Unemployed Kids vs. Self-Employed Kids

It's never too early to start earning a living!

It's never too early to start earning a living!

This morning I read an article about the current 52.2 percent unemployment among young people, ages 16 through 24.  Prospects for jobs certainly look dismal, especially since so many of their parents are also unemployed.  Here’s the opening paragraph.

The unemployment rate for young Americans has exploded to 52.2 percent — a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. — meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.

Is it just me or is it foolish thinking to rely on any government to make sure you have employment?  Have these young people no marketable skills?  Has no one told them they can start their own business and someday become this century’s Bill Gates?  There are thousands of ways of earning money legally, and there are would-be millionaires out there just waiting to be created.  Entrepreneurship is the key.

My own daughter was just six when she began her own business, “Jog Your Memory”.  Her motto?  “I remember so you don’t have to!”  I had told her she had a great memory since she was constantly reminding me of things I had forgotten!  So, we printed out a few business cards, I gave her a Day-Timer I wasn’t using, and off she went to see if Grandma might need some help remembering her appointments!  A couple of years later we created a business plan for a neighborhood garbage can retrieval service!  Lesson learned?  There are no limits to the ways a person can earn money.

Encourage your children to think of their own natural gifts and interests.  Seek out family friends and relatives with skills that could be taught to a young apprentice.  If your child is a computer nerd, help them discover a money-making niche in the vast world of technology.  If your kid is an artistic dreamer, as mine is, take their creations and help them develop a business plan for earning money.  Don’t overlook volunteerism as a way to learn skills and establish important contacts as a route to self-employment.  Combining a young person’s natural skills with a marketable skill or product may open up a whole new way for them to earn money other than working for the nearest fast-food joint.

Self-employment breeds self-confidence, independence and important business and people skills.  Take any skill, any interest, put your creativity to work and develop an idea for a new business!  Here are four websites with some practical ideas for getting started. 


Young Biz

Young Entrepreneur

Young Entrepreneurs, SCORE — This organization, SCORE, matches would-be small business owners with a retired business owner.  It’s a great mentoring service.

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 

© Copyright 2009 The Survival Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Survival Mom
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  1. says

    This is such a great post, Lisa. My son recently asked me, "what can I do to start earning extra money, do you think our neighbors need me to do something for them?" He's only 11, but I'm serious, he came up with that himself, no prodding from me. Even though I'm a Dad, I find good stuff on this site. I didn't know about the four websites you mentioned. My wife will be interested to look at them too.


    • says

      Even if our kids end up working for someone else someday, I think the work ethics instilled by going the entrepreneur route are invaluable. When people complain about their boss's decisions or what their company is doing, I think to myself, "You should try running a company sometime!" LOL


  2. says

    This is a great article, and definitely lists many reasons for why kids should begin trying on their entrepreneurial shoes at a young age! I'll never forget my first venture, running a lemonade stand at the age of 11. My brother and I now run a blog, FindingBenjamin, that might be another useful site for any young person trying to find a way to start a business for themselves, as we try to provide a wide spectrum of different business ideas and resources. By working on the blog, we're again learning all the challenges and rewards of working for ourselves!


  3. Chris says

    I remember when I was 11 I was shoveling snow in my neighborhood. I also cut lots of grass too. I kept money in my piggybank. There are lots of ways kids can earn a few dollars.

    I remember when I was 11 I was shoveling snow in my neighborhood. I also cut lots of grass too. I kept money in my piggybank. There are lots of ways kids can earn a few dollars.

    Learn How To Make Money Online

    • says

      My kids do plenty of chores around the house, and so far, it doesn't seem to be killing them! I want them both to grow up with an entrepreneurial mindset, even if they end up working for someone else.

  4. LizLong says

    I'm working on starting a small business with my rising third grader right now. And we have "Cashflow for Kids" (finally found a good price on eBay, $20 – lists at $50) to play. It really does seem like a good way to teach kids about finances. We also have The Allowance Game, which is faaaaar more simplistic, but still a decent tool.

  5. Melissa says

    My almost 7 year old asked me today if he can ask the neighbors if tomorrow after garbage day he can put their empty trash cans back for a quarter. Seems like a fair deal to me! I’ll pay the quarter :)


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