Teaching your child financial literacy is as important as teaching them how to read. A great way for kids to learn about money and eventually become financially independent is for them to start their own little businesses.
It can be as simple as selling stickers to friends and family or as complex as making and shipping soap. Even if your child only makes $1 from their venture, they will learn valuable skills like money management, confidence, communication, responsibility, time management, planning, and leadership. These are important skills that will benefit your child throughout their life.
“Being successful takes time, and starting a business as a kid gives you a tremendous head start,” he shared. “I want to encourage kids to start young and realize early that one of the most important aspects of entrepreneurship is sheer willpower and resilience, which you can possess at any age.”
What age is a child ready to start a business?
All kids are different, so there isn’t a magical age where your child should start selling kombucha at your next yoga class. If your child starts showing interest in money and knows simple addition and subtraction, that’s usually a good time for them to start.
Adam Toren, who co-founded the company, YoungEntrepreneur.com, and wrote an awesome book on entrepreneurship for kids called Kidpreneurs, talked to Psychology Today about the importance of kids starting a business while they’re still young.
He said that one of the biggest reasons is that “the lessons a child learns while being taught about entrepreneurship can help throughout his or her life. And just as with any important lesson, the earlier it’s learned, the better.”
So, if your child is ready to start their own little business and learn some valuable life lessons, here are 10 fun business ideas for kids and teens that are more creative than selling lemonade!
1) Animal Companion Portrait Artist
Most people who have an animal companion love that animal more than anything and will gladly pay money for a cute portrait of their beloved feline or pooch. I bought a portrait of my beloved Siamese cat, Cersei, that hangs on my living room wall. Cersei loves it!
If your kid loves drawing or painting, this would be a good business for them. They can advertise their portraits on social media and even make sped-up videos of them creating the portraits to post on YouTube and TikTok like this. They can also set up their own website so people can buy portraits online.
If your teen can use Photoshop or any other similar photo editing apps, they can make their art stand out by selling funny Renaissance-style paintings of people’s animal companions. Here’s an easy tutorial for how to do that.
2) Online Retailer
If your teen likes making things, then Etsy is a great place to sell their items. Etsy sells everything from handmade bags to tarot readings, so your kid can really get creative. This video on how to sell on Etsy can help your kid get started.
You can sell pretty much anything on eBay. If your teenager enjoys thrifting, they can look for cool, unique clothes at their local thrift shops and sell them online. They can also buy and sell collector’s edition toys that grow in value over time.
If you live somewhere that makes a unique products like fair-trade crystals or artisanal crafts, your teenager can explore selling those items online as well. Dropshipping on eBay is also a great option and easy to do. Here is a great tutorial on how to do that.
3) Scented Product Artisan
Scented products like soap, candles, incense, and bath bombs can sell very well if they’re made well and smell good. These kids started a $2 million candle company and these teenage sisters made $20 million selling bath bombs, so the potential for making money is there.
4) Photographer or Videographer
If your teen loves photography or making videos, they can make money capturing important moments at weddings, parties, and other special events. A YouTuber named Katie Chan started a photography business when she was 12 and gives some great advice on how to get started.
5) Animal Companion Walker & Sitter
As someone with two cats who are my kids, it’s really hard to find a reliable and trustworthy sitter to watch the furbabies when I’m out of town.
If your teen can prove they’re responsible and trustworthy and show new customers good feedback from previous clients, they can make some good money watching animal companions and exercising them.
They can start by watching animals of friends and family to get references. To find new clients, they can sign up for an animal companion sitting site like Rover or Petbacker. They can also advertise on animal-related Facebook groups and Reddit subs.
6) Unique Baker
This is a fun business that little kids can help with. Encourage your child to think outside of the box when they come up with baked goods to sell. Instead of making chocolate chip cookies, they can make Taylor Swift’s chai sugar cookies or raw vegan strawberry cake topped with nuts and rose buds.
This is a great business where kids can get creative and try out different recipes to see what works. For some inspiration, check out this video about a 19-year-old who made over $100k baking awesome cakes!
7) Children’s Illustrator & Author
Have you heard about that 8-year-old who wrote and illustrated a book and put it on a library shelf? The book was such a success that there was a waiting list of over 130 people who wanted to check out the book and the kid ended up on CNN and NBC News!
Your child can illustrate and write books too that they can sell in their neighborhood and online. There are so many ways to make books. Your child can create simple handmade books or you can help your child bind their own books.
8) Sticker Creator
Children tend to be obsessed with stickers, so this is a great business for kids. Your child can design stickers and make them sell to school friends and online. They can advertise their merch by putting stickers on their backpack and books.
Be careful with having them sell stickers at school though, since many schools prohibit students from selling things on campus. Maybe they can sell stickers at local community events and craft fairs instead. Just be sure that your child gets permission to sell at those locations because some places can be strict depending on where you live.
This helpful tutorial breaks down everything your child needs to know to start their sticker business.
9) Jewelry Designer
Jewelry is fun to make and can be the perfect beginner business for kids and teens. You can make jewelry out of anything, from recycled products to polymer clay. There are also easy jewelry ideas that don’t require tools or carving expertise but still look beautiful.
It’s easy to set up an online store on Etsy and Instagram. Youtuber call Me Liz shares some awesome advice for how to make jewelry and sell it on Etsy. This video from Learn With Shopify shows you how to set up a shop on IG.
If your child loves music and has a natural sense of rhythm and timing, then maybe DJ’ing might be their calling. Your little DJ can make some extra cash spinning at school functions and other age-appropriate parties and events.
A beginner DJ setup can cost anywhere from $150 to over $1K. This video from DJ Carlo shows you the best DJ gear for every price point. I recommend buying the cheapest gear you can find if your child is just starting out. That way, if they get tired of it and don’t touch the decks after a month, it will be less painful for you.
Remember to make it fun, not a chore.
Kids should only start their own business if they want to and if it’s fun for them. Forcing your child to sell teddy bears at the community t-ball game when they just want to run around is not the way to go about teaching your child about money.
Also, let them close their business when they want to. Encourage them to try new things and to not see mistakes and failures as something negative, but as a learning experience that can lead to better opportunities. This is the time for them to make mistakes so that they don’t make them when they’re an adult entrepreneur.
In his book Think and Grow Rich, which is also one of the best self-improvement books ever written, Napoleon Hill wrote, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Mistakes are always a learning opportunity.
Whether your child makes $1 or $1 million, the many things that they will learn while running their own business are priceless.