Entrepreneurship Contest 2015


Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) and College Plus are sponsoring an entrepreneurship contest this summer.

Prizes include CASH (!), consultation on marketing, college class in entrepreneurship and a college scholarship.

To participate, students need to do the following:

  1. Create and implement a business plan. (The contest is for new businesses only. The business cannot have been in existence prior to May 2015.)
  2. Include visual aids: product, website if applicable.
  3. Produce a video, 5 minutes or less in length. (See contest details for more information.)
  4. Upload the completed video to YouTube or Vimeo, and send us the link by August 31, 2015.

Entries must be submitted by August 31, 2015. Winners will be announced at the IEW webinar on September 28th, 2015. Students who started a business shortly before the opening of the contest may still apply, but the staff at IEW will review each entry regarding eligibility.

Click here to download complete details of contest.

Have you started your business? Have questions? Need help? See our FAQ page.

Homeschool Heartbeat: Help your student start a micro business

I was pleased to be interviewed by Mike Smith of HSLDA (Home School Leader Defense Association) on their Homeschool Heartbeat program.

click image to listen to the program

Here’s a bit of the transcript:

Mike: Carol, how can young people take something they enjoy and turn it into a business?

Carol: Well, they do what most business owners do—they find a need that they can fulfill and they meet that need, and someone will pay them for it. So they might meet needs with any talent or skill that they might be good at or better than somebody else.

Mike: What’s a practical first step for starting up a small business like this?

Carol: Well, I think you start with thinking about, obviously, what you’re good at. So kids don’t always give themselves credit, but sometimes they’re better at some things like algebra, Spanish, piano, pet care, pet cleaning. And you start thinking about what could I do to offer these services or offer my talents or skills to somebody else. I call it creating a mini-market plan, where you just think about, “Who could I help? How could I charge them? How can I find them?”

Read the rest of the transcript.


In the interview I mention a public television program Starting a Micro Business. Watch it here.

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

Tips from parents of entrepreneurs


Are you hoping to raise an entrepreneur?

Maybe your child is full of ideas to make money.

You’ll enjoying meeting 3 parents of teen entrepreneurs in this episode of the Dollars and Sense podcast.

Listen to the podcast.

In this podcast, 3 parents, Bob, Suzanne and Jennifer, shared their experiences of how they encouraged their entrepreneurial teenagers. They discussed:

  • Their role as a parent
  • How to school work fit into their students’ lives?
  • What was most difficult for their child?
  • When should a parent step in?
  • How do you encourage entrepreneurship?

Some of their advice:

  • Don’t let school get in the way of your eduction (paraphrasing Mark Twain)
  • Arrange to get schoolwork done first. Balance schedule and manage time.
  • HALT-Never get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired
  • Encourage, knock down obstacles.
  • Work with school to make changes in start time.
  • Find resources, field ideas with your student
  • Encourage. Recognize milestones and achievements. Get advisers.

If you have a teenager who want to make money check out the Micro Business for Teens books and videos.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please leave a review on iTunes. (click on View in iTunes to leave a review)

How to leave a review on iTunes

Thank you!

Carol Topp

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 CarbonlessonDemand.com 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 MicroBusinessforTeens.com



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 http://lynchdesignflorist.com

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 MicroBusinessforTeens.com


Why a micro business works for teens

Recently the Ozark Ramblings blog reviewed the Micro Business for Teens books. The post gives a nice summary what a micro business is and why it’s such a great way for a teenager to make money.

Some of the characteristics of a micro business and why they work for teens.

  • Simple and fast to start up—Immediate gratification, not months and months of planning.
  • Usually only one worker—no complications of payroll tax, Social Security Administration or unemployment to worry about.
  • Sole proprietorship—no contracts, partnership negotiations, or lawyers to file incorporation documents.  Also makes closing a business much simpler.
  • Little start up money needed—starting a micro business shouldn’t mean taking on debt
  • Usually home-based—no need to rent space, easy to move (when the teen goes to college)
  • Low risk—you don’t have to be the next Bill Gates or create something entirely new, it can be a time-proven option like mowing lawns or babysitting
  • Manageable—teens still need time for school and socializing.  A micro business should be similar to working a part time job.
  • The worker can learn while earning—a teen can earn money and learn time-management, marketing, bookkeeping, customer service, etc.


Read other reviews of Micro Business for Teens here.


Video: Where’s the Best Place to Find a Literary Agent?

Where's The Best Place to Find a Literary Agent?

In today’s video, Rachel Coker, teenage author and micro business owner, and I discuss how to find an good literary agent. Watch the video, filmed live at a workshop held at the Cincinnati Home School Convention, below:

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.

Interested in starting a micro business as an author? With the amazing advancements in the digital publishing industry, it’s now possible for you to self-publish your own book of poems, short stories, or even a novel! 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!

Video: Follow Your Interests & Skills

Micro Business Idea: Follow Your Interests & Skills

In today’s video,  I discuss how you can take an interest that you have and turn it into a money generating micro business.

Learn how you can take a skill like: playing the piano and turn it into a micro business like teaching children to play the piano. Or an interest in photography and turn it into a micro business taking senior photos. Whatever your passion, interest, or skill is, there is a micro business possibility.

Watch below:

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.

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: MicroBusinessForTeens.com, Amazon.com, and other retailers listed here.

Carol Topp, CPA

Parents give Micro Business for Teens books a 6 week test.


70 parents and their teens (or pre-teens) gave the Micro Business for Teens books a 6 week test. Here’s what some of them said.
Family Faith  and Fridays blog says, “Carol’s books gave him the motivation and confidence to get started and with a little training from his father is ready to go out and conquer the grass. Especially for those that are visual or auditory learners, (the Micro Business for Teens website) is a gem of a resource.”


