Summer jobs and after school employment may seem relegated to the world of teenagers, but younger children are often just as anxious to earn a little spending money of their own. Caught in the preteen world between young children and high schoolers, an 11-year-old may find the pickings rather slim in the way of legitimate jobs. Those with an entrepreneurial spirit, however, can create their own opportunities to make money. Learning how to make and manage money at this age is a rewarding experience and can help to foster work ethic, while still providing ample room for creativity.
Evaluate your skills and hobbies. Some things that you are particularly good at, or enjoy doing for fun, may provide inspiration for products or services that you can offer. If you are good at mowing the lawn, washing cars, raking leaves, shovelling snow or walking dogs, you may be able to offer your services for a fee. Some crafts may be able to earn you money as well, such as making jewellery or greeting cards.
Find a market for your product or service. Your neighbourhood is a good place to start, as you probably won't need transportation to get from one job to the next. See if you can figure out the service your neighbours would appreciate the most. If you notice a lot of gardens, you may be able to help with weeding and watering. A neighbour with young children may appreciate someone coming in for a few hours on the weekend to entertain them.
If you are selling crafts, look in your newspaper for craft fairs in your area where you can set up a table. You can also sell some of your creations online at sites such as etsy.com or ebay.com. Ask for your parents' help with signing up for these services.
Advertise everything you are offering. Hand flyers out to neighbours or hang them in public places such as your library (with permission, of course). E-mail your friends and family to let them know about your new business and encourage them to pass the word along. Provide information about your services and prices, as well as a way to contact you. Make sure to get your parents' permission before handing out a phone number or e-mail address, and discuss with them the best way for potential clients to contact you.
Collect references from satisfied clients as you complete jobs. You may need to offer a free or discounted service to a close family friend or family member to get your business started. Once you have completed a satisfactory job, your client may be willing to provide a reference to others, or pay more next time.
Keep an organised folder or notebook with information on your work. Keep track of the names and contact information for people you have provided services to. Track the work you did and how much you earned. If you are making crafts, track how much the supplies cost and how much you make from the finished products to ensure that you are making a profit. Over time, this information will help you evaluate your success. You can also use it to offer coupons or discounts to your best customers.
The work that is most sought after may not always be the most fun. Be prepared to do some unpleasant tasks, such as scooping dog poop before mowing a lawn, in order to provide a quality service.
Always let your parents know where you are going and what you will be doing when you go to someone else's home for a job.