Is your teenager looking for a job and coming up empty-handed? What about starting an online business as teen? Since, many entry-level jobs are being snatched up by adult workers, leaving teenagers with a disadvantage when it comes to finding their first job. Teenagers are now being forced to think outside of the box to find a way to make money. Over the last decade, the Internet and social media platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Shopify, Etsy, eBay, or Amazon, have made it possible for young entrepreneurs a chance to own their own business before graduating from high school.
In my mid-20s, as I was working on my associate’s degree, I started dreaming of ways to start my own business. But it was just that a dream until I was laid off in October 2012 from my 9 to 5 job. On a whim, I decided to create a small affiliate website and had no idea where this venture would take me. This small affiliate website grew into a parenting website.
For the first several years, my website was considered a labor of love. I can’t even tell you how many countless hours that I spent trying to grow my blog. As with any business venture, it takes time to build a business that is profitable but starting a website or social media channel, may take less time than a brick and mortar business to build, but I promise that you will spend hours working on your dream before it becomes profitable. According to Freshbooks, it takes an average of 2 to 3 years to yield a profit and 7 to 10 years to become a complete success. Even though I have my own business now, I wish that I thought about starting an online business as a teen.
Benefits of Starting an Online Business as a Teen
Today, I wanted to share with you the benefits of starting a successful online business. Building your own business isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme and will require a bit of capital to get started.
Need to Form a Clear Idea of What Type of Business You Want to Run
Before you just jump in feet first, you will need to determine what type of business you want to run. Once you determine what type of business you want to start, you will need to spend some time researching your “ideal” target audience. Knowing your audience will make it easier to determine what type of business model would work best.
Build a Business Plan
Starting an online business may not require a huge deal of planning; however, there are things that you need to determine before diving into your adventure.
The most important part of planning a business is choosing a “brand” name that is going to stick out. If you haven’t learned the story behind our name, you should check out the about us page.
There are a few other questions that you need to answer before starting your business.
- monthly budget
- brand name
- make sure your brand name isn’t trademarked or registered
- find your branded domain name
- set up a DBA with the county you live in (doing business as).
- Apply for a separate EIN number through the IRS website. As a 1099 contact worker, you often have to give out your social security number to random strangers. Yes, companies are supposed to keep those records sealed but with as much identity fraud going around it is better to have an EIN number. It doesn’t cost you anything to register for an EIN number.
- Do you need to collect sales tax?
- How to report your income on a quarterly basis?
- Will I hire employees?
- How much each month will I reinvest into my business?
- Which expenses are necessary and which ones can you skip?
- How will you accept payment?
Minimal Start-Up Costs
Start-up costs for starting a franchise or business can cost a fortune. Opening a franchise can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $5 million dollars, depending on the type of business you want to start. Do you have that type of capital laying around? As a teenager, the chances of having a large sum of money to invest in your business would be very slim.
But the great news, as a teenager, you can open an online store, blog, or vlog with minimal start-up costs involved. The start-up costs, of course, will vary based upon your business model and type of business.
For a simple website or blog, you only need a domain name provider such as NameCheap and a good host. I’m using hostwinds and have had zero issues with them. I do own several sites so my web hosting bill is sizable compared to when you just start out. If you are tech-savvy and can build your own website, then you could essentially start a blog for under $100.
The best thing about owning an online business, a majority of the time you can get by with low overhead. You don’t need a fancy office to work out of because it is something that you can do from your own home or perhaps while traveling. Low overhead can help you keep the costs of doing business low. For me, some of my costs include, hosting, domain registration, software needed to do my job effectively, tools (I look for tools that offer a one-time fee vs a monthly subscription, and Paypal fees. Please seek help from an accountant to determine what costs you can write off each year.
Running a blog doesn’t require me to stock inventory but if I had a t-shirt business or sold a product, having inventory can be a huge expense. When deciding what type of business to start, keep in mind that having inventory on hand and storage fees can eat into profits.
Remember to Invest In Your Business
Growing a business takes hard work, persistence, and dedication. But as you are making money it is always important that you reinvest money into your business. You can reinvest at 100% or you can do less. The old saying you have to spend money to make money holds true when it comes to being a successful business owner. I’m continually learning how to improve my own skillset, started focusing on search engine optimization (SEO) to get visitors to my site (you will have to do the same), and lots of A/B testing.
I highly recommend that you come up with a set of processes in the beginning so that you can hire a virtual assistant or allow someone else to step into your role, in case something were to happen. Having this in place can protect your business and it’s assets.
With the Internet and social media, there are countless ways to start your own business. Do you have what it takes to be a successful business owner, like Rusty Tweed? I took a dream in my early 20s and turned it into a reality after a medical layoff. It is great to have some type of business sense when it comes to starting your own business, for me, it wasn’t necessary. My business venture started off as a hobby and it grew to something more. I’m thankful for the opportunity because for me blogging has opened doors that wouldn’t be possible for me. I do wish that I would have thought about starting an online business as a teen.
Can’t think of a business idea? Check out these 7 legit virtual jobs for teenagers. This is a great way to gain experience online and a way to come up with start-up expenses.