I started my first business when I was 19. Since then, I’ve learned a ton about business, startups, and entrepreneurship.
I learned one particular major lesson at an early age. There are certain types of businesses that are geared towards the younger crowd.
This means that being young, it’s going to be easy for you to succeed in certain industries and hard in other markets.
- You don’t have much experience
- You don’t have much money
Think of it this way… Elon Musk couldn’t have started SpaceX when he was 18 – 21. There’s just no way. He had to first start a few internet companies before he tackled the big monster that is space exploration.
I wish that I had a mentor and guide when I got started, but I didn’t. If there’s one takeaway that you get from this article, it should be this… reach out!!
I’m an actual human being and I LOVE talking with other entrepreneurs. Don’t be a stranger.
Let’s first talk about some of the common business models and then at the end of this article, I’ll list out some profitable business ideas.
1. Internet Marketing
The reason that there are SO MANY young internet marketers is that there you can start an online business with relatively few resources. You don’t need a lot of money and you don’t need any kind of job title or certification.
Literally, anyone out there can go and start a blog, start a niche site, or start teaching people online. You just have to be willing to put in the work. You have to take the time to get educated. Reading blogs like this one is a good place to start.
I started my first professional blog in college at age 21. I went full-time shortly after. It isn’t rocket science guys.
This area is MY speciality. I can show you how to set up a core content resource, like a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel, and use it to make money online. You don’t need money to get started. You just need to be willing to work hard.
You can make money from:
2. Software Development
What’s the next field where you see lots of young guys making bank? Programming!
You can be a teenager making over $50k per year as a web or mobile app developer. It’s absolutely nuts.
You know what’s even more crazy? You can launch apps and websites that make money with your skills. I had a friend that I grew up with who created a game server tracking website. It generated substantial cash flows each month. He was younger than me!
I probably don’t have to mention these big-name tech entrepreneurs, but just think of people like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Evan Spiegel, and Sean Parker. They all started when they were very young.
The easiest way to make money in this field is to build websites and apps for business clients. I actually built my first website for a client in 9th grade.
If you don’t know how to program, but have a great mind for logic and math, take a programming class. You also don’t have to be a math wiz kid. Front-end developers and designers are also in demand.
This means that if you have artistic abilities, or absolutely LOVE design, this could be a great field to explore.
Wanna know something cool?
Great companies also don’t care where you went to school if you want to be a software developer. They just want to see the things you’ve built and the projects you’ve worked on.
3. Sales and Selling
This is the next biggest way that young entrepreneurs make a killing both in person and online. If you know how to sell, you’ll never go without income.
Selling online is a bit different than selling in person, but a lot of the core fundamentals are the same. You must convince the prospect of the value of your product or services. This could also be the products or services of other people.
You don’t need a degree to go into sales. You don’t need any experience.
What you do need is strong commitment to learning. You need to learn how to communicate effectively, understand psychology, and of course, persuasion.
Gary Vaynerchuk talks a lot about selling and shows you how young people can easily get started on websites like eBay by re-selling products. You can also sell products on Amazon or set up your own online store using one of these tools.
The reason that so many young entrepreneurs are making a KILLING in this area is because there is very little barrier to entry.
Business Ideas For Young Entrepreneurs
Ideas don’t matter. Execution is key. The only thing that matters is what you do with your time. You can have the best idea in the world, but if you can’t actually make it happen, it’s meaningless.
- Social Media Marketing Agency. Teach local businesses how to use Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram, or other apps. You can get paid on a percentage basis based on sales or other metrics. You can then use their testimonial to get paid clients.
- Software Expert Business. Learn how to use a difficult software tool really well. It could be Infusion Soft, iMovie, Garageband, QuickBooks, Salesforce, etc. Then, offer to take over all of the workflow for a business that uses that software. This is why “shopify experts,” “wordpress experts” exist. There are even experts centered around tasks like podcast editing.
- Labor Arbitrage. This is a fancy name for basically finding people who are willing to work for $10/hour and clients that are willing to pay $20/hour. One example of this is the transcription business. You hire workers to transcribe a podcast and you make a profit off of their labor.
- Buying and selling online assets. One way to make a quick buck is to build up an online asset, like a blog, that gets relevant or meaningful traffic. You can then identify someone in the same industry that runs a larger business and would benefit from owning your asset. Then, just sell the asset! If you’re generating $500 per month in revenue, you could sell that asset for $6,000.
- Service-oriented business. This is probably the most common idea that I see on college campuses. It could be a cleaning service, laundry service, or another form of service business. In this type of business, you’re exchanging time for money. You’re performing a task that someone else does not want to perform.
- Drop Shipping. Drop shipping is an ecommerce business model that requires little to no monetary investment. You don’t need to hold large blocks of inventory. When someone buys your product, you simply will have that product shipped to them from the manufacturer. You could sell something on your campus or online.
- Campus Representative. Ever see those ads for “campus representatives?” Instead of taking that job, why not just set up a local marketing company that is designed to help brands reach out to the students of your college.
- Gift packages. If you’re on a college campus, you have a lot of resources available to you. Among those resources are the PARENTS of the students. Why not make it easy for the parents to show their love by buying their kids a gift package around key holidays or events?
- Filming and media production. If you can get the cash together to buy a high quality camera, then you can use that asset in a variety of ways. You can film marketing videos for local businesses, rent out the equipment, or even help with student projects. All you need to know is how to use the equipment!
As you can see, there are a lot of ways that you can make money as a young entrepreneur. The thing that’s going to set you apart is your commitment level.
If you are truly committed to being successful in business, eventually, you will be. It’s almost guaranteed, as long as you don’t do anything stupid.
Feel free to reach out to me and good luck on your journey!