Video: How Much Does An ISBN Cost?

How Much Does an ISBN Cost?

In today’s video, Carol Topp, a certified public accountant and author of the Micro Business For Teens series, answers a common question that many authors ask, “How much does an ISBN Cost?”. Hear Carol’s answer and also find out where you can purchase one:

Are you interested in publishing a novel, short story, or even a non-fiction book like Carol? That’s great! You should check out Carol’s book on starting a micro business.

Starting a Micro Business shares with you the steps you need to take for setting yourself up to be your own publishing business. From the idea, to the business plan, to setting up a bank account, Carol’s book walks you through it all! Check it out on Amazon or on MicroBusinessForTeens.

Video: How to Get Started in Getting a Book Published

How to Get Started in Getting a Book Published

We all have something to say. Some of us realize it quicker than others and begin writing it down. The only problem is we don’t finish the book! This is the most common problem among writers, not finishing a book, and it’s really sad because others would benefit from your words.

In today’s video, Carol Topp, a certified public accountant and author of the Micro Business For Teens series, shares her strategies and tips for finishing a book and how to get it published for others to read:

Starting_small-259x300Do you have an idea that’s begging to be written? Write it down! Get that book out of you and onto paper or screen. Did you know that being an author is a form of a micro business? In fact, Carol Topp talks about how you can build a micro business from your writing in her book, Starting a Micro Business. Check it out on Amazon or her website!

Teen Entrepreneur Turns Down Apple

Teenage Entrepreneur Turns Down Apple

He’s only 19-years-old and he already has close to 40 apps on the App Store!

John Meyer has been an app developer since freshman year of high school. One of his first apps he developed was, Just Light, a flash light app that has been downloaded more than 2 million times!

When John was 16, he wanted to go to Apple’s popular WWDC conference for developers. His only problem was their age requirement; you had to be 18. That didn’t stop John from finding a way around the system. He asked his dad to buy the ticket for him. Then they both flew out to San Francisco and his dad gave John the ticket to go.

“I was 16 and anyone under 18 wasn’t allowed. It was right after the successful flashlight app. My dad got the ticket from Apple, flew back home and left me in San Francisco,” he laughs.

The good news is Apple has since changed its rules and now dedicates a whole teen program just for young developers.

John says he’s really been able to make a connection with many of the Apple staff saying, “I’ve been close with a lot of people at Apple, from going to Apple’s developer conference every year. I’m in a field where I’ve done a lot of things already, an expansive portfolio of projects I’ve worked on.”


Apple CEO, Tim Cook standing with John Meyer

Apple CEO, Tim Cook standing with John Meyer

His expertise and connections with Apple actually landed him a job offer to work as an intern for Apple. For many, this is a killer job! Interns at Apple can make close to $5,723 a month. But John turned it down saying, “I am, at heart, an entrepreneur. I won’t be happy working for someone else.”

Although a college age 19-year-old, John decided that college isn’t for him. Instead he’s decided to pursue building his own startups. One of his startups is Fresco News. Fresco basically takes Instagram, Twitter, and Flipboard and turns photos from ordinary people on the scene of big news events into news stories.

His startups are definitely keeping him busy and although college could be a possibility in the future, right now he’s just happy with making apps for fun and profit.

H/T: Business Insider

3 Things Running a Micro Business Can Teach You

3 Things Running a Micro Business Can Teach You

When you’re starting micro business, the main purpose of starting one should be to learn while earning money. Micro owners are interested in learning everything they can about running a business. They intend to make money from their micro, but learning is paramount in their minds.

But what exactly can you learn from a micro? That’s a good question! Below are 10 things running a micro business can teach you, not matter your age or experience level in business.

1. Running a Micro Business Can Teach You To Manage Time

It’s true. You know the saying, “You are what you eat?” The same goes with managing the time with your micro business. Through starting a micro business, you’ll learn how to schedule clients into your calendar. You’ll also learn about working around someone else’s schedule.

Sometimes it’s not always convenient to mow a clients’ lawn on Tuesday, even if that’s the day you have free for them.

2. Running a Micro Business Can Teach You How to Serve Customers

You’ll learn very quickly if you have poor customer service skills! If you can’t work with a customer, they won’t stay a customer.

What’s great is running a micro business can actually help you improve your people and relationship skills. The more you reach out to people to ask if you can offer a service, the better your communication skills will become.

