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Start It Up: The Complete Teen Business Guide to Turning Your Passions Into Pay


Start It Up: The Complete Teen Business Guide to Turning Your Passions Into Pay Cover




Chapter 1: Entrepreneurial You

If youand#8217;re like most teenagers, youand#8217;re being pulled in a million directions.

Between keeping up your grades, joining clubs to make your college apps

look good, and holding down a job so you can actually afford to do the fun

stuff, it can be a bit much. But what if you could combine a couple of those

things and make money by doing what makes you happy? And even better,

never again have to work at a clothing store at the mall or while away the

hours serving fries at the fast food spot on the corner. What if, instead, you

could design your own brilliant fall line of clothing and sell it to your

classmates? Or bake your world-famous chocolate chip cookies for a profit

instead of giving them to your freeloading friends for nothing? Turns out

you canand#8212;by becoming an entrepreneur.

What Is an Entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is basically someone who comes up with a great idea for a business

and then makes it happen.

The recipe is simple:

1. Find something you love to do.

2. Figure out how to make money on it.

3. Work hard to pull it off.

Thereand#8217;s no better time than the present to start your own business. And the

best part is that the skills youand#8217;ll learn from running your own company

could keep you from ever having to work a 9 to 5.

Starting a business means taking notesand#8212;lots of them. So as you read, have a

notebook or computer nearby. Every time you see this iconand#160;and#160; , you need to take some

notes or do some brainstorming. The info you jot down is essential to shaping your

vision and helping you to create a business plan (more about that in Chapter 3).

Are You an Entrepreneur?

First thingand#8217;s first: Do you have what it takes to run your own business? There are as

many different types of entrepreneurs as there are companies, and part of the fun of

doing your own thing is figuring out what methods work best for you. Listed here

are ten traits that many successful entrepreneurs share. The more of them you

possess, the easier things will be in the beginning. If youand#8217;re short on these qualities

but still want to have your own business, know that owning a business can actually

teach you some of these things.

and#160;You have a passion. Whether itand#8217;s making your own jewelry, cutting hair,

playing video games, working on old cars, or something else completely, thereand#8217;s at

least one thing you love to do in your free time. The most successful entrepreneurs

find a way to do what they love for cash so they actually enjoy their work.

and#160;Youand#8217;re not afraid of hard work.and#160; Yeah, it might suck a little, but you know that

if you dig in, you can accomplish any task, whether itand#8217;s banging out an essay for

English class or getting up at 5 am each and every day for swim team practice. The

ability to work hard will help you handle all the difficult things that can come with

starting a company.and#160;

and#160;You have an independent spirit. While you probably work well in groups, you

also thrive when working alone. No matter how many people eventually join your

staff, there will be plenty of things that you have to handle yourself, which might

mean spending late nights designing websites in your room after you finish your

homework. But thatand#8217;s cool because you enjoy the feeling of completing a task on

your own.and#160;

and#160;Youand#8217;re good at planning. You are excellent at setting goals and figuring out the

steps you need to take to get there. At school, you know that turning in an A+ paper

means picking a topic, researching it, writing it, and proofreading it. So you start two

weeks before the due date and put yourself on a step-by-step schedule to get it all

done in time. Youand#8217;ll use this skill to plan all the specifics of your company.

and#160;You manage money well. Youand#8217;re not rich by any stretch, but you do know

how to stretch a dollar. When you get $50 in a birthday card, you spend half and

save the rest, rather than blowing it all on video games and who knows what. Plus,

you know how to get the most for each buck you do decide to spend, so youand#8217;ll be

great at handling your companyand#8217;s finances and reinvesting in your business.

and#160;Youand#8217;re a good communicator. You enjoy (at least somewhat) talking to other

peopleand#8212;in person, on the phone, or onlineand#8212;and youand#8217;re pretty good at getting your

point across in writing, too.

Running a company means maintaining open lines of communication with people,

whether itand#8217;s with your employees and clients or potential customers and investors,

so itand#8217;s important that you feel comfortable doing that.and#160;

and#160;You multitask with ease. If juggling a million things effortlessly were an

Olympic sport, youand#8217;d win the gold. Meet with your chemistry study group? OK. Load

the dishwasher? No problem. Talk your friend through a family crisis? Youand#8217;re all

over it. You can do it all and do it all well. And thatand#8217;s a good thing because running a

business means that youand#8217;ll have a lot of things to manage each day.

and#160;You can ask for help. While youand#8217;re quite capable of making things happen on

your own, youand#8217;re good at recognizing when you need to bring in the reinforcements,

and youand#8217;re not afraid to raise your hand for assistance. Being able to lean on your

parents and friends will help you get around the barriers that will inevitably pop up

on your road to success.

and#160;Youand#8217;re not too modest. You know how to talk up yourself and your pursuits

when the time is right. That doesnand#8217;t mean youand#8217;re an arrogant jerkand#8212;that wonand#8217;t get

you anywhere. But whether itand#8217;s in a scholarship essay or on a phone call with your

rich aunt, you can speak up about what makes you amazing when it counts most.

