In this article, we’re going to be digging into seven steps that you can take to start a business in high school. I’m going to be sharing with you two examples along the way in terms of businesses that I started using these same seven steps in order to make myself some extra money while I was back in high school.
Step 1: Take a step back
The first step that I want you to do when it comes to thinking about starting a business in high school is just to take a step back. Try to think about two or three things that your friends or your family are always telling you you’re really good at. Maybe for example, you’re really good with your hands or you’re really good at teaching people new things about certain topics. Whatever it is, the important thing is that you identify what a few of those particular skills are.
And in the case where you don’t feel like you have those skills yet, you want to identify whether or not you just have an interest in those skills. Because a lot of times, just because you’re not good at it today doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t necessarily start a business using that particular skill. It just means that it’ll take you a little bit longer than normal.
For me personally, when I was in high school, there were two things that I knew I was really good at. One was that I was pretty good at being good at school. So, being a nerd myself, what I knew was that people would turn to me for study guides and things like that. So, that’s something that I actually would do is I would create these different study guides along with a fellow classmate of mine and then sell those study guides for money.
Step #2: Think about what sort of offer can you test
That leads me naturally to step number two, which is once you’ve identified two or three things that you’re good at, what I want you to think about is what sort of offer can you test to a particular set of customers.
So in my situation, just taking that example, I was just sharing, I knew that I was pretty good at creating study guides for myself. And I could probably package something that would be valuable to my classmates as well. So my test offer was a few pages of a study guide that would essentially go over all the key people, events, and potential questions that our history teacher might ask us in school. And so what I did was I created a test offer to then see whether or not my classmates were going to be interested in my particular product.
Step #3: Pitch your offer
That leads us to step number three, which is where you’re going to want to actually pitch your offer. So, at this point in time, it’s all about using your sales skills. From here, what you’re going to want to think about is how can I potentially make this an appealing offer to the people that I want to buy my particular product or service?
So, in my situation, that was, again, a lot of my classmates, and what I would offer them are these really easy to read study guides that would save them time because A: they wouldn’t have to actually make their own study guides and B: they knew that they were getting pretty much the same thing that one of the kids at the top of the class were also using to study in when they were studying for their exams.
So by using these two points, I knew that I had a unique offer that I could actually test. And it was all about then figuring out exactly how much could I charge for this particular offer.
Step #4: Listen to feedback
That naturally leads us to step number four, which is to listen to the feedback from the people that you are selling to. So at this point, you have all these different prospects that you’re trying to sell your offer to. And what you want to think about is what are people actually telling you? In my case, for example, I priced my first study guide at about $10. And what I noticed was that it was selling really well. I was getting 10, 15, 20 customers at that point in time.
And so what I knew as well was that this was probably going to be a problem if I had too much distribution. And so what I needed to do was I need to make sure that I was getting the right customer. Because I didn’t want to get in trouble as well in terms of making a study guide and selling it at school as opposed to outside of school or something like that.
So from there, I would start to build up my base of customers. And then I also started to understand in the overall greater scheme of things how to value my own product or service. It’s really important that as you start your business in high school, if you notice that a hundred percent of the people you’re telling about your offer are accepting your price, then it means that you can increase your price.
So step number four is to really listen to the feedback and think about what is going well and what is not going well with your pitch. In the case where you’re getting nobody to actually accept or want your offer, then that means that you probably have overpriced yourself or your offer is not providing enough value to the person that you’re trying to help.
Step #5: Double down
The fifth step is to either pivot or double down on what you’re working on. So at this point in time, you should have some sort of offer service in place and you should be getting some feedback about that.
And this is the point in which you know whether or not you’re on the right track because in the case where you’re on the right track, you would have already had your first customer agreed to want your offer or service. But in the case where you haven’t yet, then you’re going to want to adjust that and then go back to an earlier step in time.
Step #6: Deliver on your offer
Once you’ve figured that out that leads us to step number six, which is where you’re going to actually want to deliver on your offer. So, in my case, when I was creating study guides, I had to actually print out those study guides make them nicely formatted, and also have those little side binders that you can make so that it looked a little bit more polished and then give it to my classmates.
And from there, it was all about getting their feedback about that study guide and seeing whether or not they felt like that study guide really helped them in their studying for the next history test. When you’re delivering on your offer, I want you to get into a habit of over-delivering on what you actually promise.
And what I mean by that is in my situation, what I would do is I would not only give the study guides, but when it came to us, starting to work on the next unit, what I would do is I would actually start to create the bare bones framework for the next study guide, and then give the customers that have bought the last study guide, the preview, or some snippets of the next study guide in order to help them as we were still learning the units.
This is where you really want to think about how can you make yourself stand out from the rest of the pack. In the case where you’re providing some sort of service, like a pool cleaning service, then what you want to think about is what can I do that’s different than every other professional pool care company or something like that to really make somebody want to stay with me and stand out from the rest of the pack.
That may just be something as simple as making yourself cheaper than a professional service, or it could be some other value add package that the other services would charge a lot more for, or not even include in their baseline of products.
Step #7: Get reviews and create a flywheel
Step number seven when it comes to starting a business in high school is to get reviews and then create a flywheel for your next customer. What I mean by this is if you’re making your customers happy, then they should be more than happy to leave you a review somewhere or to speak well about your product or service. And from here, what you want to think about is how you can activate your happy customers to help you find your next customers.
So when I left in my study guides back in the day is I would leave a call to action on the last page, which essentially said, if you found the study guide helpful and worth your time, then you can save X, Y, Z dollars off your next study guide if you invite your friend and have them use the code XYZ, and essentially what this did was it started to condition my customers to be advocates for my own product or service.
If you just think about the different apps that you use on your phone and whatnot, they do the same thing in which once you are showing that you’re happy with their product or service, they’ll show that pop-up where it asks you to leave a review for their business, or they’ll actually have referral section where you can then copy that referral link and then send it over to your friend to invite them to that product or service.
And the reason why this is really powerful is because once you have a pool of happy customers and then it’ll make it even easier to then find your next customer and expand out your pool as well as your business.
If you liked this article, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week. I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. Also, feel free to share this with anybody that you think might benefit from learning how to start a business as a high school student.