3. You’ll Learn How to Be Unique and Overcome Shyness

This kind of goes along with #2. The more you start talking to people, whether by going door-to-door or over the phone, the less you will stutter, or tense up, or forget what to say. You will learn the skills that are necessary for the future when you end up with a job in the corporate world.


You will also learn how to become unique as a business person. When you see three posters for a dog walker at the end of the road, you’ll soon realize that you have to come up with a unique pitch to sell yourself to a dog owner.

Just remember, it might be overwhelming to be stretched to doing new things, but starting a micro business doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, you should check out, Starting a Micro Business. In the book, you’ll learn how to start a micro business from scratch. Through the book, you’ll be walked though the steps from getting an idea, to launching a micro business for success. I encourage you to check out the book today. It’s available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle edition as well as on this website.

5 Ways You Can Start a Micro Business Without Debt

5 Ways You Can Start Your Own Micro Business Without Debt

Starting a micro business doesn’t mean going into debt to do so. Last week I wrote a blog post on the problems with debt when starting a micro business. This week I wanted to show you some of the best ways you can raise or earn money toward starting your own micro business.

Starting a Micro Business Without Debt

Let’s look at 5 tried and true ways you can start a micro business without debt. Any or all of these ideas can help you generate your start-up cash. Just remember to keep your micro business manageable and as debt free as possible.

#1 Save the Money First

While many small business owners think that they need a loan to start a business, most micros don’t need one! In fact, why would you even want a loan if you don’t need it? A loan puts a drain on your profits!

Rather than getting a loan, consider saving some money first.  Think of it as paying yourself first. If you could pay back a loan, you should be able to save up some money beforehand. Saving up the cash first is better than going into debt.

#2 Start as a Hobby

Have you ever thought about starting your micro business as a hobby? This means you aren’t starting it with the goal of making a profit, rather to break even. This teaches you a lot about marketing, pricing, expenses, etc. But you don’t have to worry about making the profit from your work. Instead you’re aiming to learn a lot.

#3 Find an Investor, But Not a Partner

Investors are willing to make a loan to a new business and may not expect to be repaid for a long period, if ever. Investors could be your parents, grandparents or a business mentor.

The reason I’m against partnerships, especially with friends, is because a partnership is like marriage but without being in love. You are legally responsible for everything good or bad that your partner does to the business. Remember that even a verbal agreement is considered a partnership in the court room. Be careful and consult an attorney before ever striking a partnership with anyone.

 #4 Sell something to raise cash

Items that you no longer use such as: electronics, a musical instrument, or collectables could be sold at a garage sale, on Craigslist, or eBay. This money could be used toward launching your micro business.

#5 Work a temporary job

Sometimes raising money toward starting a micro business means working for someone else initially. Work retail over Christmas or deliver pizzas for a few months to earn some cash.

Not only will this job help raise money for your micro business, it will also teach you time management skills. These are important skills to know when starting your own business.

What Else Do I Need Besides Money When Starting a Micro Business?

Starting a micro business requires way more than just start-up funds. You need a good idea, a solid business plan, and most likely a business mentor. In fact my book, Starting a Micro Business, covers all these topics and much more! I encourage you to check out the book today. It’s available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle edition as well as on my website.

P.S. The Kindle edition is only $4.95 and can be shared with your family on different Kindles, iPads, iPhones, or other tablet devices! Perfect for homeschooling families on a budget.

A Customer Doesn’t Pay Your Micro Business. Dollars and Sense Show #25


Show #25 What to do when a customer doesn’t pay your Micro Business.

In this podcast, Carol Topp offers tips to micro business owners on what to do if a customer doesn’t pay you.

LISTEN to the podcast

runningmb_medThis information is covered in more detail in Carol Topp’s book Running a Micro Business




Most of your clients will pay when you hand them a bill, but sometimes they forget or do not have a checkbook with them. In those cases you need to remind them.

  • Send another copy of the bill, statement or invoice. Email is a good reminder or use regular mail if you must. This usually does the trick. Most people are forgetful and not out to cheat you.
  • Call the customer and ask if they received your bill.
  • If a customer is late paying you, do not do any additional services for them.


