Do you have a budding entrepreneur who wants to start a business, but doesn't know what type or where to start? Here are some great business ideas for kids.
Entrepreneurship and creativity are valuable skills to instill in children of all ages. Why not get started with business ideas for kids?
Ways to earn money that go beyond the traditional job setting are more popular now than ever. And really, in most cases, it’s a good idea to start sooner rather than later.
Time in the market is better than timing the market, as the saying goes. Kids who are inspired and learn to develop the skills necessary to run a business will be in a better position to take control of their future than those who don’t.
Why Should Kids Start A Business?
Well-established entrepreneurs already know what it takes to succeed. In fact, many times, they’ve gotten to where they’re now precisely because they were able to make mistakes, learn, and grow. So, when should a future business owner start to learn? At any age!
Starting a business at a young age is more than just a great way to earn extra money — kids have the opportunity to develop key skills that will give them a serious advantage in their academic and professional careers.
- Even if it’s a small-scale local venture, goal-setting is a crucial part of any business’s success
- Money management is a big one since kids will quickly realize the value of a dollar (and the time it takes to earn it!)
- Young people can refine their communication skills by finding, vetting, and organizing deals with clients
- Leadership and patience stand out, too, seeing as kids must become the face of their business and roll with the punches when things don’t go as planned
- Last but certainly not least, kids learn creativity and responsibility as they take the reigns to make their venture a success story and work through ideas to achieve results
Here are business ideas for kids that they can start right away.
- Easy to start and manage
- Low startup costs (assuming you already own kitchen tools such as blenders, knives, strainers, etc.)
- Very limited potential for income
- Sales will be restricted to where you can set up shop
It’s at the top for a reason — this one is a classic. The ingredients for your basic lemonade (lemons, sugar, water) are super simple and accessible, and setting up shop is a breeze. All you need is a fold-open table, a sign, disposable cups, and possibly a business license.
But kids don’t need to stop there. With a little help from parents and kitchen-savvy young adults, they can batch up and sell creative riffs like zero-ABV piña coladas, strawberry-basil lemonades, smoothies, and Brazilian lemonades.
Throw in some cookies, brownies, or similar tasty treats, and you’ve got a top-notch lemonade business ready to go.
- Having students is a great way to refine kids’ skills and learn new ones
- Starting the business is as simple as landing that first gig
- Above-average skill in the craft is typically necessary
- Finding clients may require kids to be patient at first
Anything a kid is skilled at could be turned into a sellable service. Skateboarding lessons? Check. Surfing lessons? There you go. Guitar lessons? Upwards and onwards. If your child is talented at a hobby, coaching is a great way to earn money.
Kids who have hobbies are likely to share those same interests with peers — it’s simply a matter of finding interested clients, getting paid, and keeping up the good work.
Social Media Content Creator
- A great entry into the digital marketing experience
- Kids can decide what they want to focus on and when they post, boosting creativity and independence
- Managing an online presence alone can be daunting
- Online privacy and safety are valid concerns
On the topic of hobbies, maybe your child is skilled enough at what he/she does to start building a personal brand. It’s easier now than ever to gain an online following through social media.
If you have a future marketer/salesperson/influencer in your home, creating content gives youngsters the chance to start building up a portfolio and show their stuff. Nowadays, there’s an abundance of content types and platforms ready to be capitalized on. Instagram and Pinterest are great for image-based brand strategies. For more in-depth content like reviews and vlogs, YouTube is a solid option. Younger kids could benefit from showcasing and reviewing different toys and similar hobby-related products, for example.
TikTok, Instagram reels, and YouTube Shorts all offer short-form video content that’s extremely trendy. This can be leveraged to direct engaged users to landing pages, online merch shops, and other published content.
Encourage kids to follow social media marketing best practices if this is the route they decide to go for. Also, parents: It’s best if you still monitor social media accounts for safety purposes.
- Earning potential for this business will grow as they gain more experience and expand their client base
- The skills kids develop through babysitting (such as confidence, leadership, and time management) will greatly benefit them in future life and career endeavors
- Regardless of rowdy behavior, emergencies can and do happen — first-aid and healthcare basics must be accounted for
- Hours will be flexible but irregular, which could lead to stress and exhaustion
It’s a fact of life that parents need babysitters — either regularly or for a special night on the town. Whether a parent is looking to run errands, plan a romantic dinner date, or simply have a long week of work, babysitting services will never go out of style.
Children who are mature and responsible for their age and can be trusted to take care of others could find this a worthwhile gig. Having a working website and social media accounts can help spread word of mouth and make it easier to find clients.
Bundling this service with at-home tutoring is an option for kids to up their rates and make the most out of their babysitting business. Kids could look into taking Red Cross certification classes — this makes this choice an even safer bet for both the babysitter and the clients.
Pet Sitter Or Dog Walker
- Working with pets can be very fun and low-stress
- Classes and certificates can make kids stand out and justify higher rates
- Access to transportation may be necessary, so this may be better suited for teens with cars
- There will be no shortage of competition, which will impact available work and how much kids can charge
More often than not, pets need supervision and care when their owners are out on vacation or won’t be home for extended periods of time. Kids with a knack (and love!) for animals may find this to be a lucrative option.
