Which is better for teenagers, starting a small business or getting a part-time job?
To earn a little money on the side.
1 expert and 1 parent have answered
This is an interesting topic. If the goal is to 'earn a little money on the side' then you're looking at a very limited range of business models. The business needs to be run on a part-time basis, mainly outside of 9-5 hours (if the teen is still in school/term time) and be instantly monetizable.
There is a phrase in the entrepreneurial world, "revenue is the enemy" because most start-up 'businesses' are strangled by their need to make sales when really they should be engaging with people, expanding their networks and laying the foundations of the business, generally spending far more money than they're making. It takes 3 to 5 years for many businesses to start being profitable.
So what we're really asking here, is, "should teenagers try self-employment?". Washing cars and setting up a lemonade stand will provide some experience of basic business practise but unless they are scaled up (employing others, etc.) you're earnings are still going to be proportional to the hours spent doing it - much like having a job or being a self-employed tradesman. In my opinion if the only goal is to earn some money in the short term - a part time job is going to provide as much valuable experience as trying to start a "wheeler-dealer" middle man 'business', even if it's only that you find out you never want to work in a bar/stacking shelves/making coffee and photocopying ever again!
BUT: if earning money immediately isn't so important, I would tell them do something you love, find a niche, exploit your expertise and interests, research and develop your product/service. What's already out there? Can you do better? Whilst you don't have (too m)any financial commitments - take some calculated risks. You don't hear about the 10 failed attempts of a multimillionaire, you hear about the one that flew. It probably took them a good few years hard work, though.
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i think it really depends on your child's personality. if you think your child has an entrepreneurial streak, it might be a good idea to help them start a small venture be it a lemonade stall or car washing services etc. on the other hand, some teenagers might not be able to handle the stress and pressures that come along with handling their own business in which case it might be wiser to encourage them to do something part-time be it baby sitting or working for a shop at the mall.
At the end of the day, its about not stressing your child out further and although it is a good idea for a teenager to work to understand the value of money etc. it should not be at the cost of distressing them since they already have a lot to deal with including school.