Micro Business Idea: Homemade Facial Scrubs


Simple Sugars' best-selling almond sugar scrub, Lazzari's favorite. It is available for purchase at http://simplesugars.myshopify.com/. (Photo Courtesy of Simple Sugars' website).

Simple Sugars’ best-selling almond sugar scrub, Lazzari’s favorite. It is available for purchase at http://simplesugars.myshopify.com/. (Photo Courtesy of Simple Sugars’ website).

Simple, natural, and entrepreneurial! Lani Lazzari started making homemade facial scrubs when she was just 11 years old.

The idea started to spark in Lani’s head when she grew tired of seeing her dermatologist for her eczema. Then when her mom was passed over a promotion at her work, Lani decided to make homemade facial scrub Christmas presents, and that’s when her idea really grew!

Because many of the commercial skin care products that Lani tried were harsh on her skin, Lani started researching a way that she could make an all-natural skin care product that would be safe for sensitive skin.

When Lani finished her research, her mom helped her with buying the ingredients and other supplies needed to make the scrubs. After the ingredients were bought, Lani started work in her kitchen. She made her first batch of facial scrubs in a couple of hours, the scents were vanilla and almond.

Then two months later, Valentine’s Day approached her, and Lani decided to start taking orders for her scrubs. “She [Lani] said she thought she could make chocolate and rose,” Gina Lazzari (Lani’s mother) said. “My husband was working at a company and we literally sent out an email the day before Valentine’s Day saying it if you forgot, it is not too late, we can have this delivered to you tomorrow.”

Lani Lazzari. age 19, is the President and CEO of Simple Sugars. The young entrepreneur founded the company when she was only 11 years old. (Photo Courtesy of Lani Lazzari).

Lani Lazzari. age 19, is the President and CEO of Simple Sugars. The young entrepreneur founded the company when she was only 11 years old. (Photo Courtesy of Lani Lazzari).

From that email, Lani received two dozen orders. It was at this point that Lani had to decide if she wanted to continue this as a hobby or make it into a business. Lani decided to make it into a business and Simple Sugar’s was born.

Eight years later, at just 19 years old, her innovation has turned into a multimillion dollar business that has received not only glowing reviews and national prominence, but would culminate in her biggest break on ABC TV’s Shark Tank, spurring a Pittsburgh-raised billionaire to buy a stake in Simple Sugars. Read more of Lani’s story over at PointStarGlobe.com.

Starting_small-259x300If you’re inspired by Lani’s story and want to start a micro business of your own, you should check out my book, Starting A Micro Business. This book offers ideas, a business plan, pitfalls to avoid and resources to get a teenager started making money running their own micro business. Check it out today in paperback, eBook, or Kindle.

Carol Topp, CPA


Shark Tank Mark Cuban: Only morons start a business with a loan!


I like watching Shark Tank. Do you?
Here’s one of the sharks, Mark Cuban, giving great (and blunt) advice on starting a business.

“If you’re starting a business and you’re taking out a loan, you’re a moron.”

Agree or disagree?


Leave your comment below.


Carol Topp, CPA

Micro Business Idea: Customizable Accessories for Crutches


Aliyah Wilson, St. Louis entrepreneur and founder of Cool Aid Crutch Wear. Photo by Heather Lake

This is a creative idea, St. Louis teen Aliyah Wilson came up with the idea for customizable crutch accessories.

The idea came after she was having four different foot surgeries. Since Aliyah was limited on the types of activities she could do, she came up with CIY (Create It Yourself) crutch accessories. The accessories are made of 100% recycled materials and provide a fun and creative way to express yourself.

Aliyah calls her startup business, Cool Aid Crutch Wear, and provides an easy way to purchase the customized crutch accessories through her website.

After launching her business, Aliyah decided to enter a national entrepreneur contest called, Elevator Pitch Challenge, she entered a video pitch of her product and won the $2,500 prize from E-Trade Bank! Aliyah said she plans on using the money to advance her education. Watch Aliyah’s video pitch below and find out more information about her startup business at her website, Cool Aid Crutch Wear.

H/T: BizJournals

Starting_small-259x300If you’re inspired by Aliyah’s story and want to start a micro business of your own, you should check out my book, Starting A Micro Business. In my book I explain how to setup a Tax ID, Write out a Business Plan, and more! Check it out today in paperbackeBook, or Kindle.

