Learning How to Succeed as a Teen Entrepreneur
By Gloria Martinez of womenled.org
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs are teens who have started their own businesses. They don't let being a teenager hold them back from achieving their dreams. The following two examples should get you excited about starting your own business too:
Founded by six-year-old Cory after he sold hot chocolate on the streets of New Jersey to help his mother buy a new car. Now aged 15, he does business with huge department stores, including Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Viacom, and Whole Food.
When Mikaila Ulmer was four years old, she entered a children’s business competition. Fascinated by bees, she decided to sweeten her great grandmother’s flaxseed lemonade recipe with honey. At the age of 11, she negotiated an $11 million distribution deal with Whole Foods.
Start With a Business Plan
The first thing you must do is create a business plan. A business plan is an important tool for any entrepreneur or small business owner. It provides them with an accurate and detailed picture of their future goals and opportunities. A business plan can be used to help you get started with your own business idea and turn it into a reality.
Think about what special skills you have. You’ll also need to think about how much free time you have to devote to your business.
Are you creating something that you will sell, like homemade cookies or dog treats, or designing reusable shopping bags? Or are you performing a specific action that you want to charge money for services like mowing lawns, pet sitting, or helping older people with technology-related problems?
Next, choose a name. A good business name should describe what exactly your business does and be easy for people to remember.
Write a short statement about what you will be offering and why your business is a good idea.
Make a list of supplies you’ll need, tally how much money all that will cost, and if you’ll need help, and if so, from who?
Figure out who you’re selling to. Knowing who is likely to pay for your services-your target audience-will also be a factor in how much you can charge.
How Will You Market Your Business?
How will you market your product or service? Will you be handing out or posting flyers? If so, where? Will you promote your business on social media like TikTok or Facebook? Will you have your own website?
Before you begin marketing, it’s a good idea to create a brand or logo that will set you apart from the competition and be easily recognizable.
You don’t have to spend money hiring a creative designer, though. It’s easy and pretty fun to make your own, in fact. You can do that by using a free online logo maker. You just choose a style and icon, add in any text you'll need, and you'll be able to view an assortment of logos and adjust their fonts and colors. Check out this free online logo maker and start designing right away!
You can also use free online tools to help market your business on social media. For example, if you plan to run ads on Facebook, you can take advantage of a Facebook ads maker that will help you put together a really nice graphic that you can use in your campaign. These tools are easy to use and won’t take you days (or even hours) to complete.
The Legal Stuff
You'll have to decide how to structure your business. A Sole Proprietorship is the "default" business structure. If you’ve just got a very small venture that’s only earning a few dollars, this business structure is fine but doesn’t provide any legal protections against liability.
An LLC is fast, simple, and inexpensive to set up and maintain and protect your personal finances and assets. If you’re serious about your business and expect it to grow, this is an ideal choice.
State and local governments set their own rules and regulations regarding small and teen businesses, so check with local officials to be sure you’re compliant.
Finally, you’ll have to comply with all tax laws, so getting good advice from a professional on this topic is highly advised.
The Best Learning Experience
Choosing what kind of business you want to own and run, how you’ll set it up to be successful, designing your logo, marketing, and learning the legal side of business ownership can not only help you create a strong and successful business but teach you skills to last a lifetime.