Middle School Business Ideas
Lemonade Stand and Live Music
Jobs For Kids
My neighbor's son came to the door last summer to tell me about his business, "Anything For Three Bucks." For $3, he'd do any chore around the house. He was doing this to raise money for his band, and, if the job we had required more than one person, his band-mates were willing to pitch in and help. I had my young neighbor pull the weeds around our two trees, paid him his $3, and told him that I'd call him if anything else came up.
Later that summer, it occurred to me that this kid was a genius. For $3 per chore, he'd clean the cat's litter box, take out the recycling, pick all the tomatoes and deliver them to the neighbors, sweep the front porch, squeeze lemons for lemonade, water the slope, and drop letters into the mailbox on the corner. A quick survey of the neighbors revealed that I was not the only one who thought highly of this entrepreneurial genius. By summer's end, we were fighting for his time.
Why He Was Successful
Our neighbor's son had a successful summer making money for a few good reasons:
1. Most of the neighborhood is elderly, or they were simply too busy to take care of household chores;
2. His clients could easily afford to pay $3 per chore;
3. His business name, "Anything For Three Bucks" was a great and memorable business name;
4. He came around and told us about his business, the hours he was available, and how best to contact him when we needed him;
5. He did the work cheerfully and with gratitude, always saying "thank you" when we paid him.
Job Ideas For Kids
If you're looking for ways to earn money, think about what you do well and who might pay you for what you have to offer. Make a list of potential clients or neighbors who you think could use your help. Will you need lots of people to buy your product for you to be successful? Will buying supplies cost you a lot of money to get started? Here are a few job ideas, and things you'll need to think about before trying them for yourself:
My cousin decided to have a summer camp for the neighborhood kids. She went around the block and told all the neighbors she was having a summer camp from 8am to 1pm every day for a week. Every day, five kids played in her backyard doing supervised games like hide 'n seek, and red light green light. They went on neighborhood scavenger hunts looking for things on a list that she made up the night before. Since she had a swimming pool, they all swam in the pool each day as well. Some days, they made crafts. For lunch, she made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone. My cousin was 13 when she had her summer camp, her mom was home to help supervise when needed.
When I was 13, my friend and I learned to juggle from his brother, a professional clown. We often went to a nearby park to practice our juggling. So many people stopped to ask if we could teach them to juggle that we eventually started giving small classes in the park. We made enough to upgrade our own juggling equipment.
My friend's young daughter is a talented artist. Over spring break, she offered to give art lessons to a few neighborhood children. She planned classes over five days, each different, and each on a different subject matter. One day, they sketched outdoors, another they worked on watercolors. They also did a big Jackson Pollack splatter painting session in the backyard. In five days, each child made five nice artworks and learned five new techniques.
Three teens nearby have a morning coffee and donut stand on a neighborhood corner. It is convenient enough for passersby to stop and buy a cup of coffee and a donut. The teens buy their donuts from a desirable donut shop that is out of the neighborhood, so people like being able to have great donuts that they normally would not be able to get.
My friend's son will plant a 4'x8' vegetable garden for $40. He provides the vegetable seedlings, the initial fertilizer and organic mulch to get you started.
Later in the summer, he sells organic produce that he has grown in his own garden.
After learning how to make tortillas from scratch, a friend's daughter went into business making homemade tortillas for friends and relatives. She takes orders by text message during the week, and makes and delivers the tortillas over the weekend.
A relative paid a young cousin to take photos with a digital camera at her wedding. While she also had a professional photographer at the wedding, she wanted more candid shots, from the perspective of the children at the wedding. She got some hilarious photos, as well as priceless ones.
Turn a Hobby Into a Business
Brainstorming Job Ideas
IDEA: Selling a product to people
What this means: This could mean something like a lemonade stand, a cupcake stand, or other product that you sell to people who happen to drive or walk by.
Ways to make it successful: If you want to sell something, think about how many people might pass by and see you. Be sure that you are visible and that people know what you have for sale and how much your product is.
Unique Twist 1: A friend's daughter is a talented young artist. She set up an "Art For Sale" art stand in front of her house, which is on a busy street. She sold her watercolor paintings for $2-$5 each.
Unique Twist 2: A middle school student sells bottled water at the start (and end) of a hiking trail that is in our neighborhood. He sells the water for $1 a bottle.
IDEA: Selling a service
What this means: A service means work that you provide to another person. Housecleaning, doing chores, washing cars are all services. Think about things that you can do well, and decide if you'd be happy helping another person in this way.
Ways to make it successful: Make sure you price your service fairly. For example, if you charge $1 to wash a car, but it takes you 4 hours to complete the job, plus the cost of the soap, you won't make any money.
Unique Twist 1: So far, the best twist on this is my young neighbor's "Anything For Three Bucks" business. A few people offered him $3 to do things like paint an entire garage, or steal his older brother's drum-sticks so he couldn't play his drums anymore, but our young neighbor rightly turned those offers down.
IDEA: Turn a hobby into a business
What this means: If you have a passtime that you enjoy, like gardening or working with computers, you might be able to turn your hobby into a business. Think about ways you might be able to teach or help someone who is interested in your hobby, or how you might sell the results of your hobby. For example, if you know how to set up Skype, you might be able to instruct someone else in how to do it.
Ways to make it successful: Spread the word about your hobby, tell neighbors and friends what your plans are. Find out who is interested in your hobby.
Unique Twist 1: If you like making jewelry, consider selling what you make to friends and let them know that you are interested in selling more. They might be able to put you in touch with others who want to buy jewelry, or they might be able to help you set up a table at a craft fair.
Remember, Safety First
As you get started with your business idea, remember to think about how you will stay safe while out in public. Always go over your plans with a parent or guardian and talk about who will be with you, how you will handle money, and what some of the risks might be regarding conducting a business activity. A trusted adult may be able to discuss with you possible safety scenarios that you had not thought of.