Right in the midst of figuring out this requirement we had the exciting opportunity to use Micro Business for Teens, by Carol Topp, which the boys read for review. For the review we received the following e-books:
- Starting a Micro Business (60 pages)
- Running a Micro Business (80 pages)
- Micro Business for Teens Workbook (102 pages)
Carol Topp is a CPA who specializes in micro/small businesses and has worked with other teens, including her own daughters, as they started and ran their small businesses.
And just what is a micro-business? It's basically a "super-small" business with one employee, quick start-up, low start-up costs, sole proprietorship, low risk, and generally run as a home based business. A micro business allows time for other activities and an opportunity to learn while earning cash.
They then read Starting a Micro Business and Running a Micro Business and worked through the workbook.
In Starting a Micro Business, the boys began by learning about overhead, start up costs, and risk. Then they brainstormed, coming up with as many ideas for businesses as they could (River's idea was to teach people how to make lemonade -- after I taught him how, of course). They learned the hows and whys of writing a business plan and why you should avoid debt when opening a business.
Here's where we had a nice talk about my businesses. I think knowing someone who runs a micro business made what they were learning more "real" to them. They asked a lot of great questions and we had a great time reminiscing about my store and discussing Because I'm Me, which they see "in action" every day.
My current business, Because I'm Me, didn't face issues with start up costs, I started by selling quilts, handbags, and baby items, and parlayed that profit into tie making. So, start up for Because I'm Me was much simpler. Of course, there are still things to know when running a business, like taxes and marketing (which is ever changing in this digital age).
Which brings us to Running a Micro Business. To me, running a business and succeeding is way harder than starting a business. Half of new businesses fail within the first five years, many, especially in our very seasonal part of the country, don't plan ahead and fail midway through their first summer (my former husband and I understood season, having been in the restaurant business, we made sure to save enough money to cover June-September completely by May). Running a Micro Business covers taxes, marketing, customer service, insurance, and all those other legal details that we don't necessarily know ahead of time, and don't want to find out about when it's too late.
Adam, in particular, really liked these books and devoured the information in them. When I asked him for his thoughts on the program one of the first things he pointed out was that he now knew more than a lot of adults about running a small business. He's right. He found the information interesting and very empowering - and motivating. The books are easy to read and follow, they're written for teens so while they're chock full of information it's presented in a down to earth manner.
Adam hasn't started his own business yet, but he's excited to do so. Finding the right business isn't easy, even with him writing down 10+ different business ideas he's not sure he's found his niche. Right now he's looking at car washing and/or doing weeding for neighbors.
My thoughts on this program ... I think it's pretty great. The information is invaluable, and would be a solid resource for any teen (or college student) looking to start their own small business. As I've mentioned a few times before I'm not a fan of downloadable books for schoolwork (or anything!), so I'm considering investing in the hardcover versions of these for Ian and Mia to read and for all the kids to have as references. If just one of them started a business and used the information in the books it'd be well worth the price of the materials.
Starting a Micro Business for Teens is available for $4.95 as a PDF file, or in a softcover print book for $9.95. Running a Micro Business for Teens is also available for $4.95 PDF and $9.95 softcover. Micro Business for Teens Workbook is available for $9.95 PDF and $14.95 softcover. The books are geared towards kids ages 10-18.
Last night the kids and I volunteered at a Duck Dynasty/Salvation Army world record breaking duck call event. While there, Willy Robertson talked about his start in business, how someone had given his family a bunch of gum that he turned around and sold on the school bus and at school until the principal told him he had to stop. Still looking to earn money he became a "human jukebox", kids on the bus would slip him a quarter and he'd sing part of a song for them. Cool micro business.