Video: Do a Mini Market Survey Before Starting a Micro Business


You should do a Mini Market Survey for Your Micro BusinessIn today’s video, I share with you how to do a mini market survey with friends, family, and people in your neighborhood or community.

In the video, I explain why filling out a mini market survey is so important. I show you that a mini market survey consists of the following questions:

~ What is the Need?
~ Would people buy my product or service?
~ When do people need my product or service?
~ What are people willing to pay for my product or service?

I also give examples of students who have used my advice and completed a mini market survey. I explain one student who had an idea to complete video game levels for his friends and get paid for it. After completing a mini market survey, he realized they weren’t willing to pay him more than .50 cents. So he decided to the scratch the idea.

But the student realized he had a knack for something else that he could get paid for. Find out what that is in the video below:

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

Carol Topp, CPA

Micro Business for Teens in Greenville, SC


I’ll be in Greenville, SC March 20-22, 2014 at the SouthEast Great Homeschool Convention helping teenagers start a micro business.

If you come to the convention stop by booth # 1404 and say hello!


Carol Topp, CPA


Tax tips and tricks for teen entrepreneuers


Kenneth over at Teen Business Forum asked,

My name is Kenneth and at the moment I am a freshman in college. As you probably already know, tax season is here! I do plan on filing them soon, but I was wondering what tips and tricks I could do to increase the amount of the refund.


Tips: Read all you can about tax deductions. My blogs at and are a good place to start.

Buy my ebook Teens and Taxes at The $3 cost is a business deduction!

Keep good records. Consider using accounting software like Quickbooks,, or Wave accounting.

Tricks: Keep track of mileage. It’s a bigger deduction than just gas.

If you travel out of town you can deduct a per diem amount for meals that is higher than actual meal expenses (unless you’re a really big eater!).

The standard rate of $46/day for meals is set by the General Service Administration which has higher per diem rate for high-cost cities. On the day of traveling to and from home, you can only deduct 75% of the per diem rate, but it still adds up.

For a trip to Orlando (with a per diem rate for meals of $56/day) my per diem totaled $196, a lot higher than my actual expenses of $94.97.

Hope that helps.

Money_small-259x300Money and Taxes in a Micro Business has several chapters devoted to federal , state and sales tax. There’s quite a bit to learn about taxes, but this book is written in clear English so a teenager easily can understand taxes in running a micro business.


Carol Topp, CPA


What’s new in taxes for teenagers?


Teens and taxes ebook available at

Not a lot changed in the US tax code for teenagers for 2013, except a few thresholds:

Income tax is paid on earned income greater than $6,100 in 2013 (up from $5,950 on 2012)

Income tax is due on unearned income (usually investment income like interest and dividends) over $1,000 in 2013 (up from $950 in 2012).

The tax for teenagers with both EARNED and UNEARNED income are more complex. The guidelines involve comparing a teen’s gross income (meaning their total income from all sources) to the greater of

  • $1,000 or
  • earned income plus $350 (up from $300 in 2012).


If you purchased the Kindle version of my ebook, Teens and Taxes, be aware that it is based on 2012 thresholds. Just keep in mind these 2013 thresholds when preparing a teenager’s tax return.


Carol Topp, CPA


Free tax software for teen business owners



There are several sources for you to file a teenager’s tax return for free:


Tax Act is the software I use. I use the package for professionals, but you can try their free version:


IRS Free File e-badge
The IRS partners with several software providers in the Free File program:


For more information on taxes for teenagers visit my other website


Teen entrepreneurs use mom’s Facebook connections

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

Great blog post by Deborah L. Cohen over at Reuters on how a mom is using her social networks to help her son’s micro business.

When mother of three Angela Allyn takes to Facebook, it’s usually not to post pictures of her latest party, but to drum up business for her entrepreneurial teenage son, Alec.

“Teenage boy available for schlepping, sitting and various cleanup. Message me if interested” is her typical post. She has put her social networking skills behind Alec’s business in part because she realizes that the traditional job market is tight and “it’s really hard to get a job as a young person.”

There’s anecdotal evidence that an increasing numbers of teens are filling the gaps in the economy and their wallets by doing odd jobs or selling the technical skills at which many excel. And their parents are promoting them — via Facebook, LinkedIn, neighborhood chatrooms and more.

Allyn advertised on Facebook and Craigslist for her son in part because at his age, 15, Alec’s own network includes few people with hiring potential. He hasn’t built a website, she said, largely because it might draw interest during periods when he is overloaded with schoolwork and extracurricular activities. The two have worked together to research how to price jobs but she leaves it to him to work out the details.

Read the full article.

Don’t you wish you had a mom like that?

