This is a guest post by Thomas Walker.
“Get A JOB!”
If you haven’t heard these words yet, you will soon. Fortunately for you there are plenty of businesses you can run from the comfort of your own home, that aren’t nearly as bad as flipping burgers. Each one of these “jobs” utilize different abilities, so not everyone can do them, but if you have any of the prerequisite skills, each one can be fun and rewarding in their own ways.
Each one requires a fair amount of networking in some way or another, but also leave room for serious growth are great possible career paths for you down the road.
If you want even more business ideas, check out 100+ Business Ideas for Young Entrepreneurs.
Prerequisite: Artistic Ability
Tee shirts are a staple in most people’s wardrobe. They’ve been around for a long time and aren’t going away any time soon. Fortunately, if you’re an artist, you can get into the tee shirt making business for little to no cost. All you need is a screen press, mod podge, and press ink. Oh yeah and an artistic eye. Once you’ve made a few tee shirts, you can sell them at your school store (if you have one), the cafeteria (if you don’t), online, or within your community.
Making tee shirts is a very marketable skill to have. Network with local bands, businesses, or anyone else you can think of who could benefit from having custom tee-shirts.
Estimated Startup Cost: $11.50 + cost of tee shirts
With the explosive growth of the Internet it has become vital for every business to have an online presence. If you know how to read and write then learning how to make a website from scratch shouldn’t be that hard. Take a trip to the library, pick up Creating web pages for Dummies, and spend some time to learn basic code.
Don’t want to take the time to learn code? Programs like Joomla and Drupal are available to you for free and are fairly easy to use. Couple that with a free program called Gimp (free photo shop, basically) and you’ll be able to create beautiful custom pages in no time.
Tell someone you know how to make a website and they’ll start thinking of all the different people they know who could use one. Again, bands and local businesses are a great place to start to build up your portfolio. Once you’ve made a few websites for other people, make sure to build your own. Get some free business cards printed up that have all your contact information. Now you look slick AND you can make a cool website.
Estimated Startup Cost: $0!
Video Production Service
Prerequisites: Video Camera, Creative Mind
If you have a video camera, decent editing software, and free time on your hands, you can start doing video production. Talk to the director of your drama department and see if they’ll let you tape the upcoming school play. The problem with this is most parents will do it for free. If you can convince your parents to help you out and get a couple of cheap video cameras you will be able to set up multiple angles and edit everything together later. Most computers have the ability to burn DVD’s, so you can get away with charging $25 per DVD and you’ll be able to recoup your costs in no time.
Once you’ve done this for your drama department, network with community theaters and local bands (are you noticing a trend here). There are also plenty of online video competitions that are a great way to gain exposure in the online world.
Some things to remember when starting video production:
- Play to your equipment’s strengths.
- Invest lots of time in becoming a good editor (even the grainiest of images look 10 million times better if the editing is well done).
- Plan ahead! You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache and money if you go into shoots having at the very least a rough plan of what you’ll be shooting.
Estimated Startup Cost: $200-$600
Computer Repair (hardware)
Prerequisite: Knowing how to take things apart and putting them back together
There are still plenty of people out there who don’t know a motherboard from a stick of ram. Non-computer-savvy people are more likely to buy a brand new computer than replace a part simply because they’re too afraid to “get technical.”
Stay ahead of the curve, pick up a pc hardware book and study it from cover to cover. That way when someone says their computer is “acting up” you’ll be able to have an idea of what the issue could be.
Doing this one on your own can be kind of tricky. Corporate establishments having programs like Geek Squad are going to get a lot more business than you. So you have two options; work for an established business OR offer the same service at a discounted rate. Most people want to deal with a person they know and trust rather than dealing with corporate entities.
Being able to diagnose and fix computer hardware issues will eventually allow you to start building computers from the ground up. Building your own computer is usually a whole lot cheaper, way more customized, and just an all around cool talent.
Estimated Startup Cost: Trip to the library or approx $70 for books
Computer Repair (software)
We’ve all done it. Opened that file that absolutely destroys your computer, turning it from a super computing machine to an over sized paperweight. A pit forms in the middle of your stomach and obscenities start flying. When the computer dies, it feels like a family member has been put to rest, either that, or the battleground of World War III will start in your computer room.
Make the preemptive strike by learning how to combat viruses and spyware. You can find plenty of resources online as well as virus combating books.
Estimated Startup Cost: a trip to the library or approx $70 for books
Prerequisite: Persuasive Writing
Pick a topic, start to write, network with people online who are interested in the subject that you’re writing about. Sounds pretty simple right? It can be. Blogging can be a great way to keep your writing skills fresh, and put into practice all of those things your English teacher keeps telling you about. Become a member of affiliate programs that are related to your blog’s topic and you could start to see the money come in.
The most important thing to remember when you’re blogging is to be interesting. The second you stop being interesting, people stop paying attention. No attention=no money. No money=flipping burgers.
The second most important thing to remember when it comes to blogging is to talk about a very specific subject. There are millions of blogs out there, if you are really passionate about something very little people know about, tell the world. Then leave comments on other people’s blogs that are related and try and draw some attention that way. Another great way to gain exposure in blogging is to guest blog for other people’s websites (thanks Nick for letting me write for you!)
Pro-tip: Blogging and Twitter go hand in hand. Use Twitter’s search feature to find other people who are talking about something similar and engage in conversation with them. Also, use services like Blogger or WordPress to get your blog started.
Estimated Startup Cost: Free but it takes some time to gain traction
Prerequisite: Knowing how to use the Internet without being a jerk
This one has to be my favorite because this is what I do.
There are a lot of misconceptions about Internet marketing and how to go about it. The only thing an Internet marketer does that other people do not is talk about the company they work for/with in a positive light and to people who are interested.
This means if you’re using Facebook to spread the latest gossip about who is dating who, please stop.
Talk to the usual suspects (local businesses that you really like, bands, etc) and let them know how passionate you are about them. Ask them if they would mind if you started a Facebook page for them and ran it. Most businesses will probably be apprehensive at first but let them know that there are over 215 million people on Facebook, how many people there are in your local network, and how many other people you know would be more than happy to become a fan on Facebook. Let them know that this is a great way to make announcements, offer deals, and have a group of people who will want to know what’s going on.
Of course, Facebook isn’t the beginning or end of internet marketing but a great place for you to start. There are plenty of resources available online to help get you started. Just search Google, you’re sure to find something.
Estimated Startup Cost: Again, free but it takes some time
Thank you so much for reading! If you made it this far than you’re awesome and hopefully you’ll be able to take one of these ideas and run with it.
Is there one that I missed? Start a business that is entirely unrelated to the one’s I mentioned here? Leave it in the comments below. The more suggestions the better.
Photo by: fd