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Child Entrepreneurs

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The Child Entrepreneur – inspire one today!

Inspiring a child entrepreneur isn’t something to be scared of – it’s not about turning them into the next Bill Gates by before they hit high school. But there are some examples of entrepreneurial kids who, with their parents support, have achieved great things in their relatively short lives – some have achieved than many of us will in a lifetime!

But to inspire a child to think entrepreneurially doesn’t mean showing them how to make the most amount of money. It’s about encouraging them to THINK BIG about their own potential and opportunities, and helping them find their passion.

My boss once told me that if you find your passion, success and happiness through life satisfaction will follow. And isn’t that what we really want for our kids - for them to be happy and have a fulfilling life?

And all kids will be different – my two boys are chalk and cheese, and I know they’ll follow completely different career paths as adults so it follows that even as kids they will be interested in different activities.

So to encourage a child entrepreneur, help them discover an alternative income, that suits their interests and abilities (and their age) such as:
  • Baby sitting – good for older kids who are good with people, but start them at home so you can keep an eye on them (and the baby!). Also need to consider whether to allow babysitting on school nights.
  • Dog walking – great exercise for you too!
  • Holiday pet care – a good filler for school holidays is to look after pets and collect mail for other people on holidays.
  • Car washing – a good weekend activity. Offer a car wash and polish service.
  • Cleaning – offer basic cleaning services (such as vacuuming, dusting and window cleaning) to friends and family.
  • Garden maintenance – older children can mow lawns and trim edges, but younger ones can get their hands dirty with weeding, mulching, watering and planting.
  • Market gardener – children with patience and commitment could plant a vegetable (and flower) garden and sell the produce to mum and other people in the neighbourhood. If your yard and local by-laws permit, they could also set up a chicken run and sell the eggs.
  • Plant nursery – popular plants propagated from seed or cuttings can be sold at local markets or to neighbourhood gardeners.
  • Baking – some kids just love to cook, and baked goods such as cookies and cakes are a great way to earn some money. Goods can be sold to family, friends, at parents workplace (with permission of course) or local markets.
  • Cards and gift boxes – for the creative child, making and selling gift cards and boxes is a great business.
And I’m sure there are many more…

The point of helping your children develop a “business” like this is to show them how a real business operates and it’s also a starting point for discussing what they want to do as adults as a career. And to help them develop a business mind, get them involved in financial software to manage their business. Personal budgeting software such as MoneyTree is ideal as it is simple to use, and good value for money.

But it’s important to remember that they are still kids – they may lose interest even though they have developed business commitments, they will need supervision and guidance. Their business also becomes YOUR business! So keep the following points in mind:
  • Because your child may end up working outside your home and with other people, it’s important that you consider public liability insurance so that you and your family are protected should anything go wrong with your child’s ventures. Explain to your kids that it’s important to protect your wealth – it’s a valuable lesson in life!
  • Make sure they chose a venture that is appropriate for their age and provide suitable supervision – you wouldn’t let your 5 year old go and mow the neighbours lawn now would you!
  • Give them advice on how much business to take on and set up their venture around that – you may restrict them to holiday businesses only, or working every other weekend so they still have time for family and school work.
  • Help them market their venture – help them prepare leaflets and ads, promote their services at your workplace (with your boss’s permission of course) and help with client negotiations on fees and services (and complaints!) if necessary.
  • Remember that it’s THEIR venture (not yours!). So respect their business decisions while providing appropriate guidance so they don’t get into trouble.
  • Support them, discuss their problems with them, help them stay motivated and committed to their venture. And if they really want to quit – that’s OK – they’re only a child! So help them pull out of their commitments appropriately and without leaving any of their clients in the lurch - but make sure you discuss the whole venture with them so they still gain some valuable lessons from their experience.
  • Charge them a hire fee for any equipment of yours they use such as lawnmowers, to cover the real cost of maintenance. It’s also a good way to introduce the topic of tax!
  • Insist that they use their own money, or hopefully money earned from their venture, to pay for on-going running costs and consumables such as lawn mower fuel, garden seeds, chook food, cooking ingredients, etc. This teaches them how to price their services so that they cover their costs and can still make a profit. You may of course want to give them a start-up loan so they can get established, but it’s important that they pay you back!
  • Insist that they pay their staff – if they use their little sister to help feed the chooks, make sure she gets an allowance for this work.
  • Help them manage their money from the venture – ensure they pay their expenses, pay themselves and put some away for a rainy day. Set up a business style account ledger so they can record all their expenses and earnings.
  • Remember to explain to them that it isn’t just about the money – they need to enjoy what they are doing too!
But of course the best thing about helping your child entrepreneur is the quality time you’ll have with them! It can be a great growing experience for everyone.
Related Topics:

Get your entrepeneurial child into budgeting software so they can make the most of their earnings.

We are not certified financial planners or advisors. The information in this website is general information only. Always consult a licensed financial planner before making any finance or investment decision.

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