Sunday, May 02, 2010

Some Good Summer Jobs for 15 Year Olds

Image hosted by Fifteen is a difficult age; too young to work for many companies or to be paid minimum wage, but with enough freedom, responsibility and socialising to need a regular income. At the same time if you do not get some experience now, you might find that when you turn 16 you find yourself at a disadvantage as many others have worked summer jobs etc and gotten an edge with references and experience. Fortunately however all is not lost, and there is certainly work out there for fifteen year olds if you know where to look.

Many younger people work for smaller independent companies who do not need to go through as many hoops to employ them. In many cases they will pay cash in hand and make it more of a mutual arrangement than anything official. Look for smaller newsagents, health stores, chippies etc and offer your services at a low price reflecting your age. However do be aware that at 15 the law does not require your employers to pay you minimum wage, and if you are being paid cash in hand you will not be protected by any of the other labour laws meaning you could end up working unreasonable hours. The good news is that such an arrangement also means you can leave the job just as easily should you be unhappy and will not be obligated to work any period of notice etc.

These kinds of jobs are of course high in demand however and short in supply. At the same time the low pay could put a lot of people off. If you are lucky then your parent’s may run a family business and might be able to give you some work. At the same time you might know family friends or other relatives who own a business who can employ you – perhaps a neighbour who owns a chip shop, or maybe a friend who runs a small newsagents. This way you will have a foot in the door and they will probably be happy to give you work as a favour to you and your parents. As you know them they will also be more likely to be generous with pay. However the downside is of course that you will be mixing friendship and business, which is often advised against as it can leave one or both parties upset and can put a strain on relationships. The other problem of course is that not everyone knows someone that they could work for.

The smart answer then, is to start working for yourself. This might sound like a pipe dream, but actually it is very achievable and will actually earn you more money, look better on a CV and impress everyone. Self employed needn’t mean you are running a business, or that you are a rich entrepreneur, but can simply mean that you do odd jobs for cash. For example, loads of teenagers make money as babysitters, gardeners, lawn cutters, dog walkers, car washers, sweepers, cleaners etc and all this is basically being self employed if you work for multiple ‘clients’. The best way to start off is probably to start working for your parents, who are likely to encourage your entrepreneurial spirit and not begrudge you some cash in order to sweep the drive. You then offer other people in your network of friends and family, get your parents to tell their friends, and as such you start getting more work. You can also go round the area and walk up someone’s drive – knock on their door and offer to mow their lawn (obviously look for houses that have overgrown gardens in particular). This is essentially cold calling, but at your age you are likely to get away with it, and will also learn something about sales technique and the general public.

If you are doing jobs like mowing the lawn, washing cars or sweeping drives then this makes a summer job that will earn you some cash (and there will not be a boss or organisation taking a large cut of it). You can also work any hours that suit you and do exactly the kind of work you like. You can also expect to get given tips, cups of tea, glasses of orange juice and other incentives. As long as you are friendly and efficient and do not charge too much then word will spread, but you can also hand out business cards with a list of jobs you are willing to perform, set up a website, or even advertise on community notice boards, in shop windows or in free ads which will turn your outfit into almost a fully fledged business.

If you’d rather not do manual labour or travel door to door then there are a host of other jobs you can do yourself and miniature ventures. Many teenagers set up juice stalls in their front gardens and sell freshly squeezed orange juice to passers by (again this would be less likely to work for adults, but people are more likely to part with their money if it is going to a young person) and there are many other things you can do that are much in the same spirit. For one you could buy up materials from craft shops or on eBay then sell something home made. This could be jewellery, clothing, ornaments or even paintings (you could even offer to paint caricatures) and you can then take these to car boot sales (which cost very little to enter, are good fun, and again can teach you a lot about sales and marketing). At the same time you can sell them to friends and family and even online through a website or through eBay.

If you have a skill then that too can be sold. For example if you play an instrument then you might be able to find work playing in an establishment. Ask around local hotels etc and see if they might be willing to pay for you musical stylings. Similarly if you are in a band you can be hired out for events or perform gigs – turning something you love into something that earns you money. In even higher demand are DJs and these again will spread by word of mouth – DJ at friends’ parties, weddings, birthdays and other events and tailor your music to the audience. You’d be surprised where something like that could take you if you get the right breaks and impress the right people (you never know who is listening). Depending on the laws in your area you could even busk which is actually a higher earner than you’d think (and again you will be using your young age as an advantage).

There is also a host of work you can do online and from the comfort of your front room. For graphic designers, writers and web programmers there is a whole host of work out there on the net so try e-mailing websites and seeing if they need the work. Alternatively you could look around your local area for websites, independent shops etc and see if you could offer your services building them a website for them and do them some internet marketing. There are also countless sites where you can make money reviewing products, filling out surveys and referring new customers to a service. If you set up your own website you can even start to generate a passive income – earning money from advertising clicked by visitors and affiliate products sold on the site. This way you will be earning money while you sleep.

Any of these jobs will look great on a CV, showing you to be motivated, imaginative, creative and business minded. They will also teach you a great deal and stand to earn you an awful lot of money. And that money will be even sweeter knowing that you earned it entirely yourself using nothing but your own ‘get up and go’. You never know, you might even end up making a career out of it and being the next Richard Branson… Or the next Jeff Lynne

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