I’m a big fan of summer jobs. In fact, I wish more people had them than just teenagers. But I can only imagine that these days (even with the wealth of information available) many teens have little clue about how to start getting work outside of the traditional fast food or retail/service employment tracks.
The real money – and many great lessons – are in self-employment.
Being an entrepreneur has never been easier, but teenagers have lost some of the basics.. Back in the old days you’d just knock on your neighbor’s front door and offer to paint the fence, watch the children, mow the yard, or walk the dog. Now people seem to be increasingly isolated from their neighbors. Folks who want things done – and who might be willing to pay a local youth to do them – probably don’t know how to find good help either.
This is a real opportunity for an “Uber-for-X” type of marketplace app made especially for teen entrepreneurs. It fills a gap in the market left as people lose touch with their communities. Even as they become strangers to each other, many people still want to give teens a shot in business.
The app could allow teen entrepreneurs to list their services – computer repair, car washing, yard maintenance – and allow clients to request fulfillment for certain project needs – getting boxes packed for a move, getting childcare, having a porch swept.
This ecosystem could serve both one-time generalist contractors (teens who might take on multiple kinds of tasks) as well as specialists building business for specific needs, from landscaping to pet care. As with Uber and Lyft, payments could be drawn automatically upon completion of a job, ensuring that teen entrepreneurs get paid. Alongside this, mapping and timing software in the app could ensure that teen entrepreneurs are serving customers efficiently. A reputation system would ensure that the best services get the best jobs.
There’s a need for a teen-specific app that can thoroughly, thoroughly weed out potential stalkers and creepers. This kind of solution would require strong vetting, some kind of parental approval/oversight, and a reputation system with zero tolerance for creepiness.
But if done right, an app like this could give a whole generation of would-be teen entrepreneurs a leg up into market discovery and client acquisition.