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How To Start A Business For Kids

(Moderated due to limited area for posting from RIDO)

By Inspirepub

Ideas From Other Young Entrepeneurs

Why Business For Kids?

Imagine what life would be like if making money came as easily and naturally as riding a bike or tying your shoelaces. Imagine graduating high school with a permanent, secure, passive income already in place. You wake each the morning to find more money has appeared in your account overnight! If you want to travel, you do. If you want to paint, write, or do any other creative activity, you do. You choose your occupation based on what you love to do, not the burden of having to pay the bills. You have all the time you need to be with your family and friends, to stay in shape, and to practice your spirituality.

Most of us weren't raised that way. Most of us had to struggle to learn the basic truths about money and business. Many of us are still struggling.

But with the right knowledge and tools, we can make that life available for our children.

Business experience builds confidence, develops life skills, and encourages your child to take an interest in mathematics and written English - subjects which can otherwise seem quite pointless in the school environment.

And early business experience, in the right environment, can leave kids with a lifelong ability to make money, without any of the hard work and struggle that so many adults still endure.

Here are just some of the many ways for kids to make money:

Finding lost golf balls

Selling things on eBay


Household help


Dog washing/walking/sitting

Breeding rats

Exercising agisted horses

... the only limit is the size of your imagination!
The Right Attitude Is Vital

If I had to pick one thing, and only one thing, which will set your child up for success, this is the one. With a can-do attitude your child will fill in any missing pieces for themselves, using other resources, for the rest of their lives.

We started early with this one, as soon as they started to speak. We've all heard our children complain "I can't", haven't we? And when they are little, it's often true that some tasks are beyond their capability at the time.

However, we knew that the can-do attitude was essential, and that self-talk like "I can't" is a major threat to the can-do attitude.

What we did was to get them to replace "I can't" with "I need more practice" (or sometimes "I need to get taller"!) These days, they are all teens and tweens, and we just don't even hear "I can't" any more. In fact, we sometimes get the delightfully honest "I could do that if I practiced, but it's too much of a trek and I can't be bothered ..."

The difference between "I can't" and "I choose not to" is priceless.

After running their first business for a while, our girls chose to shut it down. (The full story is told at www.cash-smart-kids.com.) They knew they could have kept making the money, but they didn't want to keep doing what it took - they were bored with it. After shutting it down, though, they didn't immediately start asking for hand-outs from their parents. They knew that their income was a matter of their own choice.

The next principle we applied for the can-do attitude was a very careful approach to doing things for the kids that they could do for themselves. We would do things that they had not yet mastered, only to the extent that they needed help, and not one tiny bit more.

It is awfully tempting, especially when you are in a hurry, to step in and do things for them, just to get them done. Kids are very good at minimising the effort they put out, so anywhere they can get someone else to do something for them, they will. And in the process, they learn that going slowly and complaining gets them off the hook - not the work habits of a successful entrepreneur!

At the same time, you need to help where it is genuinely needed. We made as many mistakes in this direction as we did in the other, I'm afraid. When your child gets a spot of help, just at the right time, they get the satisfaction of success, which is very rewarding. If they don't get help when they need it, they can feel that it's all pointless, and give up trying things that look like they are too big.

It's an art, judging just enough help and not too much, but at least we can offer as reassurance that you can make quite a few mistakes and as long as they aren't all in the same direction the kids turn out OK.

Young Entrepreneurs - Jason O'Neill

Hi, my name is Jason O'Neill, and I am a Cash-Smart Kid! I am 11 years old, and I live in Temecula, California. This is my story.

Nine-year-old Jason O'Neill of Temecula, California, asked his mother if he could help her paint wooden items to sell at the markets, in exchange for a share of the profits.

She said no, he would have to think up his own product to sell.

So he did - and Pencil Bugs were born.

Cute critters of Styrofoam, pipe cleaners, and wire antennae, Pencil Bugs immediately appealed to kids of all ages.

