I recently led a workshop via Refresh the Triangle and the Durham County Library. During the all-day Teen Tech Camp, we helped 30 local students (ages 11 to 17) who wanted to learn about working with web technologies.
As one of the Refresh the Triangle co-organizers, I gave a keynote workshop for the middle school and high school students, “How to Make Money with Your Technology Skills” (download the PDF handout!). Other workshops included:
- Blogging with WordPress
- Design for the Web
- Coding with HTML/CSS
- Game Design for the Internet
Sharing My Business Experience at Teen Tech Camp
In high school in Virginia, I started a technology consulting business (computer training, troubleshooting, web design, and marketing). I eventually grew the business part-time to 20+ clients by the time I graduated from college, growing primarily by word of mouth marketing.
I learned mostly by trial and error–I want to help today’s students jumpstart their experience. During the workshop, I used an interactive worksheet that helps students answer key questions, so that they’d leave with a plan for getting started:
You can start making money with your computer skills today. As a teenager, I helped people fix their computers and build websites. You can get paid for what you know, too!
I went from charging $12/hour in 10th grade to charging $75/hour by the time I graduated from college. Beyond the money, I learned important business and technical skills that I still use today.
To help you get started faster, I’m going to answer 10 key questions about starting your computer freelancing business. By the end of our session today, you’ll have ideas on how to make money, where to find paying clients, how to stay organized, and more.
You can see immediate or almost immediate results — and your freelance experience can lead to getting a job in the future, just as it did for me.
Participants at this first Teen Tech Camp will graduate from college between 2017 and 2023. I can’t predict the future, but I know there’s plenty to learn between now and then!
Get the Handout
Download the PDF handout here (161KB)
Answering the Top 10 Questions from Teenagers About Starting a Tech Freelancing Business
During my workshop at Durham’s Southwest Regional Library, I answered these 10 top questions teenagers may have about making money with their tech skills:
- How can I make money now using my computer skills?
- Where can I find my first clients?
- How much should I charge?
- How do I convince people to hire me, and should I ever work for free?
- What should I do to keep making money?
- How can I stay safe, personally and financially?
- Where can I go to learn new skills?
- Do my parents need to be involved?
- Where can this take me?
- What should I do next to get started?
Here’s a PDF copy of my handout (161KB) so others can use it, too.
Sharing Your Advice
I’d love to get your tips, too! Did you start a business as a teenager? Do you know teens who want to use their tech skills?
Questions: If you were giving business advice to a tech-savvy teenager, what would you tell them? You can leave a comment by clicking here.