We’re Not Raising Children! (or maybe we are!)



Are today’s parents guilty of micro managing our teenagers?  Or being helicopter parents?

This episode of the Dollars and Sense Show podcast is part 1 of a two-part workshop Carol Topp presented at the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati last year titled, “Were Not Raising Children, We’re Raising Grown Ups.”

Carol discusses the topic of sheltering our children too much and for too long so that they are ill equipped for adult life.

Listen here

Grab your handout here

Mentioned in the podcast:

  • The Self-Propelled Advantage Joanne Calderwood
  • Parenting for the Launch Dennis Trittin
  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother Amy Chua
  • Setting The Records Straight Lee Binz, TheHomeScholar.com
  • Phil Vischer podcast at PhilVischer.com

In Part 2 Carol will share important life skills your teenager needs to know, such as: career choice, money management and living independently. She will share tips on how to impart important lessons in a natural way and share resources to help you raise a grown up!

See you in Cincinnati!

Convention floor

I’ll be at the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati this weekend, April 9-11, 2015. I hope you’ll come by my booth #1420 and say hi if you’re there!

I’ll be speaking on:
Real Life Skills Learned by Running a Micro Business Friday at 8:30 am
Career Exploration for High School Students on Friday at 2:30 pm

and I’ll have copies of my new book, Career Exploration for Homeschool High School Students for sale-hot off the presses!


Think like your customers in order to find them!


In the classic movie, Caddyshack, Bill Murry deals with a pesky gopher. He tries to think like a gopher and says,

“I got to get into this dude’s pelt and crawl around for a few days.

Who’s the gopher’s ally? His friends. The harmless squirrel and the friendly rabbit.”

To find customers for your micro business, you must think like them.

You should ask yourself a few questions to think like your customers:

  • Where do they live?
  • Where do they shop?
  • Where do they spent time?
  • What do they read?
  • What website do they visit?
  • When are they home?
  • Where do they go for information or products?

Here’s an example:

My daughter, Emily, wanted to start teaching piano lessons to children. She knew that she needed to reach a child’s parents, specifically the mother, with her advertising. She knew that many mothers communicated with each other on-line and thought that would be a quick, low cost way to advertise.

Facebook is a great tool, but wouldn’t really work because Emily was connected with her friends there, but not mothers. Instead, she went to where the mothers chatted on-line. She put out a post on our local homeschool e-mail list. Within a few weeks she had three students and then word of mouth took over. One student’s mother told another mother and soon Emily had seven students and was turning away more interested customers.

So think like your customer in order to find them!
Starting a Micro Business for Teens BookMore tips on starting a micro business can be found in Starting a Micro Business. Available in print and ebook.



You might also enjoy this podcast on Creating a Customer Profile.  Carol Sue and Phillip Priddy from FamilyBusinessGreenhouse.com  share their expertise on creating a marketing plan and a customer profile for your micro business.

Carol Topp, CPA

Your Sales Statement: Why You Need One


In a previous blog post, I discussed the importance of creating a sales presentation. Today I’m discussing why you should create a sales statement, also called a tag line.

If you have a product or service to sell to customers, you need to convince them that they have a problem or need that you can solve. Your product or service is the solution to the problem. But how do you share that you have the solution? It’s simple, you share with them the main benefit of your product or service.

Let’s look at an example, your customer’s lawn needs mowed but he doesn’t want to mow it. The problem is long grass that needs mowed. You offer a solution to the customer by providing your lawn care service. Instead of saying, “Hi John, I can mow you grass for $10.” You can say something catchy like, “Hi John, I’m Max and I can mow your lawn so you can relax.”

Creating a sales statement isn’t hard. Simply think of the main benefit that your micro business provides. Then, think of a short, five to seven word sentence that conveys your benefit using action verbs. Remember to keep it short, simple and memorable.

After you’ve created the sales statement, you can use it as your tag line on business cards, flyers, in conversation, and of course in the sales presentation that you created.

Running_small-259x300Interested in running a micro business? What you read above is an excerpt of my book on how to run a micro business. Not only do you learn how to create a sales statement and sales presentation, you also learn about marketing tactics, customer service skills, time management, and much more. Running a Micro Business is available for purchase on Micro Business For Teens or Amazon.

Carol Topp

Why a Teen Dropped Out of High School to Start a Fishing Business

Why a Teen Dropped Out of High School To Start a Fishing Business

Jordan Budd, business owner of OBX SeafoodNormally the road to success is finishing high school, going to college, and getting a good job in corporate America. But that’s not the case for 18-year-old Jordan Budd.