Now twelve, Jason has won awards, been invited to speak to adult business organisations, been included in and ABC NIghtline story on young whiz kids, and appeared on NBC's "1 vs 100" TV show. He was upbeat about his early departure from the quiz show after answering the second question incorrectly.

That was really fun. I didn't win the money, but the host, Bob Saget, talked to me and asked me questions about my business. My Web site had 2,000 hits the day after the show aired.

Jason's mother, Nancy, feels that all the hard work is worth it.

"He's learned so much about things you never learn in school," she told the Union-Tribune. "From a very early age, Jason understood finances and savings. He's become a good money manager. He looks for deals."

The Union Tribune goes on to report that Jason's father, Don, who works from home for a Phoenix company, has helped his son understand the world of business. Jason says they go online to look at the stock market. Recently they talked about Microsoft's interest in buying Yahoo. That's important, Jason points out, because he already owns a few shares of Microsoft stock, bought with profits from his own business.

Parents who take the time to explain business and finance to their kids are laying the foundation for a life of financial success.

This venture isn't Jason's first business, either - he started at age five with a classic lemonade stand, switching to hot chocolate in the winter. Later, he charged householders a small fee to handle their recyclable items for them.

Pencil Bugs have their own website, www.pencilbugs.com, and Jason is already working on expanding into other PencilBugs branded product lines.

Jason not only has business smarts, he has confidence. He applied for a Young Enterpreneur award, despite being below the minimum entry age. The judges were so impressed with his submission that they created an "Under 16" category, which Jason went on to win in 2007.

Jason's advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

None of us ever imagined that my simple idea would turn into a real business but it's never too early to be an entrepreneur. If you have an idea to make something, at least give it a try. You might be surprised at what you can do!

Young Entrepreneur - Declan Galbraith

Declan Galbraith Interview - age 9

Declan Galbraith began busking at the age of seven, at the Rochester Dickens Festival near his home in Kent. He made over 200 pounds the first year, and with a little more organisation and structure, he made 500 pounds the following year - and attracted the attention of a manager.

He began to enter talent shows, winning fifteen competitions and more than a thousands of pounds in prize money within a year.

Success in the talent shows opened the door to a recording contract with EMI, which released his first full album, entitled "Declan".

Busking is a viable way for kids to make money - provided, of course, that they have some musical training or raw talent! My daughters were in a choir which performed every year at the Sydney Opera House, and they would stand on the promenade during breaks in rehearsals, just four of five of them, and perform whatever songs the choir was rehearsing. They usually collected enough money to pay for dinner, as well as gifts of merchandise from surrounding store owners.

If your singing voice isn't up to snuff, don't worry, you can always learn how to play a musical instrument.The simple wooden recorder (these days mostly made of plastic) is easy to play, quick to learn, and when you get three or four playing different parts, they sound lovely.

Of course, the younger and cuter you are when you start, the better your earning will be, so if you are short for your age, take full advantage of it! As a bunsker, you are an entertainer first and foremost, so don't get precious about playing to your audience. If they respond to cuteness, be cuter! You can be doubly sophisticated later when you are spending the proceeds on designer accessories.

Declan Galbraith Sings Danny Boy - age 8

 Declan's first recording was a version of "Walking In The Air" for a Christmas album, which also featured Westlife, Elton John, Elvis Presley, and Barbra Streisand.

His first full album, "Declan", was released in September 2002, and charted in the UK and Ireland.

In December 2002, he participated in a Guinness Book of Records attempt, singing "Tell Me Why" live on stage, together with 10,000 in the audience and a further 80,000 UK school children, in an event known as Young Voices. It entered the record books as the world's largest choral sing.

Declan Galbraith Sings Tell Me Why - age 10

 If you are thinking of busking as a way to make money, remember that all money making ideas for kids need to be supervised by an adult.

Make sure someone knows where you are going, what you are doing, and that you are safe. Particularly if you are successful, you will have a lot of money to carry home with you - it's a good idea to arrange a parent or other adult to pick you up and bring you back home after a gig.

Declan Galbraith Sings Angels - age 13

Not every busker lands a recording contract - as some of my professional musician friends can sadly attest, so don't expect instant fame and fortune.

