Are you wondering how old do you have to be to start a business? If you’re below the age of 18, then you’re asking the right questions. It’s great to start planning your source of income. The earlier, the better! Honestly, you need a pat on the back for planning a business at such a young age.
But, if you’re in your 20’s and hesitant to push through on your business idea, what’s stopping you? The most common concerns when it comes to starting a business are the following:
- Market research. This includes searching for your niche-specific competitors.
- Business Plan
- Suppliers of Materials
- Business location
- Business structure
- Business name
- The legal procedures. (Registering your business name, state tax IDs, permits, etc.)
- Business bank account
Alright, that’s the requirements for a physical or on-site business. But thanks to our ever-evolving generation, there are ways to start a business online without a start-up fund, supply, and all those complicated legal procedures. As a quick answer to our main concern—legally, the acceptable age is 18 years old.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Start A Business Online
Depending on the type of online businesses you’re planning, you can start by the age of 16 or below. Of course, you’ll need a legal guardian to start the account on your behalf. Legally speaking, the acceptable age for creating an account online is 18 years old. However, there are numerous success stories about “minors” making it big via eCommerce, POD, dropshipping, and other online platforms.
Now, forget about whether you’re at the right age. As long as you have a unique niche-specific idea, the internet does not care whether you’re too young. Again, I repeat, you’ll need legal guarding for sign-ups and legally binding contracts.
Real-Life Stories of Young Online Business Owners
Nowadays, we have various platform options to use with our online business ventures. Here are some platforms to give you an idea along with real-life examples.
Shopify is one of the biggest eCommerce platforms. Like any other online platform, Shopify requires the account owner to be 18 years old. Knowing this, would you believe that a 17-year-old managed to turn his watch hobby into a $13,500 per month business? Before venturing with Shopify, Jonah started with affiliate marketing. Apparently, that did not work out for him.
One day, Jonah had an idea to start curating what he loves instead. Starting with this specific niche, Jonah started watching webinars, following Shopify blogs, Youtube tutorials, and other means to educate himself. Eventually, he managed to launch WatchOutfitters. Of course, it took a while for him to achieve the $13, 500. The point is with the right determination, idea, and know-how, age doesn’t matter.
Aside from the 17-year-old, here’s a list of inspiring kid entrepreneurs on Shopify:
- Maya’s Ideas:
Maya started her business when she’s 8 years old. She ships her eco-friendly design worldwide. Also, she’s been featured in numerous entrepreneur magazines. Now, she’s 20 years old and has a successful track record. Maya’s Ideas is the home for creative patterns and sustainable fashionable items.
- Poketti LLC
This business is founded from an idea Sydney learned in a 7th-grade entrepreneurship class. She honed her skills and managed to create animal pillow pockets for phones. Poketti LLC is an online business ruled by plushies with pockets that Sydney created with her sister, Toni. On the website, she also sells The Young Entrepreneur’s Handbook for $8. The book and handbook kit is currently sold out on the website, further proving Sydney’s success as a young business owner.
The takeaway: All it takes is the right determination, niche-specific idea, and know-how, age doesn’t matter.
For those who are not familiar with the term, Dropshipping is a type of fulfillment for retail where a store doesn’t keep its product in stock. It involves a third-party supplier who handles the inventory and shipment on your behalf. Nowadays, millennials hold the throne for the highest sales volume for dropshipping. According to insights of CJ dropshipping, 46% of their sales belong to ages 25-34 years old.
However, in this particular business, there are a lot of “successful” young dropshippers. This is where two teenagers come to mind where their store managed to earn $70, 000 in one month! Taylor and Lachie were 18-19 when they first started their business during the pandemic’s lockdown. At first, their friends and the adults around them were skeptical of their idea. Despite the negative feedback, both of them managed to push through and have a successful store.
The takeaway: Don’t let others’ opinions hinder you from pursuing business. As long as you are knowledgeable, determined, and armored with perseverance.