Carol Topp, CPA

Micro Business Idea: Membership Site

Learn how a 5 year old kid started his own membership training site about dinosaurs. At MicroBusinessForTeens.comCute and Smart! Bodhi Shonin Moore is just 5 years old and with the help of his dad, he already has a membership website setup.

Bohdi’s dad, Jason, is an online marketer and business consultant that creates online training products for himself and others. Well according to Jason, Bodhi was inspired by that and asked his dad if he could setup his own video based website.

Jason said, “He kept asking me if he could shoot video and build a business too. So, one day I offered to partner with him as a consultant and service provider and he got really excited.”

Bodhi told his dad, “I want to teach about dinosaurs”. So, they gathered all of his books and encyclopedias on the topic, sat down in front of a white board, and came up with 5 ideas for 1 minute videos that could be uploaded to his website.

Bohdi (pictured) is only 5 years old and he already has his own membership site selling dinosaur informational videos.

Bohdi (pictured) is only 5 years old and he already has his own membership site selling dinosaur informational videos.

“Bodhi worked right alongside me, guiding every step of the set up and design process with his vision of what he wanted it to be and how he wanted it to look.”, his dad said, “And the end result is, Bodhi learned a ton about creating value, building a business online, marketing, and sales and he already has ideas for 3 more projects he wants to launch.”

“I love creating value and building a business – my dad and I did it all by ourselves and its name is DinosaursAreDinomite.com,” stated Bodhi.

Bodhi’s website gives you access to 5 videos about dinosaurs for $5 and he stated that when you purchase his product, he will put a third of the proceeds in savings, a third will go to charity, and a third is for Bodhi to spend or invest.

Starting_small-259x300If you feel inspired by Bodhi’s membership site and feel like you have information that you can offer the world, you should start your own membership site. It isn’t hard to start one, all you need is a domain, web hosting with WordPress, and a plugin (read about choosing a membership plugin). I also recommend that you check out my book, Starting A Micro Business. In my book I explain how to get an idea, write out a business plan, and more! Check it out today in paperback, eBook, or Kindle.

Carol Topp, CPA

Report: 15 percent of US youth out of school, work


This is horrible news:

Study: 15 percent of US youth out of school, work

WASHINGTON (AP) — Almost 6 million young people are neither in school nor working, according to a study released Monday.

That’s almost 15 percent of those aged 16 to 24 who have neither desk nor job, according to The Opportunity Nation coalition, which wrote the report.

Other studies have shown that idle young adults are missing out on a window to build skills they will need later in life or use the knowledge they acquired in college. Without those experiences, they are less likely to command higher salaries and more likely to be an economic drain on their communities. Source: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/study-15-percent-us-youth-out-school-work-0

Fortunately, I have a solution: start a micro business

That’s what this website is all about and here’s how to get started:

1. Watch my PBS television show on Youtube

2. Visit my Pinterest page or idea blog posts to get an idea for your micro business


3. Buy my book Starting a Micro Business and write a business plan

4. Start making money and learning a lot!

5. Email us your story



I’ve been traveling around the country this year speaking to teachers and youth leaders about teen unemployment and how starting a micro business can help give teenagers the skills they need for life and earn some money to support their family or fund their education.

Next, I’ll be speaking in Cleveland, Ohio on November 16-18 at the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education Forum. My topic: “No Job? No Problem: Micro Business for Teens.”

Carol Topp



How To Test a Micro Business Idea

I found a great blog post over at ToiletPaperEntrepreneur.com (yea that’s the name of a website!)


How To Determine A Successful Product Before You Sell It

Great ideas for testing an idea like:

  • focus groups
  • test market
  • ask customers
  • surveys
  • share it for free
  • mini market surveys

In my book Starting a Micro Business and YouTube video I discuss the importance of doing a mini market survey before launching your micro business, but this list has  65 entrepreneurs sharing creative ways to test your market.

Try out a few of their ideas!

Carol Topp





Teen wants to rescue pitbulls: micro business or nonprofit?



I want to start a micro business because I want to have rescue center for pit bulls. But just how do I to start a micro business?



