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The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

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Entrepreneurial students choose to make money their way

Some students are shifting from traditional teen employment options to their own businesses, and thriving as entrepreneurs.
Fun+times+come+at+a+cost%2C+so+todays+teens+are+paving+their+own+path%2C+and+finding+new+ways+to+earn+money.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Monstera+Productions+via+Pexels%29
Fun times come at a cost, so today’s teens are paving their own path, and finding new ways to earn money. (Photo courtesy of Monstera Productions via Pexels)

This school year, some students at West Chicago Community High School have shifted away from traditional employment towards entrepreneurship. 

In the United States, plenty of students choose to work part time jobs, and those of West Chicago Community High School are no exception. Some want to help their families, others are in pursuit of a PS5. This phenomenon of teenage employment is actually fairly uncommon in much of the developed world. Japan, for instance, only had about 10% of the student population actively working at a time, compared to 33.7% in the United States. However, some teens do not favor the restrictive consistency of a part time job. They prefer to make their own way entirely, or pursue supplemental income to their jobs.

Zayd Haroon, a senior at WEGO, is working on two independent businesses: SixMan Vintage and SH Detailing. The former is an online clothing resale business, the latter a car detailing service. He started selling clothes in his freshman year, adding detailing down the road out of his passion for cars.

“SixMan Vintage, I, for sure, started just ’cause I was young. I was trying to make money. I wasn’t old enough to get a job. And SH Detailing, it was more just my interest in cars and cleaning. And combining those came out detailing,” Haroon said.

He started to focus more on his businesses after quitting a part time job, citing a lack of opportunity for growth, as well as declining personal interest. 

I don’t want to work for people. I want to work for myself and have people work for me,” Haroon said. 

— Zayd Haroon

“I used to work at Target for a couple months. And honestly, I realized that it’s just not for me. And it’s just, it’s not long lasting,” Haroon said.

Haroon began detailing out of his parents’ garage. Due to school obligations, the detailing has slowed to 5-10 clients a month, but his clothing sales are less sporadic. He spends quite a few hours a week either selling or going to Goodwill to stock inventory. 

In the future, Haroon’s goal involves working on cars. He values college, but would like to own a detailing business, and have people working for him. 

“I mean, whatever works out in college, I guess whenever the time comes, I’ll see. But my goal is definitely my detailing. I want to start my own carwash detailing business, have people work for me. But if that doesn’t work out, I always have college and you know, the regular nine to five,” Haroon said.

Another entrepreneur, senior Chris Montoya, runs a haircutting business, cutz.bychris. He has been in the business since age 13, starting at West Chicago’s Art of Fadez, who took him in. Since then, Chris worked a series of odd jobs before deciding he would much rather cut hair. 

Photo illustration created by Karidja Monjolo using Canva.

“I got the opportunity to work at different jobs. I mean, I’ve worked at a factory. Like, it was really hard in there, because it’d be like cars, like we’d be making car parts and all that. And I would do 10 hour shifts, every day, and it was really rough,” Montoya said.

He is supported by his parents and girlfriend, as well as his friend, Brandon, who taught him the art of barbering. 

“I feel like [Brandon’s] the one that pushed me to keep going. I’m not gonna go to him when I feel like something’s not going right. I go to him and he always finds a way to motivate me into getting back into it and trying even harder. And somebody else that inspires me as well, or like, motivates me is my mom and my girlfriend,” Montoya said.

Montoya sees himself working in the hair industry in the future, owning his own shop. He aspires to attend both barber school and college, majoring in business, as a way to merge his passion for hair with a desire for financial independence. 

Yet another young entrepreneur, senior Heidi Pereckas, sells clothing through online retailers such as Depop. She has been doing so for about a year, and has made some decent cash, generally selling one item a week. In addition, she works a job as a lifeguard at LifeTime Fitness.

“I just like to sell my clothes on reselling apps. Honestly, I started just because it’s better for the environment and I would like to make a few dollars off of things that I was otherwise just going to send to Goodwill,” Pereckas said. 

A notable aid to Pereckas’ business is her father, a businessman who supports her efforts. She also stocks inventory off her friends, then splits the take. 

“A lot of my friends will text me asking if I can sell their stuff for them, and then they like to give me a cut of whatever I sold. My dad really loves the fact that I have this little business because he’s also a businessman and he’s just really supportive of my dream,” Pereckas said. 

Pereckas balances her workload with extracurricular involvements, too. She started playing soccer at the age of six, and currently plays for the WEGO women’s soccer team. She also had a brief stint in the Powder Puff game this past Homecoming. 

Contrastingly, Pereckas does not see soccer – or her current business – as pursuits she would like to continue as her main career; for her, these two areas of her life are stepping stones. 

“I’ll probably end up continuing to do this as long as I can. I do plan on majoring in business when I go to college. I would actually love to have my own business, a real, good business when I’m older. That’s definitely my dream,” Pereckas said.

A habit all of these student entrepreneurs share besides their “be your own boss” attitude is an enjoyment of leisure time. All of them value quality time spent with friends and family, and enjoying life as it is. 

“I’m not gonna lie. I do. I feel like I like living my life. I be going out a lot. I go out, like, everywhere, basically everywhere. Ever since I got my license back. I’ve been basically, out and about, you know, all my free time. I like going to Chicago a lot,” Montoya said. 

 

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About the Contributor
Eshan Amir
Eshan Amir, Senior Reporter
Eshan Amir is a senior who partakes in watching movies, filmmaking, and photography in his free time. He strives to accomplish his best at West Chicago Community High School and acknowledges that WEGO provides a great space to meet new people and prosper social skills. After school, he plans to pursue a career in film making or the law industry. He is currently drafting a screenplay, learning the basics of criminal law, and intends on taking journalism to get better at communicating and listening to people.
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