You’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit, but you’re a little younger than the typical business owner. Don’t let that stop you from starting your own business!

1. Determine your business structure

The first thing you need to decide is what kind of structure your business will use.

The most common business structures are:

  • Sole trader: the simplest business to set up because it has less legal and tax obligations.
  • Partnership: involves a number of people who carry on a business together.
  • Company: more complex because companies are governed by boards of directors. You need to be at least 18 years of age to be a director of a company.
  • Trust: a trustee carries out the business on behalf of the trust’s members.

2. Get a tax file number

You’ll need a tax file number (TFN) to do business. You can apply for a TFN at any age, but if you are:

  • 12 years old or younger, your parent or guardian must sign on your behalf
  • between 13 and 15 years old, either you or your parent/guardian can sign the form
  • 16 years old or older, you must sign the form yourself

3. Get an ABN

An ABN is the number you use when you conduct business with other businesses and government.

You can use an ABN to:

  • identify your business to others when ordering and invoicing
  • get an Australian domain name
  • avoid pay as you go (PAYG) tax on payments you get
  • claim goods and services (GST) credits

Find out if you need an ABN

Not everyone needs an ABN.

The Australian Business Register has an ABN entitlement tool to help you find out if your business activities make you eligible for an ABN.

4. Work out what licences and registrations you need

When you start a business, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your business operates legally. This means you need to ensure you have the right licences and registrations.

The types of licences you need depend on your industry, location and business type.

Find the licences and permits you need for your business

Search the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to find information on the licences you may need.

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6. Work within your limits

When you start your own business you’re considered self-employed as a minor. However, even self-employed minors have restrictions on what hours they can work.

The laws vary in each state and territory, but the main requirements are that you can’t work:

  • during school hours
  • after 10pm on a school night

In some states and territories you may require adult supervision while you work, if you’re under a certain age.

7. Find support

You don't have to do it alone. Find government help for your business, such as business advisers, events and training and grants and funding to set you up for success.

Our Guide to starting a business guide will take you through the steps involved in starting a business to help you understand what's ahead.

8. Employ others

After your business is up and running, you might want to employ people to help keep your business going.

If you employ people older than you, your staff members may need to complete a permit or check to be eligible to work with a minor. The requirements for these types of checks vary in each state and territory, so check with your relevant government.

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