There are plenty of low-cost business opportunities out there. Here are three examples:
- Freelancing: Starting as a freelancer at Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer.com. There are plenty of ways how you can start trading your hours against money. But you have to work for money and high pay usually comes with higher business and technical skills. For example, there are many average freelance Python developers who earn between $51 and $61 per hour. Whether you believe it or not, there are many skills you already have as a teenager for which people would pay money. For example, there are 15-year old social media consultants who make a killing managing the Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat accounts of small- to medium-sized companies. Start with what comes easy to you and try to sell skills related to that.
- Upcycling: It sounds old-fashioned but the simple process of buying, repairing, and selling bikes, computers, smartphones, and even espresso machines is one of the fastest and easiest ways of starting a thriving online business. Basically, you are leveraging arbitrages and market inefficiencies online. For example, there may be plenty of cheap bikes in the center of a large city which can be sold with a nice profit to people living on the country-side. There are plenty of people who earn $100 per hour and more just doing this. This guy makes $100 per hour selling free furniture.
- Social Media Manager: Teenagers are living and breathing social networks. They know the ins and outs and they know what’s hot and what’s not. Believe it or not, companies are seeking teenager knowledge in these areas. I barely know the names of the latest social networks such as Musical.ly. If there was a youngster who would create and grow a new Musical.ly account for my site Finxter.com, I would gladly pay for it. It’s all about return on investment—how much more value can you give? If you can create a social network account for a company that thrives and earns the company a lot of money, you will get paid a lot of money—without the hassle of creating, maintaining, and managing products. And without the downside-risk. Just send an email with your social media ideas to, say, your 10 dream companies and watch what happens!
There are many more ideas but I want to mention one thing: if you neither have money, nor a skill that you can offer, you are basically worthless to the marketplace. It’s all about supply and demand. There is an infinite supply of unskilled market participants so you will never earn a lot of money if you remain unskilled. It’s fine to start without a lot of skills but you must actively seek to improve your skills in order to become more and more valuable.
People are lazy. They seek the easy “hacks” but all the easy business are easy for everybody. That’s why those businesses usually are crowded.
There’s an old saying: in a gold rush, sell shovels. So try to avoid fads such as cryptocurrencies. The fact that those trends promise easy money should make you suspicious. Look further, work hard, improve your skills and within five to ten years focused and hard work, you can expect to build a very profitable business that supports you for the rest of your life.
While working as a researcher in distributed systems, Dr. Christian Mayer found his love for teaching computer science students.
To help students reach higher levels of Python success, he founded the programming education website Finxter.com. He’s author of the popular programming book Python One-Liners (NoStarch 2020), coauthor of the Coffee Break Python series of self-published books, computer science enthusiast, freelancer, and owner of one of the top 10 largest Python blogs worldwide.
His passions are writing, reading, and coding. But his greatest passion is to serve aspiring coders through Finxter and help them to boost their skills. You can join his free email academy here.