Sarah Rexman recently blogged here about entrepreneurial opportunities high school students could pursue instead of going to college. For students with computer facility and some art skills, selling services to businesses may be more interesting and more profitable than retail businesses.
Here are six ideas for businesses serving the business market that require no post-high school training.
Creating online ads for businesses. Many small businesses don't advertise online. They probably do not know how to create ads themselves. Many cannot afford the set-up costs to have a web portal create an ad for them. A student with an eye for design, good copy-writing skills, and knowledge of standard ad sizes could fill that niche.
Take digital photos. A student who can shoot photos that tell stories could turn a digital camera into a business taking photos for local businesses. Newspapers may be willing to pay for photos, especially of sports events and weekend activities that they cannot cover personally.
Resize and reformat digital photos. Many businesses need digital photos resized to fit into an ad space, for example. They may need a png photo reformatted to jpg. Or perhaps the photo needs to be compressed to a maximum size. None of those tasks is difficult, but all may require software that the business does not have. The business probably doesn't have time to research to find the software let alone time to learn to use it.
Create digital slide shows. Nostalgia is profitable. Students who can sequence photos so they tell a story can make money packaging other people's photos into memorabilia. Digital slide shows are in demand for reunions and anniversaries of groups ranging from the high school alumni to the town's oldest business.
Another outlet for digital slide shows is the local funeral home. Here being able to produce shows fast is key. The producer may have only a day to turn material into a tasteful, finished show. The funeral home market is no place for sloppy jeans and tattoos. Ability to interact with grieving family members respectfully is essential.
Create PowerPoint presentations. By high school, most students will have seen enough PowerPoint presentations to have a sense of what not to do. A little research will reveal what the presentation should do: Lots of slides, limited text, big type, and clearly identified take-away items. Businesses, churches and nonprofits agencies are potential markets for the student who can create good PowerPoint presentations.
Scan documents. Many household have all-in-one printers, but the typical business is unlikely to have a scanner good enough for business applications. Scanning documents takes minimal computer and art skills, but without an understanding of such things as the uses of various output modes (jpg versus pdf, for example), the entrepreneur won't be able to help clients achieve their goals.
(*) Linda Aragoni is seeking the services she describes here for the website she operates for nonfiction writing teachers and her blog of vintage novel reviews.