School is about to finish, but you still need to find an after-school job, right? You are now doomed to spend every afternoon flipping burgers at the local burger joint. Not necessarily. Many high school and college students are finding that it can be more profitable and definitely more fun to start their own businesses. However, without some ground rules, starting your own business can be a very unsuccessful endeavor.
In order to have your own business, you need to have something to sell. Your source of income can either be a service or a product that you make. A good way to find something to sell is to start with your skills and likes. Are you good with animals? Maybe a pet sitting business is for you! Are you a computer wiz? Maybe you can offer services to help people set up their computers. After you have listed your skills, look around your community and find a need. The perfect match is a need that you have the skills to fulfill.
Now that you have decided on a product or service, you need to decide how much you are going to charge for it. This sounds easy, but it is not. You need to take into consideration all your expenses. For example, let’s say your business is going to be a cleaning service. You are going to need to print flyers to promote your business. The paper is your first expense. Then you are going to need to purchase cleaning supplies-another expense. Are you going to need to drive yourself to your customer’s house? Gas is another expense to consider. The point of running your own business is to make a profit. It is important to count all the costs as you set your prices.
When setting prices you are also going to want to shop your competition (example – writing service prices). If you know there is a cleaning service in town that charges $50 to clean a three bedroom house, you are going to want to set your price at or below $50. Unless you are highly skilled in your field, chances are your customers are going to go with someone else if they are substantially cheaper. Once you have set your price, stick to it. Do not let a customer try to cheat you out of what you asked for. Have a plan for collecting your money, and what you are going to do if you have a difficult customer. You may need to enlist the help of an older adult to help with a customer you feel is not treating you fairly. Whatever service you decide to do, make sure it is something you enjoy and can make a profit with!
Plan the beginning of your business carefully, and keep detailed notes of all income and expenses. These notes will help you to know if your business is profitable. If you find that you are not making a profit, it is time to re-think your mode of doing business. The goal of any business is to make a profit, so keep that in mind every step of the way!