I have a niece who recently turned 17, has a job and is looking to start her own business. I'd like to help her but I'm out of ideas so I'm hoping someone here has an idea or can say something that will spark an idea in me.
I think she'd love to be a photographer, but DSLR's, even used, are a little pricy for her right now. Even if she could afford to buy one, it would likely be YEARS of practice before she'd be able to make 5 cents. I understand that it's more about love than money, but the idea behind business is to make money, not spend it (unless you work for the government).
So ... if you were 17 again, still lived with your parents and didn't need to make hundreds or thousands of dollars a month (but it would be nice if you could), what kind of business would you attempt?
If it matters, I'm hoping this will help others, too.
Sep 25 13 06:00 pm Link
Salem, Oregon, US
my best friend has done well over the years washing windows for wealthy people. basically anything involving wealthy people might have a chance (unless they got rich by being really cheap).
also, errand services and also helping people get organized in their houses or garages.
if i had someone in my neighborhood i'd hire them to help with the yard work and things like cleaning out the garage.
you can make some money writing blogs, doing online reviews, etc.
Sep 25 13 06:02 pm Link
Olney, Maryland, US
I helped demolish a building when I was 17.
Sep 25 13 06:07 pm Link
Biloxi, Mississippi, US
It may help if we knew more about her!
Is she a geek? Tell her to build websites and offer her services as a social media marketing expert.
Is she athletic? Tell her to start her own fitness boot camp.
Is she 5'10" and rail thin? Shoot her and make her the next Gisele.
C'mon man. I was flipping pizzas at 17.
Sep 25 13 06:19 pm Link
Poulsbo, Washington, US
She could try pet-sitting, pooper-scoopering yards, and dog-walking.
Sep 25 13 06:46 pm Link
Marc Damon wrote:
She's 5'5" and fairly thin. I shoot her every chance I get. She absolutely LOVES having pictures taken but her parents have said no to modeling. With me, she's "just taking pictures" and even then, they get upset if I shoot from the "wrong angle" (one that looks "too sexy", whatever the definition of that is).
Sep 25 13 07:29 pm Link
Cherry Hill, New Jersey, US
To be a success in your own business it helps to be passionate about it and if you have to rely on others to think of the idea for you I see a lack of passion.
IMO she should get a job and develop skills while looking for that idea.
Sep 25 13 07:56 pm Link
It's not that she has no passion, she just doesn't have an idea. This idea isn't necessarily one that she'll retire from, but it's one that will help her for future reference. She has a job and is developing skills. This idea isn't even necessarily one that she'll ultimately go with, either. It may be an idea that sparks another idea that she can show more passion in working and developing.
Sep 25 13 08:12 pm Link
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Make apps, websites, learn to code or anything tech related. No resources needed side from what every kid under the sun has access to..
Many resources to learn, like here for example: http://teamtreehouse.com/
Of course depends on her interests...all depends on her interests. Need to be passionate about it.
Getting an office job would be a good start getting a feel for the administration and client services work, then developing her interests as time goes on and she has the money to invest in what she enjoys.
In canada in virtually every city or county there are business development offices. Up here there is a huge push for entrepreneurs...they'll help you from writing a business plan to helping you find funding..helping you find talent and people to talk to to get started..some places will link you up with accountants, bookkeepers, where to find the building blocks. If you a BDO or similar I suggest there.
And start reading online a lot...sites like these
Sep 25 13 10:08 pm Link
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom
Why not let your niece be an intern for you? You could train her in the art of tea making and f-stops for a small remuneration or accommodation, food and pocket money. That way, you both get to see if photography is for her and there is minimal outlay for both parties.
Sep 26 13 05:15 am Link
Portland, Oregon, US
There are old folks who need youthful legs to help within the house and/or to run errands. Kinda like babysitting for the old guys.
If she wants to become a photographer, she needs to find her way to a beginning camera (borrow or buy), and she should practice by going to public events like street fairs, ball games, whatever. When I was young, the local newspaper published (for no pay) some of my pictures, which indicated to me that I was getting good. She could also document her life -- the parties she attends & such. Maybe she could get good enough to set up a corner at her local school dance to photograph couples or she can photograph school sporting events (with appropriate school permissions, of course).
Sep 26 13 08:09 am Link
Looknsee Photography wrote:
Ya know ... this gives me an idea. I'll sell her my camera. She already has a basic understanding of it as she asks me for it each time she comes here. I understand that it's not the world's greatest camera by any stretch, but it was a great beginner for me and I'll be able to tell her all sorts of things about it as I've been using it about 3 years now.
Sep 26 13 09:25 am Link
Oakland, California, US
If she truly has a "business mind" she would have already owned several businesses at age 17. Ones she chose and designed/ran herself.
If YOU'RE a photographer I don't see why you can't teach her a few simple rules and hand her a back up camera to use.
Or buy her a used 20D or 30D or whatever the Nikon equivalent is.
One nifty 50 lens.
Free business cards from Vistaprint.
Less than 500.00.
She can learn one lighting set up hell she can learn how to shoot in shade VS hard sun light. In a week or so she can be charging 50-100 for simple shoots to her friends.
When I was a kid I had already had several income streams.
