Invest Now

The average person may see the recession as a time to financially withdraw. They may think that because of the housing market failing, major banks going broke, and thousands of innocent people plunged into debt, there’s not a better time to run away. In fact, there’s not a better time to capitalize! A real entrepreneur would invest now because of the opportunity. No matter what your age (see this post), and you have $500 or more lying around, invest; there are several good reasons to do this.

Buy Low, Sell High

The stock trader’s motto, it’s deadly accurate for what should be happening right now. Today is a great time to buy stock. Generally, stocks lessen in value during an economic downturn because there are less people wanting to buy it. It’s the law of demand: if little people want to buy a product, the price goes down, and vice versa. Take advantage: rearrange your money into a portfolio that has a long-term return, because:

It’s Going To Go Up

The TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) recently reported 5 straight months of growing profit! The recession has provided us with some of the lowest prices that we’ve ever seen on big companies’ stock. Normally, a severe downturn isn’t followed by a worse downturn. Sure, the economy will take a while to bloom again, but there are almost guaranteed profits (don’t hold me to it) if you buy in a safe, long-term stock (preferably) now. Even if you don’t have money to invest right now, see this post to find out how you can simulate investments, for free!

Stimulate The Economy

It’s what we need. We need investors to start re-building the economy, as well as the trust between companies. Your investment will help a company regain its balance, while the investment will be pretty safe for the next little while (until the market really fully regains stability).

You’ll Learn Valuable Lessons

As a teen, we learn things! So if we learn to take advantage of the market now, we’ll be able to use it later in life. This provides a huge head-start! Also, investing at this time will give you a wealth of economic experience (pun intended).

If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

Disclaimer: I’m not a stock market professional, so I’m not liable for any losses in this market – but I would appreciate some praise if things go well!

I got a question from a reader a few days ago about investing. He points out that the legal age to invest in the US is 18, and 19 in Canada. He said that he’s then confused as to how I and any other teen under 18 can invest!
My portfolio is my own, and so are my investments. Yet there’s a simple answer to this question. My investments are in my name, but are in trust from my parents. That means that legally, they’re operated by my parents, but they’re held by me. See? It’s a simple bypass of the system!

I’ve been investing since I was eleven. If you’re under 18 or 19, and you have maybe $500, $1000, or even $2000 just lying around in your savings account, ask your parents to set up an investing portfolio in trust for you! Don’t worry, you pick the investments. There’s no limit to the age you can invest at, because why would there be? Age plays no factor.

Music Makes Money

Some of the most successful businesses today are based on someone’s talent (or talents) – an example being an artist selling paintings – and these businesses can be easily tapped into by young people today. Many teens (or even kids) are musically gifted, or can learn to be, and many actually use that to their advantage. There’s a general rule in life (which applies to business quite well, actually, though not always accurate, but that’s another story): if you’re good, then you’re paid for it. That means that if you’re a good musician, then people want to hear it (and pay for it!) Here are a few examples where you can make some nifty cash.

Band/Solo Artist – Make sure you can make some good music though, before you plan on making some money out of it. Ask yourself: “Would I buy my music”? If so, record some demos (you can do it quite for quite cheap now, or even for free), and send them out to talent agencies or promoters. This demo could also be an album; sell your album to other people in real life, or even online (my friend sells his album on iTunes). This is a great way to make an easy $10 – $20/album. A great step would be to look for open-microphone nights, competitions (or talent shows), or jams – they all give some wonderful publicity, and usually have some juicy cash prizes. You could even ask a café, restaurant, or recreation center if they’d be interested in having some live musicians – they might pay $10+/hour, or maybe $50 a night. You could even be a busker on the street (go to your municipal hall and apply for a license, first), and make $20 or more an hour!

Pianist – Making money from being a pianist applies mostly to those who are really good, so you’ll have to be very experienced before you plan to make some moolah. Try asking hotels if they’d like a “live ambient artist” (someone who provides background music), or talk to event planning services, because they often need pianists. Like a solo-artist, you could compose and record your own songs and sell them. Talent agents are often at competitions, and if you can impress them, they can help promote you too.

DJ – Being a DJ is a fun, entertaining, and often high-paying job (if you’re a good one). Contrary to popular belief, it’s not an age-limiting job: I’ve heard of 9 year olds rocking bars. DJ’s can be paid sometimes upwards of $50/hour for a wedding. Though it is usually very expensive to get into, anywhere from $700 to $5000 (for truly high-end, state-of-the-art stuff), if you are determined, you can work that off. Again, make demo mixes (or if you’re a mobile DJ, record videos of yourself), give them to promoters or clubs or bars (look for ones that sell food, because they can often let minors in if they do) or even your school! DJing your school dances are great – commercial school dance DJ’s charge far too much, and you could undercut them a bit, and clean up quite nicely. If you have any other questions about this in particular, email me, because I’m a DJ myself!

How I Make My Money

For the past year or so, I’ve been doing a lot of work. Though it’s not a regular, steady job, I find that I’ve made more money that my friends – right now I average at least $100 a week, and am paid anywhere from $10/hour – $30/hour.
The Lowdown

For the past year or so, I’ve been babysitting. However, this level of babysitting has been very professional – sometimes 5 kids at once (and I’m 15!) – and you get special bonuses for that. I’ve been such a responsible babysitter that I manage about 6 or 7 repeat clients. I usually have 2 or three jobs per week. 5 hours a job x $10 a job x 3 jobs a week = $150 a week, just from babysitting! I even have a steady weekly gig, for 4 hours, managing 3 kids – I just get up earlier, and by the time the job is done (it’s in the morning, on weekends), I haven’t missed any part of the day at all. Sometimes I only have that $40 job, but that’s more than enough for my weekly spending needs. I’ve probably made upwards of $2000 between September and now, just from babysitting.

