Be Your Own Boss

How To Tips

Be Your Own Boss

High Paying Teenage Jobs

House Cleaning
Pet Sitting

As a teenager, you might be thinking about how to get some extra spending money, help out your family or a way to save for college expenses. You could work for a local restaurant or grocery store, which is a fine way to earn some cash, but usually, especially starting out, your schedule is at the mercy of someone else and that can be tricky.

On the other hand, you could start your OWN business and in the process, not only earn some cash, but learn about how to work with people, how to manage your time, and what it takes to build a successful business. These are life skills that will help in many other areas of your life, and are great assets to list in applying to bigger jobs or even put on a college application.

But we know that starting your own business can be daunting, so here are a few tips to get your started.

To walk you through these steps we will use the example of a dog walker, but you should be apply the ideas presented below to any of the other jobs listed above.

1. Figure out where you are

By that I mean, figure out what you have available to you already to help you decide which job you want to do.

For example, you might love dogs and think you might like to be a dog walker, but when you look around, there are no pets allowed in your large apartment complex. To get to the people who need your services, you might need a car or take a bus, which makes getting to the job either too expensive or too time-consuming to make doing the job worthwhile. However, if you already have a car that you don’t mind having a lot of dogs in at once, or your immediate neighborhood has lots of dogs, dog walking might be a good fit.

2. Start small

You could spend a bunch of time getting people to let you walk their dogs and find out that when you try to walk 8 dogs at once, you get all tangled up and your arms hurt because the dogs are pulling you along the entire walk.

However, if you start with one dog, you can spend some time learning the tricks of the trade. Do some research on the best way to walk a lot of dogs. There is a lot of material on the web on dog training and how tos on dog walking — just search for “how to walk lots of dogs” or whatever it is you are wondering how to do. Or, if you have limited time, you might decide to stick with one or two dogs at a time, for the time being, just for practice.

3. Consider all the details

When you are figuring out what to do for a side hustle, you need to consider all the details of your situation and the kind of job you pick.

For example, if you need a car to pick up all the dogs, can they all fit in the back safely? How will you secure them? Do you need to buy leashes? Or special harnesses? Doggie bags? Treats? Where is the nearest dog park? How much gas will you be using? Do you need special dog walking insurance in case a dog has a problem you could not have anticipated? Is it a good idea to be licensed and bonded? Is there a company out there that you can work for? What are the pros and cons of working for someone else, versus working for yourself? (to read a great article on that very topic, click here)

4. Build positive relationships with your clients

Make sure to communicate regularly with your clients and be clear about your expectations and conditions as well getting them to be clear about theirs.

If you are a dog walker, you might pick up and return the dog when the client is not at home and not have an opportunity to talk with them in person. Make sure you schedule regular calls with your clients to update them on how everything is going or find a way to meet in person. Be up front with them about the terms of your employment: what you expect in terms of compensation; the frequency of your service; what you expect in terms of the animal’s behavior; what happens if you are sick; what to do in the event of an emergency; how they can reach you, etc.

Be sure to communicate with you client. Again, in the dog walking scenario, let your client know how your interaction with their dog(s) is going: how the dog seems to be doing/feeling; is the dog healthy; do they seem happy; how do they get along with the other dogs (if you are walking more than one); etc. Open communication will show the client you care and are knowledgeable and trustworthy. This in turn, may make them comfortable recommending you to other people.

Make sure you bill your client regularly so you can receive payment in a timely manner. If you install a consistent payment plan up front, this will alleviate any potential issues or misunderstandings down the road.

One last thing, be sure to be courteous and show your client that you appreciate their business! They are trusting you and paying you. Check in with them to make sure they are happy with your service by asking them directly or sending an email every so often. You can add a line to your invoice that says, “Thank you for your business!” or you can thank them in person from time to time. Consider sending them a thank you card after a few months or a year end holiday card (if you have worked for them for a while). These things are not hard and can really help you build a strong relationship.

Make sure you consider as many aspects of your potential side hustle as you can possibly think of. Make lists. Find out potential costs of needed items, transportation, insurance, etc. Double check those lists and ask other people you know who are doing it what they think. Or find groups or articles online specific to your job type and see what other people are doing and how.

And then, get going! You can do it!


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