Many states have begun to swelter underneath the summer sun, and it is around now that suburbanites and urbanites alike begin to see a long welcomed sight on their street corners; lemonade stands. Most parents will agree that kids always seem to need money, so it makes sense that the younger generations are looking at all possible avenues when trying to earn a little bit of spending money for the summer.
But some parents are a little hesitant. When is it the right time to let their kid start looking into starting a lawn mower business, or a lemonade selling operation? A lot of parents hope to raise children that know the value of a dollar, but it is understandable that some are apprehensive to push their kids out of the door to learn life’s hard lesson that money does not come easily. However, time and time again it has been seen that these little forays into the world of entrepreneurship typically do more good than harm. A recent article in the LA Times explored the benefits of teaching business skills to younger kids. Along with sharpening their skills with addition and subtraction, a summer foray into the business world can also teach public speaking, marketing, and give young business owners a boost in confidence as they see their idea take off.
Keep in mind that they don’t have to go into this alone either. If your kids want to sell some lemonade out of the family’s cooler, take it as an opportunity to work together as a family towards a particular goal. Set an amount you want to aim for; even if you are absorbing the initial costs of the low-revenue operation, having a defined point you want to reach, and passing it, gives kids something to be excited about and a reason to continue trying to sell five cent cups of lemonade to neighbors.
If your child is a little older and is trying to follow another avenue to untold riches, try to help out where you can. Offering to buy gas for the lawn mower, or soap to wash cars, can mean a lot when there isn’t a lot of money to be made to begin with. The initial groups that most entrepreneurs ask for funding from are the 3 F’s; Friends, Family and Fools. From a lowly lawn mowing business to a potential billion dollar silicon valley start up – everyone needs help when they are getting started. The trick is to offer support when it is needed, and step back when it is not.
While an allowance is good enough to get the house cleaned, starting a business, no matter how small, has a lot more weight behind its lessons. It isn’t you giving your kids money, it is your friends and neighbors paying them for a service. There are plenty of people, if asked, who will give their own stories about summertimes spent trying to scrape together a bit of money by doing odd jobs in that awkward time between it being socially acceptable for them to sponge off of their parents and when they were expected to find an actual job over the summer. So give your own kids a little push in the right direction, and bask in the new found wealth you will have once they stop asking for money to go to the mall.