Pursuing an Online Business as a Teen in Today’s World / By: Tara Mirkov
In the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a major factor in the uptick in online goods and services: "Between December 2019 and July 2020, the average share of products and/or services that are partially or fully digitized increased from 35% to 55%" ( Aldana, 2021 ). It’s no surprise that when, in early 2020, a generation of “screenagers” found themselves locked indoors with nothing but the internet and endless boredom at their hands, many of them turned to business as a pastime. A survey from Junior Achievement USA found that "3 in 5 American teens (60%) would be more interested in starting their own business than having a traditional job" ( JA, 2021 ). The intersection of the digital age, the global pandemic, and adolescent America’s passion for entrepreneurship have led to the fleshing out of teen-owned online businesses everywhere. There’s a lot to gain from entrepreneurship. Chicago-based business and entrepreneurship teacher Kenneth Jamison says that he hopes his students’ takeaways are “ teamwork, problem-solving, career, and technology skills” . Although it’s clear to most that starting a business yields more than just monetary profit, one must take a leap of faith to begin. 17-year-old entrepreneurship student Oscar Gawlik says the hardest step is giving your idea a try. “I know many people with great ideas for a business, a unique skill they could market, or another way of making money…so many people fail to even give their ideas a chance.” However, there are things to tackle pre-launch. Jamison emphasizes that, “The importance of proper planning cannot be understated…Making good decisions early on can help ensure continued growth.” Such good decisions include foundational planning, like performing a trademark search, knowing how to pay taxes appropriately, setting a budget, and creating marketing plans. Setting a budget can protect new business owners from overspending money and starting on the wrong foot, make sure to have the funds to cover their budgeted needs. Entrepreneurs should consider crowdfunding or seeking funding from family and friends. In terms of marketing, Jamison suggests utilizing “ social media profiles and email marketing campaigns” . Most teens already have extensive experience with social media and are well-equipped for this challenge. Overall, remember this: Do research, stay focused, and pursue goals!