This quality will help you tell prospective investors and clients why they need to

give you their money and would-be staffers why they should work for you. No one

will know just how great your product or service is if you donand#8217;t tell them.

and#160;You know how to take charge. You donand#8217;t automatically have to be in charge of

every group project at school or run your crew of friends, but if youand#8217;re put at the

helm of something, you have the uncanny ability to take the lead and bring people

together. You rock at inspiring others to work toward a common goal, and that will

be key in gathering support for your company and managing a staff, should you

choose to hire one.

Whatand#8217;s Your Goal?

People have different reasons for starting businesses. Whatand#8217;s yours? Figuring out

exactly why you want to start your own business will go a long way toward making

it happen. Do you want to earn enough money to pay for college? Just want to clear

enough cash to finance your video game habit? Or are your goals more career

oriented? Perhaps you hope to get experience rebuilding computer systems so you

can work for a major tech company as an adult or you think that starting a

photography business now, even if you donand#8217;t make big bucks, will help you secure a

great gig down the line. Or maybe you need a creative outlet to channel all the

thoughts bouncing around in your head or you see a need that you can fill.

High school friends Josh Abramson and Ricky Van Veen created CollegeHumor

.com in 1999 because they wanted an easy way to keep track of all the funny

pictures and videos their friends were sending each other while everyone was away

at college. Their site became one of the top comedy websites on the internet, and

they went on to launch two MTV shows and various other related businesses. Pull

out your notebookand#160; and brainstorm all the things youand#8217;d like to gain from running

your own company. Later on, in chapters 6 and 9, youand#8217;ll revisit these notes to see if

youand#8217;re on track.

Whatand#8217;s in It for You?

Running your own businessand#8212;as opposed to working for someone elseand#8212;can be

challenging, but it has amazing rewards. Here is a short list.

and#8226;and#160;More independence. Running a business is really about running your life.

Most teenagers spend a good portion of their time being told what to do by

everyone they knowand#8212;parents, teachers, coachesand#8212;but when you run your

own business, youand#8217;re the boss. You set your hours, you call the shots.

and#8226;and#160;More money. Who doesnand#8217;t want more cash? When you have your own

business, you have the potential to make more money than at a minimum

wage job because you price your product and you decide how many hours

you want to work. So you can take on as many clients as you can fit around all

your other stuff to make the extra cash to, say, download a ton of music.

and#8226;and#160;More fun. Rather than suffering through abuse from the shin-kickers at the

shoe store and coming home smelling like synthetic leather, you can make

money doing what you actually enjoy. Why waste time doing something you

hate just to bring home a paycheck?

and#8226;and#160;More experience. Owning a business is an amazing way to prepare for your

future. For instance, cutting your friendsand#8217; hair after school will get you

ready to run your own salon. And even if you decide to do something

completely different after college, the skills that you develop while

managing a companyand#8212;project supervision, marketing, dealing with

financesand#8212;will help you succeed in any field.

What Will Make It Tough

Of course, having your own business isnand#8217;t all fun and games. It does come with some

obstacles, especially for young people. Here are a few of them.

and#8226;and#160;It can be hard to find the time to get it started. Youand#8217;re probably already super

busy. Starting and running a business takes no small amount of time. Youand#8217;ll

have to adjust your schedule to make it work. But hey! If you can squeeze in

15 hours slinging smoothies at the mall every week, you can use that time to

work on your own stuff.

and#8226;and#160;You might need help. Sometimes you might have to go to the adults

in your life and ask them to help you open a bank account, loan you money,

or assist you with legal documents that you canand#8217;t file unless youand#8217;re over 18. It

might be a little annoying that you canand#8217;t do it all on your own, but asking for

help isalso a great way to get your parents involved in your life (or at least

thatand#8217;s what you should tell them when youand#8217;re pleading for a fifty).

and#8226;and#160;Old people donand#8217;t always trust young people. Because of your age, there is

always going to be someone who doesnand#8217;t take you as seriously as he should.

