Student Business Feature

Aidan Brookes

Most teens will get a job at some point during their student career to handle the various costs which they are suddenly made responsible for. Only a few, however, take the alternate path of starting their own businesses.

The benefits of students starting businesses are surprisingly broad, going beyond what is usually expected. They range from simply making money to learning about the student’s own interests, as well as what strategies help them work most efficiently.

The stories of students starting their own businesses are diverse as well. The common ground for most seems to be simply having a passion for the business and what it aims to accomplish.

Senior Stephen Auslander started DJing different events simply because he needed the money and it was something he knew a bit about. He said that although he started for the money, he learned a lot about his own interests from the experience.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school, and now I know that I want to be a music producer and DJ”, he said.

For him, the best benefit of owning a business is that he controls all of the revenue.

“If I were to work for a normal employer, I would get screwed since they take most of the profit” Auslander said. “It’s more work this way, but I make more money and am able to and I have more free time”

Auslander said the hardest part of being a DJ is finding clients, especially since repeat clients are rare in the business.

Business teacher Joseph Williams said that “the best businesses for teenagers are ones where they can provide services that local people are willing to pay for, and that don’t require much money to start. That’s why things like raking leaves are so common.”

Senior Spencer Coveney is extremely passionate about his landscaping business, which he started for this exact reason.

“I was obsessed with landscaping, so I started my own business” he said, adding “I started when I was in sixth grade, and I was too young to work for someone. It was all under the table.”

Besides making money from the business, he expects it will help give him credibility on his college application. He is also motivated by the benefits of owning his own business and hopes to do so again in the future.

Coveney said “I want to work for myself and start my own business. I don’t want to just work for someone else.”

He said that he does landscaping for many of his neighbors, and the time commitment is manageable, so the hardest thing he has to deal with as a manager is finding reliable employees.

“I pay a lot of my friends to work with me, and that makes it fun, but a lot of the time they don’t work very hard because we’re friends,” he said.

Many students have ideas for starting businesses themselves, but are discouraged by various difficulties.

Senior Andrew Mace, who considered buying a truck to deliver hot chocolate in the winter, said he “had no idea how to deal with all the legal stuff like business papers, the town hall, and just becoming legit”

Another difficulty with student businesses often cited is the need to compete with existing businesses, which are well established, for customers.

One apparent benefit for students is being able to be their own boss. This includes the freedom to determine their own hours which work with their schedules, as well as controlling the revenue from the business.

Teens and Adults alike praise student businesses for the skills learned by the students who start them. These are incredibly applicable to real world success. For example, managing time effectively is essential to being successful both as a business owner and a student.

“All business owners have to plan, manage and monetize their time.” says business blogger Mike Michalowicz.

The social skill students can learn from their businesses are equally important.

“In order to sell, you need to communicate a certain level of confidence in yourself and your product.” says Michalowicz

“If a student wants to start a business, the most important thing for them is to do something that they enjoy.” explains teacher Joseph Williams. “The people who do that tend to be the ones that are successful, and that goes for adults as well.”