In July I started my own landscaping and garden care business. I started by mowing my neighbour’s lawn, then my own. Because both properties are moderately big, I can charge about $30 – $35 a mow. It now takes me less than an hour to mow a large size lawn. I began offering more services: edging, weeding, gardening, watering, and other yard work. Because edging often comes with mowing, I might take in $45 for an hour and a half worth of work. Multiply $45 by twice a week, and that’s $90. Then I got some odd weeding and yard work jobs – from working about 8 hours, I received about $110 for yard work and weeding.

Recently, I got a job. No, it’s not a typical job in the sense that it’s for an establishment – I work for myself. I was phoned by a person wanting a weeding job on a really large property. It’s so large that it’ll provide consistent work – on my own time – at about $10/hour. I choose my own hours: recently, I’ve been doing about 2 hours/day, and about 9 hours/week because it’s summer; I expect 5 hours, or $50/week, when school starts… which I’ve just realized is tomorrow.

So here’s what it all looks like:

4 hours every week babysitting for one person = $40

Average of 3 hours every week additional babysitting = $30

1 yard mow/trim average, a week = $45

Weeding job = $50

Additional = $30

Total = $195/week, or $780 a month*.

I realize this figure is high – $195 is sometimes irregular, and I may make only $40 (*it’s actually usually around $500/month), but you get the jist of it. Once you’re comfortable with knowing that babysitting is not just a job for a 12 year-old girl (and that there’s no shame in it), and that landscaping is easy and not that time-consuming, there’s easy money!

…and he’s only 17!

I was excited one day when I received a kindly email from 17 year-old Armen Haroutunian. Through a series of emails, I got to know about his involvement in business from when he was little to now. It’s a lengthy article, but it’s definitely a recommended read – it provided a ton of inspiration for me!

At the young age of 17, you’re already the Chief Marketing Officer of a reputable telecommunications solutions company. How and when were you introduced to this position?

I have always been involved and interested in business. I got introduced to the telecommunication industry because it has been in my family. My father owns the company, yet I have proved myself to him as being worthy of my position. I had always been in the office from a young age working with telecommunications products. I remember how I would register phone systems and set them up, making the job of the technicians much easier. I also would answer incoming phone calls and transfer them to the correct department. Once in a while if a customer had some questions regarding the products we sell, I would take the initiative and answer them to the best of my knowledge. I officially began doing sales for Phone Lines Com Inc. about 2 years ago. We sustained great growth through some of the techniques I implemented. Following this, as a company we sat down and decided we must market ourselves to a greater number of small businesses. One of the first steps we took was to create a new and redesigned website, www.phonelinesinc.com , which launched in late August of 2009. Much of the responsibility for publicizing our company and site now remains in my hands. The great part of what I do is by executing the tasks at hand, I am able to learn and further educate myself about marketing.

Has business and money-making played any role in your younger life? Were you always such an entrepreneur?

Thinking and dreaming about business has been in my veins for as long as I can remember. For me it is just a natural part of my everyday life. I am always thinking how I could improve our business. I have always been involved in business. I remember as a kid I would have lemonade stands regularly. At the age of 10 I was thinking like an entrepreneur. I had a lemonade stand, but I didn’t only sell lemonade. I would have iced tea on certain days and sell Limeade as well. This gave my customers a choice on refreshments. I also began offering the lemonade in a larger cup (16 oz.), I put a lid on the cup and a nice straw, this way I was able to sell my lemonade for $1.00 instead of $0.50. When I turned 12, I began to write letters to CEO’s asking them what they did that helped them achieve so much success. After writing about 50 letters, I received 20 responses all of which were very insightful and motivating. At 15 years of age, I started a business club at school. Through the help and commitment of many friends this club has become a prime club at our school. I served as President of the club for 2 years, in which I learned a great deal of leadership skills.

Can you give a brief description of what your job at Phone Lines Inc. entails?

My job and duty at Phone Lines Inc. entails a lot of researching. I am always on the computer searching for new avenues with which we can market our products and services. It definitely takes time and effort especially when you are not very experienced, but knowing that adults trust you in what you do truly gives me the determination and hope I need to succeed.

Aside from your job at Phone Lines Inc., you intern at a real estate agency and you’re in grade 12 – a busy life. What do you like about your job/internship that makes you so determined to balance it all?

I never thought I would find much interest in real estate. I always would tell myself, that once I had enough money to invest, then I would start looking into developing and investing in real estate. I had the opportunity over the summer to learn more about real estate and took it. It turned out to be great! I truly loved how I was learning so much about commercial and residential real estate. So I began to intern at Keller Williams by a great broker, who always provides me with insight into his business. The most important part of real estate is marketing. There is a lot of competition in the industry because most agents do the same thing. Off course the way you present yourself to the client means a lot, but ultimately what matters is how many potential clients you can expose yourself too. The more people that recognize your name the more deals you will close. That is why marketing is so important to real estate. Learning more about marketing in real estate has also made me come up with new and more innovative ways to market Phone Lines Inc.

What do you see in your future?

I will be applying to university this year. My goal is to get as much experience in the business world as possible through all of college. Once I get my B.A. I am planning on getting my MBA. After I have met those qualifications, I hope I can become a CEO of a business one day and grow that business. Seeing a business you started or had a part in, become more and more profitable would make my dream come true.

What word of advice would you like to give to people?

I would like to tell anyone reading this to just work hard and start from a young age. Experience is what defines you, the more experience you have when you enter the business world the more likely you are to succeed. A great way to gain a lot of information is right on your fingertips. The internet has an infinite amount of resources and use that to your advantage. Also, read any sort of material that interests you whether it be online or in various kinds of books.