Etsy is a marketplace for unique and creative handmade goods. It’s the perfect platform to use if you enjoy making handmade, vintage, and customized crafts. For this site, there are a lot of stores that are run by young entrepreneurs. Here are a few stores:
- Miss Maddy Makes
This store started with a 15-year-old who loves making homemade cat toys and treats. She eventually opened her Etsy shop, selling toys, hats, costumes, pillows, and t-shirts for pets. Mostly, Maddy targets pets such as dogs, cats, and guinea pigs. Currently, Maddy’s Etsy has a total of 4 598 sales with a five-star review.
- Zandra Beauty
Zandra’s store started with her interest in making her own lip balm after her dad refused to buy her at the age of nine. Turning 16, she decided that she could make the beauty product by herself in their home kitchen. After that, she started a production and distribution studio for the natural products she creates. The main aesthetic of her brand involves inspiring messages printed on the packaging. Currently, her Etsy shop has a whopping 2 036 sales with a five-star review.
The takeaway: If you enjoy making unique crafts, there are a lot of online marketplaces available like Etsy.
Print On Demand Platforms
POD is the best online business to start with no capital. If you’re someone who loves photography and drawing, this is the perfect idea for you. All you need to do is conduct proper research on the current trends before creating a product. Here is a list of print on demand websites:
- Merch By Amazon
As a side hustle, Niel Lassen started a t-shirt print on demand with his business partner on Merch By Amazon. He managed to profit $8, 000 a month selling t-shirts online. For someone who learned Photoshop through Youtube, it proves you don’t need to be a talented graphic designer. He also managed to outsource designers who agreed to get paid $4 per t-shirt design. By the end of the day, all you need to have is the right strategy and perfect timing on what to sell.
The Takeaway: You can start a print-on-demand business with zero art skills. You can even use an online graphic design tool like Canva to start creating witty t-shirts. Trust me, the most trending shirts online were made in a matter of minutes.
Starting a Business at A Young Age
The possibility is endless when creating an online business. Most of us will probably comment, that’s such a basic idea. However, in the end, he or she is making a thousand dollars per day out of that “basic idea.” The difference between us and them is initiative. Niche-specific business owners decided to push-through their ideas despite the naysayers.
Some articles say that 40-years-old is the perfect age to start a business. However, in life, there’s no such thing as a “perfect age.” All it takes is the right timing, a unique niche idea, and determination. Here are some pointers if you want to start a business at an age others consider as “too young.”
Setting Up Finances
Unfortunately, people under the age of 18 are legally considered minors. They are deemed not old enough to be responsible for their actions and are not fit for legally binding documents. If you’re under the age of 18, here are some things you can do:
- Getting support from a family member to fund your idea.
- Set a business joint with an adult who will manage your finance and legal matters.
- Grants or cash payments from trusts, agencies, or enterprise funds.
- Find an online business that does not need a start-up fund like print on demand websites.
Balancing Your Education, Socials, and Business
As an individual under the age of 16, you’re required by law to be in education. If you plan to venture into your business, you need to have a specified time to have a work-school-life balance. Of course, some students have an advantage if they currently have online classes due to the coronavirus. It might also be one of the reasons why you’re reading this article.
Don’t Let Young Age and Lack of Experience Stop You
As we previously read about young online business owners, it proves that age and experience do not matter. Some might advise you that it’s too early to think about business. However, don’t let it stop you. Don’t dismiss their advice either. Instead, listen to them, reflect on what they say, and proceed with caution.
Also, don’t forget to educate yourself. Yes, a lot of successful owners only learned through Youtube, webinars, and Google. It’s important to research your niche-specific idea, who’s your competitors, and what you can do to stand out.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
Last but not least, it’s important to ask for business advice. If you found yourself stuck on a legal matter or technical stuff, remember it’s not bad to ask. Besides, Google always has the answers. If not, try your friends, social circle, or guardian.
In the end, age is just a number when it comes to online businesses. Now that you’ve learned how old do you have to be to start a business. It’s best to start your niche-related research. However, do remember to ask for guidance from your legal guardian in the sign-up and banking process.