Clay Lewis spent two years trying to find part-time work before he decided to start his own business, one that's now so successful he's had to hire extra staff.
"I was trying to get a job at a fast food restaurant but I wasn't successful," the 16-year-old with autism said.
So after some local market research and number crunching, Clay opened a bin-cleaning business with his mother Laura's help.
"It seemed like something easy to start off with and there was no competition in my area," he told ABC Radio Brisbane's Terri Begley.
"I came up with the idea where I would clean wheelie bins and do a kitchen bin clean for repeat customers."
Clay's Bin Cleaning recently celebrated its first anniversary and the young entrepreneur has employed three more cleaners to keep up with demand.
"Over the year I've learnt that it's really important to do a good job so my customers have me back, and I do extra little things like wind up their hoses as it's a nice touch.
"It's always really important to have our workplace safe too."
Not-so-sweet smell of success
Ms Lewis said it was "unbelievably satisfying" to see her son earn money through his own business and to have something to place on his resume.
"It means that when he finishes school he will have a full business to step into and he will be able to achieve an independent lifestyle," she said.
"The unemployment and under-employment rate of disabled people is incredibly high."
The journey has not always been easy for Clay.
"It's really hard in summer as bins smell — sometimes I gag but I just work through it," he said.
"I often use a cleaning mask but the maggots can be tough."
Ms Lewis drives her son to jobs, helps with EFTPOS transactions and manages things behind the scenes including emails and scheduling.
She said Clay's confidence had skyrocketed as business took off.
"He now does all the client face-to-face communication," she said.
"Clay has a sensory processing disorder like many people with autism, so he is extremely sensitive to different things like smell, sight and sound, and for Clay smell is a big thing.
"To overcome that was a huge challenge."
Training three employees had also helped add to Clay's skill set, Ms Lewis said.
"When we started to knock back work we decided to look for someone to help.
"We've trained three others to help out now too."
With the business growing, Clay hopes to juggle both the business and his final year at high school.
"I need to concentrate on school, but I'm saving to go to Abu Dhabi to go to the Formula 1 race as my Schoolies," he said.
"I'm also thinking of offering car washing and driveway cleaning this year as well, as I had someone donate a pressure cleaner to me."