My seven-year-old began making beaded bracelets for kids with their parent’s phone number on them. We learn maths, art, writing, geography, marketing and much more through this along with budgeting and finance. He was really enjoying making beads so we put our heads together to come up with a way he could turn it into a business. We created a spreadsheet where he understands a percentage of what he makes goes to purchasing new materials, how much it costs and his profit. He gets orders from different places, so we check the map and see the different areas he gets orders from, even overseas. The orders are posted. We discuss the different ways he can get orders, word of mouth, social media, talking to people about his business, his friends etc. As his orders increase he wants to get his friends to help make the bracelets and pay them for it. We look at colours and how they go together and find different designs to work with. We do photography using different backgrounds for the beads and experiment with looks. Find us on Facebook at Finnbo Beads!
12-year-old John saw an opportunity for a business when we attended a local event in our town. The annual woodchop always ends with an auction for the leftover timber, but there’s always a significant pile of chips and bits left over and it’s a terrible mess for the host of the woodchop to have to deal with, so John ‘hires’ his family (our pay is an ice cream when we’re finished) to help fill our trailer. While he listens to audiobooks every Saturday morning he chops it all up for kindling and sells it by the box or bucket down at the front gate. We try different places and various marketing techniques—local Buy Swap Sell pages, the local paper, signs out the front, Facebook posts, local newsletter—sometimes offering discounts depending on the supply/demand which changes seasonally. Offering free delivery within our postcode increased sales too. He’s noticed we sell more at the start and the end of the cold weather since mid-winter most people here keep their fires on 24/7 but he has some loyal customers which are great for business so he ‘looks after them’ with a good price all of the time.
10-year-old Rhianna is always coming up with ideas for making money because she wants to buy a horse so the motivation level is high. Although the ideas aren’t always very fruitful, it’s a lot of trial and error and her piggy bank is growing. She tried selling cut flowers out the front of our house and found that disappointing when people were dishonest, but then a local florist noticed them and offered her a regular opportunity to supply her with cut flowers, training her in the right length of stem to cut and so on. Rhianna also loves craft and sells items she’s made within our local homeschool groups. Rhianna’s latest venture is a combination of environmentalism/charity/business. She heard that children in poorer countries can have prosthetic limbs made for them from the ring-pulls on aluminium cans (apparently they have titanium in them) and that these can be collected and donated to the charity that makes the prosthetics. She saw a lot of empty cans around our town, so we began picking them up. She approached the owner of the local pub and asked if she could have all their cans, so now she gets bags full every week, and ’employs’ friends and family to help process them. Her income is the price of recycling the aluminium.
Katherine, a home ed alumni, has a few businesses:
It started when I was 13 and doing a monthly clean for a family friend. Through word of mouth I was able to get another cleaning job, and through that I met another cleaner who I then did contract cleaning for.
At 16 I officially launched the cleaning business Whole House Cleaning Services, getting all my work through word of mouth and helping me pay my way through veterinary nursing school. For larger jobs, I would incorporate the help of my siblings who also enjoyed the work and learnt cleaning, managing, customer service, administration and business skills.
Almost five years on and the business is still growing, having changed the name to Whole House Help, we now include house sitting as part of the service. My siblings still lend a hand, as the business continues to be run by my husband and me. Although Whole House Help has been the most successful, I’ve also tried my hand at starting other businesses. My sisters help me make polymer clay beads and jewellery which we sell in ready-made DIY creation packs. You can find us on Facebook at Inquisitive Minds. Photography is another passion and my business Nature’s Odyssey is still a work in progress.
One of our home ed group parents had an amusing story about a child she met:
I was hired as a language teacher by a group of home educating families before I was home educating my own children (they were in school at the time). We had covered basic lists such as numbers, colours, animals, family members, and so on, and I asked each child to prepare a short talk about themselves in the language we were learning. A ten-year-old boy stood up and told us that he had 80 chickens. I corrected him, thinking he meant eight, as the words for eight and 80 sound so similar. ‘No,’ he corrected me in English, ‘I do have 80. I have my own business selling eggs!’ I had no idea that home educating meant that children could pursue such successful businesses. It was an eye-opener to me of the potential for home education.
Do your home educated or alumni children have an amazing kidpreneurial venture on the go? We’d love to hear about it! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your story.
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