Furry friends such as cats, dogs, and rabbits come to mind, of course. But owners of other kinds of pets — birds and reptiles, for example — could benefit from having a pet sitter, too. This idea may stand out to kids who are particularly knowledgeable about certain pets and the care they need.
If your house can accommodate extra furbabies, you could also encourage your child to have people bring their pets to you. This helps with safety, as you can supervise.
- Helps kids gain leadership and management skills through meaningful work
- Tutoring could develop into a long-term business opportunity as kids mature, acquire more education, and learn to provide more services (SAT exams and college applications come to mind)
- Parents may expect tutors to be well-versed in multiple subjects
- Having unmotivated and uncooperative tutees can be stressful, especially if they’re forced into lessons by parents
Academically gifted kids may want to consider starting a tutoring business. Not only will they be able to help younger students get better grades and improve their performance in school, but starting a tutoring business can also be a great addition to a college application or resume in the future.
Math and science are very popular subjects to tutor in, but really, anything goes. Kids who speak multiple languages can turn that into an opportunity to make money teaching fellow students. Some young people are great writers, too. Any topic a kid excels in is business ready to be done.
With some help (and perhaps permission) from their school, kids can advertise their tutoring services to an already-established network of peers. If they have an idea of the age range and grades they’d like to work with, even better.
It’s possible to start a tutoring business online. So, in addition to holding lessons completely from home, it’s easier to post advertisements, tap into the market, and get in contact with students and parents.
Arts and Crafts Whiz
- Children will be tangibly rewarded for their creativity, which could inspire them to continue their entrepreneurship
- Generally, startup costs for these kinds of arts and crafts businesses are quite low
- Online storefronts charge all sorts of payment and transaction fees — sometimes sneaky ones
- There are limitations to selling in person
- Competition in the online market can be fierce
Does your kid like making art and crafting knick-knacks? Does he/she have a particular obsession with homemade candles or knitting cute sweaters for pets? Selling products and designs in person or through an online storefront may be a viable option.
It pays to think outside the box with this kind of business — both literally and figuratively. Soap bars, bath bombs, hand-knit beanies, necklaces, bracelets, and quilts may be a good place to start. Artsy kids who have a gift for illustration could get started with t-shirt designs, stickers, greeting and holiday cards, and artwork for children’s books.
The takeaway? Nearly anything a kid creates as a result of discipline and interest will have a customer base.
For those who want to sell in person and work with physical cash, they should look into setting up shop at farmers’ markets, garage sales, and school fairs. Facebook Marketplace and apps such as OfferUp can help facilitate in-person sales, too. (But when it comes to safety, it’s best to have an adult interact on these social sites for their children.)
Your child can also set up an online shop through Shopify or Etsy to help their product reach customers. One notable benefit is that they will take care of payment processing (though fees inevitably have an impact on profits). And with the right know-how, you can take advantage of Shopify’s marketing tools to boost sales.
To help decide which platform to use and to get better acquainted with the benefits and drawbacks of online shops, check out our Etsy review and our Shopify review.
Neighborhood Service Provider
- Finding work is straightforward: identify a need and ask neighbors if they’re interested
- Kids have control over the help they choose to provide and can scale the business as they see fit
- Besides having a limited customer base, kids could wind up doing more work than is worth their time if services are sold at a fixed rate
- Property injury and bodily damage can happen depending on the services provided, so liability may be a concern
Wherever there are people, there are needs to be met around the house…and many would gladly pay money to have those needs taken care of for them.
Whether it’s picking up and dropping off groceries, cleaning cars, lending a hand with home gardening, or clearing out gutters, kids have plenty of business opportunities within their own neighborhoods. Is your child a top-notch organizer? Could they help someone with clutter?
Also, striking deals with neighbors is a great way for kids to brush up on their bartering and negotiation skills. And if the business takes off, they may be able to interest friends by taking on tasks by sharing a portion of the profits.
Video Game Coach
- For many young people, making money through video games could be both fun and rewarding
- Kids can learn leadership and communication skills by sharing their expertise and teaching peers how to improve
- Buying and learning how to use tools that capture and highlight gameplay may be necessary
- Demand will almost always be determined by what games are currently popular, and finding clients may be difficult
This business idea combines elements of tutoring, coaching, and possibly even babysitting, depending on the arrangement with the client.
1v1 quickscoping may not be as trendy now as it was in the past (darn!), admittedly. But with so many kinds of games available — whether it’s MMOs, RPGS, competitive first-person shooters, roguelikes, or Metroidvanias — kids have plenty of opportunities to mentor younger peers.
As professional gaming rises in popularity, too (think of speedrunning, tournaments, and streaming), this business experience could play well into future game-related career opportunities.
Getting Kids’ Business Ideas Out Into The World
Anyone in the world — including kids, of course — can have an awesome business idea. But as we all know, businesses often don’t reach their full potential. Usually, these two reasons are involved: poor money management and ineffective marketing.
