Looking for kid business ideas, or a way to encourage a child who's already showing entrepreneurship skills? Here's how we do it with our four sons.
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As a homeschooling family, our main priority is to prepare our children for life and business in the real world. Our kids have had the wonderful opportunity to watch Nate and I start a family business and figure out work-life balance. Knowing that hands-on experience, learning by doing and trial and error experimentation teaches kids better than any other method, we recently started helping them put their own business ideas into action with a big helping hand from Acton Children’s Business Fair!
Kid Business Ideas you can Start Today
The sky's the limit! Our kids have sold crafts, hosted mini lemonade stands for friends and neighbors, and even done some pet sitting. Younger kids can learn the concept of business with simple chores around the house. As soon as they start showing interest in a particular subject, any kid can begin leveraging that interest into a money-making endeavor! While we want children to find something they love doing, it's also fantastic to teach them that they can actually leverage many of their passions into income.
Some really great kid business ideas include:
- Helping families setup for birthday parties and other special events
- Work as a cashier at local garage sales
- Car wash
- Design and sell custom items on Etsy
- Lawn mowing
- Dog walking
- Starting a blog or YouTube channel and earning ad revenue
- Grow fruits and vegetables to sell at a farmer's market
- Create custom kid's scavenger hunts in your city
- Coach other children to learn new skills
- Make bows or scrunchies
- Learn to draw caricatures
- Painting walls or fences
- Sell baked goods
- Raise animals with 4H and sell them at auction
- Face painting or balloon artist at parties
- Books or e-guides on topics they're knowledgeable about
- Create stationary
- Calligraphy or hand-letter wedding invites
- Cleaning and organizing services
- Plant watering
- Create dreamcatchers
- Make lawn decorations, such as painted rocks or windmills
- Take acting lessons and act in local commercials
- Music lessons
- Tie dye assistant (perfect for summer camp work!)
- Run a popcorn or cotton candy stand for small gatherings
- Write comic books
- Take headshots or family portraits
- Wrap gifts during the holidays
- Wash and fold clothing for busy families
- Construct furniture items that come in separate pieces
- Design graphics for businesses to use on social media
- Collect gems or geodes in the wild (where allowed) and sell them to collectors
The potential ideas for kids are endless! Children are a great source of creativity and innovation. They are not afraid to try new things and they have a lot of energy to bring to the table. The key is giving them the opportunity and education to utilize their skills in ways that are most beneficial for them.
Promoting a Business
Getting the Word Out
Typical advertising methods can be expensive, so kids will probably want a grassroots approach. Look for bulletin boards where you can post flyers directing customers to your website or phone number. Ask different business owners or other people in your chosen industry for contacts or references to further the business.
If all of this sounds a bit labor intensive to you, we don’t blame you. Sometimes helping our kids start a business can become a full time job for us. As parents, we want methods to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in our children that won’t take over our whole lives. Fortunately, there are some great resources and organizations that are specifically designed to help us with the whole process, from start to finish.
Use Local Resources
Look into special programs that your community might have to help budding entrepreneurs. There may be mentorship opportunities available through schools, classes to help them solidify any necessary skills, or the opportunity
Set Up a Business Fair
Acton Children's Business Fair provides all of the tools needed to host a fair, along with $500 prize money, no matter where you are in the world! Started by the folks behind Acton Academy, they decided to give the gift of entrepreneurship to young people everywhere.
Families can host a fair in their own yard or public space, bringing together some card tables and gathering fellow kid entrepreneurs to join in. This is a wonderful way for kids to showcase their gifts in a safe environment. All hosts are vetted through a short questionnaire and a simple video submission to assess basic qualifications and weed out people who should not be fair hosts.
At Acton Children's Business Fairs, children develop a brand, create a product or service, build a marketing strategy, and then open for customers at a one-day marketplace.
You don’t have to be a professional event planner to host a Children’s Business Fair. Their resources are designed to make it simple, easy, and fun to start a fair. Plus, it’s free. In fact, they’ll send you money to host a fair. Here’s what they offer:
- Access to forums full of resources, tips and best practices from over 600 hosts worldwide
- Your own custom website to make registration a breeze
- Step-by-Step Guidebook
- Pre-Made Marketing Templates
- Up to $500 in prize money after your fair
To get started, complete their audition process. Here’s what you can expect:
- Tell them about yourself
- Tell them about your fair
- Get ready to launch!
They will get back to you in less than 48 hours with what is next!
Here are some great business ideas for young Acton Children's Business Fair participants:
- Delicious homemade treats
- Handmade Jewelry
- Table games
- Hand painted clothing
- And more!
From Business to Career
Customer Service Matters
Inspire kids to learn about the art of branding, follow up and responsiveness. You can help your kids get going with business cards as well as thank you cards to send to customers. You may even help them set up an email list to alert customers about sales or special offers.
Brace for Business Growth
A good business can scale as your child grows. Teach your kids how their ideas can transfer into a life-long career! The oldest of our four boys is into video gaming, so I've had him learn coding through online programs and showed him how he can apply those skills to real-life jobs such as creating the games he loves.
From pretending to be astronauts to playing as teachers and firefighters, kids love to envision their future adult selves. Starting a business is a great way to use that energy! Take advantage of that imagination by telling them about different entrepreneur styles and approaches, from home based businesses to ones setup in warehouses or fully mobile. The more they can picture the ins and outs of their daily lives, the more invested they'll feel in their business plan.
Setting Business Goals
One thing most people – kids and children alike – struggle with when starting a new venture is figuring out exactly how much they're willing to spend on themselves versus reinvesting in the business. Creating goals with your child will make it easier for them to see what they're working toward. Just like adults work toward homes and vacations, kids may reward themselves with toys or trendy clothing. Help them set up those incremental rewards so they don't lose motivation. Once you've established benchmarks together, stick to them!
Difficulties in Business
Sometimes life gets crazy and things come up unexpectedly. In these situations, honesty is key. Your child may need assistance due to illness, injury or another emergency situation, and that's okay! Be open and honest about situations as they arise to help build trust between parent and child. Let them know that sometimes, it takes a little bit longer than expected to bounce back after tough times.
Money Management Skills
Kids need to understand what their spending habits should look like, and you need to set that example for them! As your child's business is getting established, don't forget to discuss money management. You can help them open bank accounts, ideally keeping personal income separate from supplies and expenses. They need to know where all of their money goes so that they don't waste anything. Teach them budgeting skills at home, and show them how that mentality can easily transfer to a business.
Keeping accurate records of expenses and earnings is important for both adults and kids. Whether you use a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel or create a journal entry system, help them record every expense related to running a side hustle. Then, review this information periodically to ensure nothing is slipping through the cracks.
The earlier you get your child involved in saving, the better off he or she will be when it comes to financial independence later on. This is especially true if you are able to teach them about compound interest early on. Any kid can start investing wisely the minute they have money.
Have Fun Together
Finally, enjoy yourselves along the way. Life doesn't always go according to plan, which is okay. Just try to stay positive throughout the process, and don't let business overrun personal time. After all, isn't that kind of the whole point of going the entrepreneurship route? Best of all, you can have a blast hosting your own children's business fair through Acton.
If your kids' business ideas are ready to level-up, look into hosting an Acton Children's Business Fair today! Acton Children's Business Fair today! It is simple. It is free. They even offer up to $500 in prize money per fair. Start your audition today!