Mailbox makeovers, bedtime cookies: Meet the teen entrepreneurs of the pandemic summer

Teen unemployment is at a record high. This is how our readers are creating jobs for themselves.


July 17, 2020

Last summer, Dominic, a 13-year-old in Alpharetta, Georgia, spent most of his time on Fortnite. But this year, he’s rebranding. He’ll repaint your mailbox, add new flags, and replace your faded street number with vinyl lettering. 

Earlier this week, we asked how students were finding work this summer — and Dominic (via his Hustle-reading dad) was one of many creative upstarts to respond.

Talk about bootstrapping

Dominic doesn’t have a Facebook page of his own, so he uses his parents’ accounts to advertise his services. So far this summer, he’s earned about $600. 

Another reader — Angus Timoney, a 17-year-old in Gold Coast, Australia — has made $10k/month reselling sneakers

He buys about 50 new pairs every month, usually within seconds of an online release. He keeps the excess kicks in his house until their value goes up. 

What it looks like to operate a sneaker resale biz out of your room. Photo via Angus Timoney

It’s especially profitable in Australia, Timoney says, where there’s less inventory. (Here’s a road map on how to get your start in the biz.)

A few other impressive hustles

  • Madelyn Cohen, a 14-year-old in New York, set up a business — called Sag Harbor Nite-Nite Cookies — where she delivers bedtime cookies and storybooks to young kids in the Hamptons.
  • Phoebe, a 12-year-old in Perth, Australia, designed a deck of 54 cards with ideas for how kids can spend their time in quarantine. 
  • Nygel Jones, a 22-year-old from New York City, is beta testing his startup RE:Locate, which helps college graduates tap into new professional networks when they move. 
  • 14-year-old Liam, based in Tennessee, started asking local businesses if they had old computer parts they needed to recycle. He’s selling the diamonds in the rough — like a vintage Apple IIe computer — on eBay. He’s made $500 so far.

We asked our Trends subscribers about the summer jobs that inspired them. We heard about some classic gigs (lawn care, car washes) and some weird ones — like one aspiring entrepreneur who sold ripped CDs of animal sounds to hunters. Wanna take a walk down memory lane? Read their stories to start your stroll.

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