I’ve been on a book buying spree. Don’t judge me!

And a month or so ago, I bought a couple of money and entrepreneurship books for kids.

Kidpreneurs: Young Entrepreneurs With Big Ideas introduces the idea of entrepreneurship, something close to my heart.

How to Turn $100 Into $1,000,000: Earn! Save! Invest! was the second book I purchased. Heck, I’ll probably be taking notes on how to make this happen.

And last week, an email flew through the nethersphere and landed on my desk. It was from the local farmer’s market coordinator and I shot off a couple of questions to her…

Hi Jenna-Your post about being a vendor reminded me of something I had been thinking about – that of promoting entrepreneurship in children. I was wondering if the farmer’s market ever allows more infrequent vendors? I’m thinking something along the lines of a sweet tea stand that my 11-year-old could run. I just know that she’s 11 and wouldn’t be interested in every Thursday, and she will be in some summer camps anyway, so it would be more of an infrequent thing. What is the vendor fee for something like that?

She responded back and let me know that it sounded like a great thing, especially on the hotter days, and that it would cost $5 each time we wanted to have a spot at the market and that we would need to let her know a few days before.

Her First Summer Job

Do you remember your first job? Was it delivering papers? Working in an office? Asking if the customers wanted fries with that hamburger?

“This is going to be your first opportunity at a summer job,” I told her. “Not every Thursday, but definitely a number of them.”

She looked intrigued.


I was the one to suggest sweet tea. I figured it actually might have a higher profit margin than lemonade made with real lemons, or even the instant mix kind.

And then we started digging in…

Me: What if we offered herbal tea? Or made our own soda?

Em: We could give them samples in the little cups – a quick taste for a quarter?

Me: Or we could give those samples away and tell them, “Hi! Try a sample for free! We are right over there if you want a nice cup of ice-cold sweet tea!”

Em: [grinning] Yeah! And we could ask them what kinds of drinks they would like!

Me: We could make a list of potential drinks and then have them vote!

Added Value/Income

After that, I brought up the idea of having something extra for sale. “You are already there, so you might as well offer something else for sale. Maybe we could bake some cookies?”

Em’s eyes lit up. “That would be awesome!”

Financial Outlay and Fiscal Responsibility

“Now, we do need to keep track of expenses, and figure out what cup sizes we will need as well as best price on cups. I can loan you money, but I will need to be paid back, so you will need to figure out your profit margin and all that.”

She nodded, smiling.

Some of the potential costs that I have already identified are:

  • $5 vendor fee
  • Cups
  • Ingredients

Preparation and Responsibility

Since we don’t have an icemaker and buying ice will cut too deeply into her profits, Em suggested we buy a couple of extra ice trays to make ice in the days before the farmer’s market.

“We can store them in baggies in the freezer,” she told me.

We will also need to bring:

  • Table, chairs, and shade (if possible)
  • Drink dispensers
  • Cooler full of ice (we have the cooler, but Em will need to make ice ahead of time in ice trays)

Looking Ahead

It’s not quite mid-March and the farmer’s market doesn’t start until mid-May. Em doesn’t get out of school until late May, and although she would be out in time for the market, which begins at 4pm, I think we will hold off until the weather turns nice and warm, the perfect time for sweet tea.

It won’t be every week – Em will spend a week in San Francisco visiting her grandparents and extended family and she will have camp at least two weeks in July and one week late in August – but I think it will be good for her to dip her toes into a taste of entrepreneurship.

We will read through the Kidpreneur book and also How to Turn $100 Into $1 Million in April and May in preparation as well as do our research into the proper size cups and also do some basic profit/loss analysis…

How many cups do I need to sell to break even?

How much can I expect to earn?

Should I sell something else along with it – like cookies?

Should I offer multiple choices of tea and soda?

By the time the farmer’s market rolls around, she might be well and truly over it, but I would like to think that she will actually do rather well. The farmer’s market has been rolling along for over two years now, maybe three and by now they probably have a decent number of attendees.

It will also be a great experience for her to interact with others and really shine.

Create Opportunity

Back in the early 80s, I read the book Kidco and later saw the movie by the same name. That story, of a handful of entrepreneurial kids, has stayed with me for decades. I was so shy and self-doubting that it took most of my life to get to the point where I was willing to jump off the cliff and take a chance.

And while I remain rather conservative in terms of risk, I am far more willing to take a chance on creating money outside of the confines of an office/employee status now. I want for Em to have that opportunity and vision as well and not be afraid to take chances, albeit well-planned ones.

I think that with opportunity, comes freedom of choice, and perhaps a wider outlook in terms of who she can be. College or no, employee or self-employed, paychecks or her own accounting.

Opportunity – it’s what’s for breakfast around here.

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