Ah…the summer job. This time of year the mall is stocked with young people trying to earn a little extra money, or perhaps they have been launched out of the house by their parents in an effort to avoid a summer fraught with laziness and boredom. But what if the mall just isn’t your style, or more importantly, you’re not old enough to be employed by a traditional business? As many enterprising young people have known for generations, it doesn’t take a lot of ingenuity to get out there and make some summer dough.
Several homeschooling tweens and teens agreed to share their ideas for picking up some extra income during the summer, and throughout the year. Some of the jobs are the tried and tested, such as lawn care or pet sitting, and some are a little more unusual. Turning a talent or hobby into a money-making idea is a powerful learning experience — one that homeschoolers typically have the freedom to pursue regardless of the season. So next time your tween or teen complains of summer boredom, don’t threaten extra schoolwork (although I’ve used that once or twice…or twenty-seven times), suggest that they take a look at the following cash generating ideas or come up with one of their own!
Damian, Age 10
Damian has a passion for all things musical and has his eye on a new xylophone. His mother encouraged him to start his own neighborhood business thinking that folks might need a hand with watering gardens or feeding cats while away on vacation. They decided to call his business “Damian’s Helping Hand” and distributed fliers throughout the neighborhood. Damian’s first job was washing and bleaching 24 dried gourds for a neighbor who uses them for crafting vases and birdhouses. He has also helped with weeding and other odds and ends.
Ethan, Age 13
Ethan has been taking care of vacationing neighbors’ plants and pets for the last three summers. He brings in mail, waters outdoor plants, and feeds and cares for household pets. His strong sense of responsibility prompted a neighbor to ask for his help and he’s worked each summer since. Clients appreciate and rely upon his thorough and organized approach. Recently, he branched out into mowing acreage for a family member, as well as horse-feeding and stall-picking!
Logan, Age 14
After Logan started playing the popular game “Minecraft” he got the idea to start his own business — Crafting Crafter and Feed the Crafter Minecraft Servers. Logan manages all the back-end work to ensure the servers run smoothly, including regular software updates, mods, and plugins. He also has to be sure his back-ups and anti-griefing mods are in working order in case anyone does something against the rules while playing on the server. He runs contests on both servers and gives away prizes. Players who donate money get special perks and items for game play. Logan has earned over $1500 in the last 18 months just doing what he loves!
Madison, Age 15
Madison has worked a couple of days per week in a local clothing shop for nearly a year. Additionally, she volunteers once a week at an area hospital. She has enjoyed both experiences as they give her a chance to round out her studies with real world experiences, working with people of various ages and levels of expertise. With the paying job she learns the value of personal money management and with the volunteer hours she learns the importance of working to the best of her ability and giving back with no external reward.
Schuyler, Age 14
Schuyler started her own pet care business when she was 12. She mostly focuses on neighborhood work (dogs, cats, backyard chickens) but has recently branched out into farm-sitting! She first got the idea when she needed money for a new iPod and a kayak. Schuyler figured since she likes animals, pet-sitting was a good place to start. Initially, she tried posting her services on different web-sites as well as Facebook, but didn’t get any leads. Now, all of her business comes from word of mouth. She loves that she gets to know her customers and that they become friends. Her clients have learned to trust her and in return she gets more jobs.
The Patty Cakes
Lydia (age 14) and Sadie (Age 15), with help from their brother Andrew (age 17), started a Bundt cake baking business in 2008 at the suggestion of their mother. The Patty Cakes sell their delicacies to their neighbors around the holidays. They derived their clever name from a web-site listing of girl bands from the 1950’s. You can visit them on Facebook at The Patty Cakes.
Congratulations to these hard-working and enterprising young people! If your tween or teen has a fun or cool business idea to share with us, please tell us in the comment section. It just may be the inspiration another tween or teen is looking for.