Let’s briefly go over those.
Making And Managing Sales
Say your child has their lemonade stand set up and ready for business. Will he/she take payment in cash and manage bookkeeping manually? Or are electronic and credit card payments on the table?
Businesses armed with the best point of sale systems can take a lot of the headache out of the equation. Revel, for example, pairs inventory management with purchase tracking and online support. And if you sign up for an account with Square through Merchant Maverick, you’ll receive a free card reader which is easy to use — a perfect starter point of sale device — even for kids!
Since this will be taxable income, however, kids ought to consider having their parents help them with opening a business bank account to keep their personal and business income separate.
This makes it far easier to track earnings and calculate taxes owed on them.
When it comes to attracting and keeping customers — especially online — marketing shouldn’t be neglected. Kids may not need a full-blown marketing strategy, but knowing how to reach out to customers with the right message at the right time can make all the difference. Even putting up some signs at your local library is a safe and easy way for kids to market.
Once you’ve found a way to get the word out, build your base of repeat customers and clients.
Square marketing features highly customizable plans that add to Square’s base POS. You can start with an email marketing plan with up to 500 contacts for $15 a month, and texting to customers is also an option starting at $20/mo. (Make sure to follow all regulations regarding collecting email/phone numbers, however, if you go this route.)
Legalities And General Safety For Kids’ Businesses
We’ll get into the nitty-gritty of the legalities in a moment, but first, let’s talk about safety.
First and foremost, you will want to keep your child protected and safe as they run their business. What does that look like? That means protecting them as a whole person: Keeping them physically and emotionally safe, as well as protecting their business assets and keeping the business safe from mismanagement.
Running a business is emotional work — and dealing with the public can be challenging. Support your child’s emotional health by opening up conversations about healthy ways to handle stress, how to deal with difficult clients, and what to do if the business isn’t thriving. Everything can be a learning experience.
The best way to keep your child safe, however, is to walk with them through small business best practices. Make sure everything is legal and on the up-and-up, then stay connected to the process.
Here are some things you can do to make the business a more secure enterprise:
In the eyes of the government, any exchange of products or services for currency counts as a business. As such, kids need to learn how to register a business with the help of their parents/guardians. Business laws don’t discriminate against age.
Different states have different requirements and regulations, so researching state and local laws comes first. Some states allow citizens of any age to form and own companies, whereas others don’t. Across the board, there tend to be restrictions on minors’ ability to enter into business contracts.
To be on the safe side, parents should be ready to form the business entity and assume the legal liability that comes with it.
Registering For A DBA
Kids who are serious about taking their business to the next level should consider registering for a DBA, or “doing-business-as” trade name. In addition to being a strategic branding maneuver, this can help protect their personal identity.
Licenses And Permits
No matter the size or income of a young person’s business, getting a business license is always a requirement for local governments. Similar to registering the business, statewide license requirements are determined by individual states.
Again, since these businesses are earning taxable income, it’s necessary to acquire a seller’s license through the state the business operates in. This applies to online and in-person sales alike. Applying for a license is inexpensive, if not free, in some states.
Food permits are a must for any business that plans to sell food. (Lemonade stands, we’re looking at you.) Beyond that, none of the ideas mentioned above have any specific licenses or permits that are needed to legally operate.
However, going the extra mile to obtain certifications can help kids’ businesses stand out. This is especially true with pet-sitting and babysitting services.
Finally, children running a business could be sued if something goes wrong. More often than not, this liability also extends to the parents.
General liability insurance would be the single most important policy to purchase. This provides financial protection from the medical fees and legal costs that arise from slip and fall accidents, property damage, and bodily harm sustained by clients and customers. Unfortunately, these things could happen as kids run their businesses the best they can.
Product liability insurance is sometimes included in a general liability plan. This offers specialized coverage for harm to others caused by a product sold by your kid’s business (say, a contaminated batch of lemonade).
For kids whose businesses depend on tools, equipment, and other gadgets, commercial property insurance may be a solid choice, too. In the event a crucial piece of property is damaged by a direct physical cause — say, a video game coach’s computer is destroyed by a California wildfire — that can be claimed as a business loss.
Business Ideas For Kids FAQ
What are good business ideas for kids?
Good business ideas for kids have work that’s easily accessible and usually involves minimal startup costs. Think of ideas like lemonade stands, tutoring, hobby coaching, babysitting, and dog walking.
Can kids start small businesses?
Any kid who has an idea and wants to make money with it can start a business. When it comes to an official business, however, there may be certain complications, such as being unable to establish business entities that are not sole proprietorships or entering into business contracts without the assistance of a legal adult.
How can kids make money online?
The internet gives kids numerous ways to make money online. This could look like opening an online shop to sell designs or crafts, starting a YouTube channel, providing artwork, or even tutoring.
Why should kids start a business?
The earlier one can start an entrepreneurial path and learn from his/her mistakes, the better. Starting a business teaches kids how to communicate, manage time and money, work as leaders, develop patience, and set goals just to name a few benefits.