Every human has a few extra hours per day. Even as a high school student, there are hours in the day that most will use for browsing their Instagram to check on their favorite celebrities or to post on Snapchat aimlessly. 

Now, with the COVID-19, keeping everyone at home the time spent on devices has doubled if not more. Although social distancing has been a very hard deal for the young population, for a high school student this might be exactly what will prove to be a portfolio savior when applying to college.

There has never been a better time than now for a high school student to start a business or master a new skill. Yes, not everyone has the entrepreneurial itch, but it is worth trying, especially when it is a low-cost, no-overhead venture. 

When you’re in high school, you’re at a point in life where you’re socializing with different people every day and learning from your experiences. This sounds just like the time to start your own business! So high school is a great place to begin shaping your entrepreneurial taste. One thing that a lot of students don’t realize is the number of resources and protection there is when starting a startup in school. Student discounts, free software, free licensed services, grants, and assistance from the school are all readily available. Not to mention, if you have help via family and are not forced to work while you are studying, you become free labor. So this is the time to try and come up with business ideas that are not capital intensive and can be profitable only after a little work. There are many mistakes that can be fatal to a budding business but one to watch out for is to not build a scope far larger than your pockets. The best option for a student to jump into business is by starting small and gradually building an empire.


A starting point is to find out what people need

For a starter, the advice to any high schooler that aspires to be an entrepreneur is to find out what your generation feels like they are lacking, whether it’s a product or a service. However, beware of asking yourself “what would be a good business idea”, because then you’ll fall into the trap of coming up with ideas that sound good but don’t work. Keep an eye out for business opportunities, stay informed by reading articles and ads to see how businesses copy-write to attract customers, learn to spot business opportunities, and watch how these opportunities play up in terms of market needs. Business in the essence is simple: people give you money because you give them something they want or need. In turn, you give money to other people to make sure you can deliver the first part. Learning how to spot the need, and balance the money to a profit is where it gets hard.


Engage, network, and share ideas  

Once you have observed and brainstormed sufficiently, engage with people who would know how to develop the ideas into a reality and go into partnership! This could be an app or even jewelry, or any kind of decorations that could be sold to raise money. You don’t want to miss out on the fun of a high school journey, so discussing your business with others will be a great way to network and stay sociable. Being a high school student, you’ll also have access to a large consumer base immediately because you’re regularly interacting with people your age who have an understanding of social media. When you share your company virtually or in person, you’ll gain awareness easily. Starting a business is like taking care of a plant; you water it everyday. So first, figure out which kind of seed you want to plant and spend time growing that seed. If it does not grow, figure out a new kind of seed.


Write your ideas down.

Here is the list that one of my students and I came up with during our college counseling sessions:

#1.Baking/Selling chocolatesI love cooking or baking and with the power of social media I can popularize my dishes and even brand them. Eventually, I can start taking up orders and then kick start my journey from there. I have seen on Instagram, people at a very young age start taking orders for home-made chocolate or customized pastries, etc.

#2. Hand-made jewelry and decorative itemsI am artistic. I can start by selling hand-made customized jewelry. I will sell to my friends first, and with time, my items will gain in popularity. 

#3. Tutoring–I am an excellent teacher and would love to share what I already know. 

#4. Photography

#5. Website design

#6. Clothing line–I enjoy design and have a flair for clothing. This might be a good option for my artistic side and it will also be a business that can evolve. 

#7. Book sales

#8. Voice over services and InstagramI have a technology background and interest in Instagram, and I can solve several problems for other businesses. 

#9. GST based Savings CalculatorI have a finance background so I can think of an app for small businesses, using which they can make some financial decisions. 

#10. Start a club Campus Entrepreneursmeet with other students who are entrepreneurs while studying in a meeting. (This idea worked out well as a couple of students developed an app by name “Stucor” and deployed it in the Google Playstore (100K+ installs).

#11. Freelancing and bloggingI love writing, and I already have a collection of written work that I can repurpose into blogs and other material. I will need a few basic photography editing apps and pictures. 

#12. Website Developmentthis is a great part-time business that will allow me to build my skills as I go. Modern technology has shifted its paradigm from offline business to using apps and social media platforms to connect with potential customers and this option provides great opportunities (see www.freelancer.com)

#13. Personalized gifts such as mugs, crystal gift sets…etc. 

#14. Dog training

# 15. Instant noodles–I have seen at school so many students devour the instant noodles at lunch, and I’ve been thinking of ways to make instant noodles easy to deliver during lunch for students and teachers. I can season the noodles to give them my signature flavors such as mango, papaya, guava, and more. 

#16. SEO service and managing social media–I love this idea, it’s easy to do, costs very little money and it’s fun. It doesn’t cut into my studying time and allows me to get work experience all the same.

Picture credits: Hannah Thomas packing supplies for delivery. To make your supply donation visit www.harmonyin.org

Combining her entrepreneurial spirit and love for pediatrics, Hannah Thomas, a sophomore at Valley Christian High School, started The Harmony Foundation to support the autistic community. She organizes fundraisers, projects, and writes lesson plans to educate children in need not just in her local community but worldwide. Find her at www.harmonyin.org and follow the Harmony Foundation on Facebook. To be an ambassador and be a part of this amazing venture contact her at teamharmony2000@gmail.com. 

