The Daily ReTORt

My photo
I'm no longer posting here. Visit my new blog -> WWW.THEDAILYRETORT.COM

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Review: Spark An Entrepreneurial Fire

The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.” ~ Anonymous

I didn’t have a lot of disposable cash as a teenager growing up simply because my parents both had lower middle class jobs and five kids to support. To further confound the problem, my parents forbid me from having a paper route because they didn’t want to end up having to deliver the papers themselves which is understandable.

Teens Are Having
Trouble Finding
Minimum Wage Jobs
As such, I mostly relied on seasonal “opportunities” of snow shoveling sidewalks and driveways in the winter and the occasional lawn mowing gig within our neighborhood for coin. Most of the energy and effort of my siblings and me was diverted toward the general cleaning and upkeep of our own home, which was fine and necessary – it just didn’t pay because my parents also didn’t believe we should get an allowance for doing what we ought to be doing.

So I was generally unemployed until I was 16 and had my driving permit. The ability to drive enabled me to work three evenings a week at a restaurant 15 miles from my home. After that, I’ve had a job ever since. I was lucky to have access to my parent’s vehicle otherwise it would have been very challenging to find a job in the rural community where I lived.

Back then, I would have welcomed Carol Topp’s book Starting a Micro Business. Topp takes the time to explain the micro-business concept – basically a no-cost, one-person operation using the owner’s knowledge and “sweat equity” – and she applies that concept to a teenager. She provides a great deal of insight, tactics and planning tools to ensure the maximum chance of success for the student entrepreneur.

This book personally resonated with me because it also speaks to a higher aspirational goal of a partnership between parents and their kids. The parents allow the kids to “try” while the teens are inspired to add the “umph” – referencing the quote at the top of this post. The fact that this type of partnership was lacking in my own life is one of the reason why I can relate to the need for this book.

Because that type of collaborative approach is an invaluable lesson to teach any teenager since they’re going to apply it in virtually any profession or project they pursue in life.

Aside from that, the U.S. Labor Department consistently reports that 8-out-of-10 jobs are created by entrepreneurs and small business owners. Given the state of the economy, there’s nothing wrong with partnering with our kids and empowering them with that “know how” as early as possible. Topp’s book is tops in that regard!

You can check out some of my other writings at HubPages by clicking the link below: Spark An Entrepreneurial Fire in Your Teen


  1. Most of us who do freelance writing on the web know very well about micro-businesses. :) That's how almost every smaller content firm starts out, usually, as well.

    Neither of my boys are teens, but one is inching closer and closer all the time. I am, given the many ominous warnings I had as a teen, completely terrified. ;)

  2. @rebuilding, agreed - micro business and micro profits are the name of the Internet content game at least initially. I've got two daughters that nearing that pre-teen threshold so I share your apprehension! Thanks for popping by!

  3. Tor and rebuildingtori, nothing to fear re:teenagers! I have a 20 yo and 17 yo, both daughters, and I really liked the teenage years because you start to see the person(s) they can and will become.
    My husband and I gave our daughters opportunities to explore their talents and interests, such as classes, tutors, camps, trips, etc. Now it so exciting to see them go off to college and pursue their dreams. They both had micro businesses that helped determine what they wanted to pursue professionally (or not pursue!).
    One daughter is studying accounting and had micro businesses doing bookkeeping and giving piano lessons as a teenager. The other daughter will be majoring in Media Communications and has a micro business taking senior pictures for graduates.