A Microbusiness Can Help With College Expenses
As most of you know, I have enjoyed several microbusinesses throughout my life, and I believe they can be great learning experiences for teens. With the economy in its present disturbed state, I believe that a microbusiness can be helpful to any family.
What is a Microbusiness?
A microbusiness is a very small business that is created without a large investment of capital. Another way I like to describe it is “doing with your might what your hand finds to do” (from Ecclesiastes 9:10).
A Few Ideas for Microbusinesses
If you have extra produce from your garden, sell it. My first microbusiness was selling avocados from our tree. I would fill my little red wagon with avocados, priced according to size, and go around the neighborhood selling them, almost every weekend during avocado season. I averaged close to a $100 a year doing this, until I got too old to be seen in public with a red wagon!
If you have a special skill, such as sewing, playing a musical instrument, writing college admissions essays, or grooming dogs, teach it. You can do this at home, your local parks and recreation department, a community college, or private studio. (Check zoning laws before deciding on a teaching location.)
If you have a working lawnmower, tractor, or snowblower, learn to use it well, and offer your services to neighbors.
If you do small handcrafts, create some to sell. Make sure that the product you want to offer is something that customers will want to buy. Not many people are interested in coffee-can-with-macaroni-glued-on pen holders, but you may find a ready market for beaded bracelets, embroidered baby bibs, or hand-painted greeting cards. Look at Etsy for ideas on the type of handcrafted items are available.
Success Tips for Microbusiness
No matter what sort of microbusiness you choose, there are a few basic principles that must be in place. First, for any kind of business, you need to check the laws of your county to see if a license is needed. Second, you need to keep track of income and expenses. In addition to these fundamentals, here are few tips that are specific to goods and services.
- Have reliable equipment
- Show up on time, every time
- Do the job neatly and completely
- Choose a product that doesn’t require a large investment in raw materials
- Be sure your product is something people want to buy
- Create each item with skill and care
- Offer a guarantee, if appropriate
There is a great deal of free information available at the Small Business Administration. I’ve also learned a lot online from free teleseminars and e-zines. You just need to invest a bit of time in learning how to attract and serve potential clients. A microbusiness could be just the thing to help your family meet college expenses!
– In the Home Business section of my website, I’ve had a “coming soon” tag on the “Recordkeeping” section. Thanks to a very competent accountant, Carol Topp of Homeschool CPA, I’ve finally been able to provide some excellent recordkeeping help. By tomorrow, (Wednesday, December 17), you’ll find five helpful articles, including:
- Get Ready For Tax Time
- Keeping Business Records Organized
- Simple Bookkeeping System
- Using Software
- Working with an Accountant
You can read the articles, then visit Carol’s websites, Homeschool CPA (help for homeschool organizations and leaders) and Carol Topp, CPA (tax and small business accounting), to learn more about the services she offers.
– If you edit a homeschool newsletter, look at the top of this page, where you’ll see that I’ve put up a new page called Newsletter Editors. It has all the information you need in order to use my blog posts in your e-zine or newsletter.
I remember when I was editing our local, then regional, and eventually, state newsletters. I was always looking for articles to share! Now I have the opportunity to share my own articles, and I hope they will make your job easier. You’ll see on the page that I ask only that you include a by-line and bio-blurb, and send me a copy, so I’ll know where my articles go.
– Donald and I will celebrate our 27th anniversary this Thursday, December 19. It’s hard to believe we’ve been married so long! I’m very grateful for the blessing of a strong and stable husband.