My 14-year-old son is always looking for ways to earn money. Since I don't have a lot of money to be paying him for extra jobs around the house, he is often left wanting, unless his grandmother can hire him to do some yard work. Micro Business for Teens seemed like a godsend. I was sure this would help him find his niche and begin making some money. As part of this curriculum, we received three books: Starting a Micro Business, Running a Micro Business, and Micro Business for Teens Workbook. As soon as we received these physical products in the mail, he got started. They are geared towards young people, ages 10 through 18, and they are written specifically for them. They are not, as Carol Topp puts it, books about running a lemonade stand, nor are they books written for adults with a few words changed to make them sound as though they are written for young people.
Starting a Micro Business begins by explaining what a micro business is, getting an idea of a good micro business, and how to choose the right product or service and transitions into writing a business plan and financing the business. Extra information is given for particular types of businesses like babysitting and food preparation. Carol Topp also has a chapter on finding encouragement and motivation to keep up with the business.
At the outset of Starting a Micro Business, my son was encouraged by the stories of teens with successful businesses which are interspersed throughout the book. Of course, he got very excited when he read about the boy who was offered $300,000 for his website after it had been existence for two years. As he began to think of an idea for his businesses, he quickly became discouraged. He became aware of the fact that there aren't a whole lot of things he likes to do besides play video games. One of his dreams has been to become a YouTube personality by uploading videos of himself playing Minecraft. I think he realized, though, that that is not entirely realistic and, while there are some extremely famous YouTubers out there, he does not have anything to talk about that would draw people. Since his interests are limited and he is not sure what he is capable of, he read through all of the ideas presented by Carol. He decided that he could bring himself to provide a doggy-doo cleanup service, "Doggy Don't Doo." Now, for my son to choose something like this, it means he has gone beyond his own comfort zone. He has stretched himself. He realized that he might have to buckle down and work to start earning some money. We talked about the fact that he might learn of more abilities that he possesses or things he likes if he would spend less time on the computer. Of course, he could find a way to incorporate the computer into a micro business, but he tends to fear the learning curve (I think).
We had a lot of discussions about what he would charge for his service, and he spent a good deal of time learning about licenses, permits, and sales tax. While my son did not actually start his business yet, he learned from Running a Micro Business how to serve customers well, keep good records, and keeping up with the bookkeeping to make the end-of-the-year reports and taxes easier to file. The organizational aspect of running a business might trip my son up. He is not a very organized person. I think he gets that from his mom. :( These books, however, provide the resources and the information needed to do the job well. I appreciated the chapter on bookkeeping. It made me think about my own freelance editing job and what records I should be keeping and taxes I should be filing.
As my son thinks more about the business he is choosing to embark upon and how he will go about advertising, I am sure he will go back to these books for advice and encouragement. When I asked him what he liked best about the books, he stated, "They were very detailed and gave guides to multiple different possibilities." He disliked the fact that they gave more information about certain types of jobs than others. He felt that there were some items within the books that were repetitive.
All three books are available in paperback and e-book form. Starting a Micro Business and Running a Micro Business both retail for $9.95 as a paperback and $4.95 as an e-book. The Micro Business for Teens Workbook is $14.95 as a paperback and $9.95 as an e-book.