The Tried-And-True (or Tired-But-True): Have a lemonade stand. Yes, it sounds like a cliche. And yes, pouring a sour yellow drink for mere quarters may not seem worthwhile. But the lemonade stand can actually pay off, if you plan your timing and location well. Choosing a hot, sunny day is a given. However, another reason so many lemonade stands fail is simply that many people do not live in high-traffic areas. Move your lemonade stand away from the home. See if a parent can help you set up somewhere where more people come through, such as near a summer school, mall, beach, or park. Perhaps there is a farmer’s market where you live that would allow you to have the stand there. Whatever you do, be sure you have permission. You don’t want to get in trouble by putting your lemonade stand up somewhere without asking! Have variety. Offer both regular and pink lemonade, or limeade! Sell cookies or another snack as well (or offer them complimentary with two cups!). Put up plenty of signs, not just at your stand but in the areas surrounding it, with arrows to direct people. If you have an umbrella, put it up by your stand to create shade. Be polite and friendly, but not pushy. People like to be greeted, but they don’t like to have “LEMONADE STAND!” hollered in their faces. And, finally, make sure you have enough lemonade–bring plenty of extra mix or ingredients. If your stand is sucessful, you don’t want to miss out on a busy day just because you run out of lemonade! Maybe your lemonade stand can even become a weekly summer occurrence.
Good, Old-Fashioned Labor: While many people today pay companies to plow their driveways, mow their lawn, or rake their leaves, not everyone can afford to do this. If you offer to do these jobs for your neighbors at a lower price than the professionals (but a higher price than the 25 cents our grandparents probably earned), you may just have some takers. You can advertise yourself for other around-the-house jobs as well, such as weeding, watering, scraping paint, or whatever projects your neighbors might need help with. Put up fliers with the jobs you can do and your contact info (check with your parents first!) to help get the word out. You might just become the regular jack-of-all-trades in your town!
Kids Caring for Kids: If you are a little older, babysitting is always a great work option. It pays well and gives great childcare experience, and, if you do a good job and put yourself out there, you can develop a whole network of regular customers. If it hasn’t been too long since you had a sitter yourself, you might consider being a mother’s helper instead. A mother’s helper watches the kids while the mother is still in the house, working from home, trying to finish up things she hasn’t had time for, or just taking a break. Alternatively, a mother’s helper can also do chores while the mother is with the children–folding laundry, washing dishes, or organizing cupboards. Many new mothers or busy mothers are glad for this kind of in-home help! If you are at all interested in childcare, think about seeing if your parents will let you take an American Red Cross Babysitting course, usually offered at your local YMCA. The course will give you the skills you need, plus a certification card to show parents.
Get creative: Learning to knit? Taken a shine to jewelry making? Put your hobbies to use by selling your work! Without spending too much on materials, you can make money selling homemade scarves, headbands, jewelry, bags, and so on. Start small, seeing if a few items will sell, so that you don’t spend too much on materials and lose money. Put yourself out there. Ask your parents if they have any friends who might be interested in what you’ve made. See if any local artisan centers, libraries, etc, would be willing to display some of your work. Remember to put time and effort into each thing–people love beautiful, handmade gifts, but if you wouldn’t want to use or wear it, they probably won’t either!
Children aren’t the only thing you can “sit” for: when your neighbors are going away on vacations, offer to water their plants or feed/walk/play with their animals. This job doesn’t take a lot of time, but can pay well and can be fun if you are an animal lover. Further, if your parents won’t let you have a pet at home, this can be a great way to prove that you can be responsible for an animal. Remember, with this job, it is VERY important that you never forget to do it–you don’t want to leave your neighbors’ pets hungry, or kill their gardens!