Starting a business is a great way to teach kids independence as well as money-management and decision-making skills. Teen entrepreneur Henry Miller makes and sells raw honey under the name Henry Humdinger’s, and he equates running a business to performing a stand-up routine. “You have to be charming, creative and think fast,” says Henry.
Set up shopYour child may be a natural salesman or saleswoman. Figure out if your child has a particular passion, and use that interest to start a store. Perhaps your kid loves reading. Together you can start a book sale. Your child could even host a regular garage sale, much like a tiny flea market in your driveway. Visit flea markets or thrift shops together, give your child a spending limit to shop for a stock, then your child can try to sell the finds at a profit. With your supervision, you could even take this business to Internet, selling your wares through online marketplaces such as Etsy or eBay.
Start an art galleryOrganize art shows with neighbors, friends and relatives, so that your child can serve hors d’oeuvres and sell art. For a more low-key business model, your child can try selling arts and crafts, such as tissue paper flowers, homemade holiday decorations and customized jewelry boxes. Whether artwork or crafts, your child can add a personal touch, such as a small thank-you card or signed certificate of authenticity.
Pet-sittingPet-sitting is an ideal business for slightly older kids who love animals. Kids can learn responsibility and animal care while playing with and caring for a furry friend. If you think your child is ready, you can also suggest a dog-walking business, which will also get your kid out and about. Pet-sitting and dog-walking businesses are low-maintenance jobs, and the experience may lead to other work, including babysitting and house-sitting gigs. If your child decides to give pet-sitting a try, make sure to discuss the responsibilities involved when caring for an animal.
Gift-wrappingYour child can help spread holiday cheer with a gift-wrapping station. Allow your kid to pick out a selection of festive wrapping papers and ribbons, then set up a gift wrapping station on your lawn. Make sure your child knows how to wrap presents of different shapes and sizes. To expand the business, your child may even want to include handmade holiday cards or start a small gift basket service. Arranging soaps and lotions or snacks into an attractive package can be a fun and creative activity. Gift-wrapping helps children exercise their crafty sides, earn pocket money near the holidays and learn entrepreneurship.
Lawn careLawn care is a great way to get kids to spend time outdoors. Kids can rake leaves, clean the lawn or even mow the grass, if they have done it before. This job can be seasonal or last all year, as kids can shovel snow in the winter. If you want to make sure that your child does not stray too far, discuss “business zoning” beforehand. Decide whether you would prefer for your child to stick to your street or neighbors you know. Note that if you had not been paying your child for lawn care before, you may have to start now.