Self-Employment Opportunities For Your Teenager

Holidays breaks can be filled with opportunities for our young people to develop themselves in preparation for adult life. For many of us, we would like to see our young people develop skills that can not be built as just a seasonal employee. Skills such as resource and skills planning, negotiation skills, expense management, time management and establishing work/life balance are just some that we can expect teenagers to be able to learn by establishing themselves a holiday business – which, of course, could be extended to part time work should the industry and study commitments allow for it.

Before we look at some specific work that young teens can apply themselves to let us look at the learning opportunities that they can experience by going through this process.


Your young teen will have the opportunity to self-evaluate their skills and abilities as well as their strengths and weaknesses. They will also be able to spend time evaluating needs in the community and identifying which one matches their own skills and has sufficient demand to provide the income the are seeking to make. They will also need to consider what tools or equipment as well as consumable items they may require and how they will obtain these in order to perform their job. They should also be encouraged to consider wear and tear or maintenance and replacement costs on these items and add that to their budgeted income requirements.


Once you teen has worked out the logistics of what they intend to do they need to determine who they are going to do it for and how they are going to make themselves known. Thought should also be given to how they plan to fit work into their current schedule and, if they are to complete the task outside the home, how they will communicate their location to you as their parent. This aspect of the process is perhaps one of the most critical for parents to be involved in so that they know that their child is safe in their chosen holiday business.

Negotiation Skills

Once they start having work inquiries, your teenager will then need to learn negotiation skills. They will need to negotiate start times, justify the time spent on a task and the remuneration involved. They will also need to schedule their work to balance their client’s needs with the demands that may exist for them at home, at church or as a part of other community organisations. Be sure to support them through this and discuss their options for clients with them so they are empowered to develop excellent customer service skills.


Once they are on-the-job, your teen will gain valuable experience in self-management. Learning how to keep motivated and focussed on the job is a vital skill and will be rewarded as well as ensuring that a job is completed to the level of detail expected by the client. Developing good habits, particularly in sleep habits and the process of preparing ones-self for the day are also rewards that can pay dividends for parents who take their children through this process – those habits may just stick!

Money Management

After work is said and done and they come home with their payment your teen will need to consider how that money is then divided between replacing consumables, maintaining or replacing tools and equipment as well as the option to expand their range. They will also need to consider giving part of their proceeds to their church or a charity before pocketing the money for themselves. Depending on their age and the tax laws of your area, they may also need to put aside additional funds to meet their taxation requirements.

When you sit down and think about it there are a lot of skills that can be learned by establishing a holiday-business. Your teenager will have a great chance to build self-confidence and communication skills through providing for the needs of others during the holiday break. So, what can your teenager possibly do to earn money during the holidays? Consider the following options:

  • washing and ironing clothes,
  • house cleaning
  • child minding, baby sitting or being an assistant to a parent of a young family,
  • pet sitting or dog walking,
  • washing windows or vehicles,
  • mowing lawns and basic yard work (including snow shovelling and wood chopping),
  • distributing promotional materials, newsletters or papers,
  • using a hand craft to produce saleable goods,
  • developing a garden that will yield produce that can be sold, and
  • anything else that comes to mind as a saleable skill or ability.

Another valuable lesson that can be learned through the process of working during holidays breaks is the value that time has and that, although there are times for relaxation and celebration, it is important not to waste this precious resource that we have no control over. Your teen may not see as well as you do how fast our lives pass us by but they can learn how to make the most of holiday breaks in order to be productive and the develop themselves as young adults.

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James Parkinson