown, so have the international opportunities. If you know a language fluently, there are beginners around the world paying to learn. 
  19. Product photography. Companies ship products to photographers to have images taken, isolated from random backgrounds. This takes a little bit of setup, but can definitely be a teenager’s do-it-yourself project that turns into a money-maker.
  20. Children’s book illustrations. Watercolor, pencils, ink, digital sketches… the book world is your oyster. Look up some children’s book authors and share a sample of your art with them as an introduction. Most of them don’t do their own illustrations! 
  21. Transcribing audio. Yes, you can get paid to type and edit transcripts from clients’ audio files. Here’s a sampling of those opportunities on Indeed.com

There you go. A long list of ideas to get your creative juices flowing. You don’t need to spend your summer flipping burgers! Try out some of these ideas that will give you long lasting business skills. 

Do you have any ideas for an easy business that we didn’t cover? Let us know what you think!

Need some ideas or more inspiration?

To wrap up, watch this 4-part video from TRUiC that covers misconceptions about teen businesses, qualities to look for, inspiring examples, and helpful resources.