How have your parents helped you start or run your micro business?

Carol Topp, CPA



What You Need To Accept Credit Card Payments For Your Micro Business


Paul McNeal over at the Teen Business Forum blog posted a great blog about what you need to accept credit card payments.

If you’re a young entrepreneur or small business owner, chances are you’ve overcome plenty of obstacles already. Whether your baby face, inexperience, or busy schedule got in the way, it’s easy to make mistakes in the beginning and learn as you go.

When you’re just getting started in the business world, you will likely face a lot of rejection. Investors will shy away from your ideas, funding will be slow, and you might find it difficult to get banks on your side.

Start-ups and first time business owners are often considered “high risk” entities and many financial institutions fear setting up accounts or allowing traditional payment processing solutions.

Luckily, there are companies that set-up high risk merchant accounts for businesses that otherwise might never get off the ground. Read on for seven recommendations for what you need to accept payments for your first business.

1. A smartphone
These days, a simple smartphone goes a long way. You can download apps to track sales, to chart progress, and to accept payments on the go. A smartphone can work as an in-store or mobile payment processing tool so you can accept cash or credit from anyone, anywhere, at any time.

2. A Square card reader
The Square register app allows small businesses to accept transactions anywhere. As long as you have a smartphone or tablet computer, business owners can download the app, plug in the card reader, and start accepting payments with no set-up fee and without getting locked into long-term contracts.

 Read more here…

I really like my Square card reader. I really saw my book sales increase when I started taking credit cards at conventions and presentations.

Paypal and Intuit (makers of QuickBooks accounting software) also have card readers that work with your smart phone or tablet.

Carol Topp, CPA

P.S. If you haven’t checked out Teen Business Forum, go there today. It has a great forum for you to discuss business with other teen entrepreneurs from around the world. Right now, the forum is by invitation only and for entrepreneurs age 13-

Business at 19. President at 56!

            Harding, Age 17

Many of our Presidents have made their millions owning their own business, but none so inspiring as

                                               President Warren G. Harding.

He learned the basics of the newspaper business by age 10 at The Argus, his father’s newspaper business.

                                                               By age 17, he was a college graduate.

At age 19,  he pooled his money together with others to purchase The Marion Daily Star (Marion, Ohio)  newspaper

–a fledgling & struggling newspaper for $300.


By the age of 21, he was the sole owner — working hard to make it successful & the city’s primary paper.

At the end of his presidency, knowing his journalism career would not be revived, he sold the business for $550,000.  

His newspaper was a powerful platform for him to become President at age 56.

Moreover, it taught him hard work, determination and perseverance through trial.  

                                                            We make heroes of our Presidents.

Today, you can become a teenage micro business owner and some day, it might lead to bigger things!

Micro Business Ideas: Back to the Basics

It is February.  Likely, you have either gotten a jump-start on your New Year’s resolutions or your goals  have fallen off.

It doesn’t have to be hard, complex or labor-intensive  to start and run a micro business.

A teenager can do more than a lemonade stand and they can do it on their own.  The Micro Business for Teens books are written with that in mind–simple, effective & easy-to-read.

Your micro business doesn’t have to be the next Apple or Microsoft.

 Try going back to the basics.

Babysitting, lawn care (or snow shoveling) are GREAT first micro businesses for teens.


They never run out of style as long as there are parents who want a night out and as long as grass grows.

New ideas are great, but the tried-and-true ideas can you give you a first-start to making an income and practicing business skills.

February can seem cold and lifeless but getting back to the basics will put life into your business goals.

Micro Business Idea: Eggs!

17-year-old Daniel Lloyd runs his business selling eggs from his grandparents’ house in Kempsey. Picture by John Anyon.

This teenager runs a micro business selling eggs.
Daniel Lloyd, aged 17, of Warndon Villages, began selling the eggs that he gathers from his own hen house that he keeps at his grandparents’ home. His greatest market is actually his school, where he sells his product to teachers and fellow students.

Daniel has won the  Tryangle Award, which rewards budding teen entrepreneurs in their efforts.

A council spokesman said: “He has been recognized for taking the initiative to start this business, from keeping the chickens and making contacts with people to make the business successful.”

His mum Kate said: “He was so chuffed when he got the certificate. He’s got it all sussed out, it’s his own little enterprise.”
Read more here

We like to call them “micro businesses” not “little enterprises,” but we know you’re proud of your son.

This is a fantastic micro business idea!

Teens, you can have your own business, just like Daniel! Do you have a hobby or passion? It could be anything from music to raising chickens. There is a micro business there! See my blog for ideas, or pick up a copy of my book, Starting a Micro Business, to get yours going!

Carol Topp, CPA