Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Why Start a Business as a Young Entrepreneur?
- 3 How to Start a Business Before You Graduate
- 4 Choose an Age-Appropriate Business Idea
- 5 Form a Legal Structure
- 6 Open a Business Bank Account
- 7 Apply for relevant Licenses and Permits
- 8 Manage Finances and Banking Tasks
- 9 10 Kidpreneurs to Inspire You
- 9.1 1. Nick Mares and Justin Mares, founders of Bone Broth Bros.
- 9.2 2. Mikaila Ulmer, founder of Me & the Bees Lemonade.
- 9.3 3. Isabella Rose Taylor, founder of Isabella’s Creations.
- 9.4 4. Mo Bridges, founder of Mo’s Bows.
- 9.5 5. Evan and Ashton Moquin, founders of The Mochi Kids.
- 9.6 6. Jordan Maron, founder of Kid CEO.
- 9.7 7. Sydney Stempfley, founder of Stempfley & Co.
- 9.8 8. Sadie Robertson Huff, founder of the Live Original brand.
- 9.9 9. Carson Jones, founder of Carson’s Cookies.
- 9.10 10. Amira Polack, founder of Amira’s Natural Soy Candles.
- 10 Conclusion
Starting your own business may seem like an daunting task, but it’s very possible for minors to launch successful ventures with the right preparation and guidance. In fact, there are several key benefits to becoming an entrepreneur at a young age.
For one, it’s easier to take risks and learn from mistakes when you’re young. You also have much more free time now compared to later in life when responsibilities increase. Perhaps most importantly, running your own business allows you to develop valuable real-world skills and experience that will serve you well for many years to come.
This comprehensive guide will outline the main steps any budding young entrepreneur needs to take to start their own business before graduating high school.
By learning the ins and outs of starting a legal and profitable venture, kids and teens can gain a major advantage over peers. With dedication to excellent execution and guidance from trusted advisors, youth entrepreneurs can achieve great success.
Let’s begin our journey into the exciting world of kidpreneurship! This post will explore potential business ideas, legal structures, financing, operations, marketing and key lessons from other inspiring young entrepreneurs who have already made their mark.
Why Start a Business as a Young Entrepreneur?
There are several compelling reasons for interested and motivated youth to start their own business:
- Making mistakes is easier when you’re young
The beauty of being a kid is that any errors made while launching and operating a startup will result in learning experiences rather than severe consequences. It’s ok to fail fast and improve your approach.
- You’ll never have this much free time again
Between school, homework, extracurricular activities and socializing, middle/high school schedules are packed. But there are still evenings and weekends available for dedicated busines development. Once college and full-time careers begin, free hours become scarce.
- You can develop valuable skills and experience
Running a business provides practical lessons in leadership, problem-solving, communication, marketing, budgeting and more. These “soft” skills are invaluable for future education and employment prospects, regardless of the business’s financial success.
- You can earn extra cash for entertainment or college
Starting a small side business is a savvy way for kids and teens to earn spending money beyond an allowance. Profits from a successful venture could also fund future education or travel adventures.
The earlier entrepreneurs start, the longer they have to learn the ropes of business ownership through real-world application. By taking action now, young go-getters get a tremendous head start on the competiton.
How to Start a Business Before You Graduate
With dedication and the right strategy, it’s very possible for minors to launch a viable business before high school is over. Here are the key steps:
- Find a problem to solve. Identify an issue, pain point or need in your community that inspires you. Base your business around providing a solution.
- Validate your idea. Conduct customer interviews and surveys to ensure there is genuine interest and demand. Refine your concept based on feedback.
- Create a business plan. Put together a detailed roadmap outlining goals, operations, marketing strategies, budgets and financial projections. A solid plan is vital for success.
- Choose a business structure. Common options for minors include sole proprietorship or limited liability company (LLC). Research which is best based on your state/local regulations.
- Get the necessary licenses and permits. Compliance is critical, so research your city/county requirements for things like sales tax certificates or professional licenses.
- Open a business bank account and credit card. Make sure to keep personal and company finances separate. Line up funding and account with a parent or guardian as co-signer if needed.
- Build a website and start marketing your business. Create an online presence through blogs, social networks and targeted ads. Promote your solutions and brand.
