Blog | Entrepreneurship

How To Make Money As A Kid

Does your child have the entrepreneurial spirit? Support their dreams with a concrete plan to build their first business.

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Does your child have the entrepreneurial spirit? Support their dreams with a concrete plan to build their first business.

A very long time ago, I was 9 years old and working with my friend Mike at one of his dad’s markets. One day, I said goodbye to the shopkeeper, Mrs. Martin, and was looking at the comic-book stand with a longing gaze.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have enough money to buy any at the time.

This one particular day, when Mrs. Martin said goodbye to Mike and me, I saw her do something I’d never seen her do before. She was cutting the front page of the comic book in half. She kept the top half of the comic book cover and threw the rest of the book into a large cardboard box.

When I asked her what she did with the comic books, she said, “I throw them away. I give the top half of the cover back to the comic book distributor for credit when he brings in the new comics. He’s coming in an hour.”

Mike and I waited for an hour. Soon the distributor arrived, and I asked him if we could have the comic books. To my delight, he said, “You can have them if you work for this store and do not resell them.”

Using a spare room in Mike’s basement, we began collecting hundreds of comic books. Within a few weeks, we soon had enough to open our own comic book store, sort of.

Instead of running a traditional comic book store where we would get our supply from a publisher with the intent of selling them, we chose, instead, to rent them out to our patrons (ie. other kids in our neighborhood).

How I Made Money As A Kid

After we had a collection of comic books to rent and a location to use for our library, the only thing left was an employee to run our new business.

So, we hired Mike’s younger sister to be head librarian of our comic book library. She loved to study and enjoyed the peaceful environment, so it was a perfect fit.

We had her charge each child 10 cents admission to the library, which was open from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day after school. Our customers could read as many comics as they wanted in two hours. It was a bargain for them since, at the time, comics cost 10 cents each. Many of our readers could finish five or six in two hours.

Mike’s sister would check the kids as they left to make sure they weren’t borrowing any comic books. She also kept the books, logging how many kids showed up each day, who they were, and kept track of any comments they might have.

Mike and I averaged $9.50 per week over a three-month period. We paid his sister one dollar a week and allowed her to read the comics for free, which she rarely did because she was always studying. Mike and I kept our agreement by working in the store every Saturday and collecting all the comic books from the different stores. We kept our agreement to the distributor by not selling any comic books and burned them once they got too tattered. We then tried opening a branch office, but we could never quite find someone as trustworthy and dedicated as Mike’s sister.

After Mike and I stopped working at the market, we closed the business. However, that business taught us how to make money work for us, even at such an early age. Since we didn’t get paid for stocking shelves at the grocery markets Mike’s dad owned, we were forced to use our imaginations to identify other opportunities to make money.

By starting the comic book library, we were in control of our own finances, not dependent on an employer. The best part was that our business generated money for us, even when we weren’t physically there. Our money worked for us.

The Three Types of Education

The world has changed drastically since I first opened my comic book business with Mike back in 1950s.

For example, the methods we use to teach children in school are far different than what I experienced. Where we previously used slide rules for math class and lugged around armfuls of books, students now have everything they need on a tablet or smartphone device.

But while the methods for how we learn have changed, the subjects haven’t.

Why not?

My rich dad taught me that here are three types of education: academic, professional, and financial.

Academic education encompasses what we learn in grade school. This includes reading, writing, and arithmetic. Knowing these basic skills are vital for anyone living in a modern society.

Professional education includes the knowledge you learn to hold a job. Whether you stock groceries or manage the grocery store itself, each job requires a different set of skills. Most people learn these skills on the job or attend a post-secondary educational institution like college or a trade school.

Though both academic and professional educations are important, how well you excel in either will have nothing to do with your financial education.

Regardless of your grades in school or how much money you make, it’s your level of financial education, or your financial IQ, that ultimately determines your level of success.

How To Make Money As A Kid

I will explain how to make money as a kid shortly, but first a brief history lesson.

When I was growing up, my poor dad always said, “go to school, get a safe, secure job with benefits and stay there for 20 years. When you retire, the company and government will take care of you the rest of your years.”

That is no longer the case. Graduating college no longer guarantees landing a good, high-paying job. If you are fortunate to get a good job, you won’t be with them two years from now, let alone twenty.

Pension plans are all but extinct. Along with the death of pension plans has risen the company sponsored retirement plan, or 401(k).

I’ve written about these many times before. These plans were implemented to help companies save money by deferring those benefits to their employees. So now, the employee is responsible for investing their money, not the company.

But what are employees to do? How can they invest without any education?

As we discussed earlier, academic and professional educations never included anything about financial education in their curriculums.

So while someone may be great at remembering facts and figures in high school, or go on to become a tech wizard in Silicon Valley after graduating college, at no point are they taught how to invest. At no point does anyone show them what to do with all that money.

Make Money As A Kid By Becoming A Kid Entrepreneur

Now we have an entire generation of kids going to school (because that’s what their parents told them to do) who graduate college with a mountain of school loans to payoff and little chance of landing the dream job their college counselor promised them when they first walked onto campus.

So, what should we be teaching our children about money? How can we better prepare them for life?

Much like what my rich dad provided for me, we can offer them a different perspective.

We need to let our children know that there are many roads to riches. They need to understand that they no longer need a college degree to become successful.

But if they don’t go to college, what can they do?

How To Start A Business As A Kid

Like I did when I was a child, they could start a business.

Running a comic book library probably isn’t going to work as well for your children as it did for Mike and me. There are almost an unlimited number of ways for children to learn the basics of running a business with real-life experience by doing just that, starting a business.

To help you and your children get started, I suggest downloading a free copy of my new eBook, How To Make Money As A Kid.

How To Make Money As A Kid gives parents over 30 entrepreneurial ideas your kid can use to start a business.

Grab your copy here.

I look forward to hearing how your child used How To Make Money As A Kid to become a kid entrepreneur.

Original publish date: May 21, 2019

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