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How to Start Your Own Business as a High Schooler

Last updated on July 1, 2021

Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash

It’s never too early to start pursuing business success, and it doesn’t need to happen in a corporate office. At 11 years old, Mikaila Ulmer took the classic lemonade stand to the next level: she created her own lemonade business using her grandmother’s recipe. Ulmer succeeded in receiving a $60,000 investment on Shark Tank and now works with supermarkets such as Whole Foods to distribute her products.  

It takes hard work and dedication to reach Mikaila Ulmer’s level of success. Nevertheless, don’t be dissuaded by extreme expectations. The vast majority of high schoolers won’t make six figures from their own business. And that’s okay: businesses do not need to be exceedingly lucrative to start providing a multitude of benefits for founders. 

Schoolwork and extracurriculars can make it difficult to work a job that demands a rigid schedule. Many high school students are also unable to drive. Starting a business provides flexible hours and can be made to be easily accessible. You can also learn valuable communication and marketing skills that are important for the future. Who knows – your business might even become your full-time job as an adult.

My own small online business has allowed me to make some extra spending money and gain management experience with the flexibility of working my own hours. The last three years have taught me many things I wish I knew earlier.

Here are some pointers on how to start your own small business successfully.

First, determine what goods or services you are going to market and sell. Assess what there is a demand for. Make your business unique: if there are already five high schoolers offering tutoring services in your area, you aren’t going to succeed unless you set yourself apart. Pick to sell something you’ll enjoy making or doing. Might as well make money doing something you love, right?

Some business ideas include: 

  • Tutoring
  • Babysitting
  • Pet sitting 
  • Social media Marketing 
  • housecleaning/housesitting
  • Teaching music
  • Teaching art
  • Selling art/handmade goods
  • Being a photographer/videographer

Next, plan how you will market your business. The quality of your goods or services doesn’t matter if no one knows you exist, so how will you reach your customers? Better yet, who even are your customers? Understanding your target audience makes marketing efficient. If you want to reach out to pet owners in your area to promote your pet sitting service, post an advertisement near a local pet store. To reach a younger audience, make a TikTok account to promote your brand.  

Finally, organize your budgeting. Find out what your expenses will be for marketing, supplies, and (possibly) employees. Determine the costs for your services and products. How much will you make in a month? A year? Is this amount worth your time? Keep in mind that as your business grows, you will make more down the road. 

After starting your business, remember to be consistent and not be discouraged if growth is slow. You will be rewarded for your dedication!

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