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!

With proper planning and some information, you can start your own business at any age. This page details the actions to take and the issues you need to consider if you want to start a business as a minor.

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.

Find out more about the different types of business structures.

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

If you decide to start your business as a sole trader, you can use your own personal TFN. You can apply for a personal TFN on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.

For all other business structures you’ll need to apply for a specific TFN for the business through the Australian Business Register.

3. Get an ABN

Now that you have decided on your business structure and received your TFN, you can register for an Australian business number (ABN).

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

Find out how to register for an ABN for your business.

ABN entitlement

The following information may help you if you’re still unsure if you’re entitled to an ABN.

Register your business

Use the Business Registration Service to apply for your key business registrations.

4. 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.

5. Find support

Have a look at our grants and assistance to help you find potential programs and grants to support your new business.

You can also use our advisory services to help you find a low-cost business adviser.

Our Starting a business guide can take you through the steps of starting a business to help you understand what's ahead.

6. 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.

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.

7. Keep your finances in order

In business, it’s important to have good financial skills so you can keep track of your income and expenditure.

Have a look at the following resources to help you strengthen your financial skills before starting your business.

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.

Read next

Want to start your own business? Use our business planning template to plan your new venture.