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Illustration: Lauren Rebbeck.

Encouraging Young Entrepreneurs

Is your child interested in starting their own business? Help them get started with these expert tips.

I’d like to encourage my 13-year-old to start a small business this summer to help teach her financial responsibility, inspire an entrepreneurial spirit, and earn a little money. What should she do to get started?

Anna Leer, vice president of YouthBiz at Young Americans Center for Financial Education shares the following tips:

Starting a business is a great way for a young person to get firsthand experience in finance.

Start with a real life need. Kids are incredibly creative and a business begins with an idea, so ask your daughter to think about problems in everyday life. Does she hate putting away laundry? Do her accessories need organizing? How could she solve these problems for other people?

Focus on your child’s strengths. Make a list of talents or interests she could share. Maybe she’s a great soccer player and could hold a soccer clinic for her younger brother and his friends. Could she teach someone how to make tacos? Would she enjoy taking care of a pet when its owners are on vacation?

Think big, but don’t freak out. One of the biggest hurdles to starting a business is the word “business.” It seems so official and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. We encourage the YouthBiz entrepreneurs we work with to “just start it” by selling a product to a family friend or providing a service to a neighbor. If your daughter loves the experience, that passion can quickly fuel expansion. She could pass out flyers at a summer block party or encourage her customers to share their experiences on

Take it seriously. Play the part of banker/financial advisor as your daughter embarks on this new adventure. If she needs money for supplies, think about offering her a business loan rather than gifting her the startup cost. (What a great way to learn about borrowing and interest!) After a big sale, help her calculate her profit by subtracting her expenses from her revenue. If the business isn’t exactly profitable, help her think through what she could do better next time (and maybe forgive the loan, just this once).

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