With the holidays coming and kids needing a bit of money for buying or making their own gifts, it’s a good opportunity to start helping them explore how they can earn their own money. You’ll most likely need to help them with budgeting, understanding cottage food laws for your state, farmers market bylaws, tax withholdings and other boring, grown up stuff like that, but for the determined child, there’s a real possibility that they can make enough money to support some of their own projects and needs.
Questions To Ask
There are some simple questions to ask your children before they get serious about starting a business, regardless of the size. First of all, it’s important to determine what they’re passionate about and what they’d like to do. Even if they think of something that’s highly marketable, if their heart isn’t in their work, the venture will soon fizzle out.
Here are some other basic questions to ask:
- What equipment will be needed? How will it be acquired?
- Will accomplishing the work require assistance? How much and by whom will it be provided?
- Where and how often will the product be marketed?
- What will the product cost? How do we determine what to charge?
- What marketing or packaging materials might be needed?
- Will there be a byproduct of the work that could also be marketed, repurposed or recycled?
- How will we give back to the community through our work?
Gabriel Schneider is a 17-year-old beekeeper who tends his hive pretty much all on his own on his 1½ acre homestead. Although his dad will sometimes pitch in and help, Gabriel has been in charge of educating everyone on what to do and how to take care of the bees. He was fortunate to have a family friend fuel his interest and teach him what to do with his hives.
I asked what equipment he needed, including how he acquired it, and Gabriel explained:
“I need hives, protective clothes, honey extractor and other tools. I buy some of the equipment online, but I’ve also bought equipment from retired beekeepers. I also ask for certain tools and equipment for Christmas gifts.”
To determine how much to charge for his honey, which he sells locally by word of mouth and mostly to family and friends, he simply researched what other vendors were charging in his area and picked a competitive price. He keeps a healthy human angle on his business ventures by doing bee removals for the elderly, quite often for free.
Although Gabriel doesn’t feel the need to expand his business at the moment and increase his production, he certainly could, as he’s chosen to produce items that are always in demand. He’s been a beekeeper for three and a half years and, although he doesn’t want to do it fulltime as an adult, he’s making enough money on the side for now from selling his honey and beeswax.
To buy his honey, you’ll have to be blessed enough to live near him in his home state of Texas, but you can purchase his fine beeswax from his Etsy shop.
Evan Dana is a 10-year-old living on 100 acres where he has plenty of room to explore his handyman skills. He fell into making the wooden crates he markets with his family: “My dad built the first crate for our produce and my mom put a picture of it online. Everyone wanted to buy it, so we made more.”
Evan and his dad use an air compressor, a staple gun, staples and glue to work together to build the crates. His dad is in charge of cutting the wood for the crates on the table saw, and then they both nail the crates together. If a mistake is made, Evan pounds the nail out the back of the piece and tosses the wood into the scrap pile to be used for something else later. Evan’s mom is in charge of setting prices for the crates at their farmers market venue where they sell them on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Evan anticipates he’ll be making crates for awhile because he’s making enough money to cover his current needs and have enough left over to share with others.
“We just sent a kid to church camp and I plan to help the Jesus Community Center, which is a homeless shelter in our town, and donate food to the Good Samaritans,” he says.
To learn more about Evan’s crates, visit his Facebook page.
More Kid Money-Making Ideas
There are other obvious ideas that farm kids can earn some extra spending cash:
- raking leaves
- sewing and mending
- building garden beds
- mucking stalls
- animal-sitting for vacationing neighbors
Be sure to check labor laws and other guidelines where you live but let your farm sprout get excited about what they might do to earn a bit of their own money. Isn’t this part of why we raise them the way we do? So their hard work and ingenuity can pay off, making them better people and the world a happier place?