Teens, I'm talking to you today!
Being a teenager in today's world is not like it was 10 years ago. The opportunities for income are virtually endless, especially with advances in modern technology. Today, it seems that more teenagers are itching to start their own business. This is all too familiar for me, because within the past month, I've received six questions from teens asking for information and advice about starting a home business. Today's post is dedicated to those individuals.
|© Bobby Flowers | Dreamstime.com|
Before jumping in head first, there are quite a few legal issues to discuss, and if you're serious about starting your own home business, you won't skip over this part, as it is the most critical to the success of your business. I highly recommend that after looking over this information on your own, you go over it again with the adult who will be helping you start the business (because you MUST have one).
Legal Factors Teen Entrepreneurs Must UnderstandMinors cannot form legal business entities on their own. Despite how it sounds, it does not mean that your business idea has gone down the drain. Although you cannot legally form a business entity, your parent or guardian can. If they have trust in your and believe you are responsible and determined enough to start a business, they may form the business in their name. When you turn 18-years-old, they may sign the business over to you. In the meantime, many states allow minors to serve as a board director for the business, or as a shareholder. Consult with an attorney to learn more about your state's laws.
Depending on your state, if you've been legally emancipated (no longer legally supported or dependent upon your family as recognized by the courts), you may be able to work separately from your parents in regards to business matters.
|© Twmedia | Dreamstime.com|
Your parent/guardian is responsible for you. According to "vicarious liability," until the day you are legally recognized as an adult, your parent or legal guardian are responsible for you (if you are not emancipated). You are not legally allowed to sign contracts, as the other part cannot legally enforce a contract signed by a minor. Your parents must sign all contracts and paperwork, and as a result, if the contract is breached, your parents are responsible. Also, if you are negligent in any way, your parents will pay the price.
Familiarize yourself with your state's laws. Before writing up a business plan, check the zoning laws within your state and city to determine whether or not you're legally allowed to operate a business from your home. These regulations typically depend on the type of business you're running, if customers will be visiting your home, and whether or not the business will negatively impact the residential area in terms of noise, traffic, and other factors. Running a business from your home also requires you to have a local business license. Consult with an attorney to learn more.
Preparing Your Home Business
Create a Business Plan
Once you've become comfortable and familiar with your city and state's laws, you may start creating your business plan. For starters, you should think about your business and personal goals. This will help you create a well thought out business plan that will outline exactly how you intend to reach those goals. It is very important that you are meticulous when forming your business plan. You must include, in great detail, how the business will be operated, managed, and financed. This includes the products and/or services you will sell, the equipment and supplies you require, financing, resources, and how you will compensate yourself and your employees (if applicable).
|© Phil Date | Dreamstime.com|
Once you've created your business plan, you should apply for your business license. If you're going to need extra funding, create a speech, and dress as a responsible, mature business owner, and take a copy of your detailed business plan to your friends, family, and local business owners who may be interested in helping you get started. Make a few copies so that you can hand them out, and allow individuals to look over them later if they happen to be busy when you stop by.
Your Home OfficeIt is critical to have your own workspace for your business. The ideal workspace is convenient, quiet, and organized. It should include special organizing bins or filing cabinets for record keeping, including billing, accounting, order forms, marketing materials, complaints, inventories, and so forth. While it's great to have your information entered into a computer, it's always wise to keep hard copies in case something goes wrong. AND ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER!
Prepare your ProductsYour products should be ready before the official launch of your business, unless you create the items based on custom orders. Even if you do create custom orders, it's still nice to have a few examples set aside so that you may take photographs for your website, or allow customers to see, first-hand, what they should expect when ordering their own product. Be sure that you have enough equipment and supplies in stock so that you do not run out and end up having to backlog orders.
MarketingThere are numerous options for marketing your products or services. If your business is strictly from home and customers will NOT visit you there, your best bet would be to create a website to sell your products (or do so on eBay, Etsy, or Amazon). Your marketing options could include social networking like Facebook and Twitter. Alternatively, you could reach out through discussion boards and newsletters. If you're using the internet, SEO is very, very important, so become familiar.
Word-of-mouth advertising, such as fliers distributed in parking lots and at social events within your community are good marketing tools. You could also hand out business cards, or ask that they be placed in local stores or businesses.
Other things you could do to bring customers in is to create a professional image for your business by hooking up with other reputable businesses, or creating eye-popping logos and graphics for your marketing materials.
Use Your ResourcesThe Small Business Administration (SBA), The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and Junior Achievement are all wonderful resources that will provide you with plenty of information in regards to business matters.
Home Business Ideas for TeenagersBrainstorming ideas for a home business sounds easier than it actually is. In fact, you may be able to come up with dozens of ideas, but not a single one interests you. So, how do you come up with ideas that you're passionate about? First of all, look at your past experiences that you've enjoyed. Consider your hobbies and interests. Think about what you like to do with your time, what skills you have, and whether any of your hobbies are marketable.
To get you started, check out this list of home business ideas for teens.
Pet-Related Business Ideas
- Pet Sitting
- Dog Walking
- Dog Grooming
- Obedience Training
- Pet Clothing and Accessories
- Homemade Pet-Safe Treats (i.e., cookies, cakes, "candies," etc.)
Home/Garden-Related Business Ideas
- Closet Organizing
- Room Painting
- Pressure Washing
- Window Cleaning
- Lawn Care
Photography Business Ideas
- Wedding Photography
- Senior Photographs
- Community Events
Sewing/Needlework-Related Business Ideas
- Handmade Clothing
- Home Decor (i.e., curtains, drapery, table cloths, sofa covers, etc.)
- Accessories (i.e., headbands, scarves, hats, handbags, etc.)
- Makeup (i.e., lipstick, lip gloss, foundation, etc.)
- Hair Products
- Skin Products
- Candle Making
- Soap Making
- Layered Cookie Ingredient Jars
- Hand-Painted Storage Tins
- Homemade Candies
- Gift Candles
- Homemade Greeting Cards