- Provide excellent customer service. Treat each customer like a valued individual and address any issues or feedback promptly to foster loyalty and word-of-mouth growth.
- Be patient and persistent. Building a successful enterprise from scratch takes time and determination. Stick with your vision through challenges.
With hard work and focus on these fundamentals, ambitious teens can absolutely achieve their business dreams.
Choose an Age-Appropriate Business Idea
Coming up with the right business concept that’s suitable for your age level is an important early step. Some considerations when brainstorming ideas include:
- Online businesses like creating and selling digital products, providing services through social media, running a website or blog. These allow kids to participate without age restrictions.
- Service-based businesses such as pet sitting, babysitting, yard work, tutoring, handyman services etc. Youth can leverage skills to help busy households.
- Product-based businesses that don’t require manufacturing, toxic materials or heavy equipment. Selling homemade crafts, food items, personal care products via online shops or local retailors are good options.
- Consulting or coaching in areas of teen passion like gaming, sports, music or hobbies. Sharing expertise virtually or via tutorials.
- Event planning for activities, parties or fundraisers in the local community. Kids have great ideas for fun gatherings.
Some business ideas to consider include:
- Art, crafts or design services
- Photography or videography
- Social media management or content creation
- Online dropshipping stores
- Lawn care or snow removal
- Car washing
- Dog walking or pet sitting
- Kids activity classes
- Bake goods or specialty food items
Choosing an idea that taps into personal interests and skills makes the venture more enjoyable. Starting small and focusing on serving customers well sets the stage for organic growth.
Form a Legal Structure
Before any sales or marketing begins, ensure your business is properly established as a legal entity by choosing an appropriate structure:
Sole Proprietorship: The simplest option, but owners are personally responsible for all debts and liabilities. Some states may not allow those under 18 to form one.
Limited Liability Company (LLC): Provides liability protection while maintaining pass-through tax benefits. Formation often requires an adult member. Fees apply annually.
C-Corporation: Offers complete liability protection, but double taxation of profits and more complex compliance. Better for larger established ventures.
Non-Profit: Suits causes focused more on social impact than profits. Additional restrictions and paperwork required.
Cooperative: For businesses owned and democratically operated by multiple individuals. Likely too complex for a kidpreneur startup.
Consult your state’s guidelines as requirements vary and some types may necessitate a parent or guardian on documentation due to age restrictions.
|Structure||Liability Protection||Taxation||Complexity||Fees||Good for Teen Businesses?|
|Sole Proprietorship||Lowest||Pass-through||Lowest||None||Possibly, check state rules|
|LLC||High||Pass-through||Low-Medium||Formation + annual||Recommended choice|
|C-Corporation||Highest||Double||Highest||Formation + annual||Likely too advanced|
With help from a parent or lawyer, choose the best legal entity for your business goals and liability needs.
Open a Business Bank Account
Once a structure is chosen, open a dedicated business checking account to properly manage funds.
Note that as a minor, you will likely need a parent, guardian or other adult to be added as a co-signer on the account.
When choosing a bank, consider options that:
- Don’t charge monthly service fees for starter business accounts
- Offer easy online and mobile access to manage finances on the go
- Provide tools for invoicing, payments and bookkeeping
Documents typically required include:
- Photo ID for all signers
- Articles of Incorporation/Organization or business license
- Employer Identification Number (EIN) from IRS
- Initial deposit of at least $100-500 minimum opening balance
It’s important to clearly separate your personal money from business funds. Proper accounting makes tax time simpler and protects you from liability issues down the road.
With a business checking account in place, you’ll be ready to start paying suppliers, contractors, marketing costs and more like the effective entrepreneur you are!
Apply for relevant Licenses and Permits
Certain types of businesses may require professional certifications, resale licenses or operating permits based on your location and industry.
Be sure to research your city and state regulations thoroughly to determine what is needed for your specific venture.
Some common examples include:
- Business license from your town/city
- Seller’s permit or resale certificate for tax collection
- Food handler’s certification for food businesses
- Professional certifications or contractor licenses
The application process usually involves:
- Filling out forms with your business and personal details
- Paying any associated fees (often reasonable for startups)
- Providing your entity’s formation documents
- Passing background/certification exams if needed
Don’t forget to renew annual permits on time to avoid penalties.