However, if you enjoy being in the limelight, busking is a much more fun way to make a bit of extra cash than flipping burgers or washing dogs!

Being a musician is a business. Performers like Declan Galbraith don't just float around singing all day. Declan does promotional interviews, tours, free performances, and of course he needs to pay his manager a share of everything he makes.

If you are a good marketer, you stand a much better chance of making a decent living from a musical career. In fact, these days, it is hard to get a recording contract if you can't show that you will be doing at least as much to promote yourself as the record label does.

Puberty is a tricky time for boy singers, and in this video Declan's voice shows an uncharacteristic quaver here and there. Fortunately, by the time he sang "All Out Of Love" at the age of fifteen, his adult voice had arrived full force.

Declan Galbraith Sings Tears in Heaven - age 14

On March 29, 2003 Declan won 'Best Young International Performer' at the Twenty-Fourth Annual Young Artist Awards.

He appeared at the Queen's Jubilee at St Paul's Cathedral, where he sang ‘Amazing Grace' accompanied by the St Paul's choir, and at an Elton John concert where at least 22,000 listeners were present.

In 2006, he was signed to German record label Starwatch, distributed by Warner Bros, and under that label he has produced an album of cover songs called "Thank You". This album hit the German Top 40 in 2006 and went gold in 2007.

Declan Galbraith Sings All Out Of Love - age 15

Declan's manager gave him a guitar and encouraged him to learn how to play. Now, at the age of sixteen, Declan is writing his own songs, and some of the songs on his new album are his original works.

The song "You and Me" in the video below is a song written by Declan, and it sounds as though he will be able to make the transition from singer to singer-songwriter without a hitch!

This is the title track of his new album, and Declan says that he is very pleased with his new album because it is more of the style of music he likes and listens to and would like to sing.

Declan Galbraith Sings You And Me - age 16

Whatever you to make money, it is a business. Whether you wash cars, perform music, babysit, or solve complicated technical problems, you are in business.

And in all businesses, you need to consider what product or service you will provide (so if you are busking, you are providing entertainment, for example), and what people expect and want from that product or service. Make sure you give people what they want, and you are bound to succeed.

Declan Galbraith is certainly very good at giving people what they want!

Young Entrepreneurs - Ashley Qualls

Ashley Qualls is different from many of the young entrepreneurs who have made millions in the internet in recent years. She didn't have an entrepreneurial parent or older sibling to help her get going, nor did she tap in to Silicon Valley capital and contacts.

Instead, Ashley started her business in 2004 with an $8 domain name and an old computer, working in the kitchen of her suburban Detroit home, at the age of just fourteen. She didn't know she was starting a business at the time - she thought she was just creating an easy way to share her cool MySpace background designs with her friends.

It did take adult involvement for that site to start earning money. In 2006, Ashley's Whateverlife.com site attracted the attention of Ian Moray, manager of media development for ValueClick Media, an online advertising broking firm. Moray had no idea that he was dealing with a teenager - he negotiated with Ashley via email and phone, and she had all the knowledge and poise he would expect from a seasoned internet professional.

It wasn't until almost a year later, when Fast Company magazine contacted him for a quote to use in an article they were writing about Ashley and her business, that Moray discovered her real age. By then, she was earning over $70,000 per month, and ValueClick were very happy with her site, thank you very much!

Ashley has turned down several offers to buy her business for ever-increasing numbers of millions. She likes what she does, and she wants to keep doing it.

It hasn't been all rosy and happy, though. Ashley has faced several challenges, particularly the challenges of being too young to have legal control over the money she was earning. At one point, a court-appointed conservator was placed in charge of Ashley's assets, after a nasty family dispute.

She has had to learn how to manage employees and contractors, complicated by the fact that her employees included her mother and several friends, and her contractors have included software developers based in India.

Ashley has dropped out of high school and engaged an executive coach to give her a crash course in how to run her business, expand into new products and markets, and grow profitably. She doesn't have time to wait until the formal education system catches up with her learning needs!

