Very few schools teach kids how to balance a checkbook or anything remotely close to personal finance. That’s why some parents are taking this into their own hands by encouraging their kids to become KidPreneurs. It’s not only fun for the children but they also learn important lessons about personal finances along the way. Here’s a few of the success stories that will inspire you to encourage your youngster’s creativity and business acumen.
Meet the Pencil Entrepreneur
After watching his mom create and sell crafts at local market, nine year old Jason O’Neill wanted to earn some money by helping her produce products. Instead, his mother encouraged him to create something of his own. He knew that he and his friends found school work tedious and thought that maybe he could find a way to make it more fun – That’s when he came up with Pencil Bugs!
The hand crafted pencil toppers came packaged with a Certificate of Authenticity, a pencil name and instructions on how to care for them. They were sold in shops, at events and on his Pencil Bug website. Along the way, Jason says he has learned public speaking, how to balance a check book, how to make sales calls, and he even self-published a book! Although the Pencil Bugs are now extinct, he carries a related line of pencil shirts, mouse pads, and other items.
Out of Necessity
We have all heard that “Necessity is the mother of invention” and that certainly held true for then eight year old Leanna Archer. She needed a hair product to keep her long and sometimes wild locks in check, so her grandmother made a concoction with all natural products. The product worked so well, that her friends all commented how great her hair looked and wanted to know what she used. Leanna thought maybe she could make some money with this and started packaging the hair gel in baby food jars and marketed it to her friends. Once the money started coming in, she researched business startups on the internet and obtained a Tax ID number and business license. With her parents help, Leanna’s Hair was born. Now at the “old age” of fifteen, Leanna oversees an online business with revenues of greater than $100,000.00 a year.
“Your kid may become rich before he can even spell ‘millionaire’ correctly.”
All for a Cause
Eight year old Jessica Nedry wanted to help a family friend who was raising funds for her fight with cancer. After seeing some bracelets she liked that the kids in school were wearing, Jessica was inspired and began making her own bracelets out of rubber bands. They turned out to be a huge success so she decided to turn them into a real business. She named them FriendlyBands and offers 28 different styles – each with their own name. Many are created for charitable groups, such as the “Hero” line which was designed with fallen military in mind, – a portion of the sales is donated to Our Heroes Journey. Jessica recently opened a website where her bracelets are sold.
What do these three budding business kids have in common? Creativity, drive and family encouragement. They learned skills they would never learn in school – philanthropy, money management, sales skills, negotiation tactics, customer service and perseverance, just to name a few.
How Do You Start to Help Your Child Pursue a Business Venture?
You can find quite a bit of information on the internet about successful youngsters that are building a business brand. Just search “kid entrepreneurs” or “children in business”; there is ample material available under both. Here are a few sites to start you off:
As for which business opportunity to pursue, your child will probably have quite a few ideas. Trying something that comes naturally to him is a good start to explore. Encourage him to develop these ideas on paper first – make a list and number the ideas in the order of most interest. Is there a hobby that could turn into something? To get him thinking, suggest some popular kid startups such as:
- Dog or cat walker/sitter services
- Lawn services
- Set up an eBay shop or post eBay items for other people
- Set up a shop on Etsy to sell handmade crafts
- T shirt design and sales on Café press
- Logo Design (if your child is artistic). Check out freelance sites like eLance to find jobs
- Errand service (grocery shop, dry cleaners, pharmacy)
- Lessons – does your child have a talent he can teach?
- Baking cupcakes or cookies for friends or family events
- Create websites for kids that sell products, stories or affiliate sales
- Computer related business – Does your child have great computer skills? He could teach those or use those skills to fix or set up other people’s systems.
- Social media design – setting up or improving Facebook, my space sites
- Check out fivvr.com where all sorts of goods and services can be sold
For startup capital, make sure your child earns that money or if you fund the startup, set up a loan repayment system. This is the main goal of the business is to teach your child money management. For example, Jason’s mom matched Jason’s own $25.00 to give him the money he needed for supplies to start his Pencil Bug business.
Remember to keep it fun, and you may just have the next Steve Jobs on your hands!