Children are often idealistic and imaginative, two characteristics that tend to subside with age. Some may try to lecture these qualities out of young minds, pushing facts and numbers and stunting creative growth. But those who stay true to this mindset have a unique way of seeing life, which has its perks in the business world.
Partnered with the life experience and knowledge of their parents, kids can make great business partners, bringing generational and technological insight to the table. Here are 12 ideas for businesses you can start with your children. [See Related Story: 9 Amazing (Very) Young Entrepreneurs]
1. Interior design
While interior design is more than just placing pillows on couches and choosing rugs that complement hardwood floors, your children's imaginations can help you think outside of the box when remodeling or decorating spaces. If you have a knack for design, let your kids inspire you to take risks and work with various color schemes. Start a small business or even flip houses with your design skills and the help of young minds.
2. Subscription box service
Choose a theme that's special to your family. Are you bookworms? Maybe your kids are into knitting? Do you have a shared love for sweets? Whatever your passion, set up a site and brainstorm unique ideas for monthly (or seasonal) boxes for your target consumers. Your children can help with the creative aspects of the business, like packing the supplies and arranging them for presentation, or coming up with ideas for content.
3. Party planning
What better candidates for a party planning crew than kids and teens? They know how to have a good time, are typically more creative than adults and are aware of the most recent trends. Team up with your little ones to plan unforgettable events for clients.
4. Laundry service
Laundry is often a familial duty in households. Kids help their parents wash, dry, fold and sort clothing, learning about when to use certain water temperatures and folding techniques. If you'd like to make a profit, you can turn this chore into a service, doing others' laundry for them while instilling responsibility in your children.
If your teen excels in a specific subject or has exceptional grades in all subjects, encourage them to assist those in need of academic help through tutoring services. Your child can get paid for their knowledge and time spent helping others learn a skill or subject matter. This type of business is scalable, and live videoconferencing and electronic payments can bring your child's skills online as well.
6. Social media consultant
Kids are absorbing tons of social media knowledge at a young age. They're becoming YouTube and Instagram stars with millions of followers for just being themselves. This could be invaluable knowledge for small businesses in your area. Encourage your child to apply their understanding of social platforms to consult for local shops and restaurants.
As long as houses come with lawns and outdoor maintenance, there will be a need for landscapers. These jobs can be as simple as mowing the lawn or trimming trees, and if your child finds they have an eye for landscaping, their experience can open doors to college degrees in the field, which can lead to jobs with theme parks or college campuses.
8. Babysitting or dog walking
Technology has brought traditional job choices for teens into the modern age. Sites like Sittercity, Care.com and Rover.com have made it easy for people to hire and pay child or pet sitters. Encourage your child to gain some experience by babysitting for family members or neighbors. After they've gotten some experience, they can set up an online account to allow them to truly grow their business in an accessible way.
9. Etsy shop owner
Sites like Etsy have transformed the way crafters bring their talent to the world. They no longer have to rely on fairs and events to show off their creations; instead, they can sell their products online to customers around the world. If your child has a knack for crafting and creativity, Etsy may offer a great business opportunity. Etsy has a comprehensive guide on fees and owning your own business, along with guidelines for minors.
10. Cooking and baking
Bringing your child's passion for cooking or baking to the world can prove to be fruitful. There are competition shows on Food Network dedicated to the skills of young teens, as well as Shark Tank entrepreneurs who have used their baking skills to satisfy the palates of people and dogs alike. Depending on your home state's regulations, it could be fairly simple for you and your child to start a home catering or bakery business.
11. Nonprofit organization
Your child's business doesn't need to check off the for-profit box. If you and your child are passionate about a social cause, starting a nonprofit charity may be a great way to encourage that passion and make a difference. There are hundreds of ways to raise money for those in need. Sit down with your child and have a conversation about how to raise money for the cause. It is also a great opportunity to teach your child about the 501(c)(3) tax exemption and how it works.
12. Secondhand store
Public interest in upcycling and recycling clothing and other items has led to the success of stores such as ReStore and vintage clothing shops. Collect unwanted items from neighbors, friends and family members, restore items to better quality, and sell them for fair prices. It's a great way to be green and make some money from previously unwanted items.
Whatever new opportunity you and your child choose, this is a great time to teach the importance of work-life balance, responsibility and the importance of taxes. Encourage your young entrepreneurs to try their best and seek success with their new business. Even if it doesn't turn out as planned, you can show them that adversity is a part of life, and that failure is an opportunity to retool an idea or open a door to a new opportunity.
Additional reporting by Shannon Gausepohl.