How to Start a Business for Kids

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You may think that you need to be an adult to start your own business but this simply isn't true. Learning how to work and earn money are important life skills that you can start learning at an early age. With a little thinking (and possibly some help from mom and dad) any kid can start making money with his skills. Hey, it beats working a paper route.

Choosing a Business

Think about what you are good at. Sometimes, it is hard to figure that out, and you might even feel like you don't have a special talent or skill. Just because you haven't won any soccer trophies or don't have straight A's in school doesn't mean you don't have valuable skills.

Get a pen and a piece of paper and start writing down everything you can do. Start by thinking about things you do to help your parents. Do you help mow the lawn sometimes? Make dinner every once in a while? Do you have a pet that you are responsible for taking care of? All of these things are skills that can be turned into a business.

Look at your list. What strikes you as your most marketable skill? You may be a pro at shoveling snow, but that's not going to get you any jobs if it's July. Think about what people need right now.

Offer either a service or a good. Some of the most popular activities that kids make money from are dog walking, babysitting and yard work. These are all services. The good thing about starting a service-based business rather than selling a product is the fact that you won't have to waste time and money making things ahead of time and worry about not selling them.

Factor in everything--your skills, the marketability of these skills, what kind of goods and services people need right now and whether you would have to put any money into it to start.

Promote Your Business

Start advertising. We will use the example of a babysitting service.

Design a flyer for distribution. This can by done by hand but looks great and more professional if done on a computer. You can just use a simple word processing program if you'd like. This is your chance to introduce yourself to future clients. Tell them your name (it might be wise to use your first name only for the sake of safety) and what your business is offering. A babysitting flyer would state that you are looking for babysitting jobs. It is important to list qualifications, for instance, if you are certified in CPR or have volunteered at a youth camp before. These kind of experiences will set you apart from the competition. Make sure you list how to get in touch with you. Ask your parents if it is all right to list your phone number on the flyer. Another option is to list an email address set up specifically for this purpose.

Make a few dozen copies of your flyer and distribute them. You can deliver them door to door in your neighborhood, placing them inside screen doors or rolled up in door handles. Often, local grocery stores, libraries and churches have bulletin boards specifically for people to post flyers. Just make sure you ask someone who works at the establishment for permission. It's always a good idea to bring a parent or other adult with you when you're distributing flyers, especially if you are young.

Promote yourself through word of mouth. Ask your parents and other families to mention your business to their friends. You never know who may need your services. If you know other friends who babysit, tell them that you would love to fill in for them if they ever aren't available to babysit.

Your First Job

Arrange a meeting with your potential client. Bring a parent or responsible adult with you to check out the situation and make sure it is safe. Your parent can also help you negotiate pay.

Start working. Make sure you show up on time, even 10 minutes early. Dress appropriately so that you make a good impression. Come prepared to do the job and bring any tools that may come in handy. In the example of a babysitting job, it would be a great gesture to bring along some of your favorite children's books. The clients would be impressed to see that you are going the extra mile and that you know about children's books.

Get paid by the client. If the client does not immediately pay you after you have completed the job, do not be afraid to ask for payment. Don't let anyone take advantage of you. Just calmly mention the total fee for the job, the hours worked and what you charge per hour.

Gain more customers. Once you have those first few clients, it will be easier to get more jobs because you have experience. Ask some of your established clients to write a letter of recommendation and save any thank you notes they may send you. Keep their contact information so that if a potential client would like a reference, they have someone to call.


Once you start to make some money, talk to your parents about setting up a savings or checking account at a bank. It's a great way to learn about money, and you can even earn some interest on your savings.


Don't ever give too much personal information to strangers; this includes on your flyers. Make sure your parents look at it before you distribute it. Also, if you meet a potential client when you are delivering the flyers door to door, don't go in his house even if he invites you. Politely tell him that you can't come in but would be happy to meet more with him later when you have a parent with you.