I Taught My Teen To Side-Hustle & Here’s What Happened

Courtesy of Brooke Cagle, Unsplash

In my family, the term ‘side-hustle’ is a verb. It means to move, to do, to take action.

When my daughter turned sixteen, I decided it was time for her to learn how to start her own side hustle. Over the years, she had watched me build a small Amazon FBA business, try my hand at dropshipping, write books on kindle, and then start a small wholesaling business, all while I held down a full-time job in Corporate America. She had helped a little with all of those ventures, but now I wanted her to build out her own thing, and not just be my “assistant”. I wanted her to have the skills and knowledge she needed to be financially independent in the future, and I felt a side hustle would be one of the best ways for her to get started.

I believe that teaching your teen how to start a side hustle is one of the best things you can do for their future, and here are some reasons why:

  • A side hustle teaches teens how to be responsible with money. This is one of the most important things you can teach your teen. I’ve been working since I was 14 years old, and having my own income at a young age really taught me how to save, spend, and invest responsibly. I know how to live within my means, and not take on more than I can handle.
  • A side hustle helps your teen find their calling. (Or at least narrow it down.) It’s important for your teen to find something they are passionate about. Starting a side hustle will encourage them to explore their interests, and it’s one of the best ways to find out what they want to do with their life. I found out that my daughter was passionate about…making money by working hard and working smart. :)
  • A side hustle teaches your teen to learn on their own. I was even surprised by how much my teen picked up and taught herself as she was learning, earning, and spending her own money.
  • A side hustle helps your teen to build their resume for college and beyond. My daughter made her first money by selling some of her old American Girl dolls on eBay, and it was a great experience for her. (She quickly discovered on her own that the money was in the accessories.)

Getting Started

There are a few things that a teen needs to do in order to start a side hustle.

  • First step — find an idea for a business. Your teen can do this by thinking about what they are good at or what they love to do, or by thinking about a problem they have and brainstorming ways to solve it.
  • Then, create a plan for the business. This includes figuring out how much money it will cost to get started, how much money they want to make, and what their goals are.
  • Start marketing their business. They can do this by creating a website or social media account, and by spreading the word to their friends and family.
  • Finally, the teen needs to start working on their business! This means putting in some time and investing money into the business until it starts turning a profit. After that, the teen needs to reinvest their profits into the business in order to make it grow.

Are They Ready?

You can evaluate your teen to see if they are ready for a side hustle by looking at their work ethic and their willingness to take on new tasks. If your teen has shown themselves to be reliable and responsible, then they may be ready for a side hustle. It is also important for you to make sure that your teen is comfortable with the idea of working for themselves and that they are not expecting too much too soon. Even with a strong work ethic, teens still have a lot of growing up to do. Having this expectation in mind will allow you and your teen to be on the same page. Here are some attributes to look for to know if your teen is ready:

  • Your teen already has some successful working experience under their belt.
  • Your teen is generally reliable and responsible with tasks given to them, including chores at home.
  • Your teen’s school workload is not too burdensome
  • Your teen is resourceful and able to take initiative without being told what to do all the time.
  • Your teen is old enough to understand the importance of money and how it works, but not too old that they’re jaded by their experiences with money.
  • Your teen shows interest in the idea of working for themselves and creating their own opportunities.
  • Your teen is willing to stretch themselves and take on new tasks.

After evaluating your teen for readiness, you can decide if they would benefit from a side hustle or if they need more time to grow up a little bit.

I knew my own daughter was ready when she asked about getting a job after she turned fifteen. At that age, she was still young enough to look at working as an “adventure”, but old enough to understand that it would mean a little bit of extra responsibility. Having already completed her first year in high school, she was comfortable with the idea of stretching herself and taking on new roles.

If They Are Ready…

Teaching your child about money and entrepreneurship will benefit them later in life in a number of ways:

  • It will teach your teen to understand and manage their money.
  • It will prepare them for the workforce and allow them to build a positive work ethic.
  • It will allow them to understand entrepreneurship and start thinking about their own business.

In addition, teaching your teen about money and entrepreneurship can also help them to become more creative and innovative thinkers. This is because these skills allow for critical thinking and problem solving, which are essential for success in any field.

I vividly remember my daughter’s first $100 revenue day when she started selling COVID masks online. She had designed and sewn them herself on her tiny Wal-Mart sewing machine. I was an early “investor” in her business (She had named her business “Sew What”). I provided her with the little bit of money necessary to buy the fabric and thread. Most of that money was re-invested back into the business, but she did take some as a “paycheck”. :) I was so impressed by how excited and enthusiastic she was…I was probably more excited about her success than I was when I made my own first dollar online. She went on to pay back her “investor” and increase her revenue, and to this day has multiple tiny side-hustles going at any one time.

Based on my experience with side-hustling and helping her to side-hustle, I’d highly recommend to start teaching your teen about money and entrepreneurship at an early age.

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K Greene

K Greene

Money Talks

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