Whether your second grader wants to sell artwork for some extra spending money, or your 17 year old plans on mowing lawns to pay for a car, a small business is a great way for your child to earn some extra cash. A small kid-run business gives you the opportunity to instill some important lessons about responsibility and money management as well.
Choosing a Business
Kids are unique individuals, and the perfect business for one may hold no appeal at all for another. Your child may have a firm idea of what he wants do to, but if not, you can work together to come up with some ideas. Brainstorm together and see what you come up with.
Keep in mind a kid’s business can involve a creating a product like artwork or organic dog biscuits, or it can be a service like shoveling show or babysitting. Make a list of ideas that include thing your child enjoys, is good at or is interested in and you’ll likely spot a few good business ideas. Playing to your child’s strengths will help her develop her business with ease, and boost her confidence as well. A star mathlete may want to offer tutoring for younger kids, while an animal lover may choose to walk dogs or raise chickens and sell eggs.
While your child should be the one doing most of the work, you’ll need to be available to oversee the business. You don’t need to take over, but you do need to be available if problems arise or your child becomes overwhelmed. Running a business should be a positive, fun experience, not a stressful one, so be prepared to step in and provide some guidance as needed. You may find your child is interested in a business that requires you to drive her to a location (like babysitting) or to help her open a savings account. Generally the younger the child, the more help they’ll need to have a rewarding experience.
Safety and Security
Encourage your young entrepreneur to promote his business in a safe way. Word of mouth advertising, referrals from friends, family and neighbors are a good way to drum up business. Avoid posting flyers with personal information, selling door to door or responding to ads online.
Money Facts–Saving, Taxes and More
Kids businesses are beneficial because they teach about money management, marketing, customer service, accounting and other important life skills — while providing a fun and fulfilling experience for your child. Chances are, your child will end up turning a modest profit, so open a passbook savings account and let him watch the savings grow. Determine together how much of his income should be saved, how much should be reinvested in the business, and how much should be used for fun. As of 2012 unless your child earns more than $5800 from her business, she will not have to file a tax return.
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