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Article written by: Jason Kenner from onparparent.com
If you thought entrepreneurship was just for adults, think again. Mark Zuckerberg was only 19 when he and a group of college friends came up with the idea for Facebook, while Fred DeLuca was just 17 when he launched Pete’s Super Submarines — which later became Subway. Additionally, Michael Dell (of Dell Inc.), Matt Mullenweg (of WordPress), and Mike Kittredge (of Yankee Candle) were all teens when they launched their hugely successful businesses.
Chances are, you’ve already dabbled in entrepreneurship if you’ve ever set up a lemonade stand, tutored other students, or washed your neighbor’s vehicles for cash. But if you’re ready to officially enter the world of business ownership, Tech Ed 4 Kids shares three pieces of advice in the sections below.
There are so many benefits of starting a business while you’re young, as teenage entrepreneurship teaches you how to manage your time and money, solve complex problems, network with others, build resilience, and express yourself creatively. However, there are several skills you’ll need to develop in order to reap the many benefits of business ownership.
Here are a few ways to develop these entrepreneurial skills:
- Find a mentor.
- Volunteer in the community.
- Join an entrepreneurship program for youths.
- Take courses in economics, personal finance, psychology, communications, ethics, and leadership.
There are also lots of books young entrepreneurs can read to develop business and leadership skills, as these cover topics such as business strategy, finance, marketing, and more.
In addition to developing entrepreneurial skills in finance, communications, networking, and leadership, it’s important to choose a business idea you’re passionate about — and preferably one that fulfills a desire and/or solves a problem. Some examples of business ideas for teens could include child care services, handmade products, blogging or vlogging, photography, lawn maintenance, or t-shirt design.
After choosing a business idea, there are some best practices you should follow when launching your startup. These best practices include:
- Choosing a business structure. How you choose to structure your business plays a role in how you’ll pay taxes and protect yourself from personal liability, so it’s important to choose the right legal entity right off the bat. A limited liability company (LLC), for example, is a safe option for many businesses — as this type of legal structure offers personal liability protection, tax benefits, and a simple filing process. But since minimum age requirements and other LLC regulations tend to vary by state, be sure to review your local laws before proceeding.
- Setting up a business bank account. While you may need an adult to co-sign on your bank account if you’re under 18, you’ll want to separate your business finances from your personal bank account when pursuing entrepreneurship. Jennifer Brozic of Credit Karma shares seven of the best checking accounts for teens.
- Looking for funding. If you’re launching a business that requires startup capital, crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe, FundRazr, and Kickstarter will be your best options for raising money as a teenage entrepreneur. Or if you have one or more trusted adults in your life, you could ask them for a personal loan.
If you’re passionate about launching a startup, you shouldn’t let your young age hold you back from pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams. You could certainly put business ownership on the back burner until after you’ve graduated from high school or college, but why wait when you already have the drive and passion to succeed as a teenage entrepreneur?
By pursuing your business goals as a teenager, you’ll learn essential skills that’ll look great on your resume and college admissions applications — and you’ll set yourself up for future success in entrepreneurship. Mark Zuckerberg, Fred DeLuca, Michael Dell, and many other teenage entrepreneurs have done it, and so can you!