For assistance as a minor, consider involving a parent or guardian who can sign off. Not having proper approvals can delay operations and even risk fines.
Get permitted properly from the beginning for compliant, worry-free business conduct.
Manage Finances and Banking Tasks
While profits may be low at first, foundational financial management skills are critical for new business owners to develop.
Luckily, there are many free and inexpensive resources to help kids and teens with tasks like:
- Bookkeeping with software like Wave or QuickBooks Self-Employed
- Creating and sending invoices/receipts
- Paying quarterly taxes as required
- Budgeting and cash flow planning
- Record keeping for expenses and income
Networks like SCORE offer free business mentoring too. Ask an accountant about setting up a simple accounting system tailored to your needs.
Some bookkeeping best practices include:
- Depositing all funds received promptly into your bank account
- Tracking revenue and costs separately for profit calculations
- Reconciling bank statements monthly for accuracy
- Storing financial documents securely for 7+ years
Developing early skills in personal finance management sets kid entrepreneurs up for continued success as their ventures grow.
With the right digital tools and organization habits, managing money can become simple and stress-free.
10 Kidpreneurs to Inspire You
Getting inspired by other young founders who have achieved real business success can help motivate you to reach greater heights. Here are 10 impressive kidpreneurs to learn from:
1. Nick Mares and Justin Mares, founders of Bone Broth Bros.
The brothers started selling bone broth at a farmers market at ages 9 and 12, growing their company to over $1 million in revenue.
2. Mikaila Ulmer, founder of Me & the Bees Lemonade.
Now a pre-teen, Mikaila came up with the idea of using beeswax in lemonade to create a naturally sweet drink. Her company has products in over 3,000 stores.
3. Isabella Rose Taylor, founder of Isabella’s Creations.
At age 6, Isabella started selling hand-painted hair bows and accessories, earning over $1 million by age 10 with her online business.
4. Mo Bridges, founder of Mo’s Bows.
Mo launched her bow company at age 6 and has since expanded into clothing, collaborating with brands like Target. She empowers other young girls.
5. Evan and Ashton Moquin, founders of The Mochi Kids.
The brothers invented expandable ice cream balls called “mochis” at ages 8 and 10. They have since franchised their popular frozen desserts concept.
6. Jordan Maron, founder of Kid CEO.
His YouTube channel inspires kids to launch businesses with guidance from experts. Jordan also wrote a bestselling book on the topic at age 12.
7. Sydney Stempfley, founder of Stempfley & Co.
At age 12, Sydney started her stationery company focused on empowering girls. She has since brought on three employees and expanded into apparel and accessory lines.
8. Sadie Robertson Huff, founder of the Live Original brand.
Through her lifestyle company, Sadie encourages others to be bold in following their dreams. She found early success as a public speaker before graduating college.
9. Carson Jones, founder of Carson’s Cookies.
Baking homemade cookies at just 6 years old, Carson has wholesale deals with Disney Parks and donations that have funded education for over 500 children in need.
10. Amira Polack, founder of Amira’s Natural Soy Candles.
Amira handcrafts scented candles from her home and donates profits to help service dogs. She built her brand through community festivals and online marketing.
Exposing yourself to such remarkable young go-getters is sure to spark new ideas and motivation. See that with passion and perseverance, kids just like you have achieved real success through entrepreneurship. Stay focused on your vision, work hard, and who knows – you could be an inspiration for others someday too!
We’ve covered the essential steps any passionate young entrepreneur needs to take to start their own legitimate business venture before high school graduation. To recap the key points:
- Choose an age-appropriate business idea you’re excited about and solve a real problem
- Develop a detailed business plan outlining goals, strategies and finances
- Select the proper legal structure like an LLC with help from an adult
- Open a separate business bank account and keep finances organized
- Attain required licenses, permits and certifications for your city/state
- Promote your brand through a website, social media and local marketing
- Provide outstanding customer service and follow up on feedback
- Be persistent through challenges and always look for ways to improve
- Ask experienced mentors for guidance along the way
With focus, hard work and utilizing available resources, any dedicated middle or high school student can achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. While profits may start small, the hands-on skills and lessons gained from running your own company are invaluable for future success.
I hope this guide has inspired and equipped you to take that first leap into the rewarding world of entrepreneurship. Remember – you have so much potential to make a positive impact through your innovative ideas!