You go to school, participate in activities, then go to work, then go home and sleep. Rinse and repeat. Sound familiar? Well welcome to the life of the average teenager with a job! The worst part of it all? You’re getting paid minimal wage!
Wouldn’t it be great if you could have more control, and make more money? Welcome to self-employment!
Start with an idea
Think of a need in your local area. This could be anything from someone to mow lawns, to a school tutor. Develop this idea into a basic business model, and ask yourself:
- What expenses will there be? (Equipment rental, etc)
- What will be my income?
- How fast will I earn an income? (figure out a rough hourly wage)
- How will I get customers?
- What kind of money will I need to start up my business?
Test the waters
Create some inexpensive fliers and see what kind of feedback you get. Do a few jobs and see if it’s practical. The key here is to invest as little money and time into the process. You’re just seeing if the idea is a gold mine or a ghost town. If it fails, either modify your idea or find something new.
Get the word out
Once you get a nice solid idea, it’s time to get the word out as much as possible.
- Create a business website
- Use social networks (myspace, facebook, twitter)
- Talk to family, adults, and peers
References are probably your most valuable resource, they will do the hard work for you. The concept is simple; customers tell other people about your work, and then they bring you more customers.
Polish your business model
Now that your business is going somewhere, you can revise and enhance it. Perhaps expansion will be necessary and you will need to figure out who to hire, and how much you’ll pay. Remember, be creative with your business ideas.
One of the problems that you’ll encounter (depending on your business) is keeping track of all your income, outcome, and business information. I suggest keeping an elaborate spreadsheet document to keep track of your spending and savings. You should also always have a simple three-ring business binder on hand as well. This way you’ll never have to worry about finding important information. You can also explore methods of staying organized online.
What advice do you have for the self-employed teenager?