Payment Policies for Micro Businesses

After you’ve been running your business for a while, you will come up with some payment policies that work well for you. A few common payment policies include:

  • Ask for some money up front as a down payment. This is a common practice if you will be doing a large job for a customer. It is very common to ask for a small amount, perhaps 10-20% of the total price before you begin work.
  • Progress payments. Ask for payments as you do each part of a large job. For example, I asked my graphic designer to do five tasks for me. He billed me after three tasks were complete and then again when the job was finished.
  • Charge a late fee for customers who are more than 30 days late in paying you. Your late fee can be a percentage of the total cost (5-10% if customary) or a flat fee such as $10.
  • Have a policy regarding bounced checks. If a customer pays you with a bad check, your bank may fine you when the check is deposited. It may not seem fair, but it is a common practice. You, in turn, should charge the customer at least a $10 fee to cover your bank fees. Some stores charge as much as $25 for bounced check.
  • Consider marking up your price to accept Paypal or credit card payments. Paypal and credit card companies typically take 2-4% of the payment as their fee. Most business owners usually consider these fees as part of doing business, so make sure you take the fees into consideration when pricing your products or services.


Join Carol’s other podcasts for micro business owners on Creating a Sales Presentation and Making the Sale.

Learn more about starting and running a micro business at




3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Start a Micro Business With Debt

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Start a Micro Business with Debt

When you start a micro business, it shouldn’t require that you go into debt to do so. In fact, most micro businesses can be started with out any start up funds at all!

One thought for teenagers is to start a small micro business to fund another larger business. When you start a micro business without debt, you’ll be able to pocket more money as profit or put the money back into the business.

Why You Shouldn’t Start a Micro Business With Debt

There are several reasons why I discourage debt when starting a micro business. But you don’t just have to take my word for it! Below are 3 of the most important reasons why you shouldn’t start a micro business with debt. The reasons are backed up with quotes from the Bible and other influential leaders.

#1 Debt Presumes Upon The Future

When you go into debt to start a micro business, you are taking a risk! You are betting that you will have the money in the future that you don’t have today.

This presumption is dangerous because none of us know what lies ahead. It’s really risky for any of us to presume that we can predict the future.

James 4:14 says, “Why, you don’t even know what will happen tomorrow…”

#2 The Use of Debt Encourages Quick or Rash Decisions

If you are able to get a loan quickly or borrow money from your parents, you won’t take the time necessary to consider other funding method. You also won’t be as creative in finding the needed money or equipment.

Remember that careful planning and decision making can really pay off financially. It can also help you avoid many mistakes.

Proverbs 21:5 says, “Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.” Another quote I like is from Benjamin Franklin, “He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.”

#3 Debt Make You a Slave to the Lender

When you in debt, you aren’t free. This is because you are under obligation to pay back what is due to another person.

Debt is a burden that will drag you and your business down.

Remember this verse from Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave to the lender.”

Finding an Alternative

Starting a micro business without debt is very possible. In fact my book, Starting a Micro Business, has a whole chapter dedicated to financing your micro without breaking the bank.

But the book isn’t just about debt and finances. Also talked about is how to find an idea for a business (free chapter is available), how to write out a business plan, how to avoid common problems & pitfalls, and much more! I encourage you to check out the book today. It’s available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle edition as well as on my website.

P.S. The Kindle edition is only $4.95 and can be shared with your family on different Kindles, iPads, iPhones, or other tablet devices! Perfect for homeschooling families on a budget.

Icon used in image above made by Freepik from is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Making the Sale. Tips for your Micro Business. Dollars and Sense Show #24


Show #24 Making the Sale. Tips for your Micro Business.

In this podcast, Carol Topp offers tips to micro business owners on how to complete a sale with a customer.

LISTEN to the podcast
runningmb_medThis information is covered in more detail in Carol Topp’s book Running a Micro Business

Many sales are lost because the sales person never asks the customer to buy. That’s seems unbelievable, but it is true. A business owner can spend a lot of time creating a sales presentation and marketing material, but never bring the customer to the point of actually making a purchase.

There are several techniques you can use to move from a sales pitch to completing a sale including asking questions and using forms.


Ask leading questions

  • Would you prefer _________ or ___________(you show different products)?
  • What is the best day to _____________(offer your service)?
  • When would you like me to start?
  • How many ___________ do you need?
  • Would you like to see a price list?
  • Can I get you an order form?
  • What questions can I answer?
  • Would you like me to do ___________ next?

Put paper in their hand

Use an order form, price list, registration form, agreement of services (engagement letter). I use for order forms. I also collect names and emails on my order form.

