If you find yourself raising an innovative child, encourage them to become entrepreneurs. The internet has made it easier for kids to learn important life skills at an earlier age, particularly business skills. We put together a list of business ideas from the experts and around the web that kids can start and run on their own.
Here are 25 business ideas for kids to try.
1. Resell Candies at School
Peter Koch, Owner Seller at Heart
I used to sell candies at school. I started out by purchasing a few bulk candy packages from my local supermarket, and then I brought them to school. Initially, I started out by selling candy to my classmates at lunchtime, but things picked up when I started taking custom candy orders. The candies had to be something the kids can’t get in the school cafeteria for example.
Flipping candies allowed me to make $20 to $30 and that was a considerable amount of money for an 11-year-old.
2. Mow Lawns for Your Neighbors…
Jim Barron, Owner, AcceleratedFi.com
The best business I’ve seen actually run by a kid is mowing lawns. There’s a kid in my neighborhood who’s going into 8th grade this upcoming school year, and last year he started mowing lawns. He’d charge $20 per lawn, per week, and the lawns in my neighborhood probably take about 30 minutes each to mow. He was able to get five customers, which ended up being $100 per week and $400 per month—which is crazy for only working a few hours per week and being 12 years old. I’d recommend kids look for business ideas that handle the grunt work that adults hate. Stuff like mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, cleaning inside houses, etc.
People hate doing these chores and already hire landscaping companies and cleaning companies to do this work for them. But instead of paying $30 per hour to a professional, you can charge half as much as a kid. You’ll get tons of clients because you’re a cheaper alternative and because you’re a kid starting a business, so you’ll get some sympathy.
3. …or Take Care of Their Pets
Nellie Akalp, CEO, CorpNet.com
A fantastic business idea for kids is pet-sitting. As a business owner myself, my kids have always been interested in running their own ventures from an early age. So when they were around 10, I helped them create flyers to pass out in the neighborhood. The flyers included a bit of information about each of them and that they were available for pet-sitting, pet cleanup in the yard, or even available to help give pets a bath by bringing over their own soap and brushes. They ended up getting a ton of calls from our neighbors and had a great business going! As a pet sitter, kids learn a lot about responsibility, as they know that the animals depend on them to show up and take care of them.
They also, of course, learn the value of working and earning money, then spending the money as they want. My kids usually always had a goal—they would save up a certain amount to buy whatever hot-ticket item it was at the time.
4. Start a Small Staffing Agency
Varda Meyers Epstein, Parenting Expert and Writer, Kars4Kids
A kid could create an agency staffed by other, like-minded kids to assist working parents with various everyday practical chores. A working family helper might, for instance:
- Pick up the dry cleaning
- Do the dishes
- Watch the kids on a snow day or after school
- Serve as a tutor or homework helper
- Walk the family dog
- Grocery shop
An enterprising teen would create a pool of teens for this purpose. The kids would hopefully have diverse skill sets. As a parent, I would be inclined to hire teens who show this sort of initiative. It proves they are able to think creatively and on their feet.
5. Resell Merchandise to Learn Valuable Lessons
Kristina Oates, Owner, Tidy Touch TC
A buying and reselling business is perfect for a young person to start. By learning to buy and sell for a profit, kids have the opportunity to discover more about the value of the dollar and about the objects they’re dealing with. They can also practice communication, sales, and more, all from running this simple business. While most re-selling businesses aren’t wildly profitable, they teach many valuable lessons that will be invaluable for the rest of a child’s life.
6. Create a Beautiful Website with Wix
Jeremy Marsan, Editor, Fit Small Business
Your child’s brilliant business idea deserves an equally impressive website that their customers will want to visit over and over. It may seem like building one can be a complicated task, but technology nowadays can make website creation easy even for young entrepreneurs to learn and have fun with, so encourage them to check out Wix. Wix offers hundreds of beautiful templates and a drag-and-drop website builder to help them create a website with just a few clicks that looks great on both computers and mobile devices. Wix offers a free basic plan with premier plans priced between $5 and $25 per month.
7. Start a Project That Solves a Problem
Sarah Boisvert, Founder, Fab Lab Hub
Project-based learning is most successful when the project is authentic. The best business for kids, which of course also applies to any real business, is to solve a real problem that customers may have. Leading kids through the discovery process is half the fun, and then they will have success in the business since it’s a need that customers need filled. We’ve taken kids to the local grocery store. One boy noticed that older people who were slow and hunched over could not see ahead and were hitting the ankles of other shoppers. He 3D-printed a holder, then bought a motion sensor to stop the carriage when it got too close to an obstacle. Our non-profit then helped him sell them to local grocery stores.
