My oldest sons ages 13, 11, and 9 have wanted to start their own business for the past several years. This excites their dad and me. We both did odd jobs and had our own little mini businesses at those ages too. We have owned businesses as adults too. It is really exciting to see our kids have that drive to want to work, be creative, and be self motivated.
Even though my husband and I have both owned businesses in the past, I wasn’t exactly sure how to help my kids / teens understand and explore their options and see the big picture of running a business until an opportunity to review Micro Business For Teens was offered to us.
Micro Business For Teens
Great for ages 10-18
Even though it is designed for these ages, I think it is adaptable to all ages, and great to do together as a whole family too.
Curriculum includes the following items: Starting A Micro Business, Running A Micro Business, and Micro Business For Teens Workbook. It is created by Carol Topp, CPA. Having this curriculum is wonderful because it is like having a CPA teach your teen how to set up and run a business they are interested in. In addition to the curriculum, there are several videos available on Youtube, and she has a blog with lots of helpful articles that can be of additional assistance.
112 pages with 7 chapters by Carol Topp, CPA.
Starting A Micro Business covers:
Chapter One: What is a Micro Business?
Characteristics of Micro Businesses
Simple and Fast Start Up
Little Start Up Money Needed
Purpose to Learn and Earn
Chapter Two: Getting an Idea: A Collection of Micro Business Ideas Best for Teenagers
Ideas for Micro Businesses
Chapter Three: Problems and Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
The Problem with Products
Solutions for Problems With Products
The Problems With Service Businesses
Solutions for Service Businesses
The Problem With Partners
Chapter Four: Plan It First: Writing a Business Plan
Example Business Plan
Product Business Example
Five: Financing Your Business Without Breaking the Bank
What Do You Need to Start a Micro Business?
No Money Down
The Problem With Debt
Where Will the Money Come From?
Start Without Risk
Chapter Six: Taking Care of Business: Extra Information to Get You Started
Home-based Business Series
Chapter Seven: Encouragement: Final Words to Motivate You
Keep It Manageable
Learning Has Benefits
You Can Do This
Get an Encourager
Persevere and Press On
Share Your Story
134 page paperback book with 9 chapters by Carol Topp, CPA.
Running A Micro Business covers:
Chapter One: Sales
Your Sales Statement
Selling in Person
Your Sales Presentation
Making the Sale
Getting Paid in Person
Getting Paid Online
Chapter Two: Marketing
Describe Your Customer
Reaching Your Local Market
Reaching a Distant Market
Progress Step by Step
Make a Marketing Plan
Chapter Three: Customer Service
Serving Customers is Good for Business
What to Charge
Tips and Secrets of Customer Service
Chapter Four: Record Keeping
What Records to Keep
Keep Supporting Documents
Keep Official Letters
How to Record Your Start Up Expenses
Record Purchases of Equipment
Chapter Five: Bookkeeping Basics
A Simple Bookkeeping Method
What to Do and When
Daily, Monthly, Quarterly, Annually
Should You Learn Bookkeeping or Accounting?
Hire Help If You Need It
Chapter Six: Using Software
Personal Money Management Software
Small Business Accounting Software
Chapter Seven: Legal Names and Numbers
Does a Micro Business Need a Name?
When is a Business License Needed?
Should a Micro Business be a Sole Proprietorship?
Should a Teenager Start Business With a Friend?
When Is a Tax ID Number Needed?
Chapter Eight: Reducing Risk
Is Insurance Needed?
What’s an LLC?
Chapter Nine: Time Management
To Do Lists
What if YOu Cannot Get it All Done?
“How To” put everything you learned from both the “starting” and “running” books into practice.
Micro Business For Teens Workbook is full of hands on assignments and is meant to be done in two parts, the first half with the first book, and the second half corresponds to the second book in the curriculum series. The workbook covers:
Chapter One: What is a Micro Business?
Chapter Two: Getting an Idea
Chapter Three: Problems and Pitfalls
Chapter Four: Writing a Business Plan
Chapter Five: Starting Without Debt or Risk
Chapter Six: Research and Learning More
Chapter Seven: Encouragement
Chapter Eight: Sales
Chapter Nine: Marketing
Chapter Ten: Customer Service
Chapter Eleven: Record Keeping
Chapter Twelve: Bookkeeping & Software
Chapter Thirteen: Names, Numbers and Insurance
Chapter Fourteen: Time Management
How we used Micro Business For Teens curriculum in our home:
Our oldest son, age 13, read the materials for the purpose of the review, however all three of our older boys (13, 11, 9), want to learn about running a business. We hope to get two more workbooks soon so the other boys can write in it and keep track of all they are learning about how to start and run a micro business. They all want to start earning their own money.
