by Cindy Briggs, PhD
I remember when I was about ten, and my mom would buy these big boxes of Wacky Wafer candies, and I would sometimes take one to school for a treat. Then a friend asked if they could give me .25 for the treat… and I said sure! Then another friend asked if they could buy the next day… and I said sure! And my first entrepreneurial venture took off! For right now we will ignore the fact that I DIDN’T get permission from my parents to use the candy this way, and my teachers quickly shut down my enterprise… but it was the fact that I felt that entrepreneurial spirit (before I knew what that meant).
Now, over 40 years later, I still thrive on that entrepreneurial spirit. My husband and I have owned businesses, and we still have constant ideas of businesses we want to try. It is a drive, an excitement, and is contagious. Yes, I said contagious.
Our children have spent their whole lives watching us start and grow different businesses. They see the hard work, and the benefit of doing this. They hear us talk, watch us negotiate, learn how we deal with business. They have seen us put our faith first in our business dealings, and it has sparked their drive too.
So, it’s not hard to imagine that our children have been budding entrepreneurs. They are constantly thinking of businesses they can start. We encourage every ounce of this dreaming. We help talk through the plans, the crazy ideas, and the process to get going. We have taught them how filling a need is a place to start in developing a business. We have also taught them to have a hard work ethic, high principles/character, and a desire to do all work for God.
If you have little entrepreneurs on your hands, you may be wondering how you can get them started (or even IF you can get them started). The answer is YES! This week my podcast discusses businesses for children, and even includes a guest (my son, Jackson). We talk about how he looks at business, and his advice for other children.
Choosing to let your children start a business might seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I do want to give you information so you can ensure you are doing this legally in your state. Some states are very lenient with child businesses, but I have seen some that will shut down a lemonade stand without a permit.
Steps to get started:
- Contact your Secretary of State for your individual state and ask if there are any requirements for a child’s business (in our state of Indiana there wasn’t any specific regulations).
- Check with your city/county to see if your child needs a business license. These are usually inexpensive.
- Ask your CPA about taxes involving your child’s business. (Here is what we got from our CPA: We do not need to set up a formal entity for Jackson’s business. We will just file a Schedule C on a personal tax return for him in 2022. It will be a great learning experience. Tell him to keep track of his expenses.)
- Let them dream… and let it be BIG dreams… then you can use it as a learning experience to start narrowing down what they can do. Don’t stop them in the dreaming stage– just guide them.
- Create a mini-business plan with them. With our children we created a business notebook. It has all their details, inventory/etc., loan documents, and more. Get them organized early.
- Be their first bank. We loaned both children their start up costs, and they have a loan document we created with some payback terms. It is good for them to understand how this works.
- Teach your children about the money they earn– save, give, spend, and even taxes!
- Look for great resources like this one: THE BIG STARTUP GUIDE FOR KIDS
Remember to have fun with your children on this journey. Let it be a great learning experience. If you aren’t sure of an answer… they are lots of people out there willing to help you.
Podcast Episode on this topic:
Dr. Cindy Briggs is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, college professor, wife and mom. Her mission is to provide programs that can help entrepreneurs and communities thrive. To find out more, visit www.cindybriggsphd.com.