Teen Entrepreneurship…

21 Feb

As a mother of two teens, I wonder why more teenagers aren’t pursuing their passions and talents to start-up a small business, make a little money, and enjoy the freedoms of self-employment.  Is it me, or are we as parents and children automatically programmed to find a job working for someone else?  We encourage our teens to find that job at the local ice cream parlor, the park pool, local shopping mall or wherever to disappointingly discover they are at the  employer’s mercy regarding wages, hours, schedules, and flexibility.  I’m not saying that it’s not good for our teens to get a job.  There is much to say about a teen’s experience with that first job…..How to fill out an application, how to interview.  They may have dress codes to follow; learn when to show up for work.   Then when their first paycheck arrives, they discover just how much Uncle Sam collects for every hour they work. But even with all those valuable early work life experiences, the question still begs, why would we not encourage our kids to utilize a skill, talent, or passion when the risk is usually low and the return (experience and earnings) could be wickedly high?

Recently I returned from a trip to Colorado where I met two amazing teen entrepreneurs; A brother and sister who converted their passions into small businesses.  The brother loved working with wood and learned how to manufacture aspen pines into tea light candle holders, lamps and beautiful works of art.  The younger sister had a love for coffee.  She started roasting specialty coffees, packaging and selling them all over the United States.  Their businesses were not only generating income, but providing incredible experiences at ages 15 and 14 that many adults never experience in a lifetime.  I couldn’t help but think what cool parents they had to encourage and coach them through the preparation, planning and execution of the start-up.  These two have five younger siblings that will learn and be inspired by their older siblings success just as I am.

So, if you’re a parent or a teenager looking to earn a little money, I hope that you’ll take a minute to consider what talents, skills and passions that could be utilized for an experience of a lifetime.  Yes, small businesses are a lot of work; if it were easy, everybody would be doing it! But the rewards can and will overshadow the daunting tasks of the planning phase and launching.  There are lots of small business resources that can help with the successful start of your business. Check out any support that your local schools, SBDC’s and libraries may offer. Talk to friends, neighbors or small business owners in town that can provide helpful advice and mentoring to get you started on the right foot.  There could be a world of opportunities waiting for you.

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