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Kids have needs and wants just like adults do. Unfortunately, they don't have as many opportunities to work and earn the money they'd like to spend. Instead of relying on mom and dad for the money he needs in these situations, a child may start his own business. He can choose from different types of businesses to get started.
A child may not have been around as many blocks as an adult has, but there still are topics on which he has information. This information can found a business. For instance, if a child does well in school, he might start a tutoring business. Another example would be if he started a website full of technology-based how-to videos and charged a small subscription for access to the site.
The classic example of a product-based business for a kid is the lemonade stand. However, a child can sell virtually anything if there is a market for the product and he has some sales savvy. Anything the child creates well is a good option -- jewelry is a good starting point, but knickknacks, photo frames or collages and similar items also work. Foods and other products that are always in demand -- for example, chocolate or shampoo -- or that aren't immediately available at other retailers like rare video games provide other opportunities.
Usually, kids who opt for a service-based business choose services like mowing lawns, as these types of services consistently have a market and can be completed by most children. However, service-based businesses are limited only by the skill set of the child. For example, if a child has a knack for grouping and categorization, he might start an organization business that helps people get closets, garages or miscellaneous items together in a logical and accessible way. A child interested in fashion and aesthetics might be a personal shopper for someone else, picking the right clothes for the client or advising them on makeup or hairstyles.
Most businesses, regardless of the category into which they fall, require some start-up capital. Additionally, as a child makes money, he'll need to decide how to invest or store it. This means that parents or guardians may need to come up with some initial funds, be joint account holders with the child and present financial options to the child.
No business can succeed if there isn't a market for the service, product or information offered. This means that a child must conduct some market research prior to starting a business. The more money that is needed to start the business, the more important the research becomes.
Children must stay safe as they work. Avoid businesses where the child has to go door to door alone. If a child works online, they must be aware of the dangers present through Internet use -- for example, loss of secure data. If a service involves physical activity, the activity must be appropriate to the child's development. For instance, a child who only weighs 100 pounds shouldn't be trying to lift 50. Businesses that rely on chemicals -- for example, housekeeping -- usually aren't appropriate until the child has had basic chemistry and science courses.
Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.