Just in case you're still a little fuzzy about what a Micro Business is, it is a small- small business. Usually there is one owner-worker, they are simple (and usually fast) to start up, about half of them are home-based, and they have low-risk. Some examples you might be familiar with are Lawn Care and babysitting. If you're wondering if your teen really needs help with a lawn-mowing business --- the answer probably is:YES! Your daughter may be a wonderful babysitter, but with a little coaching from these books, she will learn to better manage her time and resources, maximizing her enjoyment and profits, while keeping her ability to complete her school work.
If your teen, or you for that matter, is considering starting a small or micro business I encourage you to purchase at minimum the Starting a Micro Business book. I know a handful of CPA's, and none of them will give you all this information for only $10, try more like $300-$500. This first book in the series really impressed me with how well, but how simply, it is written. I wish I had had this information a decade ago when I was starting MY small business! In the seven chapters your teen will learn a lot about choosing an idea for a business, then weighing the pros and pitfalls of each type (service vs product) of business, and writing their own business plan. The book is geared for teens, and has a lot of: www...look this up... advice! Carol Topp encourages the teen to seek help from mentors (Mom & Dad, local small business owners, even their competition) to help them refine and plan their own business goals.
You, as the parent, should want your child to learn something for the time they invest. These books keep your teen simply focused, and teach them how to step-by-step move their business forward. I appreciate that the books recommend keeping all Micro Businesses as sole proprietorships. I have seen adults struggle with the demands of having a partnership in business, and that is NOT something you want your teen to have to deal with.
A Micro Business is not for everyone, yet for most teens, it can give them the flexibility they need to earn some cash, while learning about record keeping and taxes, and still being able to take time to study for important exams, or take time off for family vacations. As the business owner, you can decide how much business is enough, and, you can control your schedule and total hours spent each week. Perhaps your teen is great at playing the piano, if so, they might want to consider giving lessons. In these books they'll learn how to focus their desire, and turn it into reality. Adjusting costs, defining clientele, and doing basic balance sheets are all skills more easily learned in a Micro Business than when your entire savings account ( or a loan) is on the line as an adult.
I want to emphasize that these books are not JUST for teens. Many of the Moms I know could easily start their own Micro Business with what they would learn in these books. The workbook is not just an add-on, it takes what is being learned in the other two books and turns ideas into business plans. Don't discount the value in learning how to schedule your work/family/school/ other time each week. How many adults do you know who could use help with this? These books would be a great addition to an economics course, even if your teen decides NOT to start their own business. For $35 (about the cost of one hour with a CPA,) your teen can take their time (between 3 weeks and 3 months) learning a whole lot about business. Carol Topp, CPA, is the Mother of teens, so she knows what she's talking about on both fronts - parenthood and Accounting.
When Emily began reading the books, she asked me if it meant she HAD to start a Micro Business. My answer was "no." As she continued to read, she realized that she already had a micro-Micro Business through babysitting. She also realized that some of the local Mom and Pop stores might hire her as an independent contractor for short times of busyness, or specific projects, without being tied to a weekly schedule.
Here is what Emily (age 16) had to say after reading through all three books:
Starting a Micro Business gives a straight-forward approach to starting a business that is simple, easy, requires no outrageous loans, doesn't take much time, and works off of teens' pre-existing skills. All the chapters are short and to the point with real-life examples of real teens with actual working businesses. It covers many topics you may have wondered about or considered, and maybe a few you haven't, including inventory, marketing, pricing, customers, employees, partnerships, and more. It also teaches you how to make a good business plan and file taxes at the end of the year. The second book (Running a Micro Business) helps with the little things needed to keep your business going (and expanding if necessary,) while the Workbook helps you remember and write down what you have learned.
So there you have it, a great opportunity for you to invest $20-$35 in your teen's understanding of business, and maybe spur them on to start their own Micro Business. I personally would recommend this for ages 14 and up, but if you have a mature 10-13 year old, you could work through these books with them. In our house, Emily and I both read them independently and then discussed the material afterwards. At 14, Arlene probably won't read these for a year or so, simply because she is content with an occasional babysitting job, or helping me with alterations on occasion, as a way to earn some cash. When she gets to a point that she wants to earn more money, I'll have her read through the books and make her own business plan.
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