Dollars and Sense Show podcast is a year old! Win an iPad Mini!

My podcast Dollars and Sense Show is part of a podcast network, The Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network (but you don’t have to be a homeschooler to listen to my podcasts!!).

It’s a year old this month and you can win a birthday gift-an iPad mini!



Enter here:

You can also win a $25 gift card and other prizes. The celebration goes all the month of October.

Listen to my podcast Dollars and Sense Show. There are several episodes on starting or running a micro business.

If you like it, please leave a review on iTunes. Thanks!


Carol Topp

Brainstorming micro business ideas


Do you need an idea for a micro business?

In this podcast, Dollars and Sense Show, host Carol Topp, interviewed teenagers doing a brainstorming exercise on micro business ideas.

Listen in and you’ll be impressed by the terrific micro business ideas they came up with!

Some of the audio is a bit difficult to hear because the room was full of a lot of brainstorming activity!

Photos of the student’s brainstorming.

If you’d like more micro business ideas visit idea blog posts.

or the Micro Business for Teens Ideas Pinterest page

Starting a Micro Business for Teens BookDo you have a great idea and need help starting your micro business? Micro Business for Teens books and videos will get you started.

Carol Topp

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.

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

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

Career Exploration Part 4. Picking a college.


This is the final part of a four part series on career exploration for high school students

Listen here

The 4 Step Career Exploration Process

1. Investigate: Discover your personality, abilities, skills, and priorities.
2. Match possible careers to your personality.
3. Research potential careers to see if there is a fit.
4. Prepare a plan to pursue your career choice.

Episode 22: Career Exploration Part 4: Picking a college

Some students apply everywhere and then visit colleges where they have been admitted. Some visit colleges first and then only apply where they want to go.

Ask friends: Why this school? What was 2nd and 3rd choice college? Start building a list of potential colleges.

College Review sites: take the negative criticism with a grain of salt. and gives details on admission SAT scores, size,etc. You can filter on tons of criteria.

College course guides and student handbook. Look at the Statement of Faith if the college is a Christian school.Read the student newspaper

College visits. Stay overnight in the dorm.

Listen to Hal and Melanie Young’s podcast on college visits. Making Biblical Life Practical Making College Visits Count


I hope you enjoyed this podcast series on career exploration.

Carol Topp, CPA

Micro Business Idea: Mobile App Developer

 Micro Business Idea: Mobile App Development

Matthew RussellRecently I had the opportunity of meeting a teenage mobile app developer at the Cincinnati Home School Convention. His name is Matthew Russell and he’s 18-years-old. If you ever thought becoming a mobile app developer, read the conversation we had below!

How old were you when you first started developing Mobile Apps?

I first began experimenting with iOS app development when I was 12 or 13, but wasn’t sure how interested I was at that point. I didn’t do much for the next three years until I received my first Android device in December of 2011. The low developer fee made Android (one-time $25 fee) development a little more appealing to abeginner versus iOS (yearly $99 fee). In May of 2012, I contacted the Institute for Excellence in Writing about a possible app opportunity, leading to the development of the IEW Writing Tools Lite app, which was released for Android in August 2012 and iOS in December 2012. I was 16 years old when this app was released.

What got you interested in App Development?
I’m not entirely certain, but I guess it was something else to try. I loved mobile devices and it was a great opportunity to actually work on programming one. I also have an uncle who is very much involved in the app development business in Palo Alto, CA. He encouraged me to keep working at it and pointed me to a few resources as well.

What do you enjoy most about developing Mobile Apps for clients?
The initial design/development phase. This is where the most action happens, designing the user interface and experience and figuring out how to store thousands of data entries in an easy-to-access manner. It’s a little stressful sometimes, though, since it isn’t easy to change the structure once you actually start coding the app.

What do you LEAST enjoy about developing Mobile Apps for clients?

Let me put it this way: if I had any employees I could delegate tasks to, they would all be doing data entry. Data entry is how all the text and formatting were actually entered into the IEW Writing Tools apps. I developed a few tools on the side to help me, but a lot of the word lists and descriptions were simply typed manually into a large XML data file.

Also, the last month or two before release is also not quite as fun. Most of this time is dedicated to working out bugs and tweaking data to make sure everything is just right for the product’s launch.

Do you see yourself continuing your business after high school, why or why not?

As long as there are still development opportunities, yes, I can see myself continuing my business in the future. As a career, probably not, since I am also very interested in other fields of engineering that are a little
harder to commercialize (like space exploration).
Do you have any advice for other teenagers who might be interested in developing mobile apps?

Contact me! I would love for anyone interested in app development to send me an email at The learning curve is fairly steep at first, but it can be done. If your stuck with some problem or don’t understand how something works, send me a message, and I’ll see what I can come up with. As for beginner resources, there is a lot available online. As with any other computer science-related field, Google truly is your best friend.

Below is a list of all the mobile apps that Matthew has developed

The Debate Timer

IEW Writing Tools

IEW Writing Tools Lite

Curriculum SetFor more information about how to start your own micro business, check out my series of books, Micro Business For Teens, available at:,, and other retailers listed here.

Video: Publishing Options for Print and Electronic Books

Video: Publishing Options for Print and Electronic Books

Thinking about self-publishing your own book? Watch the video below as Carol Topp, author of the Micro Business for Teens series, explains the different publishing options available to authors. She goes through both digital self-publishing options and print self-publishing options so you can find the option that works for you.

Get a free report!
Sign up for my newsletter and I will send you my report, New Biz on the Block: Starting a Micro Business in Your Neighborhood.

Now that you know a little bit more about the publishing options available to you, have you considered starting a micro business as an author? You’ve already seen the amazing advancements in the digital publishing industry! The cost for Self-publishing is relatively low!

Curriculum setIf you’re thinking about starting a micro business as an author, you should check out my series of books, Micro Business for Teens. In the first book, Starting a Micro Business, I discuss how you can setup your own successful business. I walk you through writing out a business plan and the potential problems that can arise from a business.

In my second book, Running a Micro Business, you learn more about the sales and marketing side of running a micro business. This is very important for authors if they want to sell more books.

Finally in my third book, Money and Taxes in a Micro Business, I discuss filing for federal and state income tax. Also mentioned is sales taxes and whether or not you need to collect it. This is very important when selling books! You’ll also learn about setting up your tax id, something many self-publishing print-on-demand companies require! Check out my books today and start your micro business for success!