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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 ...

The hardest part may be convincing the owner of the property to let him put his gumball machine there. (It would be a tough task for most adults!) He may need to experiment with different tactics: Offer the store owner a flat fee? Offer her a percentage of the profits? Promise a cut to the owner’s favorite charity? He’ll quickly find his stride and start to develop serious negotiation skills that will serve him well in the future.

8. The bead business wizard. Designing and creating bracelets and necklaces to sell teaches kids to manage inventory and pay attention to the trends so that their product can stay new and interesting. Are more bracelets selling than necklaces? Are bright colors selling better than pastels? Is there an unmet market niche selling jewelry to boys, and might your child be able to come up with some cool designs that appeal to them?

This might also be a chance to learn about business philanthropy. Help kids devise a campaign for selling the jewelry so that part of the proceeds goes to a charity of their choice. Perhaps the bracelet designs could coordinate with the colors of a particular charity. If the business really takes off, your kids might hire others to make the bracelets and expand their operation.

9. The brainy bake sale or smart car wash. These events are classic fundraisers but they tend to be indistinguishable from one another. Encourage your child to think differently about the one he oversees. Teach him about the value of pricing goods and services competitively: Just because he’s charging more doesn’t mean he’ll make good money – especially when a less expensive car wash event is happening in another part of town.

You might help your child conduct market research by visiting other area sales. See what others are doing in the way of advertising. Help him devise a marketing strategy (using social media where age-appropriate), draw up a flier, visit local businesses and ask to advertise, and so forth.

10. The next-level landscaper. Your child might offer “free samples” of his work around the neighborhood in an effort to expand his business. He might work up a flier that offers a free service – for one leaf raking, weed pulling, or yard trimming (even better if you make the bonus something you’ve noticed a particular yard really needs).

Does he own a lot of equipment? He might rent it out when he’s on vacation or away at camp. He can arrange for a friend to keep up with yards while he’s away: This will keep customers happy and give the friend an opportunity to earn a little extra money on the side.

Worried that this level of entrepreneurial thinking is over your kids’ heads? You might be surprised.

Kids are generally open to new approaches and new ways of thinking. Their minds haven’t become “programmed” like those of adults, so they don’t have to do a lot of unlearning old, outdated ideas. They’re creative and fearless and they realize this way of thinking makes sense.

Frankly, it’s the parents who struggle with the entrepreneurial mindset. I always say that the toughest part of the journey takes place in the mind. But it’s absolutely crucial that you take the first step, right alongside your child. Both of you can learn together. Your family’s future depends on it.

Gregory S. Downing has dedicated his life to teaching his students that every family can truly control its financial future and create a generational legacy with profound, yet straightforward advice and guidance. As a nationally and highly respected author of the book Entrepreneur Unleashed: Wealth to Stand the Test of Time, speaker, family expert, and organizational consultant, his advice has been sought and put into practice by thousands of people from all walks of life.

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