8. Get Hired as a Babysitter
Elizabeth Malson, President, Amslee Institute
Caring for children requires maturity and responsibility, but parents are often nearby, if needed. For those aged 11 to 15, the American Red Cross offers CPR, First Aid, and babysitting classes that provide a strong foundation in child care. New, for those aged 16 and older, a licensed technical college now offers online training with Child Care Diplomas and Certifications. These programs, offered by Amslee Institute and taught by college faculty, allow teenagers to develop a career from being a sitter through professional nanny.
After completing training, it’s easy to start as a sitter by reaching out to neighbors, families, and friends. Sitters can also post their services in community newsletters, apps, and social media pages.
9. Create Your Own Artwork and Sell It
Wendy Anderson Halperin, Co-Founder, Drawn To Discover
We promote entrepreneurship in children throughout our online platform that features drawing-to-literacy-and-learning lessons via Drawn To Discover. We push children to take the creative artwork they complete in the program and create note cards, calendars, pictures, and more to sell. It worked with my own children when they were young and we continue to promote this mindset with children all across the globe through our platform.
10. Start a Small Landscape Business
Kershan Bulsara, Manager, Roofmaster
A small landscape company can be great for a child to learn the basics of running a business. The first step is to budget for the equipment, like lawn mowers and gardening snips. Of course, most of this will be provided by their parents and they’ll use their things, but there are still budgeting lessons to learn. The biggest example is managing the gas usage of the lawn mower. The kid will have to figure out how much gas costs and how much he uses per lawn. Then, they have to make sure that their income is more than their costs and, of course, have a little profit as well.
Once they figure out their costs and fees, they can learn about customer relations and marketing. They can print flyers and post them around their neighborhood, use their network (reach out to friends and family), and learn about how to craft an elevator pitch going door-to-door to their neighbors.
11. Tutor Other Kids in Strong Subjects
Mani Goulding, B.Comm., MBA, CPA, Author, readysetlaunchbook.com
The easiest way to run a business is to take a skill or hobby that you already excel at and turn it into a service that you can offer to others for a fee. For example, if your child is top of the class in a particular subject, encourage them to offer tutoring services to other students. If your child is a computer whiz, they could offer assistance in basic computer skills, particularly to those who are digitally intimidated, such as seniors. Does your child have a hobby like photography? Do they excel at a particular sport? All of these strengths offer an opportunity to build a business. And make sure to connect them with local community resources that are designed to help young business owners, such as Rotary Club, Junior Achievement, etc.
The skills they will learn in operating a business will prepare them for whatever career they choose in the future and give them firsthand experience in customer service, financial skills, time management, marketing, etc.
12. Teach Kids to Re-Sell Their Old Toys
Mike Kawula, Co-Founder, Dinner Table MBA
We started with having our kids at a young age take part in selling toys they no longer used at garages sales and on eBay. Recently they sold some American Girl Dolls on Letgo. It was an amazing experience. First they tried bundling all the dolls and clothes together to sell for $400 because they wanted a trampoline and we said only if they earned the money. It wasn’t selling at $400, so they lowered it a bit and began negotiating with an interested buyer who offered $250. They even had one buyer who didn’t show up to pay and pick up the merchandise. These are life lessons they’ll have forever.
13. Teach Them How to Become Event Managers
Sumit Bansal, Founder, Craft of Blogging
Kids are full of energy and can be great at work that needs some running around. One idea that can be a small business for kids is helping with organizing birthday parties or small events. Three or four kids can form a group and help in arranging stuff as well as in logistics. For example, when arranging a birthday party, kids can help with invitations, decoration, food, games, etc.
14. Start a Peer Mentoring Business
Steve Pritchard, Business Consultant, ASPLI
Tutoring can be a highly beneficial cottage industry, not just for the kid who is tutoring, but also for those being tutored. While it can be a little strange being tutored by someone of a similar age to yourself, especially as a child, it is likely to be more effective (and cheaper) than hiring someone older. If, for example, a child is a mathematician, it’s likely they will understand the syllabus that the tutee is struggling with. This means that they will have a firm grasp of exactly why they are finding it hard and will also be able to devise a plan of how to make it easier to understand. Kids will obviously charge cheaper rates than adult tutors, too, so this is a very lucrative way to help local neighborhood children who are struggling with their studies.
