10 ideas for businesses that children could set outside on a summer afternoon, other than lemonade stands.
So this topic covers two questions:
1. What is in demand in the summertime around the neighborhood?
2. What is a business simple enough that kids can set it up quickly?
The answer to (1.) is really – anything that is inconvenient. People want to go to the holidays or at the very least be bothered with as few chores as possible.
And what we think of as “complex” may be simple by today’s kids’ standards. I am talking about internet businesses.
Kids nowadays know how to handle the web. They may not even be able anymore to envision a world without it.
They could easily create someone’s Twitter account for $2 or someone’s Wikipedia page for $10.
And by and large, an adult can execute a lot of these ideas – if they are simple enough – as well, with relatively little preparation.
So without further ado, here is my list!
#1 – Create someone’s web page, Instagram account etc.
People can give their pictures and texts to kids.
The kids then set up the account or integrate the items into a webpage.
#2 – Create business newsletters.
Instead of handing out flyers for businesses, kids could offer to put a newsletter together online.
While writing long texts is maybe not something that kids can do efficiently at age 8 or so, they sure can place videos and make quick drawings etc. for a video-based newsletter that the business can then send out. Or maybe they could write indeed, if they are older.
They could make this a multi-age business. Frank (12 years) writes the text, Tommy (10) takes care of the eMail list and Joey assembles the graphics and puts the newsletter together.
#3 – Pimping out work.
Not every neighbor has a lawn to mow.
Yet those that do, don’t necessarily have a kid next-door that wants to do the chore.
So if you are an entrepreneurial-minded kid, you could actually use your contacts from school to put your classmates to work. Or you have a stand or even homepage where kids and adults sign up and you take a commission of the income from those jobs.
That business would actually also bring people together from the neighborhood.
#4 – Sell baseball cards or anything else that gets collected.
Anything collectible you can buy and sell.
#5 – Homework ghostwriting.
What works best on a summer afternoon?
Exactly, enjoying the sun. Would you give your cash allowance to your friends so they do your homework for you? Yes. One ice cream less yet still being able to go to the beach?
#6 – Comic book library.
This might take some time to build up – but the kids could collect comic books, build a library and then charge the visitors.
What’s funny is that I thought:
1. Man, I don’t think kids read comics anymore. Adults read them.
2. And when I was young, we would simply change books without charging for it.
3. It took me a few seconds until I realized… adults will pay to borrow them!
You could charge adults to borrow comics! Some comics are not easy to get a hold of. And comic book stores are not always available, unless you live in a large city. You could let people chose online and then ship them the way Netflix does. These services exist, and they are all digital. Maybe people pay for having a real comic in their hand?
#7 – Installing wireless networks.
What about better neighbourly contacts in the digital age?
When you set up a computer network, then neighbors can be in better contact – similar to one of the apps I mentioned at the 9th of november.
People could share a router – saving money – and you could simply use Excel or Word files via Google documents for various planning – who buys what for the barbecue, who needs repairs done and who has the necessary tools etc. This business may not be easy to scale, if the neighborhood is smallish, however – if kids show they can install a simple network, then there are maybe people or small business owners who trust the kids enough to let them build their webpage, do small computer repairs etc.
#8 – Buying, selling and repairing computers (electronics in general)
This idea is actually from one of my high school chemistry teachers.
20 years back, he suggested to build a business that does 24/7 computer service. He thought the #1 problem for companies is lousy customer service.
How little things have changed!
Just by providing the convenience of on-call availability – and if you live in the neighborhood, you can stop by in person – people would love this business. Of course, kids won’t be available if they are in school. However, taking care of a computer problem the same day sure beats schlepping the iMac to the next Apple store “genius bar”.
Or they could buy the computers and then sell them, making a profit off it.
Just imagine. A kid from the neighborhood stops by, pays you for your computer and picks it up at the door. And if you quickly need a used computer in good condition, you just go a few blocks and pick it up.
#9 – Pet daycare
Offer a pet care service. If they have a little bit of space, kids could construct a dog run on their parents’ property or on some unused communal area after asking for permission; This place can be either outside or inside. Throw some toys in and you are good to go in terms of making dogs happy.
People hand their dogs in and pay the kids a fee; the children can hire their friends to play with the dogs.
This is a relatively easy business. You rent out the space for the dogs. You only have to leave a person there to supervise the dogs. I don’t think kids would have trouble hiring their friends to do that. Nearly everyone loves playing with dogs.
If the demand is big enough, the kids could even hire their friends to expand the business to other houses in the neighborhood.
Or… they could actually hire their friends to pick up the pets directly from the owner’s house for an extra fee. Everyone pays for convenience.
This business can also cater to those people who want to go on holidays and need their pet taken care of for a larger amount of time.
The whole business does not need to be for dogs either. You can create a great environment for cats, hamsters, parakeets etc.
#10 – Generational business
Older people often have a great relationship with their grandchildren.
Maybe there could be a service that brings older people who are alone and younger kids who have an afternoon free together?
The children can help with shopping, play a game etc. The value in this business is that it is difficult to find younger kids to help out. However, if a kid would start a business (for example paid for via online subscription or on a case-by-case base), he or she can ask all their friends from school and the neighborhood, which with they are always in contact anyway. It is more convenient and less costly than an old folks home, because the seniors can still stay in their old home.
You could even extend the business to include the ability to help out – if the kids that visit are 14+ years old and have taken a first-aid course.
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Do you have any additional ideas?
Have you or your kids tried out any of these ideas?
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(Pictures taken from Wikimedia Commons.)