The books give lots of expamples of possible businesses kids / teens can start and run with little expense and little risk. That is essentially the definition of a micro business. A micro business is something that is easy to start up, requires little expense, can be done from home if needed, has flexible hours, and can be done by one person, or a couple of people.
We did some brainstorming and we looked through the lists of possibilities offered in the books, and they decided they wanted to use a resource we already have available. We have a homestead with a large yard and some farm land. Another resource the kids have is their livestock through their 4H projects. They are welcome to use these resources in planning their first businesses if they want too. They want to expand someday and work both on and off the homestead, perhaps first by taking their extra products to the farmer’s market. Eventually the boys want to be involved in farming, construction, landscape design, and computers.
They plan to do a combination of farming projects, construction projects, and computer projects to earn money. The oldest wants to farm, sell eggs and garden produce, and work with computer design. The 11 year old wants to farm, run a landscaping business, and do construction. The 9 year old wants to farm, and run a construction business. We plan to continue with this curriculum so that all three of the boys can put this material into practice. They can begin by openning a business together, or businesses that compliment each other and build on each others strengths and shared resources. They have the resources of the farm available to use, so farming related business seems like the most logical kind of business for them to start with first at this point in time. We live about 3 miles outside of town, right on the highway. We have neighbors along the highway, but we don’t live in a subdivision. So they will need a way to market their products and services to folks going down the highway.
The simplest products they thought about raising are fresh eggs and garden produce. The 13 year old has made a business plan and wants to make money selling eggs and garden produce to customers that come to our farm. All three boys are in 4H through Wayne County and learning about chickens, goats, rabbits, contruction toys (Lego and Robotics), and aquaponics and gardening. They will show their projects in the local county fair in June. They plans to sell the eggs and extra produce that are the end result of their 4H projects this summer. Since all three boys are doing similar projects in 4H, they will join together with in this business plan.
So the kids set out to learn how to start their business, set goals, and implement steps to reach their goals.
Goals starting and progressing their business:
Fresh Egg Business Goals:
1. Select a chicken raising location on the farm.
2. Build a chicken coop with nest boxes and fence.
3. Aquire feeding and watering equipment
4. Aquire chickens after researching egg laying breeds.
5. Provide ongoing care for chickens (feed, water, heat, safety).
6. Aquire egg cartons
7. Advertise and reach customers
8. Sell eggs year around.
9. Keep records of expenses and sales
Garden Produce Business Goals:
1. Selecting a garden spot.
2. Tilling a garden and prepping the soil.
3. Selecting seeds and plants.
5. Tending the plants, weeding, fertilizing.
6. Harvest the produce July-September.
7. Advertise and reach potential customers and make a sign
to post at the roadside,
8. Sell produce, and build a produce stand to display the
produce on. May need a cash box with a calculator and a
notebook, or a portable cashregister to keep track of sales.
9. Keep records of expenses and sales
Fresh Egg Business:
1. The boys helped daddy select a location to raise the chickens. They picked a spot in the back yard between the house and the barn.
2. The boys helped daddy build a small chicken house with nest boxes from some leftover materials. It is built on dirt. We hope someday we can add wheels or someway to move it around the yard when it needs to be moved to fresh ground. Daddy works in construction and had some materials left over from a project he worked on back in December. He helped repair a barn that was damaged from storms and there was some metal and wood materials left over. Because Daddy had these things on hand, the boys had very little expense building the chicken coop, but they did have to buy a roll of chicken wire and some posts for the outside fence and the inside divide, because those were not materials we had on hand. It took a few hours to build the coop. They learned so much about carpentry and recycling on this project. Normally their dad would have thrown away most of the scraps when he finished a job, but thankfully he saved these and they were perfect to build this little coop with. Though it is small, it is a good start for their business and when finances become available we can expand into a larger coop for them to accommodate a larger flock.
3. They set up the chicken house / coop with watering can, feeder, heat lamp, next boxes, and a roost.
4. A friend gave our family eight laying hens they no longer needed. Some of the hens were a year old, and some were two years old. Because they were going through a molt, a rest period of loosing and replacing feathers, not all of the hens were currently laying eggs, but every other week or so, another chicken seems to finish her molt and start laying.
We went to her house and picked up the chickens and transported them in a dog crate. There were three Barred Rocks, three Road Island Reds, one Americana, and one Black Australorp. When we first got the chickens home, we set them up in their new home. We kept them inside their pen for the first day or so to get acquainted with their surroundings. But eventually we opened the outside pen and now they roam the back yard freely and eat bugs and young plants all day long.