Itand#8217;s not a reflection of your skill or ability; it just means you have to work a

little harder to get some people to patronize your business. And if there are

adultsand#8212;or even people your own ageand#8212;who refuse to do business with you,

forget about them. There are other potential customers out there just waiting

to give you their money. Concentrate on building your product, and the

people who were initially down on you may even come around.

and#8226;and#160;You could be broke for a little while. While youand#8217;ll get a paycheck after flipping

burgers for a week or two, it could take months before you see a profit from

your business grilling burgers for outdoor events. Hopefully, your parents

will be so proud of you for taking initiative that theyand#8217;ll help you out until you

start raking it in. If not, make sure to save up some money before taking the


Figuring Out Your Biz

As you consider what kind of business you want to start, you should first ask

yourself: and#8220;How can I get people to pay me to do the things I love to do?and#8221; The best

way to figure that out is to identify those things. Start now by writing downand#160;and#160;and#160; all of

the things you are passionate about.

Now look at your list. Which of those things do people really need? You may need to

be creative in your thinking. For instance, you might be the fastest texter around,

but thatand#8217;s not going to make you any money. However, you might be able to work as

a freelance blogger or a typist. And while youand#8217;ll never get paid for petting the dogs at

the park, you can totally start a business walking them for your busy neighbors.

Now go back to your list and, next to each passion, jot down an idea or two of how it

might make you money. As long as you can see someone digging crumpled dollar

bills out of their jeans and handing them over, youand#8217;re on the right track.

Quiz! Finding Your Niche

Already got an idea for the company you want to start? Great! If you need a little help

figuring out what type of business is right for you, take this quiz.

and#160;1. Itand#8217;s time to join a homecoming committee. You pick:

and#160;and#160; a. Decorations. You canand#8217;t wait to turn the gym into a winter wonderland!

and#160;and#160; b. Cleanup. You like to put stuff back in order.

and#160;and#160;c. Entertainment. You can make the schooland#8217;s sound system sound like Madison Square Gardenand#8217;s.

and#160;and#160;d. Setup. You can build the platform for the homecoming court with your eyes closed.

and#160;2. Itand#8217;s Saturday, and you finally have time to hang out. You:

and#160;and#160;a. Grab your camera and hit the park to look for something Facebook worthy.

and#160;and#160;b. Help your friend plan a killer date for later that night.

and#160;and#160;c. Set up the new HDTV you picked out for your family.

and#160;and#160;d.and#160; Go to the gym and lift weights, enjoying the burn.

and#160;3. Your dad is yelling for your help. He wants you to:

and#160;and#160;a. Pick out a tie to go with his outfit; you always know which colors pop best.

and#160;and#160;b.and#160; Babysit your little sister; who always has so much fun with you.

and#160;and#160;c. Help him program the DVR; youand#8217;re the only one who gets it.

and#160;and#160;d. Put together the new bookcase since youand#8217;re so good with your hands.

and#160;4. When you were little, your favorite toy was a:

and#160;and#160;a.and#160; Plastic microphone. You couldnand#8217;t wait to sing in sold-out venues.

and#160;and#160;b.and#160; Doll-sized stethoscope. Fixing your stuffed animalsand#8217; boo-boos made you feel good.

and#160;and#160;c. Microscope. You loved the idea of this whole other world that you couldnand#8217;t see without a slide.

and#160;and#160;d. Kickball. Even then, you liked to be in constant motion.

and#160;5. Your favorite cell phone app is called:

and#160;and#160;a. Artistand#8217;s Touch. It lets you turn your pics into a work of art.

and#160;and#160;b.and#160; LifeTimer. It helps you keep up with all of your volunteer commitments.

and#160;and#160;c.and#160; Code Sleuth. On the off chance that you donand#8217;t know what a particular Mac error code means, this app fills you in.

and#160;and#160;d.and#160; Virtual Trainer. You can get your workout on anywhere.

and#160;6. If there were a book about your life, it would be called:

and#160;and#160;a. Fabulous! A Creative Mind is a Wonderful Thing to Flaunt

and#160;and#160;b.and#160; Help! The Story of the Teen Who Loved to Take Care of People

and#160;and#160;c. Ping! A Digital Life is a Life Well-Lived

and#160;and#160;d. Move! How Far I Got by Refusing to Stand Still

and#160;7.and#160; Your favorite class is:

and#160;and#160;a. Drama. You enjoy creating new characters every day.

and#160;and#160;b. Social studies. You love to learn about the world and how we can make it a better place.

