Saturday, June 26, 2010

Small Homestead Businesses for Kids

Now that my younger girls are a bit older, they want to earn some extra cash. I like the idea of them learning early the value of a dollar and the work that must go into earning it. Time to start introducing them to a small business venture that is age appropriate.

My oldest had some great piano skills that she put to work as a piano teacher. And her academic skills also allowed her to be of use as a tutor. Each child is different and while all may not have a talent that is obvious at a young age, if they are a willing to work hard and learn, there are lots of things they can do. If possible, I like to encourage an interest, but sometimes, they just need to work! 

A lot jobs are seasonal, but great opportunities, none-the-less. The true entrepreneur will catch the fever and begin dreaming up all kinds of business ventures to keep them going all year-round, some of which may be outlandish. Rather than squash an idea (something I can do all too easily), try asking questions that require them to think through the process and consider the ins and outs in a realistic fashion. 

You may just have to give some of the ideas a try to see if they work or not. But as the parent, it's a great opportunity to teach your child to honor wisdom from those who have gone before them (as you give advice), to try something totally new, serve and work with others, and learn the value of hard work. They will also have a chance to learn financial skills and record keeping.

Ideas for Small Homestead Businesses for Kids

Photo Credit: jamesmorton

• For those who have chickens, caring for them and selling the eggs is almost always a winner. I love how Barbara Kingsolver talks about her youngest daughter's egg business in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. What a great little gal! She has a true business sense about her!

Photo Credit: Thai Jasmine

• My youngest (8 years) is attempting to grow cut flowers, such as zinnias. We plan to really get organized this for next year and plan a succession of cutting flowers. Won't that be wonderfully fun! (I'll be helping her with this until she's a little older if it works out).

Photo Credit: Miranda

• If you live in a rural area, many people would love to have help cleaning stalls and barns out or a service that would come in and do this for them. While it might not be the most pleasant job, there would always be plenty of work!

Photo Credit: methyl_lives

• Making jellies, jams, granolas, breads, and other home baked goodies to sell at a local farmers markets would be ideal for some girls. 

Photo Credit: Daveybot

• No one can be at their home 365 days a year. Having a pet sitting service or animal care service would be a winner - especially during holiday periods when people travel. And those that have animals needing special care find it especially hard to leave home. For example, those with dairy animals must train someone to milk for them in their absence. Have your child learn as an apprentice and make a homesteader happy!

Photo Credit: fotobydave

• Weed whacking is a must out west where fires are a constant concern. How many people really have the time to do it themselves? A young man might have to invest in a good weed eater, but he should be able to recover the cost quickly enough. Mowing lawns, weeding, and other garden care is always a need.

Photo Credit: Zero-X

• Young ladies have so much energy! Why not turn those house keeping skills into profit? Form a two or three person team and they could be in and out in no time. I know two sisters that did this and they were in high demand.

Photo Credit: Gary Jazz

• Since we have only girls, my husband often needs another young man to help. Putting up fences, moving heavy objects, chopping firewood... things that really need boy muscles, not a girl's (although my daughters try!). A handy-man's helper "on call" might produce more work than one would imagine!

Photo Credit: _heather_r_

• I know a couple of girls who having an ironing business. Their mother helps pick up and deliver the items and they have regular customers.

Kids will need to get the word out... a flyer would work well and is necessary for billboards, bulletins, car windows, and handing out door-to-door. But can you imagine their excitement if they had their own business cards to hand out as well? Let them help design and print up a few on your computer. 

Be sure to check your state's child labor laws to make sure you're working within the guidelines for your area. And you'll need to know at what point they are required to pay taxes. But all this is a great learning opportunity for them as well. Let them work with you as you research the information and read up on it. Getting them involved will make the transition into responsible young adults that much easier!

One final comment... in keeping with Biblical principals, I also encourage my girls to do some type of volunteer work or serve those in need who are unable to work themselves and unable to pay. Teaching this balance between working for pay and serving those in need is another important aspect of learning to work.

Help me out... I know I haven't exhausted the list of ideas!

This post has been linked to Raising Homesteaders!


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