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What business should my teenage daughter start?


Great question, especially coming into the holiday time when kids have extra time and will be tempted to use it on social media and other consumption-based tasks.

You want them to be creative but you also need to be wary of telling them to follow their passion when it comes to business.

They need to find something that they are passionate about but they also need to find something they have skills in and something that people will pay them for.

My top tip: deep empathy and noticing.

These two traits are the building blocks of many great businesses. Let me give you an example. Your daughter works at a local cafe but really wants to start a little business. She’s been inspired by YouTube creators and lifestyle bloggers and the early suggestions are all around selling clothes and doing makeup reviews. Sounds like it might work but she’s missing a great opportunity right in front of her.

With her (growing) powers of empathy and noticing, she goes to her next shift on the lookout for anything that people are struggling with or anything that could be made better. What does she see with her new eyes?

She thinks about:

  • How her boss is always having a hard time with allocating shifts and having people wanting to change shifts
  • People with plastic bags from shopping at the local supermarket
  • Parents trying to get their children to sit still at the cafe
  • People buying their coffees once a week

Next step…what could these insights be used for? Some business ideas might be:

  • Learn how to use shift planning software like When I Work and then approach a few local businesses and offer to set up their staff scheduling for them for an upfront cost plus monthly support in case they need it
  • The alternative to plastic bags are often jute bags. Could your daughter look at Ali Express and find a manufacturer to sell custom jute bags? Perhaps get a designer to add your local town name in a stylish font and see if local stores would stock them
  • Busy parents with noisy kids, you’ve got to have compassion on them. What about selling cafes a pad & pencil kit so small kids can do something while they wait? Don’t go buying anything yet. Prepare a single page of the concept and ask 10 cafes if they’re interested
  • People buying their coffee once per week. Perhaps they don’t drink much or perhaps they drink it from home during the week. Maybe a monthly coffee subscription business that your daughter could set up for each local cafe. She could create a small website for each cafe using subscription management software and then the orders go directly to the cafe. Revenue could be upfront for the setup and then a percentage of each sale.

A few ideas based on empathy and noticing. What ideas have you noticed lately?

About the author

Rich Peterson

I've spent the last 10 years planning, mapping & reimagining the processes of hundreds of SMBs. Whether the goal is more money, more time, more clarity or more customer smiles, my insightful process is worth every minute for my successful clients.
Disclaimer: I use affiliate links on my website and only recommend what I use, have used or have vetted in the best interest of my readers. I may earn a commission if you click on an affiliate link, but it won’t cost you extra.

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