New Biz on the Block
- Thursday, January 21, 2010
Are you a teenager who would like to earn more money or learn more about business? Micro businesses may be the way to go. Their small size makes them easy to manage. They can be started quickly, and they provide a way for you to earn money while learning a lot.
A great place to start a business is in your neighborhood. Offering a product or service to neighbors and friends can be a simple and profitable business. Your neighborhood could be the physical location around your home, or it could be the network of people you and your family know.
There are many advantages to keeping your business in the neighborhood.
1. Safety. Your parents may be reluctant to let you go all over town promoting your business, but chances are they will feel better if you stay within your neighborhood or circle of friends and acquaintances.
2. Keeping close to home makes your business more manageable in both time and distance. You will not spend time driving to customers who are distant from you.
3. Working in your neighborhood is convenient. You can eliminate transportation costs if you walk or bike to your customer's home instead of using the family car.
4. Your marketing can be very focused. You won't waste money on ads that don't reach your potential customers, because you know who your customers are: your neighbors and friends.
5. You can keep up with your other activities and interests. A micro business allows you to earn some money but not lose your life to the business. You can keep up with your homework, sports, and activities and still serve your customers if they are nearby.
6. Word-of-mouth advertising is easy because neighbors and friends will tell others about your venture.
7. There are some tax advantages if you work in a neighbor's house doing lawn or childcare. If you are under 18, you can be considered a "household employee" and will not pay Social Security or Medicare taxes. Ask a tax professional for details on being a household employee.
Ideas for Neighborhood-Based Businesses
There are dozens of micro business opportunities that can be done at home or in a neighbor's home. I have seen teenagers (and adults) perform every one of the following business ideas, so I know they work well. Some of these businesses involve physical labor, which may not appeal to you—but don't be discouraged by thinking you have to commit to doing a job forever. A micro business can be started quickly and ended quickly too if you get busy doing other things (just don't leave your customers in the lurch!). The goal of a micro business is to learn a lot while you earn some money.
Some of these jobs also require specific skills. You don't have to be an expert—and there's certainly nothing wrong with honing your skills and knowledge on the job—but you probably don't want to embark on a business you know absolutely nothing about. That's not the best way to make a great impression and earn future business!
Babysitting and Childcare
Offer a short time frame for childcare, such as two to three hours, on a regular basis. Parents can use the time for running errands or going out. Watch several children at once to maximize your profit. One student advertised to neighbors that she was hosting a regular babysitting service every Tuesday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in her home. Her customers could plan ahead, knowing they had babysitting that evening.
Try mowing grass, shoveling snow, raking leaves, and gardening for your neighbors. Offer to put garbage cans out on the curb and return the empty cans to their proper places.
Take pictures of parties and special events. This frees up the hostess to enjoy herself and be in some of the pictures.
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