Jordan dropped out of high school during his junior year in May 2013. Why would he forsake his education? Jordan says that hanging around the wrong people and not having an interest for the high school classes were his reasons.

He enjoyed fishing and that sparked his interest to turn his passion into a business. Jordan began working under another fisherman to learn the trade. He worked in and around the Outer Banks area of North Carolina, where he lives.

While he was learning the trade, he also worked towards his GED. He received his GED 3 months after dropping out of school, in August of 2013.

A few months later, Jordan started his own fish business called, OBX Seafood, in October 2013.

The logo of OBX SeafoodWhile Jordan did start the business all by himself, he did have some financial help from his parents. He asked for $20,000 which sounds like a lot on money (most micro businesses can be started with little or no money), but he needed hat money to purchase a trailer, a pickup truck, an ice machine, a logo design, and a banner.

It’s been just over a year since Jordan has started his business. His fish are already in five local restaurants and he’s also selling at local farmers markets.

Jordan has thought about opening a storefront down the road, but is focusing on continuing to do what he does best for now.

(H/T: Winston-Salem Journal)

Curriculum SetFor more information about how to start your own micro business, check out my series of books, Micro Business For Teens.

Carol Topp

How to find your customers. Marketing and creating a customer profile podcast

Do you have a product or service to sell, but don’t have a clue about how to find a buyer?

You’re not alone. A lot of micro business owners have a great product or service, but need help with marketing and finding customers.

We’ve got help. In this edition of the Dollars and Sense podcast, host Carol Topp will be talking to Carol Sue and Phillip Priddy from FamilyBusinessGreenhouse.com about creating a customer profile.

Listen to the podcast here

Philip and Carroll Sue decided that they wanted to teach their children how to open and run their own businesses from an early age. Each child starts his or her first business at 8 years old, does a product addition at 10 years old and starts a second business at 12 years old, and so on. Each child is responsible to negotiate with vendors, maintain records of costs, income and expenditures, maintain inventory, etc. Wow!

In the podcast we discussed:

  • Family Business Greenhouse.com a series of webinars offering training to families interested in launching a business together. New sessions starting in February 2015. Purchase and listen to the pre-recorded sessions at http://familybusinessgreenhouse.com/startyourbusiness/
  • Getting and serving customers
  • What is a customer profile?
  • How a customer profile helps in marketing?
  • How can a micro business owner have more success and fewer mistakes in marketing?
  • How does a business owner know when to persist in a marketing campaign and when to give up and move on?

If you enjoyed this episode of the Dollars and Sense podcast, please leave a review on iTunes. (click on View in iTunes to leave a review)

3 Tips for Running a Micro Business in 2015

3 Tips for Running a Micro Business in 2015

In a previous blog post, I showed you 5 Reasons to Start a Micro Business in 2015. I hope it empowered you to put starting a micro business on the top of your New Year’s Resolution list.

Today however, I want to give you some tips and tricks to get your micro business up and running in 2015.

1) Start as a Sole-Proprietor

This is the fastest and easiest method to getting your micro business up and running.

It means that you, the owner, are the sole person starting, running, and managing the business. Typically the name of your business is your personal full name. However, you can file the Doing Business As paperwork in your state and call your business something other than your name.

Typically all you need to start a sole-proprietor micro business is a checking account and a Tax ID (either your social security number or a Employer Identification Number).

2) Use a EIN Instead of Your SSN

When running a sole-proprietor business, you typically use either your social security number or a sole-proprietor employee identification number when conducting business. Either your social or EIN is used when opening a checking account, working as a independent contractor, and for filing taxes.

In my book, Running a Micro Business, I share three reasons for using a Employer Identification Number instead of your social security number:

  1. Privacy. With the growing concern of identify theft, using a EIN in-place of your SSN protects you from getting your identity stolen.
  2. Opening a checking account. While it is possible to run a micro business using a personal checking account. I recommend keeping your finances separate and opening a business checking account for your micro business. Most banks however require a EIN to opening a business checking account.
  3. The IRS Requires It. If you want to hire employees, form a corporation, or an Limited Liability Company then you will need an EIN.

3) Make Bookkeeping Easier By Opening a Business Checking Account

It’s completely possible to use your personal bank account for your micro business. But the problem with this method is it makes bookkeeping a pain!

How do you separate personal expenses from business expenses? Say you like going to Starbucks, how you do separate your personal trips from the couple of times you met a client at Starbucks? Or how you do separate getting paid allowance from your parents and the check you received from a client?