What Can We Learn From Ashley Qualls?

Follow your passion - do something you love to do.

Become an expert at what you do.

Recognise opportunities to turn your passion into profit, and follow through on them.

Talk to adults in business as equals, and expect to be treated with respect.

Choose good advisors, and take their advice.

Be yourself.

Young Entrepreneurs - Divyank Turakhia

Divyank Turakhia, of Mumbai (Bombay), India, started internet consulting at the age of 14, and started his domain registration and site-building company two years later with $600 borrowed from his parents.

That original business, Skenzo, is now part of Directi, owned and operated by Divyank and his two years older brother, Bhavin. It is the number 1 fastest growing domain parking company worldwide, and number 3 in absolute revenue terms.

The other elements of Directi are LogicBoxes, ResellerClub, and WebHosting.Info - all well placed for the internet marketing goldrush, because they are "shovel suppliers". They supply the tool sthat others need to make money in more speculative business ventures online.

Whether the website makes money or not, the web hosting and domain name registration get paid.

When Divyank was seventeen, the company was profiled by Rediff. The reporter was particularly fascinated by the attitude the young entrepreneurs displayed toward formal education. Bhavin claimed they woul dnot employ anyone who had attended classes.

The unconventional HRD policy will not sound so drastic when you consider that the four-head-strong staff of Direct Information is hardly out of college and still at war with teachers who are generations removed.

However, Bhavin had by that time graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Commerce, and Divyank was enrolled in his first year of the same program.

Programmer and first employee Hitesh Makhijani also attended university, and was in his final year at the time of the interview. He said that he was self-taught in most of the programming languages he used in the business.

One reason for their complete disrespect to formal education is that none of them believe that they learnt anything at school or college. Most of the skills they need to run their business have been learnt online including lessons in programming.

Hitesh who does most of the programming learnt all the languages he currently uses while surfing the Net. These include PERL, Java script, PHP and ASP script.

"I learnt all the programming myself. I did join classes to learn C and C++," explains Hitesh. "But then I realised that the teachers there didn't know much. I used to ask them questions and they wouldn't be able to answer. So, now I go online whenever I want to learn something."

Today, Divyank oversees the global operations of Directi, and directs the development of several major product lines. He was nominated as one of Asia's Top 25 Under 25 for 2007 by Business Week magazine.

Directi has been in the Deloitte and Touche Technology Fast 50 List for the past three years, and looks set to continue its success.

Young Entrepreneurs - Fraser Doherty

Fraser Doherty started his jam-making business at the age of 14.

In an interview with Make Your Mark, he described his entrepreneurial journey.

I have always been a big fan of jam and since I was about eight years old I had lots of little projects on the go, trying different ways of making pocket money.

I suppose in some ways it was inevitable that I would start my own food business given that enterprise and food have always been my two passions in life!

The catalyst came when my Gran taught me her top secret jam recipe and I had something of a 'eureka' moment when I realised I could make jam myself and sell it door to door in the local area.

Fraser's jams and marmalades were an instant hit when he started selling them door to door, and demand from farmers' markets and delis soon had him producing up to 1000 jars per week in his kitchen at home.

Some of Fraser's early success was due to his previous selling experience - he had been selling bacon door to door for two years, and was the wholesaler's top salesboy in Edinborough before starting his jam business.

In 2004, aged just fifteen, Fraser won an Enterprising Young Brit award.

He encountered some of the obsctacles which typically frustrate young entrepreneurs, such as being unable to join a business networking organisation because he was under sixteen.

Despite the difficulties of being such a young business owner, Fraser took a businessman's eye to his business. Noticing that the overall market for jams was in decline, he identified a niche and began innovating his products.

Probably the hardest thing I've had to do so far has been finding a way of making jam without using any sugar at all. This has taken about four months to develop but I am now able to make 100% fruit jams, sweetened with fruit juice rather than sugar.

These are very healthy and with more than two thirds of people in this country overweight or obese, the demand for these is clearly massive. The major supermarkets have expressed an interest in stocking them once I'm able to produce large enough volumes, so things are getting increasingly exciting and also very challenging.

