One of the topics that I’m really passionate about is helping kids learn about earning money from starting a business.
There are so many benefits from kids starting a mini-business. These include:
Greater appreciation of the value of money (as they are earning it)
Learn money skills such as pricing, budgeting, handling money and borrowing money
Learn the art of ‘selling’ - some kids have a natural talent for this
Teamwork, negotiating, problem solving, project management and design
In fact, part 2 of Grandpa’s Fortune Fables is all about earning money, with the fable ‘Happy Farmer, Sad Farmer’ being one of the most popular based on feedback. If you’ve not read the book yet, you can read the fable here.
After reading the book, many kids are joining the Fortune Club where they can start to put what they have learned into action, including coming up with new businesses. Below I have set out 5 examples of businesses that kids have started. I hope this can inspire your kids to try starting their own.
Whilst I have set out some business ideas for your kids to consider, I'd recommend that you first encourage your kids to come up with some ideas of their own. Kids are very creative!
5 business ideas for kids to try
ONE: Flavoured Popcorn (Product)
Popcorn is one of the most profitable products as the actual popcorn kernels are very cheap to buy. Kids can be very creative in terms of the flavours they want to add. Plus, nearly everyone loves popcorn.
This business idea clearly requires some adult supervision with the cooking of the popcorn. The flavours could include simple salt or sugar. Then there are more interesting flavours like Peppermint Popcorn, Toffee, Cinnamon and many more.
There are lots of recipes online for unique popcorn. Examples can be found here.
Kids can sell their flavoured popcorn to their friends and family. They can even ask if they can set up a stall at the school or village fair. One child made and sold flavoured popcorn to his friends' parents when they were arranging birthday parties.
If your kids are feeling very entrepreneurial, then they could even investigate buying a popcorn machine like my old neighbour Harry did - you can learn more about Harry’s small businesses here.
TWO: Customised Bookmarks (product)
This is a very simple product for kids to create and sell. They’ll just need some card. Then they can either create a picture on the computer to print or, design them by hand (depending on their art skills).
Your kids can be very creative with the bookmarks so that they will appeal to their friends. These can include images of whatever is popular at the time. Maybe create their own Grandpa’s Fortune Fable bookmarks?
Whilst more kids are starting to use ebook readers, lots of kids still love physical books. Also, by selling bookmarks, your kids might encourage more kids to read.
THREE: Selling toys / books / clothes online (service)
One way to make money is to help your kids sell the old toys, books and clothes they no longer use or need. With online marketplaces like eBay and Facebook Marketplace, this has never been easier (although does need oversight from parents).
How to make this into a business?
As they get better at taking the photos, writing the descriptions and setting the prices, they can offer to help sell their friends things on their behalf (with their friends’ parents permission). Your kids can charge a fee in different ways:
A fixed fee per item sold (e.g. £1 per item)
A percentage fee (e.g. 20% of the sale price)
Any profit over a certain amount (e.g. if a friend is happy if they get £5 and your kids sell it for £7, then they get to keep the £2).
The more they sell, the easier it becomes and the more money they can make. They could potentially end up buying second toys and books from boot sales and charity shops to sell for a profit.
FOUR: “Messy Cupboards” (service)
A lot of parents pay their children to do some extra chores around the home. Two friends in the UK set up a business focusing on one particular chore - organising cupboards - which they called ‘Messy Cupboards'. Their initial ‘clients’ were their families, working together to take out all the items from a cupboard and put them back neatly and in an agreed order.
The family members were very impressed and introduced them to friends and neighbours, i.e. people they knew well rather than strangers.
They are making a minimum of £5 per cupboard between the two of them. As they are working together, they are having a lot of fun.
They are working on some marketing material and want to start franchising so more kids start their own ‘Messy Cupboards’ business. I’ll be sure to share more details once they have this up and running.
FIVE: Selling eggs and fruits (Product)
This is my personal favourite as it is directly linked to my book. In Grandpa’s Fortune Fables, Grandpa is on a faraway island, Pucha-Pucha. To make money, he starts selling fruits from the trees he has grown. He then uses the money to buy chickens so he can make money from the eggs (as well as still making money from his fruit trees).
One family here in Vietnam loved this idea and got some chickens and started selling the eggs (mostly to a lady who has a market stall who was previously only selling fruits).
Selling eggs might not be very practical for many people in other countries. Although, kids in most countries could start to grow their own fruit or vegetables, just like Grandpa Jack. They’d have to research which fruits can grow inside vs outdoors and look after them. They’d also be practising being patient, which is the superpower of the financially healthy and wealthy.
There are so many benefits from kids starting their own business, not just in terms of money but also in terms of life skills.
Remember, even if the business they come up with doesn’t work out well, it is a learning experience. Let their creative juices flow. I always believe that it is better for kids to try new things as the consequences from making mistakes are much smaller than if they try these things as adults. They will also learn from their mistakes and be better prepared for their next venture.
You never know, your kids might have a hidden talent for starting a business, you just need to encourage them to try as this isn’t something they will learn about at school.
If your kids do come up with their own business, I would love to hear about it (email me at email@example.com).
Thanks for reading!
P.S. If your kids need some inspiration to start a business, get them a copy of Grandpa’s Fortune Fables. In the book, Gail starts her own mini-business making petal pictures before starting the Fortune Club with her new friend. You can get copies from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. Please also remember to leave a review afterwards.