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Ways For Kids To Earn Money
Finding ways for kids to make money when they are too young to have a regular job can seem like a real challenge. But with a little thought and a dash of imagination, young entrepreneurs all over the world are coming up with creative ways to make money.
Years ago, before compulsory education and child labor laws, it was so normal for kids to be working alongside adults that the very thought of having to hunt for ways for kids to make money would have been laughable! Often, the money brought in by kids was all that stood between a family and starvation.
We live in better times now. There is usually plenty to eat, and we expect our kids to focus on their education.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am all for education!
- How To Raise Motivated Entrepreneurs
One family's experiences, plus how-to advice and resources for getting kids started making their own money
The Problem With Compulsory Education
However, the current education system in the Western world is so geared to producing good employees that there are real risks in leaving your child's financial education to the so-called "experts". Remember that all the teachers, all the inspectors, all the administrators, all the people who write the curriculum guidelines, and all the politicians who make the laws about education are, themselves, employees. Usually lifelong employees.
It's up to parents to instill that good old-fashioned value of self-reliance, and encourage kids to get out and make money without becoming a wage slave.
Business Ideas For Kids
The range of things which kids have done to make money is incredible. The only limit is your imagination.
Selling things on eBay
Collecting for charity on commission
Buying bulk candy and selling individual pieces
Breeding rats (see below)
Letter-box leaflet drops
Comic book rental library
Toy rental library
Making My Space backgrounds
Collecting lost golf balls
Baking for busy working mothers
Entertainers at kids' parties
Collecting aluminium cans
Cleaning swimming pools
... and hundreds more!
Starting Early As Entrepreneurs
When my three girls were aged between nine and twelve, they started a rat-breeding business. They borrowed the start-up capital from us, paid interest out of their pocket money, and bought their breeding stock of rats.
After a few months, there were baby rats rolling off the production line, about one litter every 6-12 weeks. In less than 12 months, they had repaid the initial loan, and the business was turning a profit.
After another 12 months they were tired of cleaning cages every weekend, so they decided to let their remaining rats retire from active breeding duty without being replaced. Eight or nine months later, the last rat died of old age, and the young directors met one last time to liquidate the business.
I think it's a cute story, and I tell it regularly (probably more often than I should, but, hey, they're only cute for such a short time).
When I told this story, I found that people got very interested. They wanted to know how we taught our kids to run a business. How we got our kids to want to run a business. How we got our kids interested in earning money at all, for that matter, at such a young age.
I think that these are the wrong questions to be asking, actually. We should be asking questions like - why aren't all kids doing this? What stops the vast majority of kids from turning their creative minds to the question of how to earn the money they need to buy the things that they want? Why is it so strange, in this day and age, to see a 12-year-old negotiating to be paid for their services?
There was a time, not so long ago, when 95% or more of the population were self-employed, either on farms, in retail, or in cottage industries. Kids grew up surrounded by commerce, watching the exchange of valuable services for money, seeing the process of trading for profit, ingesting the principles of customer service with their mother's milk.
These days, the majority of people depend on someone else's entrepreneurial spirit to generate revenue into a business to pay them a wage, either directly, by working for a company in the private sector, or indirectly, by working for a government funded by taxing the private sector and its employees.
With this shift from business ownership, however small-scale, wide-scale employment, has come a corresponding shift from self-reliance to dependence. We have almost lost the ability to take care of ourselves financially.
Most people are expecting an employer or the government to take care of them when they can no longer work. Or, worse, they aren't even thinking about how they might survive financially beyond this year, this month, or even this week.
Teaching Kids Business
Basic entrepreneurship should be part of every child's education. But we can't expect the employees who teach in schools to step up to the plate and pass on skills they don't have. Just like the other crucial life skills like brushing their teeth, eating right, and maintaining relationships, teaching the skills of money and business is very much the parent's responsibility.
It's not too late. Programs like Cash-Smart Kids give parents the tools they need to make their kids financially self-reliant.
Just about every entrepreneur who achieves financial independence immediately starts teaching others how to do likewise. Make sure your child is one of those teachers. Give them the basic skills they need, even if that means going out and learning them late in life yourself!