and#160;and#160;c. Computer lab. You feel like youand#8217;re actually learning something!

and#160;and#160;d. Wood shop. You love showing the class how itand#8217;s really done.

and#160;8.and#160; In your favorite daydream, you are:

and#160;and#160;a.and#160; Moving the world with your art.

and#160;and#160;b.and#160; Winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

and#160;and#160;c.and#160; Proving that life exists on Mars.

and#160;and#160;d. Completing construction on the countryand#8217;s tallest building.

and#160;9.and#160; Your favorite color is:

and#160;and#160;a.and#160; Wait, do you have to pick just one?

and#160;and#160;b.and#160; Green. Itand#8217;s just so soothing and mellow.

and#160;and#160;c.and#160; Gunmetal gray, just like all your gear.

and#160;and#160;d.and#160; Black or white. Theyand#8217;re straightforward.

and#160;10. When your parents want to do something special for you, they:

and#160;and#160;a.and#160; Pass you the credit card and let you go crazy at the art supply store.

and#160;and#160;b.and#160; Make a donation in your name to your fave charity.

and#160;and#160;c.and#160; Give you the cash to update your operating system.

and#160;and#160;d. Give you free rein to track down the source of that grinding sound under the hood.

If you got mostly As, youand#8217;re ...

The Creator

Forget marching to the beat of your own drum: Youand#8217;re simultaneously playing the

drum, wearing a uniform you designed yourself, singing your own lyrics, and taking

pictures of your journey. Whether you deal in words, beats, colors, fabrics, or

something no one else has ever dabbled in before, your creativity turns everything

you touch into a work of art. You find inspiration in everything, and you know how

to use it. You can channel your love of all things artsy by considering a business in:

Clothing design. Do you make one-of-a-kind threads? Stop being stingy and share

your designs with the masses.

Magazine publishing. Are you in love with the written word? Put together your own

online zine and tell the world about your fondness for indie movies or old school


Photography. Have you got an eye for a great picture? Be the official photographer

at your friendsand#8217; b-day parties and get a contract to take shots at school football


Jewelry making. Is everyone always asking where you get your funky earrings?

Create a few more pairs and make a killing.

Comic book creation. If you have a knack for writing and drawing, creating graphic

and#160;novels could be your thing.

Room decorating. Everybody knows that your room is the most fabulous one in the

neighborhood. Bring your knack for decorating to your classmatesand#8217; abodes.

Card design. Do you never see just the right card at the store? Create your own line

and sell them online and at school.

Graphic design. Put your artistic talent to good use and create flyers and posters for

the bands in your school.

Baking. Your red velvet cupcakes are too good to keep all to yourself. Bake them for

your friendsand#8217; parties and family functions.

DJing. Turn a buck off your hot iPod playlists; no one should enjoy all that musical

goodness for free!

If you got mostly Bs, youand#8217;re ...

The Helper

Calling you a and#8220;people personand#8221; doesnand#8217;t do you justice. Youand#8217;re a rockstar when it

comes to assessing the needs of others and finding ways to assist, and the people in

your sphere trust you with their lives. Your spot-on advice is invaluable to those

around you. So whether someone is asking how to plan an amazing birthday party

or how to get to the other side of an argument with their BFF, they know you can

help. It only makes sense to build a company that incorporates aspects of service.

You should consider a business in:

Babysitting. Why should your parents get to keep all of your yummy mealand#8211;making,

ankle biterand#8211;taming babysitting skills for themselves?

Hair styling. Your friends benefit from your haircutting skills. Why wouldnand#8217;t

everyone else?

Sickie services. Who makes better chicken noodle soup than you? No one! Deliver

homemade soupand#8212;and DVDs, books, and cough medicineand#8212;to sick people in your


Tutoring. Help your classmates ace their finals or teach kids at the elementary

school how to navigate the peril that is Miss Schumakerand#8217;s fifth grade English class.

House sitting. Water the plants, take care of pets, and collect the mail when your

neighbors are away.

Closet organizing. Use your Zen gift to declutter your friendsand#8217; spaces.

Wardrobe stylist. You always look like you just walked off a runway;

help your less stylish peers get their game up.

Party planning. Your birthday party is consistently the most ridiculous one of the

year. Spread the love!

Errand running. Do the old and infirm in your area a favor; run their errands and

handle their shopping when they canand#8217;t.

Pet walking. From little dogs that look like cats to the occasional iguana, you can

walk them or care for them when the owners are too busy.

If you got mostly Cs, youand#8217;re ...

