5/20/14

Micro Business for Teens {Crew Review}

I have some pretty excited teens right now.  It can be difficult for a teen to get a job and yet most teens would like to have an income. My teens are no exceptions. They want their iTunes and they want this, that, and the other thing. So why are my girls excited? We received a package from Micro Business for TeensCarol Topp, author and CPA, sent us Starting a Micro Business, Running a Micro Business and Micro Business for Teens Workbook.

I expressed high interest in reviewing this product because Turtlegirl has been especially interested in finding ways to earn some money. She was the primary focus for this review but I was super excited because Boobear has a dream to own and run her own piano studio some day. In essence she has started a micro business.  I encouraged her to thumb through the books.

Tailorbear has needed more prompting and encouragement from mom, but even she is starting to think in terms of “what kind of micro business can I have? What talents or services can I offer?”

I’m not a teen but the books have inspired me to think about what *I* could do for a micro business. Wait!  I haven’t told you anything about the books. I need to share why we are so excited about these books.

Both of these small paperbacks are laid out similarly. Chapters are short but full of information.  Ms. Topp makes generous use of bullet points. Examples from real teen micro business owners appear in the side bars in boxes and in the text. Ms. Topp includes examples of things like a Financial Plan in Starting a Micro Business or Marketing Plan in Running a Micro Business.  Each chapter ends with a summary of key points.

Starting a Micro Business

In the homeschooling world there seems to be high emphasis (at least in some circles) on entrepreneurship.  I see lots of materials on the market geared at home schooling teens to help them become entrepreneurs.  Being an entrepreneur just doesn’t appeal to me but I couldn’t have told you why.  Now I can.

In Starting a Micro Business, Ms. Topp explains the difference between a micro business and entrepreneurship. The primary difference is risk. Entrepreneurs are risk takers. That distinction is important for me.

Starting a Micro Business has seven chapters plus an introduction. In these seven chapters, Ms. Topp walks you through starting a micro business.  She explains what a micro business is and then goes on in the next chapter to offer suggestions of ideas best suited for teenagers. She’ll help teens write a business plan, write a financial plan and gives helpful information on how to finance your business.

In Chapter six, teens will find additional information such as who to contact for vendor licensing.  The final chapter offers encouragement.  I particularly like chapter 3 which lists potential pitfalls and problems of some traditional teen micro businesses. 

Running a Micro Business

Cover image Micro Business for Teens  Running bookOnce you’ve started a business, there are certain things you need to know such as how to market your business, how to provide customer service, what records to keep and some basic bookkeeping. In nine chapters, Carol Topp gives us those as well as explaining legal names, whether or not to get a taxpayer number for your business and even covers such topics as “Reducing Risk” and “Time Management.”

I can’t decide if my favorite chapter of Running a Micro Business is the customer service chapter or the last chapter, “Time Management.”  As a customer, I know how important customer service is and I am pleased that Ms. Topp emphasizes how important good customer service is to the success of any business.

Micro Business for Teens Workbook

This workbook is the perfect companion for anyone who wants to fully implement the suggestions in the books.  There are 14 chapters that cover information from both of Starting and Running books.  The workbook also draws from her website.  For example in chapter seven, “Encouragement” she refers students to her blog and has them read at least three stories and then share in the workbook how they encouraged the student.

In addition, in the How to Use This book section, there is a link to a 60 minute video. It is not necessary to watch the video to complete the workbook as the workbook is “designed to be used in conjunction with the Micro Business for Teens books.” (pg. 5)

I love that Micro Business for Teens Workbook gives the teen (or young adult or stay at home mom!) step by step fill in the blank templates for creating a marketing plan or designing business cards. I appreciate that Ms. Topp gets the teens to really think through their ideas and explore 3-5 ideas before selecting one to focus on.

The Workbook states to read the corresponding chapter in the book and then complete the pages in the workbook. It also states that if you complete one chapter a week you should complete the workbook in about 3 months.  Students are encouraged to have a mentor while working through the program.

Turtlegirl read both books first and then started working through the workbook. This has worked well for her because she was able to get a full overview of setting up and running a microbusiness and gave her time to let the suggestions, tips and ideas percolate.  As she works through each chapter of the workbook, she keeps the book handy to refresh her memory.

Thoughts From TurtleGirl:

Ms. Topp was very informative. She clearly laid out the advice, suggestions, and basic information. She also included little inspirational quotes sprinkled through the chapters which I enjoyed. She really helped me understand how to plan the business. I like how she included examples of what not to do. She also gave examples of what a business plan looks like, what a marketing plan looks like, and what a financial plan looks like. Those are extremely helpful to have when trying to plan a business. Another thing I liked was that she included ideas for microbusinesses in Starting a Micro business. That helped me decide what I wanted to do. My microbusiness is still in the planning stage, but I wouldn’t have been able to get that far without the help I got from the books. So, thank you Ms. Topp!

My Thoughts:

I have loved hearing my girls discuss their business ideas with each other. Boobear has been teaching piano to two students for some time now.  These books, especially  Running a Micro Business, have helped her making decisions. She has a marketing plan, a logo idea, and she’s talked with others about pricing. Turtlegirl hasn’t started her business yet but it’s exciting to hear her discuss her tagline and to hear her initial marketing plans.

I am impressed enough with both books and the workbook that I will be purchasing Money and Taxes in a Micro Business. Boobear is particularly interested and specifically requested it.  If you or your teen want to start a micro business I strongly recommend these books!

The Details:

  • The Vender:  Micro Business for Teens
  • The Product: Starting a Micro Business ($9.95), Running a Micro Business ($9.95), and Starting a Micro Business Workbook ($14.95).
  • The Author: Carol Topp
  • Format: I received paperback versions.  An eBook Version is also available
  • Age Range: These books are aimed at teens but I think mature 11 and 12 year olds as well as college students would benefit from these books.  Stay at home moms, like myself might also find these books useful for setting up and running micro businesses from home.
  • Also Available:  Carol Topp also offers, Money and Taxes in a Micro Business
  • NOTE:  I suggest reading both Starting a Micro Business and Running a Micro Business before actually starting your business. The two books really do go hand in hand.

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to read what others have to say about Micro Business for Teens. 

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the review! I really appreciate it.

    I'm glad your kids liked the books. It will be fun to see what they learn and do with their micro business.

    You're right, moms can start micro businesses too! Lots of adults find my books very helpful without being overwhelming.

    I purposely avoided the word "entrepreneur" because it intimidates a lot of teenagers (and adults!). And it's tough to spell! LOL! My own daughter who tutored, gave piano lessons and did bookkeeping, said to me, "Mom, I'm not an entrepreneur; I didn't invent anything." There's this idea that every kid needs to be the next Bill Gates or something, but it's not true!

    Thanks again for the review and for including the thoughts from Turtlegirl. Tell her, "You're very welcome."

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