The best decision I made all summer was to work for myself. To cater events, to cook private dinner parties, to not get a conventional summer job. Not only have I made more than I have any other summer, I've enjoyed my summer much more. I've had much more free time. While my friends slaved away working every day for summer camps, I stayed in my house, plotting spreadsheets to determine food costs and profits and cooking. This isn't as true for catering larger events, but I still can't believe I get payed for cooking private dinner parties. It's always so much fun and generally relaxed, and I get to cook and interact with the customers and such. Catering is a little different. Those events are fun, but by nature (large amount of people) are more stressful.
But really this job is great. I run it like a business. I'm always on the lookout for potential clients. I've started to make comprehensive spreadsheets that detail each dinner (how much did I profit, did my projected profits meet my actual profit aka did I meet my budget, how much did I spend for each dish, where can I cut costs in the future, what were the guests' comments, what will I change next time). I have control. I have the power to run this into the ground or to build it up. You don't get that from a job at the ice cream shop.