15. Run Your Own Pop-Up Art Gallery Fundraiser
Michael Wholihan, Ed.D., Assistant Director, University of Pittsburgh SBDC
Kids and young teenagers can run their own pop-up art gallery fundraiser to learn about business and marketing while they benefit their school, team or community organization. Entrepreneurial young artists procure a space, set prices for their early masterpieces and handmade items, and promote the pop-up fundraiser to family and friends through social media and with support from local corporate sponsors. The youngsters can take a percentage of the sales as a fee for organizing the event, or donate their time and skills as volunteers. Kids learn, good causes benefit…and it beats standing on a corner waving a car wash sign on a rainy day.
16. Offer Alternative Payment Options with Square
Maggie Alland, Marketing and Review Editor, Fit Small Business
Your child entrepreneur may want to start with receiving cash payments for their business. But you can also introduce the benefits of accepting other payment options. This is especially so if they plan to sell their merchandise online. Learn more about Square in this article. Afterwards, you can sign up for a free Square account, and try it for 30 days.
Cross stitch is a great hobby that can easily be turned into a good business. Not only are the materials readily available and affordable, they are also easy to do once your child gets a hang of it. Start with simple patterns and add customized messages as you learn. Parents can help source for frames that can be added on to the cost. As their skills improve, your young entrepreneurs will be good enough to accept orders and design request from customers and referrals.
If your child is a dog lover, encourage their creativity by starting a dog collar business. There are a lot of easy designs that kids can make on their own. Parents can ensure safety measures are in place when handling sharp objects and small equipment. This article gives ideas on different dog collar and dog tag designs that kids can make by themselves.
Kids who enjoyed jewelry crafting summer classes can go all out and start their own handcrafted jewelry business. The endless possibilities for design allows a platform for creativity and can prove lots of fun. The materials for creating your own pieces are inexpensive as well. Parents can help teach how to set up packaging and distribution to get them started. Here is an article that provides 37 DIY jewelry design ideas for inspiration.
Doing chores can be a good business for kids. Start this idea with a group and let them advertise to the neighbors with handmade flyers that they are willing to help clean garages for a fee. They can also offer yard cleaning or car washing service and give discounts to referrals. While most kids would not welcome the chores, the idea of being regularly paid for the job can get them motivated. This article explains ideas and tips for kids on how to safely clean a garage by themselves.
One of the best pastimes you can encourage your kids to do is baking. Motivate them through their personal love of cookies and other sweet treats. Show them how easy it can be to make their own baked goods, and they can come up with personalized packaging to make their product stand out. Additionally, this also gives parents a chance to teach their children about kitchen safety. Here are 58 baking recipes for kids to try for their new business.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Your kids can start with print design shirts for kids—by kids. There are a number of options when it comes to DIY shirt designs. Homemade fabric paints and tie-dyes using markers and even crayons can be used to start this business. Plain shirts are also inexpensive and can cost less if purchased in bulk. Check out these design ideas on Pinterest from sharpie shirts to dimensional paints that your kids will love to make.
There’s no better time than now to teach your kids how to recycle. Take it a step further by showing them how to earn money by collecting recyclable materials around the neighborhood and bringing them to the recycling centers. It will take only a day out of their week and would be a great bonding opportunity for parents and their kids. In this article, the parents of a seven-year-old boy from Orange County talks about how their child has now managed to save $10,000 for his college fund by starting a recycling business.
Making their own bags would be complicated at their age, but kids can redesign plain backpacks that they can resell for better prices. They can even make their own spray paint using readily available materials at home. Whether it’s with textile paint, jewelry, or iron-on patches, kids will learn how their creativity can be profitable while having lots of fun. They can even start working on their own backpacks, which makes for brilliant marketing strategy. This article is loaded with backpack design ideas for kids to try.
If your child loves to perform, then starting a puppet show group can be a good business idea. They can get hired to perform at birthday parties for a fee. Once the kids have gained enough experience, they can start adding other acts like magic tricks and other performances. Hire other kids with unique talents and watch the business grow. Check out how to create your own puppet show in this article.
Over to You
It’s important to encourage entrepreneurship at an early age, as it teaches children valuable skills they will need as an adult. Use this list of potential business for kids to motivate and inspire them to start their own.
Want to share your own business ideas for kids? Let us know in the comments!