What to Do if the Customer Doesn’t Seem Interested

  • Ask if you could give a demonstration or a sample. Say “Would you like to see how this works?” “Would you like to taste a sample?”
  • Provide additional information by asking, “Do you have any questions?”
  • Ask if they would like a flier, brochure, or price list. Try to leave something in their ?hands.
  • Ask if they have a friend or neighbor who could use your service. ?Always be polite and thank them for their time or for listening to you, even if they say no. They will remember your politeness and may contact you in the future.


Join Carol’s other podcasts for micro business owners on Creating a Sales Presentation and What to Do If You Don’t Get Paid.

Learn more about starting and running a micro business at



This Podcast Motivates You to Start a Business as a Millennial

This Podcast Motivates You To Start A Business as a Millennial

Fact. The millennial generation (made up of young adults born between 1980 and 2000) is one of entrepreneurial thought. They’ve seen the economic uncertainty and job instability in the corporate workplace. They want to build something for themselves which is why millennials were launching almost 160,000 new startups each month in 2011¹.

Money Making Millennial Podcast - Interviews with Top Entrepreneurs Who Motivate You To Level Up to Success!I recently started listening to a podcast called, Money Making Millennials.  It’s geared exactly toward millennials who are wanting to find ways that they can start a business and make money.

The podcast features interviews with entrepreneurs who have had success with using technology to launch businesses like: mobile app businesses, podcasts, eBook publishing, YouTube, and much more. Hosted by teenage entrepreneur, Jonah Wilson, his goal is provide you with the power & knowledge to launch your own business for success!

Money Making Ideas Covered on the Podcast

Make Money With Apps

Benny Hsu: The $30,000 App

Benny Hsu: What Is App Reskinning & How Can I Do It?

Steve P. Young: oSnap, Mobile App Chat, and Leaving a Job

Steve P. Young: Market Research, App Development, & ASO

Gabriel Machuret: What Is App Store Optimization?

Gabriel Machuret: How To Optimize Your App


Becoming a Podcaster w/ Meron Bareket

Why You Need To Launch a Podcast Now w/ Meron Bareket

Make sure to subscribe to the podcast!

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes to listen & download the latest episodes completely free. While you’re in iTunes, be sure to leave a review (it helps the podcast grow & find new listeners).

For millennials with an Android, you can subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher or Pocket Casts.


¹ The Millennial Generation Research Review

Creating a Sales Presentation for your Micro Business. Dollars and Sense Show #23


Show #23 Creating a Sales Presentation

In this podcast, Carol Topp helps micro business owners create a sales presentation.

LISTEN to the podcast

runningmb_medThis information is covered in more detail in Carol Topp’s book Running a Micro Business




What is a Sales Presentation?

  • Short, 15-30 seconds. Like a TV commercial
  • Could be in person or used on website, flyer
  • Includes a short sales statement (tag line)

Parts of Sales Presentation

  • Your name and business name
  • Main product or service
  • 2-3 benefits to customer (not features)
  • Demonstration, sample or photo
  • Uniqueness
  • Price
  • Contact information
  • Call to action

Example; Adam, birthday party entertainer

I’m Adam (name) and I visit children’s birthday parties (business) as Jedi Master. I can train your child and his friends in light saber fighting (main benefit). It is perfectly safe, because I use Styrofoam pool “noodles” as light sabers (second benefit). Let me demonstrate (demonstration). I’m avail- able for birthday parties where I come in costume and offer games, stories, demonstrations and dueling practice. Here’s a brochure describing my prices and how to contact me (price and contact information). Does your child dream of becoming a Jedi knight? (tag line) Give me a call. (call to action).

Example: William Lynch Floral designer at

Flowers (main product) bring color and life to any space (benefit) – be it the office, hotel, home or chapel – and any occasion – including weddings, memorial service or other special event. At Lynch Design (name), we know how flowers can set the style for your room or event, or bring a smile to the face of a colleague, friend or loved one (benefits). Whether you’re looking for classic, contemporary, elegant, fun, or unique designs – or arrangements that convey love and friendship (uniqueness) – our floral design experts can do it all. Shop online or contact us phone number (contact and call to action).


Join Carol’s upcoming podcasts for micro business owners on Making the Sale and What to Do If You Don’t Get Paid.

Learn more about starting and running a micro business at