Most business checking accounts are completely free or low cost to open at large banks. Why don’t you save yourself the hassle during tax season. Open a business checking account and when you have a business expense or you receive payment from a client, you can keep track of it separate from your personal life and ensure that everything adds up at the end of the year.

SRunning_small-259x300o there you have it. I hope this 3 tips can help you with running a great micro business in 2015. If you still need help with running one, maybe you should check out my book, Running a Micro Business, available on MicroBusinessForTeens or Amazon.

Carol Topp

5 Reasons to Start a Micro Business in 2015


The year is coming to a close and now is typically the time when people make New Year’s Resolutions. Why don’t you make it a resolution to start a micro business? Below are 5 Reasons to Start a Micro Business in 2015. Hopefully you will start one after reading through them.

1) You Need Just Yourself To Start a Micro Business

You can start a micro business with just yourself! There’s no need to hire anyone meaning less headache and less paperwork. This makes starting a micro business fast.

2) Little Start-up Money Required

When starting a micro business, little money is needed. In fact, it’s highly inadvisable to take on debt when starting your micro business.

Typically when a teenager starts a micro business, they use the equipment and knowledge they already possess.

3) You Can Start One At Home

Most teenagers who start a micro business, run them inside of their home. With most business transactions happening online these days, a physical location isn’t required for selling products. If you are selling a service, most customers or clients are served virtually or by meeting them in a location that convenient to them.

An example of providing a service virtually is Virtual Assistance work. You can provide your services like web design, writing blog posts, updating a client’s FaceBook page, or providing graphical expertise all over the Internet. Even if the client wants to meet you face-to-face, you can still do this virtually using Skype or FaceTime. When it comes time to get paid, you can email or use a invoicing software and get paid via the client’s debt or credit card.

4) A Micro Business is Manageable and Flexible

Your micro business can run around your schedule. If you are still a teenager in school, you can work on your business in the evenings after school and when homework is finished. If you want to start a micro business teaching piano lessons, you can make your schedule only available on weekends. A micro business is very flexible around the timeline you want to run it.

5) More Rewards Than a Traditional Job

One of the fantastic perks of running a micro business is you can use regular business tax deductions. If you need a printer for printing out flyers or labels for your micro business, purchase the printer and keep the receipt! Most purchases that are used for your micro business are completely deductible.

Think about this, if you love video production and need a nice MacBook Pro to edit videos for a client, guess what? That computer can be deducted on your tax forms at the end of the year!

Starting a Micro Business for Teens BookNow that you’ve seen the benefits of starting a micro business, doesn’t it make you want to begin as quickly as possible? If you’re still questioning starting one, then maybe my book, Starting a Micro Business, can help! In my book, I discuss if starting a micro business is right for you. Check it out today and get 2015 off to a fantastic start!


Carol Topp

What Do You Give an Entrepreneur for Christmas?


Carol Topp, host of the Dollars and Sense Show podcast has some unique gift ideas for the entrepreneur in your family.

Listen to the podcast here

Gifts for Entrepreneurs just starting:

White Board  and markers (for brainstorming). See Dollars and Sense Show #27 Brainstorming Micro Business Ideas


EIN (from IRS.gov) and DBA (Doing Business As name registration in your county or state)

Consultation with an accountant. Contact me, Carol Topp, CPA!


Marketing Gifts for Entrepreneurs:

Logo design. I use The Graphic Lady. (listen how I completely messed up her website name in the podcast!)

Business cards. VistaPrint.com is where I get mine printed.

Banners, brochures, posters, postcards, etc (Vistaprint again!)

Website hosting and domain name. I use MomWebs.com (but you don’t have to be a mom!)

WordPress Premium Theme or Plugins. I could spent a lot of money at Studio Press and  WPMUDev!


Gifts for Entrepreneurs who are up and running a micro business

Tax return with a local CPA

Virtual assistant to help with 100 things like blogging, social media, video production, audio editing, etc.

Technology: flash drives, PCs, iPads, cameras, etc.

Sales awards


Here are some lists from others on Christmas gifts for entrepreneurs




If you’d like to give me a Christmas gift, I’s like a review on iTunes. (click on View in iTunes to leave a review)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Carol Topp, CPA

Video: What’s The Going Rate For eBooks?

Video: What's The Going Rate for eBooks?

Have you ever wondered if there was a set rate for selling eBooks?  Watch as I share my experience in the differences in royalty rates for self-publishing vs. traditional publishing.

If you have questions, watch my video on the publishing options available for print and digital. Should you decide to try your hand at traditional publication, you’ll also be interested in this video listing the pros and cons.

Good luck on your writing and I hope to see you on virtual or physical book shelves!

Carol Topp