A rescue center for pit bulls sounds more like a nonprofit organization than a for-profit business, but you could run it as a for-profit business, if your goal is to make a profit.
BTW, starting a for-profit business is a lot easier than starting a nonprofit! You need a board, bylaws, tax exempt status from the IRS, funding, etc. Read the articles on this page to learn how to start a nonprofit.

The way to get started with a  (for-profit) micro business is to

That book will be helpful whether you try to start a nonprofit or a for-profit business.

There’s a lot to learn, but you can do it!

Carol Topp


Image by tiverylucky Freedigitalphotos.net


Cleveland/Hudson OH area? Come hear Carol Topp speak about micro business for teens!

Micro Businesses for Teens – How to Start a Micro Business
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Hudson Library & Historical Society, 96 Library St., Hudson

Sponsor: Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship Research at the Hudson Library
Topic: Author and micro business expert Carol Topp, CPA, will conduct a workshop
Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Cost: Free.
Contact: 330.653.6658 x1010

I’m looking forward to presenting this workshop at the Hudson, OH library.

Click on the link above to register so we have room for you!


Carol Topp

5 Ways To Check The Market Before Launching Your Micro Business

So you have this great idea to start a micro business. It could be a lawn mowing business, a baby sitting business, an emergency computer repair business, or even a business selling eggs. Whatever the idea is, before you start your micro business, it’s important to research the market to make sure you will have customers that will buy your products or services.

Here's a Tip: Set Google Search to Map to search your area for businesses like your idea.

Here’s a Tip: Set Google Search to Map to search your area for businesses like your idea.

In this blog post I am going to present you with 5 Ways to Check The Market Before Launching Your Micro Business.

  1. Google. This is probably the simplest and easiest ways to research your idea and see if there’s a market. All you have to do is type the micro business idea into the Google search box. You could also change the search to local instead of the entire web. Giving you a list of businesses in your area.
  2. Phone Book. The Phone Book is another perfect resource for local market research. All of the businesses are grouped together in categories. This means, in a matter of minutes, you can get all of the businesses’ contact information, and see what business models are used.
  3. Coffee Shops. This is another great way to check out your local competition. Most local coffee shops provide a cork board where you can place posters or business cards for local events and businesses. You can check there to see if anyone has pinned anything in your business niche. This is especially helpful for: pet walkers, babysitters, and lawn mowing services.
  4. Face-to-Face. Sometimes the best way to check the market is to ask people if they have heard of a idea like yours in the area. You could also ask potential clients if they’d be interested in your product or service that you are going to provide.
  5. Industry Reports. One final place to check the market would be Industry Reports. Websites like IBSWorld.com and Hoover.com can provide statistics about past, present, and future outlooks of your market. This is perfect for entrepreneurs that are looking to start a technology micro business.

H/T: Day 2: Know the Ropes – Check Out Your Market and Competition from JuniorBiz.com

Starting_small-259x300I hope this blog post will help inspire and better prepare a successful launch for your micro business. If you are interested in starting a micro business but need some help understanding what it takes, you should check out my book, Starting a Micro Business. Available in Paperback or eBook!

Carol Topp, CPA

Q&A about the Starting a Micro Business video on YouTube


Q: What’s the link to the Starting a Micro Business video

A: http://youtu.be/K2g_MKqLUpo


Q: Is there a Teachers Guide for the video?

A: Yes, there is a discussion guide to accompany the video.

Video Discussion Guide (pdf) 



Q: Is there a curriculum to accompany the video?

A: Glad you asked! Yes, there is a three-book curriculum that includes Starting a Micro Business, Running a Micro Business and a Workbook. It typically can be covered in one semester. Here’s more information


Q: Any other teacher resources?

A: Yes!

Teachers Guide: 40 page pdf with discussion questions, lesson plans and sample syllabus

Sample Syllabus

Group discounts


Q: Will I be able to show the video in my classroom if there is no wifi or internet access?

A: You need wifi or internet access via a wire to access the video on YouTube.
If you do not have reliable internet access, you can request a DVD to be mailed to you (free) if you have at least 10 students who will see the video. http://microbusinessforteens.com/products/dvd-offer/


Q:  In the teacher’s guide, it mentions that a large portion of the video explaining the challenges of running a product business had to be cut, and that it can be found on YouTube. Where?

A: Here’s the link to the cut portion of the video where I discuss product-based businesses. It’s about 14 minutes long.