There are tons of reasons to start a business as a teen. For some, it’s about having a schedule that works around your classes. For others, it’s all about the potential profit. And then, there are those who want to help others around them. Building a business that serves the people in your community is a great way to get started on a smaller level while making a difference for friends, family, and neighbors.
Why Start a Community-Based Business as a Teen
Almost every great business begins with a single question: What problem needs to be solved today? For example, Google helped people search the web for their exact need, Uber gave people a convenient, safer alternative to taking a cab, and Amazon built a site that was a one-stop shop. In each case, the makers and inventors saw a need and filled it.
But where do you go for ideas when you’re a teen? How about your own neighborhood! Take a trip around your block. Do you notice anything about the houses? How about the people inside? What do you see in common? Are there any struggles?
For Ben Lamb and his business Mailbox Post Shield, the problem was in his own yard. One day, while working with his father, he noticed that the neighborhood was full of mailboxes that had bases which were beat up by weedwackers. It wasn’t a huge problem, but it could potentially cause a neighbor to want to buy a new mailbox or force them if the post rotted enough.
Using problem solving, he found a solution that would only cost him $2 and 5 minutes to install. With the help of his dad, he went to work by distributing fliers at over 1500 houses in his neighborhood. By his first year, he had over 90 clients and made $1,000 in profit. More importantly, Ben had solved a problem that could have become a real and costly hassle for people in his community had he not thought of it.
Ideas for Community Businesses
Hopefully Ben’s idea has made you stop and think about an issue you see. But if you get stuck, there are a ton of other businesses or services that you can provide to those in your area that are already popular amongst teens. These jobs are flexible, low cost, and use a knowledge of your community to get customers.
For example, one of the most popular jobs I see teens work at are in lawn care for elderly or busy families. There’s also snow removal – everyone hates to do that! And don’t forget about babysitting – lots of moms and dads are on the lookout for last-minute sitters.
In all of these instances, it doesn’t take much more than a bit of know-how. Add to that a willingness to do what others in your community haven’t thought of or are not offering, and you may be able to grow a business from neighborhood service to thousand dollar operation!