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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

MicroBusiness for Teens- Review

Homeschoolers don't always do things like "normal"
teens do. We like to think outside of the box. We tend to like to try to figure things out from books and learn though experience. Why then wouldn't our teens be interested in working on their terms just like they school? Of course they would and Micro Business For Teens by Carol Topp CPA will show them how.

Micro Business for Teens Review

Starting a Micro Business
- $9.95 paperback
and $4.95 Ebook

Micro Business for Teens Workbook- $14.95 paperback and $9.95 Ebook

Running A Micro Business- $9.95 Paperback and
$4.95 Ebook

These books are suggested for children 10-18. Although I did find a little information for this homeschooling mom as well. It's wonderful to be able to help out a little bit with the family income and still teach our kids at home. If you don't have kids in this range and would like to start your own micro business for yourself then this might contain the information you need to get started. Not just for teens in my opinion.

Micro Business for Teens Review

You will want to start out by reading Starting a Micro Business. This book goes along with the Teen workbook. The workbook will guide you through the reading and then you will complete the corresponding pages.  Your student will start out by learning what a Micro Business can mean for them, like freedom to manage their own time.  Most teens don't have a lot of time. They need to spend time on their studies and balance home life and fun as well. Creating your on business can be enjoyable and manageable. It also can take some of the burden from parents as far as first time jobs go and transportation. Parent and child will learn how their time can work for them. Perhaps your teen/teens already have an idea they would like to try or maybe they would like to choose one that Carol Topp suggests in her book. Either way there are plenty of ideas to get theirs flowing. It is a good idea to have a brainstorming session. You might want to stretch this out over a few days. I found this activity very enlighten as students think of ideas. You really can see where their interest lie.  Once your child chooses a business it's time to write a business plan.

Micro Business for Teens Review

Writing the plan might seem difficult but your workbook will take you through it step by step. You only need to fill out each section. There is research that goes into it depending on what your child's interest might be and it might take some time to get things going and off the floor so to speak. Before you get going you will want to talk finances. Will there be start up costs and if so how will you pay for that? If there are not start up costs how do you keep track of your finances? All this is answered and more. This book is a great teacher even if they don't go through with the actual plan. It would be a fun start to a financial planning activity and learning about that side of business. I also think it would make for a exciting co-op course.  The kids would have someone to bounce their ideas off of and help to establish their plan. They would also have others that are going through the same things in starting up their business and being motivated to go for it. I envision them reporting back to one another and truly being a support for their project.

Micro Business for Teens Review

Now that your teen has their business going or are about to get going. They will want to start reading Running a Micro Business.  They will learn about managing their time, Serving the Customer, Bookkeeping, tracking income expenses, marketing and social aspects of having their own financial security. You will find as you work through  these books that you may be pulling up websites and digging out recommended books and doing even more research. Not only can it be used as a course of study but for real life. These are the courses that parents love, hands on real experiences.

How we used the books:

I used the books with my 14 year old Son and my 17 year old daughter. I started out by reading the Starting a Micro Business book in its entirety to get a feel for what we were going to be doing. The kids had preconceived ideas on what they thought they would like to do as their first start up business.

My son has always made these cute little pipe cleaner animals. Now you might be saying to yourself how could you make a business from that but honestly somehow there is a market for sales. The kids at our church are always saying he is the balloon animal guy of pipe cleaners. We have found sites online that sell them and frankly some of his stuff is even better than what they are selling. The going price for an animal online is $6.00- $20.00 . Seriously who knew right. He first got this idea because as odd as it sounds he would walk around with his pipe cleaners in a ziplock bag and would ask people every where we went what they would like made for them.  One particular day we went for pizza and the owner of the restaurant saw his creations. She asked him to make a few cats for her daughter. He made some for her plus some other things he had in mind and when he gave them to her she handed him $20.00. This started the idea that he could make these animals for money. Pictured below is him with one of his creation a hulk. Ignore his silly look on his face he was in one of his goofy moods but you get the idea of what he can do. I asked him to share some of his creations with me but he had given all of them away and needs more pipe cleaners. This one is an older one he had left in his bag. So there will be a small start up cost but nothing we he can't handle. He can use his sales to purchase more stock.

We worked on his business plan. He had the idea to sell them online maybe in Etsy or we also talked about maybe doing some kids parties like balloon guys might do. We could do a combo of both. With Etsy he could sell his wire art , puppets, and other things that he creates.  Now if he goes the party route. He can make pipe cleaner animals or he does balloon animals too . I really think the parties might be doable. We have had that request before as well so it might be something he could do for some of our church families for a few dollars per animal. The cost of pipe cleaner isn't that high if you buy in bulk like we do. He could also do a combination of the two balloons and pipe cleaners. He is very creative and the kids usually flock around him. I think parties would be key for him for exposure. He has a lot to think about. We have more to do with our plan but I will update you as we get things figured out and started.

Now my daughter she had a harder time. She struggles with knowing what she wants to do with her life so choosing a micro business I knew would be hard for her too. She is not crafty and likes more physical work like mowing the grass, trimming weeds or working on small engines. She also has a love for animals. She started out with two ideas. One was to mow yards over the summer but she felt like that would be harder to keep up and she would have to have  the equipment to travel. We live along a highway so we wouldn't have assessable neighbors. She doesn't drive yet so driving would fall to me. This wasn't a lucrative option at this time but we wrote a business plan for a possible future plan. She decided on dog walking or pet sitting. We do have a nice yard area and some neighbors to the back who live a short distance that have pets. Her plan isn't as far as my sons because it took her longer to choose one. She may not take it to an actual business but it is a good learning experience for her. I do see my son following through on his plan.

Now I mentioned before that I got a few things from this book too. I have been wanting to sell Ebooks but had a lot of question in regards to how to get started. In the book Carol Topp has a section where she shared various resources that we could reference or check out. Through that I was able to get my questions answered. As moms who school our kids at home it is always a good idea to add a manageable income to our family. I have a plan now for myself and will let you know when I have the first book up and ready for sales.

I have hopes this fall to use these books and the workbook as a study for teens. My plan is to ask our local library if we can use a room there and invite other homeschoolers to come and learn about Micro Business. I am that excited about it.

If you would like to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Crew on Micro Business. Click the graphic below.

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Warm Blessings,


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  1. Nikki,
    Thank you for the review! I really appreciate it.

    The Micro Business for Teens books work very well in a co-op or a club like you're thinking about. There's a teachers guide here:

    You might enjoy the public television program Starting a Micro Business, based on the first book. It features 6 students (all homeschooled!) and their parents discussing their micro businesses.
    It makes a great way to kick off your study group. There's a discussion guide for the video in the teachers guide.

    Also check out my group discounts if your group does get started!


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