Students Learn Real World Experience by Beginning their Small Businesses in High School


Credit to Hannah Anderson

In her spare time, sophomore Jennifer Schelfaut creates jewelry which she sells on her personal Etsy shop. Here she showcases some of the necklaces she has made.

By Macy Cronin

It’s not unusual for high school students to hold down a job or two while still in school, but for some students they want to go beyond just working for a business. They want to start their own. 

“That experience looks good on a resume,” marketing teacher Mike Freedline said. “People want to see what you can do and not just your educational background, but what have you done that proves you are a leader.”

Running their own business gives students a chance to work for themselves and control their own hours and wages. This means students will have to learn to juggle a job, school and any other activities they may be involved with.

“It can be very stressful because they have to be able to manage their time effectively,” college and career counselor Brooke Prestidge said. “Even though their business might be their end goal, they still have to complete high school, so that is probably going to take priority a lot of times.”

The skills students learn when they run their business can help them finish high school and start strong after school. These students are learning how to lead and work with others and become financially responsible.

“They are learning the basic soft skills that aren’t necessarily taught in school, so just how to communicate professionally with other people, how to work against a deadline,” Prestidge said. “Kind of those real world experiences that unfortunately a lot of our students don’t get if they’re not seeking it out themselves.”

Students can choose to further their business in a number of ways after high school. No matter if they choose to go to college and further their education or not. 

“I think a lot of time those students are leaving college as an option for them, but it seems like they are already finding some success or they’re starting to realize what they want to do after high school because they’ve started their own business,” Prestidge said. 

Going to college can advance their small business by learning the ins and outs of it through classes offered at the college and receiving help from willing professors. This can be helpful for those who need the extra assistance getting their business to the next level.

Not going to college and staying in the workforce can help a business in a different way. Students can now dedicate more time into helping clients and working specifically to better their business. They can get better by learning skills first hand rather than going to a class.

“A lot of them are using the skills they are going to go and use in whatever career path they choose,” Freedline said.

 Learning these soft skills now rather than later can help them prosper while on their own. No matter what students choose to do after high school, the business they start now while still in school is going to change them.

“Anybody can start a business,” Freedline said. “Especially for students whether it’s something small or a little bit bigger, the experience is worth more than whether you succeed or fail. You don’t fail if you try.”