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Becoming a teen detective isn’t just for fictional characters. In fact, if you live in the United Kingdom, you can apply to become a professional teen investigator and work undercover, conduct surveillance and do research and reporting, just like on television. However, if you live elsewhere, you can start your own business as a teen detective if you’re willing to get organized and spend a great deal of time and, most likely, a little cash as well.
Create a business name – it could even just be your own name. Design business cards and letterhead so you can communicate with potential clients in a more professional manner. Check your wardrobe; you want to appear, when dealing with clients, as adult-like as possible. At the same time, you’ll need to be yourself, a teenager, in some instances.
Practice online researching. As a student, you probably have researched papers and projects; digging for information on people or situations is not really any different. Choose a crime out of the local newspaper and see if you can’t find more information on the perpetrator, such as past crimes or connections with other incidents. You might even come across something the police have missed! Of course, be careful with bogus websites who only promise information, charge you a high fee and don’t deliver. Your best bet is to use state and government websites, which usually are free and much more accurate.
Search for clients. These could be school friends or acquaintances, neighbors or even family members. Once you help them solve a case or two, ask them to write a testimonial about your services and give them a stack of those business cards to hand out to their friends and acquaintances.
Expand your advertising. You can post your services on many free websites, such as Craigslist.org, or on Facebook or MySpace. Create your own website, free or low-cost, and add those aforementioned testimonials. Sign up for a PayPal account, so you can accept retainers and your clients can pay your fees easily online.
J.L. Mitchell is a freelance writer living in St. Louis. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies and has been writing professionally since 2008. Her articles appear on various websites, specializing in parenting and other family-related topics.