The sugar-free jams were launched in 2006.

By the time he was seventeen, his jams were being stocked by major supermarket chains. Michael Simpson Jones, the buyer of preserves for Waitrose, said, "Waitrose has a long history of working with smaller scale suppliers, like Fraser, as it allows us to offer customers real diversity of choice.

"I was bowled over by Fraser's passion as a producer, and that a 17-year-old had such strong entrepreneurial skills.

"Fraser has managed to take a product that's regarded as old-fashioned and has completely reinvented it, giving it an up-to-date make-over."

The rapid growth eventually forced Fraser to spend his "gap year" between high school and university organising production of his jams in a factory, a challenging process, which was filmed for a Channel 4 documentary.

He is now a university student in Glasgow, studying business and accounting. He says that he is prepared to take time off from his studies if the pressures of business require it.

Once my time gets ‘jam-packed' I'd probably end up making a bad job of uni and the business if I tried to do them both.

Chin up, Fraser, it might not come to that - Ben Casnocha is managing to "have it all"!

Fraser's advice to other young entrepreneurs from his Make Your Mark interview?

I don't think there's anything inherently difficult about having an idea, starting a business or growing it into a career. The difficulty lies in motivating yourself to get up in the mornings and keep working at the idea until it is finally a success.

Anyone could achieve what I have with just a lot of hard work and a bit of imagination. You really don't need to reinvent the wheel and the best businesses are usually very simple. I started mine in an afternoon with a dozen oranges and a bag of sugar.

That was something anyone could have done, but it's something which has taken a lot of hard work, sacrifice and determination to make into what it is today. I suppose people should just give their idea a shot and if it doesn't work out, try something else.

Young Entrepreneurs - Rachael Ford

Alan Forrest Smith with That Internet Girl, Rachael Ford

Hi, my name is Rachael Ford, and I am a Cash-Smart Kid! I am 12 years old and live in Sydney, Australia, and this is the story of me and my businesses.

Rachael Ford, "That Internet Girl", started her first business at the age of nine. With her two sisters, she started breeding rats and selling them to local pet shops.

After a couple of years, the girls got tired of cleaning out cages, and allowed the breeding rats to retire from active duty without being replaced.

Before long, though, they were looking for other ways to make money.

Rachael started following the step-by-step process for developing an ebook, brainstorming 20 ideas, and doing keyword research to identify the topics which were good niches.

At the age of just eleven, she contracted a professional writer to develop an ebook for one of her topics.

The writer has a few personal problems, and took longer than expected to finish the book. Meanwhile, Rachael turned twelve, and attended her first World Internet Summit seminar.

"It just gave me the full picture," she said. "Now I understand what I am doing, instead of just doing what I am told."

Rachael invested her time well in the breaks, networking with adult internet marketers, including some of the speakers.

Presenter Alan Forrest Smith recorded his impressions of Rachael on video.

Not to be delayed by subcontractors who aren't meeting deadlines, Rachael came home from the World Internet Summit and created a video product, complete with video bonus, and a video sales letter, which she posted at ThatInternetGirl.com.

Within a few days, she had made ten sales, been booked for three interviews, and been offered a scholarship in a coaching program for internet marketers.

In the letter of offer, Sylvie Fortin said, We think that, with the right training and by following a system, you are definitely going to make a fortune online. You have the drive and ambition that so many adults lack, and we feel that you would be a perfect candidate for a case study on how anyone (even a 12 year old) can do it. We feel that you could inspire so many to stop making excuses and just "go for it".

Rachael is not wasting the extra time her writer's delay has given her. She was pitching her product to fellow attendees and speakers at World Internet Summit.

"It's an ebook about genuine witchcraft," she explains. "It talks about the witchcraft that is used by doctors in hospitals today, and also about people who are spending $200 each to have spells cast for them over the internet."

Rachael used software to write the sales letter for her book, which is already live at www.genuinewitchcraft.com.

"The book is not ready yet," Rachael says, "but people are leaving their email addresses and I'll email them when it's ready."

