Starting a Micro Business (book)
Running a Micro Business (book)
Micro Business for Teens Workbook
The ideal age for going through these books is ages 10-18. We received the books in PDF form and printed them out double-sided to put into a binder. The books are also available in hardcopy format.
Let me start out by saying Wow! I learned so much! My kids were so interested in our lessons. We usually read through one chapter a day and then they worked on the corresponding workbook pages. Carol Topp is a CPA and a mom of teens. She has helped numerous kids start their own businesses and has also read many books on starting businesses. She found them lacking in a lot of areas, especially in being practical for use by a teen who is already spending much time in school and a social life. They can’t devote all their time to starting a business, as an adult can. The plan she lays out is perfect for them. And both my kids have already started getting ready to launch their own micro businesses!
The first book we read through was Starting a Micro Business. The chapters and descriptions are as follows:
1. What is a Micro Business? I had never heard of the term micro business before. Mrs. Topp explain what it is and why it’s unique from other types of businesses that people might start. I also learned that in addition to them being perfect for teens, micro businesses are also perfect for stay-at-home-moms, such as homeschooling moms!
2. Getting an Idea: Micro Business Ideas Best for Teenagers In this chapter there are descriptions of over 40 different micro businesses that are actually practical for teenagers to do! In addition she explains how to recognize and avoid scams.
3. Problems and Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them There are specific problems (and solutions) when you have a business that deals with products (selling things), and there are other specific problems (and solutions) when you have a business that deals with serving people (like babysitting or mowing lawns). She helps kids to understand these. Also, she explains her position on not having partners in your business.
4. Plan it First: Writing a Business Plan Chapter 4 guides the kids through writing out everything they can think of to start a business–the name, people to help them, trends, competition, start-up expenses, etc.
5. Financing Your Business Without Breaking the Bank Mrs. Topp knows the best thing for micro businesses is to start without any debt, and she explains how to accomplish that.
6. Taking Care of Business: Extra Information to Get You Started This chapter gives you some ideas for further books and websites to study and research, especially if the business is in cleaning/de-cluttering, babysitting, food preparation, house sitting, lawn care, pet sitting, self publishing, sewing, or web design.
7. Encouragement: Final Words to Motivate You A few more words of encouragement are in this chapter, including being encouraged to share your story with Mrs. Topp!
I really loved how Carol sprinkled little stories throughout the book, stories of real teens and what they have done ways they were successful or not. It really helped encourage my kids that they could do it, too!
1. Sales Mrs. Topp guides kids in making a sales presentation to sell in person–what to include in it and how long it should be. She gives them helpful “leading questions” to use and great techniques to use if customers don’t pay. The last part of the chapter talks about selling online.
2. Marketing For marketing kids are taught to describe their customer, how to reach a local market, and how to reach a distant market. Then they learn how to make a marketing plan.
3. Customer Service Chapter 3 helps kids make decisions on what to charge people. They learn great customer service techniques as well.
4. Record Keeping Kids learn why and how to keep all necessary documents and answers to some very important questions such as when does a business actually start and why are capital expenses treated differently.
5. Bookkeeping Basics They learn how to use ledgers, how often to make entries, what to do quarterly and what to do annually, and whether they need to hire someone to help.
6. Using Software Benefits and limitations of software, and examples to use.
7. Legal Names and Numbers Learn about permits, licenses, and tax id numbers.
8. Reducing Risk What type of insurance to get, and what is an LLC.
9. Time Management How to set goals, to do lists, and hiring help.
Here are some examples of activities they did in the Micro Business for Teens Workbook:
The workbook is full of charts and written activities for the kids to do. It corresponds almost exactly with the two books referenced above. So, it’s great to read a chapter, and then do the workbook. The kids did things such as summarizing what was taught in the chapter, listing their skills and abilities, writing down business ideas, writing a business plan, calculating start-up expenses, writing a sales presentation, designing an order form and business card, and lots more!
How we used this curriculum:
We read through one chapter a day and had the kids do the worksheet pages that corresponded. I read the lessons aloud, which took about 20 minutes. But we also discussed things, so each lesson took us about 45 minutes. The activities they completed in their workbooks sometimes took a little longer than that. It took us about 6 weeks to complete, and they had both started their own businesses! I could envision this being a semester course. It could be used at a co-op or with a group of friends meeting once a week to support each other in starting their own businesses.
I can’t say enough how much I loved these books. They are short and to the point but packed with invaluable information. I will be using these with all my kids in their teen years. They will learn skills going through the process of starting a micro business that they won’t learn anywhere else.
And just to let you know what businesses my kids started– my 12-year-old son makes pvc-pipe/duct tape swords. He has already sold five of them! My 10-year-old daughter wants to do fancy hairstyles for little girls’ birthday parties. She hasn’t done a party yet, but she did do “princess styles” for all the little girls in the drama class that I teach for their final performance. I’m so pleased with their progress and with all they have learned from the Micro Business books!
Here are the costs for the books:
Starting a Micro Business (book) (116 pages): ebook $4.95, physical copy $9.95
Running a Micro Business (book) (138 pages): ebook $4.95, physical copy $9.95
Micro Business for Teens Workbook (104 pages): ebook $9.95, physical copy $14.95