Teens could try taking the lemonade stand idea to the next level by starting a business. They can turn their passions into profits by giving guitar lessons, making jewelry, or teaching yoga or rollerblading. Don't discount what can emerge from humble beginnings; Bill Gates made his first computer in his family's garage. And being entrepreneurial looks great on a college resume.
Teens who are unable to find a paying job should be encouraged to volunteer. Part of having a job is developing a work ethic and gaining new skills and a sense of purpose. This rewarding option can be done by volunteering in an animal shelter or at a local hospital and is as easy as running a cash register at a pizza shop.
The idea of competing with adults can be daunting for teens, but there are a few things teens can leverage to their advantage.
Teens have the ability to work flexible hours, including nights and weekends. An open schedule makes teens desirable employees as many parents are unable to work those hours.
Young workers should also be armed with an "I'll do anything" attitude. This willingness to do just about anything may not be appropriate for older professionals, but for teens it can be a door-opener.
Price might be the most attractive reason an employer has for hiring a teenager. Teens don't expect to get rich from a summer job so they can be more flexible. Employers are counting on this, which is why they might be willing to hire a rookie as opposed to a seasoned professional.
As far as how much teens should charge, ask around. Solicit suggestions from adults as to what they would pay, or do pay, for the services the teen would provide, keeping in mind that one of the pluses of hiring a teenager is that they are cheaper than a professional service.