The Techie

You can take a complicated concept like molecular physics and break it down like a

hip-hop remix. Your web page has the hottest layout this side of the Mississippi

(from scratch, none of that cut-and-paste stuff for you), and youand#8217;re both a Mac and a

PC. So itand#8217;s no surprise that when the adults in your life need help putting music on

their iPods or your best friend needs the code to unlock unlimited lives on the latest

hot Xbox 360 game, youand#8217;re the one they call. Use your technical prowess to make

your fortune and consider a business in:

Website creation. Use videos and blogs to design amazing websites for your friendsand#8217;

bands, zines, and photography galleries.

Video editing. Help your friends

turn their random video moments into viral masterpieces.

Computer repair. Replacing hard drives and adding memory may

freak other folks out, but itand#8217;s all in an afternoonand#8217;s play for you.

Video game tournaments. Organize contests for your die-hard gaming friends and

charge an entry fee.

Software installation. Upgrade operating systems for people with outdated

computersand#8212;and computer skills.

Tech lending library. You buy the hot games, CDs, and DVDs as soon as they hit the

market. Lend them out for a fee and recoup your investment.

Software tutorials. Teach kids and grandpas to use word-processing programs and

photo-editing software.

Data backup. People always say theyand#8217;re going to back up their data, but no one does.

Do it for themand#8212;and charge a fee.

System installation. Youand#8217;ve never seen a sound system, car radio, or intercom you

couldnand#8217;t install.

Equipment rental and sales. You have more computer mice and RCA cables than you

know what to do with. Rent them out (or sell them) and rake in the dough.

If you got mostly Ds, youand#8217;re ...

The Handy One

Youand#8217;re no stranger to hard work, and youand#8217;re happiest when youand#8217;re using your hands.

It started even before wood shop; you were the kid who built a fort in the backyard

with stuff scavenged from the garage. If your uncle is moving, he knows you will

happily help out. And that entertainment center your mom bought that came in a

million pieces? Thatand#8217;s all you. You love seeing the concrete results of your labor.

Even if youand#8217;re not amazing at every sport, it just feels good to move your body every

day, and youand#8217;re not afraid to break a sweat or get a little dirty to do it. Itand#8217;ll be easy to

start a business that capitalizes on being physical. You should consider a business


Landscaping: You love being outdoors, and youand#8217;ve been doing yard work your whole

life. Take this show on the road.

Moving service: You do it for your loved ones; why not get paid for schlepping

around all those boxes? (Remember: and#8220;Thank-you pizzaand#8221; doesnand#8217;t count as pay!)

Personal training: Perfect form in the gym comes easy to you. Help your less toned

friends get it.

Furniture assembly: Put together countless pieces of Scandinavian-made fake wood

using one little Allen wrench. No problem.

Personal coaching: Use your crazy football skills to help young folks make the teams

at their schools.

Snow removal: Hat? Check. Gloves? Check. Shovel? Check! Youand#8217;re ready

to go clear some walks and dig out some cars for cash.

Cleaning service: You have an affinity for making stuff sparkle. Put

it to good use.

Car repair: You know youand#8217;re good with cars, so make your friends cough up some

dough when you get their clunkers running.

House painting: Inside or out, give you a bucket of paint, a few rollers and a ladder,

and you can make a space look like new.

Skateboard and bicycle repair: Your skater and BMX friends are always busting their

equipment, but you can put it back together better than it was before.

More Than One Type

If you read all the descriptions, youand#8217;ll notice that there is some overlap among categories. Donand#8217;t be afraid to cross lines. There are no hard rules; just do what will

make you happy. Maybe you got mostly As, but youand#8217;re actually more of a creative

helper. Instead of designing your own clothing line, your best bet might be to help

homeless women get back into the workforce by putting together snazzy interview

outfits for them using clothing donations and thrift store finds. Or maybe the quiz

says you should be a helper because itand#8217;s something youand#8217;re good at, but youand#8217;d really

rather run video game tournaments. Do it! (Just because youand#8217;re good with your little

siblings doesnand#8217;t mean you have to devote your career to changing diapers.)

Before we go any further, take a second to cement the idea for your company. Then,

write downand#160;and#160;and#160; your company concept. Be as specific as possible; youand#8217;ll be referring to

it throughout the book.


Product Details

Rankin, Kenrya
Zest Books
Naasel, Kenrya R.
Takada, Eriko
Business & Economics
Children s-Money
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 7
8 x 7 in 0.69 lb
Age Level:
from 12

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