7 Summer Jobs to Give Your Kids a Head Start in Business
June 14, 2019
By Jason Eisenberg Community Program Manager for Office Depot
The skills that make a great entrepreneur are important life skills in general. Don't wait too long to teach your kids a little about business, which is a great opportunity to practice responsibility, hard work, patience, teamwork (when applicable) and hey, maybe a little marketing. Why is it important to instill your children with a sense of entrepreneurship? A few reasons: arming them with an invaluable skill set, increasing their sense of self-worth, and because our economy kind of relies on it.
Our economy will ALWAYS have a need for entrepreneurs. According to a 2018 study by the US Small Business Administration, there are approximately 58.9 million people employed by 30.2 million small businesses - that's nearly half of the entire workforce!
Entrepreneur or Employee?
Now there is a bit of a difference from having a 'paper route' and running your own lemonade stand. Both can instill the value of hard work, earning your money and having responsibilities. But running your own lemonade stand will undoubtedly require more problem solving, budgeting, creative thinking, and teamwork if there's a friend or sibling in the mix. But there's more than just a lemonade stand to work with. What's most important is to give kids the space to work with something they love – food, animals, computers, and art can all be turned into ways to make money. It doesn't have to be a lemonade stand.
Believe it or not, the days where your kids are more advanced in technology are rapidly approaching, or they've already passed you up! Maybe your child can't set up IT at a business, but they could certainly show you (or the older folks in the neighborhood) how to reset the router, recover lost information, or even provide basic tutorials for smartphones, tablets and computers. Help your kids come up with fair rates and do a little marketing on Facebook or with flyers and posters in your neighborhood.
Pet Sitting/Dog Walking
For animal-loving kids, this might be the ideal job during summertime. They'll enjoy the outdoors on walks (so you know they're not just eating junk food on the couch), learn about having responsibility for another living being, and most importantly love what they do because dogs (and cats) are awesome. A very cool story about a 12-year-old who started a pet-sitting service explains how he gained the trust of his prospective clients by getting liability insurance first.
Refreshments/Snacks/Baked Goods Stand
Everyone thinks 'lemonade stand' when they consider helping their child with a small business. I mean, who can resist a cute little face behind a DIY stand selling lemonade for 50 cents? It's important though to make sure your little entrepreneur wants to sell from a conventional stand, selling conventional lemonade. Maybe they like to bake? Sell baked goods! Maybe they have a Soda Stream and want to make sodas or fancy themselves the master of fruit salad. Either way, you can empower your child with the ability to choose what to sell and watch their passion take off. Tip: you can help their business by making them standout with catchy signs and posters.
If your kid is an educator at heart, they might want to help flex their knowledge by helping others learn. This was one of my gigs growing up. It made me feel smart, helpful and was a decent gateway to making friends. As a tutor, there's more freedom to make your own schedule and rates - perfect for summer. Bonus: Through the act of teaching, your kid can harbor that knowledge even more and can enhance their leadership ability.
Above all, teaching kids they can love what they do and make a living doing it is one of the most valuable lessons they'll learn.
How I Made Money in Middle School
It's similar to the idea above – monetizing your creative abilities. When I was in 6th grade at a new middle school, I had few friends. My passion circled around reading and writing, so I wrote poems in a little binder for myself. One day a friend of mine asked to read one and suggested I sell my work for $2 each, but let the customer pick the topic. Within two months, I had written a poem about everyone in my grade – I made some enemies, some new friends and realized I had a gift. I still write today, but certainly for more than $2 a piece.
If your kid likes to write, you can nourish that trait with nice pens, notebooks and folders. Small gestures can go a long way.
Car Wash/Lawn Care
Second to the lemonade stand, a car wash is a very popular form of entrepreneurship for kids. If you're children love getting dirty and playing outside, they may actually enjoy the work AND they'll get paid for it. Tip:Put some flyers up on your street posts and mention to your co-workers your kids are washing cars. Since it's summer, you could do a day where they wash your co-worker's cars at your place of work.
School will only go so far to get your kids thinking about owning their own business. They need real-life applications guided by you, the parent, and experiences they both learn from and enjoy.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
About the Author Jason Eisenberg is the Community Program Manager for Office Depot, specializing in small business and entrepreneurship. Based out of one of the most exciting cities for startups – Austin, TX – Jason is plugged into the business community, often connecting with thought leaders, entrepreneurs and strategists to help identify and find solutions to common pain points all business owners share.
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