Brett McFall, organiser of World Internet Summit and producer of the B.U.R.P.I.E.S software that Rachael used to produce her sales letter, says he is proud of what Rachael has achieved.

Rachael used Mike Stewart's presentation on video sales letters at the World Internet Summit as the template to create her next sales "letter", and she is looking forward to attending further internet marketing seminars in the future.

"It's fun," she says.

And what better reason could a twelve-year-old have for venturing into the world of internet marketing and information products?

Young Entrepreneurs - Romero Bryan

British designer Romero Bryan started designing clothes at the age of thirteen.

He was wearing a shirt of his own design one day, when it was noticed by pop duo Daphne and Celeste, who asked if he would make something creative for them.

When he was seventeen, Samantha Mumba wore one of his designs to the Brit awards, and his rising star took off like a rocket.

Over the next couple of years, Romero dressed Destiny's Child, The Honeyz, Usher and Tweet, and designed the clothes worn by The Sugababes in one of their music videos.

By the age of nineteen, Romero had dressed Cameron Diaz and Beyonce Knowles, and had his answering machine message recorded by Kelis.

He may even have dressed Posh Spice!

"I love Victoria Beckham," he told The Telegraph. "I know she's bought one of my denim mini skirts, but I've never seen her wear it."

In 2003 he was listed number 5 on the Bank of Scotland Rich List 2020, with the prediction that he would be worth 30 million pounds by then.

He told myfashionlife.com that the honor seemed bizarre at the time.

LOL, that was well funny, considering I only had literally 30 pounds in my account at that time, to be told I was going to be worth at least 30 million was hard to believe. But you know as my folks say, money doesn't make you successful, its personal achievement that does.

Romero graduated from the London College of Fashion in late 2005.

His graduation collection showed a maturing of his style, with the sexy look depending on the movement of fabric, rather than the exposure of large areas of skin. He says he has fallen in love with chiffon.

"I love its fludity, its movement can be so sexy yet sophistcated depending on how its worn, it can be dressed up or casual with an outfit."

Romero moved to New York after graduation, to see if he could make it in the Big Apple.

Given that Posh moved to the US herself not long after, perhaps she did like that denim mini after all ...

The First Step

If you only ever teach your child one thing about business, here is the one business idea that will make the greatest difference:
First demand, then supply.

Find a market, find out what the market wants, and then work out how to provide it.

A vast, vast proportion of businesses are started completely the wrong way. Someone has a great idea, or an invention, or something they are good at, or something they enjoy, and then they go about trying to find someone to sell it to.

This is a recipe for heartbreak, if not bankruptcy.

From the very first lesson in the very first week at Cash-Smart Kids, we are teaching kids this vital, vital concept.

We don't start out throwing around words like "demand" and "supply", of course - that comes later. We make sure that the child is doing the right thing, even if he or she doesn't know what the right thing is called. Kids learn by doing, and the basic ideas in business are not rocket science. Economists and MBAs like to throw around the big words, but in truth, the big words aren't necessary.

I introduced my kids to this concept by means of a simple Q&A session, which went like this:

Why do you want to have a business?

To get money.

Where does the money come from?


Where are the customers?

Out there.

And where is the money?

In their pockets.

Why would they take the money out and give it to you?

Because there's something they want.

What is it that they want?

Ummmmmm ...

And suddenly they understood why we do market research!

If you don't know what the customers want, you can't offer it. And if you don't offer it, the customers won't hand over the money. And if you don't have customers handing over money, you don't have a business.

Encourage your kids to brainstorm the things that people are willing to spend money on - things they will pay other people to do, things they want a lot (like a cool drink on a hot day - more than one young entrepreneur has made their start selling cool drinks to captive groups of adults, for example at local markets, car boot sales, or sports fields), or things they love (their hobbies, pets, and other passions).

Then have them go out and actually ask questions of their prospective customers. Find out what the market wants to buy, and what they would be willing to pay.

Your kids will then be in a great position to invent a business idea that will actually make them money from the get-go - very important for keeping them motivated!

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