Back to Back Issues Page
TMM Extra! Young Entrepreneurs Special Edition
February 24, 2009


Welcome to a special edition of The Money Messenger!

The Money Messenger brings you the latest on your kids and money.

If you like this e-zine, please do a friend and me a big favor and "pay it forward."

If a friend did forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting...

The Money Messenger

In This Issue

This special edition of The Money Messenger focuses on young entrepreneurs - kid entrepreneurs and teen entrepreneurs. This mid-month bonus issue looks at how to encourage them while balancing the time and money that can be spent on a start-up. Let's get started!

Note from Jennifer

When kids are younger, a lemonade stand seems more cute than it does like a business. It's not often that you see one and think "What a great little entrepreneur!" - but that is exactly what is happening.

In the current economic climate, young entrepreneurs can gain valuable experience that will benefit them as they move into their later teen and young adult work lives. But what is the best way to do that? Can young entrepreneurs really have a business that works?

The feature articles in this special issue address three of the key areas that affect kid and teen entrepreneurs. The first article focuses on what traits make a good entrepreneur (hint: not everyone will make a great entrepreneur). The second article moves on to whether young entrepreneurs need a business plan. And finally, the last article looks at how to start a kid business on a budget.


Feature Article
What Makes an Entrepreneur?

Are kid entrepreneurs born or made? What makes a teen entrepreneur successful? While young entrepreneurs may have some genetic traits in common, the skills to be successful can be learned as well. What are they?

The same things that make adult entrepreneurs successful. As you look at the list, keep in mind that these are general guidelines - not hard and fast rules. But you may find yourself nodding at these common sense qualities. Entrepreneurs are...

  • Self-starters. There is no boss to tell you when or how much to work.
  • Hard (and smart) workers. No getting around it - having your own kid business or teen business can be hard work. It can be challenging when you are the only one to do stuff.
  • Likely to stick to a project once started. Starting a business can be rough. You have to be able to work through things vs. walking away when the road gets a little bumpy.
  • Good relationship builders. They get along well with others. Sure, you can start a web business and rarely have to have face-to-face interaction. But there will still be customers and customer service. Being able to get along with others is key to a good business.

These are just the basic skills, but they are critical to your success. Think about how you would score on a scale up to 10 (with 10 being the highest) in each of these areas. Then, check out the teen entrepreneur quiz here. This can work for young entrepreneurs of any age, so don't worry if you (or your kids) are not quite teens just yet.

Feature Article
Do Young Entrepreneurs Need a Business Plan?

In a word...YES!

It can be tempting to think that a kid business is simple and doesn't really need a plan. A business plan makes you think through some of the very details that trip up even the best entrepreneurs. In some cases, those details can be the difference between a success and a good try.

What's in a kid business plan? It doesn't need to be complicated or complex. Get these key elements and you'll be rolling into your business with a solid plan.

  • What is it? Here's where a description of the business belongs. Is it providing a service or a product? Being able to describe the business simply and easily will help your customers understand it too.
  • Who will buy it? This is also called a target market, but really this is just who is going to buy what you are selling. Within this group are the people who will become your customers.
  • Do you need help? In a larger business, this would be employees. In a smaller one, this could be parents or friends. Most importantly, keep it real. It is easier to get bigger than it is to manage disappointed customers.
  • How much money will it take to get started? This doesn't need to be precise but it shouldn't be a big guess, either. Do you need money to buy supplies to make crafts that you will sell? Will you be printing flyers from a home computer for a service business? Make a quick list and then put dollars by each item. (There's even more on this in the next article...)

For even more information on a kid or teen business plan, check out this page including a free download to get it all on paper.

Feature Article
Starting a Kid Business on a Budget

In any economic climate, keeping an eye on start-up costs makes sense. In the current one that can be even more true. What is the best way to encourage a young entrepreneur while keeping an eye on the family budget?

Start at the beginning. Really.

First, don't get stuck on one business idea. It may turn out that "the best business idea ever, Mom!" is going to cost more than the family budget can afford. Go to the heart of the idea and write down what that is. Is it the love of animals? Or the love of creating unique jewelry?

Next, come up with at least 10 different kid businesses that provide a way to work with the main idea. Then, beside each idea, write down the main business needs. This will include at least time and some basic supplies (even if it's just for fliers to advertise).

Review the list and supplies as it stands. Are there kid businesses that immediately look like they won't work whether because they will take too much time or too many supplies?

Cross them off your list.

Look at the remaining ideas. It is time to put dollars on them. How much is each business need going to cost? It is going to be tricky to put a value on time, especially for kids. Keep in mind how much time is needed for homework, family and relaxation (yes, relaxation) and use that to help balance the equation.

There should be some businesses that fall out of this step as requiring too much money or time. Cross them off to get down to the decision list.

The remaining kid business options can now be ranked based on level of interest and complexity. Realistically, complex businesses can be more difficult to run because there can be too many moving parts. Combine that with all other aspects of a growing kid's life, and success might be harder to come by. Really high interest from a kid or teen can balance this out - just be careful.

Have a winner? Great! From here, it's an easy step to a business plan and that first customer.

Final Note

I hope you enjoyed this special edition of the Money Messenger and have your own creative juices flowing for kid business and teen entrepreneur option.

See you in a couple of weeks for the regular March issue which will focus on the transition to spring with ideas on spring jobs and ideas for spring chores.

Comments or suggestions?

If you have any comments or suggestions for future newsletters, please let me know. I want to be sure that this newsletter meets your needs. Feel free to provide your comments using this contact form.

Back to Back Issues Page