business ideas for teens

The Modern-Day Lemonade Stand: Business Ideas for Teens

What is the modern-day lemonade stand? 

Back in the day, if you were a young person who wanted to start a small business and earn a little extra money you might set up a lemonade stand, deliver a newspaper, or start a lawn care business.  

Each of these might have taught you an important lesson. The lemonade stand would teach you about customer service. Delivering a newspaper would teach you about punctuality. Cutting lawns would teach you manual labor sucks.

In my opinion, starting those types of businesses today would not give you the best foundation to be a successful entrepreneur. 


First off a majority of people do their shopping online.

Think about it.

If you wanted to find a doctor’s office near you, what do you do? You Google it. 

Want to buy a new tv? Look for it on Amazon.

Looking for a cheap bike? Hit up Facebook marketplace.

The best foundation for a teenage entrepreneur is knowing how to stand out in a sea of competitors on the online web.

So many entrepreneurs (even with a profitable business) face that problem. They offer a great product but don’t get enough customers to take them to that next level.

That’s why they pay someone like me tens of thousands of dollars to help them reach their customers. 

If you want to have a good head start in entrepreneurship, knowing how to start an online business AND tap into the search traffic will put you ahead of everyone else and save you thousands of dollars down the road, because trust me when I tell you this, marketing is expensive. 

That is what this article is about.

I will not only give you the framework of coming up with a small business idea but also teach you how to attract customers as well. So if you’re a young entrepreneur who wants to make good money and maximize your earning potential or a parent who simply wants to learn how to come up with business ideas for teens with low startup costs, then this article is for you.

How to Come up With a Business Idea

To start this journey, let’s come up with a business idea. 

How do we do that?

In general, a good business idea solves a specific problem that people are willing to pay for…

For example, a person might work a job and figure out an easy solution to a difficult task.

They use that solution to create a service or a product that they sell to other people who work in the same industry as them.

The problem with this type of method is that you have to have intricate knowledge of an industry and its practices. 

What if you’re someone who never had a job? How do you come up with a business idea then? 

Use What You Got

An idea is nothing more than a new combination of old elements.

Here are 5 steps to coming up with a business idea.

*Note: Don’t expect to complete this 5 step process in one sitting. It might take a few days.

Step 1. 

Create two lists on a single piece of paper.

  • List 1: Write out your specific talents, hobbies, and skills you possess. It can be anything from arts and crafts, sports, drawing, collecting, etc. 
  • List 2: Write a list of specific online content you like or find interesting. It can be anything from websites, social media accounts, Youtube channels, etc. Basically any content you like to visit on a weekly basis. 

Step 2. 

Now that you have both of your lists, this is where your thinking cap comes on. 

First look at list 2 and start writing down ways how those websites, influencers, social media accounts, might make money. Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself:

  • Do they offer or promote any merchandise to you?
  • Do they ask you to give your email address and send you content?
  • Do they provide discounts on a certain product or service? 

Now, look at your list 1. Start thinking about different ways you could use your skills and talents to sell something in a similar way. 

Start to combine things from each list together and write that down on a new list. Don’t worry about how silly your ideas might seem, just get them down. 

If you are cringing at some of the ideas you’re coming up with, a good trick is to visualize your creativity as a backed-up pipe of water. The first mile of piping is backed up by wastewater. The wastewater must be emptied before the clear water arrives.

Apply this concept to our idea session. Write out every idea that reflexively comes to mind. Instead of being self-critical of these ideas, openly accept them. 

Once the bad ideas are emptied, strong ideas begin to emerge. The reason for this is because your brain will begin to start seeing a pattern of what makes the ideas bad and correct them.  

Step 3. 

You have your giant list of ideas. What’s next? Believe it or not, the best thing to do is take a break for a few days and let the wastewater clear. 

Watch a movie, hang out with your friends, play games, have fun, while your brain subconsciously works out what you want to accomplish. 

Step 4.  


Out of nowhere, the idea will appear. It will come to you when you are least expecting it. It can happen while brushing your teeth, walking your dog, or eating dinner. 

This is the way ideas come: after you have stopped searching for them and they passed through a period of rest and relaxation from the search.

Step 5. 

Now that you have your business idea fleshed out in the world of reality, you might find that it’s not as great as when you first conceived it. Don’t worry, this happens to everyone.

You are going to be patient and practical in seeing it through to the end. This is important! 

Once you set a goal, you must follow through with it. 


If you keep trying to catch the next shiny object, guess what? You’re never going to finish a single project.

So what do you do if you think of something else that’s totally awesome? 

Write it down in your notes so you don’t have to think about it anymore. It will there be there for you in the future. 

7 Low Cost Business Idea for Teen Entrepreneur

Here’s a list of ideas to get you thinking about your first business venture! 

The 3 criteria I tried to hit for this list are; it must be an online business idea, it must be home business ideas only, and it’s a micro business, meaning it’s a low cost business idea.

  • Do you like to draw? Make stickers and sell them on Etsy.
  • Are you good at making bracelets or other arts & crafts? Sell them on Bonanza.
  • Do you have old toys and games? Sell them on platforms like Craiglist.
  • Do you have old clothes you’ve outgrown? Sell them on Poshmark.
  • Know the latest clothing trends? Buy them on clearance and flip them on eBay.
  • Do you dance? Open up a Shopify and sell leotards.
  • Are you a sneakerhead? Buy collectible sneakers and resell them on Stockx.

The online web has provided us a variety of online platforms to sell various types of products and with that comes advantages.

As a business owner, you are not limited to a local business only. Your customers can be from across the country.


Let’s recap what we covered in our teen business idea article:

The important thing to remember about your first business idea is that it’s fun and interesting to YOU.

Why is that important?

You’re going to be working on this for months. You need to enjoy making that extra cash or you’re risking burning yourself out.

So once you come up with a business idea, what’s next?

Your business plan! 

We’re going to cover this in the next article.

Stay. Tuned. 

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!
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Alexander Agyin
Alexander Agyin
6 years ago

it’s a very useful information for me personally

Xolile mgwenya
Xolile mgwenya
6 years ago

Wonderful i enjoyed it

Nikki B
Nikki B
6 years ago

Hi, this post is great! I’m a rising sophomore and am trying to start a business and I want to make it “official” so I can put it on college applications. How can I make my business legitimate? Thank you <3

Dwayne Graves
Dwayne Graves
7 years ago

This content creates a new hope and inspiration with in me. Thanks for sharing article like this. The way you have stated everything above is quite awesome. Keep blogging like this.

Tiasia Taylor
Tiasia Taylor
7 years ago

Thanks soo much!!