I ran a weekend variety show (Got my friends to act plays and sold tickets to the neighbors) .50c - 1.00 a ticket
Made and sold beaded friendship bracelets. 5.00-7.00 a pop I could make several in an evening. Cost was 1.00 or less in supplies.
I had many regular pet sitting clients. 20.00-60.00 a week.
I worked as a gardener/landscaper. (I did not MOW lawns, I kept your prize roses beautiful taught organic gardening and vegetable gardens) 5.00-10.00 an hour.
This was between the years of 1986 & 1996 or so...
All under the table as a kid, no paperwork or nothing.
I never did get into the candy racket, that had a great mark up though.
Buy a box from Smart & Final and sell it at a huge profit.
Maybe around 2003 I got my legal sellers permit and sold jewelry, then moved on to photography. I still work for my local neighbors on errands all the time.
My current favorite gig is doing door duty at a local art gallery. I get to sit on my perch, chat with all the neighbors about the art, and count how many people come in. 30.00 & a bottle of wine.
No it is not a 1500.00 photo job but I love to do it. & those small jobs sometime save my as when the 1500.00 jobs fall through.
If she wants to go into business, she has to sell something she wants to do, animals, crafts, photos, gardening...
Oh right I also was a nude model for 5 or so years, Awesome job.
When you're 18 or better yet 30....
(The reason is did so well as a model was all the past experience I had doing other jobs)
Sep 26 13 09:53 am Link
Carle Photography wrote:
Some people are or seem to be born knowing how to do these these kinds of things and they get them done. Others spend years having to learn them and they do okay. Others never seem to learn at all. My niece, as with many other people I know, fall into the middle group. I did, too. I still don't know everything but I work on it daily.
Sep 26 13 12:03 pm Link
Oakland, California, US
You can buy a used 20D on ebay for 99.00 -200.00
50 mm 1.8 for 60.00 - 100.00
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Canon-50-mm-F-1 … 3a8533261d
You can use YOUR camera and sell shoots for 25.00 a dvd or whatever package you come up with.
12 shoots at 25.00 each is 300.00
- the cost of dvds.
15.00 will get you 25 dvds.
So do one more shoot to cover that.
https://www.google.com/shopping/product … PYBEPMCMAY
Your clients won't expect award winning work, they will expect the work you already produce, so sell it. Sell what you have, sell what you know.
Make mistakes, fuck up, learn, make more mistakes, and learn more.
Tell your niece that is SHE comes up with the 300.00 from the job she has already you will help her with a few camera lessons.
Have her come up with 150.00, and you come up with 150.00.
Get your entire family togeather for X-mas and do a combo gift, everyone pitches in 25.00-50.00 and you then pool the money & buy the camera.
Go talk to every single one of your photographer friends and tell them about your project, ask if they have any spare camera gear.
A HUGE part of selling is having the balls to walk up to someone anyone and say.
"Hi, I need money/supplies/help/things for this project"
Take a hard look and research the ideas,
Vistaprint - is a website, with a set of FREE business cards.
Facebook - I'm pretty sure 17 year olds know how to Facebook.
Wix - again a free site that is easy to use.
If YOU don't know the difference in shooting hard sunlight and soft shade, then go learn it your self. Ask other people who are more educated then you, grab your niece and learn with her.
Sep 26 13 01:12 pm Link
Sun City, California, US
My pre-18 jobs were all shitty ones. Janitor on a military base, landscaping, Agricultural worker and the like.
It encouraged me to get more schooling - so that they were not my continuing employment options.
The washing windows business has been good for a friend who also does photography - they have made a ton of business contacts who need catalog and instore images - and met some rich folks who get portraits (and after a good experience, a few weddings)
Networking is a damned important skill set, for her.
Sep 26 13 01:23 pm Link
Traverse City, Michigan, US
Personal errand runner
Baby sitting (old stand by)
Sep 26 13 03:07 pm Link
Marceline, Missouri, US
17? Seems I often read about some pubescent kid that is making a million or two doing something on the internet. Have her put her thinking cap on and come up with something profitable to those her age who's interests we likely aren't knowledgeable. That would give her an edge to whatever market she comes up with.
I don't think I'd steer her to photo for a profession. Too much competition today. Consider how many photogs on MM are making a primary income from the field. A side-income wouldn't be bad but not a full blown profession. It takes more than a camera in most aspects of this work and few hit it big right out of the starting blocks.
Someone suggested pet walking and that may not be a bad idea, especially if she lives in a denser populated, well-to-do area. We came through Wisconsin about a week ago and at one stop saw an ad by a kid to do pet walking. His/her rates were $16.00/hr with each additional dog another $8.00. Location is everything. You know she won't get that from the cat lady down in the low-income area.
She needs to be a creative thinker to earn big bucks at her age. I'm pretty sure that the two businesses that the Small Business Agency still doesn't usually lend to are photo studios and restaurants. Those are the top two for closings in the first few years. Perhaps with all the Boomers set to retire soon, she could study Medicare rules and be an adviser to them. Then there's also likely going to be the same clueless attitudes about O'bamacare. Advisers can make good money in some fields.
Sep 26 13 03:45 pm Link