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Young men preparing for his first job application
Young men preparing for his first job application

The Top Tens

Ten ways to take classic kid jobs to the next level Add to ...

Kids have always worked. They’ve raked leaves, washed cars, and supervised children while Mom and Dad go out on dates. There’s only one problem: While these typical kid jobs do result in a bit of pocket cash, they do very little to teach kids the all-important principles of entrepreneurial wealth building.

Directly trading your time for money is very limiting. This has always been true, of course, but when prices are skyrocketing and “good” jobs are scarce, it’s an even more critical lesson for kids to learn.

The old path to success – get good grades, go to college, get a good job, work hard for 40 years, and retire comfortably – may no longer be enough to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Multiple streams of income will be necessary and kids need to get their minds around this reality now.

Kids need to learn how to think about working and building wealth in a profoundly different way. They need to see firsthand that the old paradigm of getting paid for your time is no longer adequate. The great news is that kids’ minds are open. They learn by doing. When you can help them experience the reality of entrepreneurship, they’ll embrace it.

The entrepreneurial mindset isn’t just about wealth building. It’s also about finding fresh solutions to problems no one has ever thought to solve, figuring out how what you offer can be applied to new markets, and teaming up with other people in such a way that everyone wins. It is about learning to build teams and learning to manage profitability – and these are things that I am a master at teaching.

There are plenty of ways for kids to earn money that demonstrate the principles of entrepreneurship. In fact, parents can help them put an entrepreneurial twist on classic childhood jobs – or at least take their earning potential to a higher level. Here are ten ideas to help you get started:

1. The tutoring source (and babysitting broker). School is back in session and, as always, there will be plenty of students who need a little extra help to thrive academically. Perhaps your child can provide that help. But rather than being just another service provider in a crowded market, why not suggest she be the front person? She might create a database of qualified locals and book appointments for her subcontractors. She can charge $10/hour for the services, and pay each of her contractors $8/hour. The same principle can work for babysitting.

This is great management experience and really illustrates the magic of passive income. On any given afternoon, she might be earning money from four or five or even more tutoring jobs. Meanwhile, she can be enjoying a fun extracurricular activity or perhaps earning even more money by holding a tutoring session of her own.

2. The thriving cider stand. The lemonade stand is a classic childhood business. And just because summer is over doesn’t mean your kids have to close up shop. As the weekends get cooler and the leaves begin to change, they can simply switch over to, say, hot apple cider. No matter what they’re selling, the refreshment stand can teach many valuable lessons.

Kids can learn about profit by buying their own ingredients and doing their own marketing. They can shop around for better pricing, learn the benefits of buying in bulk, or negotiate with a local grocer for a better deal on repeat business. They can differentiate themselves by holding “buy two cups get one free” sales or throwing in a free cinnamon sugar cookie with each purchase.

Want to kick it up a notch? Let’s say there’s more than one hot spot in the neighborhood for set-up. You can guide your child through “franchising” by forming a partnership with other neighborhood kids. He can provide the supplies and set-up, and they get paid for managing the table.

At some point your child may find out franchisees aren’t doing what they are supposed to do (giving away drinks to friends or leaving their stand unattended, for example). This is a chance to walk him through the tough conversation he must have. You might even brainstorm ways to stop the problem – say, by giving kids a cut of the profits instead of paying a flat salary.

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