Have any of your kids started a business?
April 24, 2008 4:46am CST
I'm just curious as to how many homeschooled kids get a feel for the business world, no matter how big or small. My oldest will be 9 in less than a week. We live three blocks down the road from a public school, so we have a whole slew of kids passing our house everyday, most of them have never made an attempt to talk to or get to know my kids, even though they are usually outside playing at that time. And they say our kids are the ones needing socialization?! Anyway, my daughter decided to start an after school snack shop. She's hired her little sister and a friend to help her run it. They offer sweet snacks, healthy ones, juices and bottled water. I went to Big Lots and spent about $16 for their initial inventory. So they got a feel for a loan. Then they priced each thing to make a small profit and are keeping tabs on their sales and inventory. They've been paying off their loan in installments of $2. And when they get close to the end of their inventory I will take them back to Big Lots to stock back up. They are even asking their customers what they would like to see in the store, and thinking about making a mobile unit to walk around the blocks closer to the school. Some days they set up a little mini yard sale and call it their thrift store. They put toys and clothes they've outgrown. I see this as so many positivs. Most of their customers have been existing friends. But those friends have been spreading the word at school and brining some of their friends. So my kids are learning about business management and meeting some more of our neighborhood kids. It great. What do you think? Have your kids started anything? Would you let them do something like this? Have any tips for me, on how to make this experience even better?
• United States
4 Nov 08
My kids started an online business about 7 years ago when I was home schooling them. They made some money selling posters and books online. It was fun and they learned a lot. Learned about percentages, html and web design, writing skills, money management, and more. Great learning tool.
• United States
29 Aug 08
I'm a little late to the party to, but I'd like to respond. We home school our kids, 8 and 5. My 8 year old asked about opening a lemonade stand and how to go about it so he could make a profit, he gets that from me, he knows the difference between capitalism and the other. I told him to get some ideas about what else he wanted to sell. We talked about using the labels from the product to show what we are selling. He also wants to do some stuff on e-bay, I'll have to help him with that. My children are very social, sometimes people can't believe that they are so friendly, some people think us home schoolers are nut bags and lock our children up to keep them away from the world. Mine usually open their eyes to the fact that we are normal just like they are.
• United States
29 Aug 08
Well, edgyk8inmomma, it has been five months since you posted this. How did the little business turn out for the remainder of the school year? (I assume there wasn't much business once school let out for the summer.) We have home schooled our 7 (soon to be 8) children for going on 15 years. Two of our kids have dipped into business ventures. Two years ago, when he was 18, our oldest son began his web development business. He is still trying to grow it slowly while he is in college for computer science. Our 13-year-old son started mowing lawns in our neighborhood for money this past summer. I help them with business planning and accounting/record-keeping advice. My 16-year-old daughter, the artist, has been trying to find a venue for selling either the art itself or her artistic talents, but has had little success to date. It sounds as though you are doing a good job of encouraging and supporting your children in this. The one thing I would recommend you do differently concerns the loan idea. We have taught our kids, as the Bible teaches, that debt is a curse and the borrower is slave to the lender. As a result, we don't do debt. Either in life or in business, if we can't pay cash or cash-flow the expense, we wait until we can. Two options for how your children can fund their business without the loan would be 1) for them to do extra chores at home or for grandparents, etc, for cash. It won't take long for them to build up the $16 to obtain the inventory. Then when the product is sold at a profit, they can either take $16 of that profit, rebuild their inventory, and pocket the rest, or they can sink the extra profit back into the business and grow their inventory, as well as their potential for bigger profit; or 2) for you to play one of two roles. You could play the role of patron and simply give them the money to get started, without any expectation of repayment. This way they have the up-front capital immediately and are not starting off on the wrong foot with debt ("slavery"). The other role is one of investor. You can give them the money, again with no expectation of repayment, but you get a percentage of their profit for a finite, agreed-upon time period. You may or may not get all of the $16 invested back, but I don't think that's a major hindrance for you, right? This will give them a good taste of some of the third-party function in a business without having the uncertainty and negative obligation of debt hanging over their heads. At any rate, keep up the good work! The best thing about your child's business is that it was HER idea! Also, kids participating in business ventures is one of the best ways to "socialize" them (in the sense that "socialization" means preparing to be a contributing part of society).
• United States
30 Aug 08
Thank you masternote! Your ides were great, and they reflect what is going to be happening this year. Alexa did pretty well with her business. She got a taste of what debt feels like and the burden of paying it back. The reason I did it that way, was to teach her those two invaluable lessons...hopefully they will stay with her when she's older and recieves all the credit mail offers and such This year, I am teaching an early consumers math class for our co-op. The after school snack shop will be part of it. The older kids will be in charge of scheduling, purchasing, sales, and marketing. The younger kids will be in charge of inventory and stock, and help with the marketing. The co-op will be a "silent partner" funding the first round of inventory. Then all profits will go into a bank account to save up for an end of the year reward that the kids decide upon.Hey, if it only costs the parent $10 each to send the kids to an amusement park, or go to chucky cheese...it'll be worth it!