Within two days of being set free to eat fresh grass and bugs and freely roam the back yard, some of the hens started laying eggs. They were giving us one egg on one day, and then two eggs on the next day. They kept that pattern for several weeks. Then a few more started laying and we seemed to get three a day fairly regularly. After several more weeks, now we are getting anywhere from four to five eggs a day, and on Mother’s Day we actually got six eggs. Yahoo!
The kids also have baby chickens, called pullets, for their 4H projects, and will show them in the county fair in June. The pullets should be ready to lay eggs sometime by late July or early August. Hopefully by early fall, the kids should have a good steady supply of fresh eggs they can sell.
They started off keeping the baby chickens in our house, in the kitchen, for two weeks where it is a lot warmer than outside. Then they moved them to the chicken house into a brooding box they built out of plywood. The chicks lived in the brooding box for several more weeks before turning them loose to join the adult chickens. They had to feed and water them daily, and clean out the poop and re-bed the bottom of the box weekly. I am so thankful my husband is able to teach the kids carpentry and husbandry / farming skills.
5. The boys have taken care of the chickens daily, providing food, water, shelter for all of the chickens, and heat and safety for the baby chickens.
6. The boys have been saving their egg cartons and have about 25 saved so far. They will need to collect a lot more. They will also need to offer an incentive for people to return egg cartons to be re-used. Perhaps they can offer a .10 cent discount if customers return clean cartons that can be re-used.
They still have a ways to go to reach all of their Fresh Egg Business goals.
Garden Produce Business:
The boys have worked as a team and accomplished the first 4 goals of their garden business so far.
1. We located two areas for gardens and staked off their locations and size. One garden is going where we had a garden last summer, and one garden is a new location.
2. We are trying to keep all expenses to a minimum. Thankfully a friend from church loaned us a small garden tractor with a pto tiller for a day to help till the garden plots. The boys learned to run the tractor and helped till two large garden plots. They learned to operate a stick shift transmission and operate a clutch and drive the tractor in 2nd gear, reverse, and raise and lower the pto tiller. We paid for desile fuel to help run the tractor. It took about 5 hours to till both locations.
3. We have seed leftover from previous garden years, so we will not need to buy seed other than sweet corn. We did however buy started tomato plants. I also just got word that our family was chosen to receive a gift of seeds through a kids seed swap program. This is a program we just joined and know very little about except that they had extra seeds and were looking for a family to send them too. Today we found out we won the entry to receive the seeds. We have just supplied them with our contact info, and can’t wait to see what seeds they send to us!
4. The kids and I planted 1/2 of the first garden in seeds, and the other half of the first garden in tomato plants. All six of the kids pitched in to help plant. So far, we planted peas, green beans, kale, spinach, red onions, white onions, beets, radishes, savoy cabbage, cauliflower, Jalapeno peppers, red chili peppers, sweet banana peppers, sweet bell peppers, acorn squash, and transplanted 52 tomato plants. The kids operated a hoe, hand shovel, and a stringer to make rows and holes for planting. They also applied a few shovel fulls of rabbit manure to the tomato plants to help fertilize the soil more. We worked in the garden until rain forced us to stop. Then we had rain for the next 7 days and were unable to progress further until the ground dries out.
They still have a ways to go before reaching all of their Micro Business goals and business plan. Their Garden Produce and Fresh Egg Business goals are a work in progress. Things they have not yet had time to do are marketing things like work on making business cards, flyers, or a website. We have software to set up a spreadsheet for expenses, but have not implemented it yet. It would be nice to have software that is specific to farming, but we can use the basic program that we have for now. Since their 4H projects are due at the fair in late June, I don’t see the kids finishing a whole lot more on this or getting customers until after the fair is over. They should have items (produce and eggs) ready to sell by mid July. The produce harvest should continue through the end of September, if the weather stays nice, and the eggs should continue all winter. If we can afford a greenhouse at some point, then they will be able to produce lettuce and greens all winter too. They are really interested in a solar greenhouse aquaponics set up. But that is not an option today.
One big goal they are still learning from the workbook is a file system for paper record keeping. They have a project record book for their 4H projects they will turn in to the judges at fair time. But they still need to set up a file folder system for their business to keep track of EVERYTHING!
But overall, they are well on their way to getting their new micro business started.
Thank you Micro Business For Teens for helping us learn, and apply, practical skills about how to start and run a micro business. We hope to continue with our learning, get a few more workbooks, and be ready to open for business when the produce and eggs and in peak supply.
You can follow Micro Business For Teens at their social media links