Find resources you can use 

Establishing a business plan seems like an elaborate job, but it doesn’t have to be. This could be simply putting down the first steps to ensure you have as much figured out as possible before jumping in. You should also find out about accounting, financial statements, and business so that you will have some understanding of these.

Once you have your ideas down you can go online and find the nearest SCORE office at www.score.org. Attend their general start-up meetings (should be less than $100 for a full day of info.) After you have some background information you can begin the work on a business plan or even attend their webinar on “creating a business plan in less than 24 hours.” You will have the option of setting up a meeting for free mentoring and advice on how to tweak your business plan and what your next steps are. You can also lookup the nearest small business development council and see their offerings. It would make sense to join a small business networking group in your area as well. The possibilities seem endless. Many resources have been put together especially for this purpose and those can be of great help. Once such a resource is Jack’s Kids Course that helps students who have decided to jump into entrepreneurship. The BeansTalk KnowHow course goes into greater detail.

Course that helps students who have decided to jump into entrepreneurship. (The BeansTalk KnowHow course goes into greater detail.)


Make your idea real online

Anyone who has even remotely dipped their toes in business venturing knows that the market is the only force that will determine what is and what isn’t a good business idea. Sometimes the best formula for success is to attach yourself to a proven business model rather than formulating a new business idea. One proven business model that will fit many high school students’ busy lifestyles is reselling. Buy something for $x and sell it for $2x, a proven tried and true method. You can save yourself the cost of holding inventory by drop-shipping your products. To learn more about this you can visit Zach Pinnell’s article where he explains the process wonderfully: Zach Pinnell’s answer to How do I start drop-shipping with $10,000 capital?

Don’t be afraid of the five-digit number in the title, from him you can get info on how to begin drop-shipping with $0 capital. Definitely worth the read.

Although high school is the perfect time to start a business it is also a time when many teenagers are not sure what they will do in the next few years in terms of a profession. It is a difficult time for growth and finding oneself. Therefore low overhead and virtually no management experience is probably a great option. Paired with the affinity all teens have toward internet devices. In 2020 the amount of internet users surpasses four billion people. Every one of those people is online looking to have some sort of need or desire fulfilled. The business would be to discover what those people are looking for and figure out a way to meet those needs. This is called e-commerce and is a legitimate business.

It has been around since the beginning of the internet but the demand is becoming higher than current companies can keep up with. Right now is the perfect time to get involved. You can get free and almost free training and by the time you finish high school, you could have a thriving business bringing you all kinds of fulfillment and cash. I have included a link here.

where you can begin your training for free. They have a 100% free 2 days course. It’s easy and will give you a lot of ideas to start something substantial and without any investment.

Being a high school student also equals limited capital to invest in any venture so taking some free courses to gain more experience in e-commerce first is advisable. You can have a look at Education of Commerce Online.

 If you have good knowledge of website design or eCommerce development, you have immense potential as there is a need in the market to develop a decent Web portal or eCommerce.

However, not everyone has the web building knowhow and drop-shipping and reselling is not for everyone. If this idea doesn’t appeal to you, focus on finding out something that you are good at and you like to do. After you figure that out, brainstorm some ways you can monetize that service. If you are good at math and like helping other students with math, for example, start a tutoring service around your school. You can start by offering your services to your friends and classmates or your sibling’s friends and classmates. But if you want to do something outside of your school, just think of a service that you can offer to people of your community and how you can monetize it. If there is a demand for this kind of service, you will certainly get business as you go. The key point to keep in mind for any entrepreneur is consistency in effort and quality of delivery. The money will eventually come in.

Launching a new business is not the same as generating cash, especially if you are a student whose priority is to study and get good grades. You can generate cash fairly easily by offering services. Launching a business is more complex, takes more time, and does not always result in making profits (after you cover your fixed and variable costs).

And after all said and done, remember that there is no such thing as a small business. Every business is a serious one as it involves time, talent, and finances.

The best test if you have a business idea that will benefit you, in the long run, is to not invest any money, but generate money from your business acumen. And good ideas are not the things that you just sit down with a pen and notepad in hand but more about solving problems and maximizing your ROI (return on investment) once you account for your time (your most precious commodity as a student), finances and current skills.

Sure, at first, trading time for dollars may help your current financial situation–which may, in turn, open up other options but the only way you can hope for sustaining that business and what’s better, growing it, is to grow your skills exponentially.

Finally, to be successful in anything and most of all in business you must find a mentor and continuously read good literature. After all, “We are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with” according to Jim Rohn, and I am sure we all agree on that.

Find this book at discounted price at https://voiced.academy/shop/

Another great book to read is Rich Dad Poor Dad.

On more idea of how to reach your potential and achieve your goals: visit https://voiced.academy,  follow, share, and subscribe.