Over the years most of my kids have had a desire to run a business and make some money. I admit that we haven't been the most creative parents in terms of giving them options, and our sleepy street isn't the best place for a lemonade stand, although they've definitely tried.
Our 11-year-old Caroline, however, has had a great little business this year selling the only hair clips that actually stay in her extremely thick hair. That's how we found out about them in the first place; we were on the search for a clip or a rubber band that would actually stay in her hair.
And then a reader pointed me toward her Lilla Rose Flexiclip business, and we bought one for Caroline to try. Success! And they're pretty and fun, too!
I made the initial (small) investment for her. There really wasn't any financial risk; if she couldn't sell any, then we owned the five clips that came with the start-up kit. I also explained to her that if she had made the investment with her own money, she would have to repay herself.
I put out a notice on Facebook that she was now selling the clips, and we had a small "party" at our house to introduce friends to the clips. After that evening, several sweet friends decided to have hair clip parties for their friends and daughters, and Caroline's business was on its way.
Caroline has packaged and delivered the clips, and after the first two parties, she has been on her own talking about the products. She helps everyone find the correct size for their hair, and she pays her sister a little commission for being her hair model.
Our goal for the summer is to get her running the technological end on her own. She has sat with me as we've placed her orders into the system, and she is learning to calculate county sales tax. This has stretched her, but honestly, she's amazingly motivated and she really knows her product!
Tips for Helping Your Kids Start a Business
1. Figure out what they have a passion for. In Caroline's case, she really loved these clips and was motivated by the commission she would earn that would allow her to purchase more.
2. Be prepared to be their first investor. You might have to dish out a little money, and it's up to you whether you ask for a return on your investment or just see it as a way to invest in your kids, with the return being the experience they'll gain.
3. Teach them to market themselves and their product. Caroline and her sisters wear their clips everywhere. I'm wearing one right now. She also gives them away as gifts and tells people about them when the timing is appropriate. And that's the key: when the timing is appropriate. It's not necessary to be pushy and annoying; God will bring and grow and bless a business in His timing.
4. Realize that you are their mentor. You may be having to offer advice and hands-on help for some time. As long as you're not stepping in and fixing everything done wrong or just doing all the work, your help will allow them to grow and learn from an experienced adult (you!)