Do you remember your first summer job? Maybe you were a camp counsellor or lifeguard at the local pool. Given that you’ve chosen to run your own business, maybe a summer job gave your very first taste of self-employment. Whether you walked dogs, mowed lawns or fixed flat tires for cyclists on the bike path, perhaps running your own summer gig shaped your entrepreneurial mindset – and helped you get where you are today.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some summer opportunities for the budding teenage entrepreneurs you might know (or even be related to!). When young people try their hand a running their own business, they experience decision making, earning power, independence, adapting to changing situations – the learning is endless. Perhaps best of all, they get to try on your entrepreneurial shoes for size.
If the budding entrepreneur likes to work outside, consider:
Walking dogs and caring for pets. Doggies, kitties, birds, oh my! Responsible animal lovers can offer services ranging from walking, grooming and feeding pets to overnight stays when the beloved critter’s family is traveling. Self-starter tip: Take a video of Fido or Fluffy and share with the owners each night.
Taking care of lawns, yards and gardens. Teens can earn money, stay physically active and even catch a few rays while mowing lawns, weeding, trimming hedges – you name it. Self-starter tip: Keep your business growing during the cooler months by including snow shoveling or leaf raking, too.
Washing and cleaning cars. Have bucket, will travel. Don’t just wash or wax the outside of a car. Maximize the business opportunity by cleaning interiors and offering detailing services, too. Self-starter tip: Green your business by using water conservation strategies.
Personal assistant. If you’re willing to get paid simply for helping out, there’s no end to the errands you might run or chores you can do. On a given day, you might be at the post office, grocery store, dry cleaner – or helping to deep clean a cluttered closet. Self-starter tip: Make yourself invaluable over the summer, and this opportunity could turn into year-round work.
If the budding entrepreneur likes to work inside, consider:
Tutoring. Academically inclined teens might offer tutoring services to other students during the summer “brain drain” months. Post flyers at the local library or advertise your services on an online neighborhood listing site. Self-starter tip: The client relationships you build over the summer could continue well into the school year.
Web services. Teens these days … sure know a lot about technology. Channel a love of screen-time into a business for graphic design or website building. Self-starter tip: An obsession with Instagram or Snapchat could be just the training you need to position yourself as “social media marketing pro”!
Caregiving. Parents always need a hand, especially during the summer when school schedules go out the window. Babysitting isn’t limited to babies – even older kids need supervision when camp is out for the day. Self-starter tip: The elderly in your neighborhood often need companionship and support. Teens age 17 and up can check out Care.com to locally advertise their services, including child care, special needs, housekeeping or senior care.
QB Community members, what was your first summer job – and did it influence in any way your decision to work for yourself?
Want to weigh in but not yet a QB Community member? Click HERE to sign up in a flash!
Back in the day the Army was stationed in France, and Dad was assigned there. We lived in a small housing development for dependents 40 minutes out side the post on the outskirts of a small French town, I was 10. The French collected trash twice a week, and we had to move the trash cans out to the curb and return them to the house each collection day.
Back then a trash can was made out of steel, a 32 gal steel trash can, heavy as hell by itself. Trash back then was paper bags, no plastic existed, soaking wet, smelly, messy, full trash cans that attracted bees like you wouldn't believe. For a buck a week I moved those cans back and forth twice a day two days a week, before school and then after school. And most homes has two of those steel cans. Winter in the snow was the best time, bees are dormant then.
I also set pins at the bowling alley on nights the parents were in a bowling league. manual pin setters, no electric ones back then.
Wow, @Rustler, that's a great story!
I just posted a question asking what lessons members have learned from these early self-employment experiences. How did busting your butt moving all those trash cans inform your perception of "working for yourself"?
Back then it was expected, you want money, you work for it. Don't ask mom and dad, be responsible for yourself. I was, still am, not part of the give me generations
Would have been a lot easier if I could have just said give me money, or give me an allowance.
No one even thought twice about it, well except for some of my friends who said they wish they had thought of it.
Thinking about this and your question, I got two things, out of it
That first night when I was late for dinner, and explained why, Dad nodded.
I said that since other families were paying me, seemed only fair that Dad pay me. Mom started to say something and Dad held his hand up to stop her. We ate, the silence was deafening.
Finally he says, two things.
1. This is family, and it is family against the world, you help family.
2. If you quit, you do not quit until the week is over, and then you tell each person you are not doing it any more. You gave your word, you do not break it or go back on it.
Then with a smile he said so .... help your mother clear the table and take out the trash.
@Rustler, I really love that story. Thanks for sharing it.
In my family it was much the same: You take a summer job, you're there till Labor Day. You sign up for soccer, you play the season. A commitment is a commitment, and there are people counting on you to do what you said you would.
There are personal commitments and there are business contracts, and in practice those two things are not much different.
Also: Don't make promises you can't keep :smileywink: