Celebrate Independence: Start a Micro Business!
By Carol Topp, CPA
The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate our country's independence and appreciate our freedoms as Americans to follow our dreams. This is a great time to encourage our children, especially teenagers, to cherish their freedoms. Not every country in the world allows a teenager to have as many freedoms and opportunities as the United States. One important area of freedom that our children probably take for
granted is the freedom to become whatever they want to be, which includes starting a business.
My 16 year old daughter, Sarah, was introduced to a man who grew up in East Germany. He described his youth where he had no choice in what he would study in high school or what career he would have. He was assigned to a technical high school where he learned science and math. There was no consideration of his abilities or talents. Sarah began to appreciate her country in a new way. She has an
artistic bent and would have hated being forced into a math and science-oriented high school. Instead, she has been allowed to purse her love of art and photography.
Sarah celebrated her independence by starting a micro business. She used her interest in photography to take senior pictures of a few friends. More friends saw her work and hired her for their senior pictures. She was kept quite busy for several weeks and grew in her skills and business knowledge. It is quite easy for a teenager to start a very small business—a micro business—and learn a lot while making some money.
A teenage micro business owner will learn business skills such as marketing, customer service and salesmanship, but they will learn also life skills such as time management, planning and careful use of money. As a parent you will see them develop confidence, responsibility and the ability to overcome fear as they face new challenges in running a business.
We should encourage any spark of entrepreneurial spirit we see in our children because it helps them grow in many ways, but it is also good for our country. Small business ownership is the backbone of our economy, paying 44% of the total US private payroll.1 But not only are small businesses responsible for America's wealth, they encourage free enterprise, responsibility and leadership.
The GrasshopperGroup has produced a short video, “Entrepreneurs Can Change The World,” that inspires us to remember the entrepreneurial spirit on which our country was built. You can view the video at YouTube and it says, in part:
“In case you haven't noticed, we live in a place where one individual can make a difference. Want proof? Just look at the people who built our country: our parents, grandparents, our aunts, our uncles. They were immigrants, newcomers ready to make their mark. Maybe they came with very little; or perhaps they didn't own anything except a single brilliant idea. These people were thinkers, doers and innovators until they came up with the name entrepreneurs.”2
Remember the freedoms we have in America this Fourth of July, and especially the precious freedom to work for ourselves, start a business and follow a dream. Encourage your teenager to exercise their freedom by starting a micro business.
1 Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education http://Entre-Ed.org
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