Stair Steps Homeschool Academy wrote, “Even after having my own business for 10 years now I still do not claim to know it all. In fact, after reading Carol’s books I really wished I’d had this course for myself before I got started! I read both of the books in two days before giving them over to my boys to read. We have all learned a lot!

“He is glad to know how to keep better records this year, and he can now see that some of the ideas he had tried in the past didn’t make him much money. He said he feels like he can make better choices now, and he is brainstorming a couple of new ideas.


The McClanahan7 discovered, “After working through Micro Business for Teens she has realized that she can be making more at home with her micro business than she would be able to make working for minimum wage downtown when she turns 16.

“Even if your teen isn’t seriously thinking about starting a micro business this course would still be good for them to complete. It can help them to realize the talents they have and what their potential with those are. Carol teaches young people things that can even carry over into any work place regardless of the teen’s position. The success stories she shares are also very encouraging. She gives us examples of teens who have taken their business far beyond anything I could have imagined.”


Mother and son both start micro businesses in the Indoor Garden Musings blog. I have looked at a variety of business books in the past, but none of them are as good as these.  I think they would work well for adults as well as teens.  Everyone needs to have good business books and a plan that will help them become successful. He decided what he would like to do for his micro business, an author.  He is working hard to put all of his business plans into action.  I have decided upon a business as well.  I really like the idea of no start-up costs, so I am going to work on selling e-books.  I have lots of ideas coming to my mind. 

From Dad: “Gone are the days of someone entering the workforce and remaining with that one employer for 40 or 50 years. Having to work for a year to get 5 days of paid vacation, watching health care costs soar while wages remain stagnant, (etc…) are all things that can be solved by starting and running a micro business.  Kudos to Carol for taking the time to create a business learning program for kids!”


Home-sweet-life blog, made me smile when she wrote, “Think of each book as the cheapest way to hire a Certified Public Accountant to help you start your business. I know a handful of CPA’s, and none of them will give you all this information for only $10, try more like $300-$500.

“These books keep your teen simply focused, and teach them how to step-by-step move their business forward. I appreciate that the books recommend keeping all micro musinesses as sole proprietorships. I have seen adults struggle with the demands of having a partnership in business, and that is NOT something you want your teen to have to deal with.”


Through the Calm and Through the Storm wrote, “When I read through the Micro Business for Teens materials, I realized that many micro businesses can be perfectly tailored to fit a busy lifestyle. In fact, starting and running a micro business is a great way for teens to earn some extra money while still juggling schoolwork and extra curricular activities.

“Addison found all of these materials to be easy-to-read, but not condescending. One of her biggest pet peeves about books written for a teenage audience is the way that the authors tend to talk down to teens. She felt that the information from Micro Business for Teens was presented in a way that made her feel like an equal, not like a teen without any common sense. The authors believe in teens and believe that they can be successful in starting a micro businesses of their own.”


Lighthouse Classical Academy had this to say, “It provides practical and relevant advice without dumbing down the information. Throughout the book many business ideas real teens have implemented as micro business owners are highlighted. Easy to read and understand, Starting a Micro Business uses plain language that leaves the reader understanding business terminology without being dry or overly technical.

I have seen many entrepreneurial products on the market geared towards children and teens. I think and this one is not only excellent, but also well priced.


Renita at Krazy Kuehner Days blog has a 13 year old son with special needs.  She writes, “The lessons were short, yet they really cause children to think and look at what they want to do.  I really think that these books have helped my special needs son to really look at all the steps in running his own business.  He can refer back to the sections that he needs to, anytime he has questions.  It drew attention to ideas to help him earn extra money.

“You might think to only buy the book, Starting a Micro Business, but I do highly recommend purchasing the Micro Business for Teens Workbook  to go along with it.   I do think that this workbook will only increase a teenagers success when used together.


Mom of Many Bentzs blog, said, “I feel like this would be an excellent study course for teens, and anyone wanting to start their own business. It’s practical, and very affordable.  I highly recommend it!”


Kingdom Academy Homeschool chimed in with, “The best thing about these products is their low cost. The Starting a Micro Business and Running a Micro Business eBook costs $4.95 while the paperback is only $9.95.  The Micro Business for Teens Workbook  eBook costs $9.95 while the paperback version is $14.95.  If you have teens or preteens who want to get started in their own business, or children who have already started a business and just need some direction to keep it going, I think these are definitely worth it!


Little Homeschool Blessings (the parent) was inspired to start her own micro business, “I wouldn’t think of limiting it to teens. Adults that are looking to supplement their family’s income by working just a few hours might find this to be exactly what they need. If you are looking for a balanced alternative to fast food and retail jobs, a Micro Business would be just what you are looking for and this series provides the information you need “in an intelligent and helpful way.”

“After reading these, I feel like starting a Micro Business could be something that I would be able to do and really should be doing.

“In fact, I’ve considered making and selling vintage science kits for kids. I made some for Easter presents for the kids and they absolutely love them! I even had a blogging friend ask about selling them. I’ve thought about self-publishing books, too. The possibilities are really endless.”


Tillie at Little Connections Add Up to a Lotta Life wrote, “(Other business) classes confused things when the boys tried to make business plans together. They made things far more complicated than necessary, and ultimately their business ideas, though clever at the outset, failed. Mostly because of age, I suppose, but also because they just were not prepared to do all of the work involved that a major corporation might get into. And, like Ms. Topp, I found that books written for children were not quite enough. So how did things work out with Micro Business for Teens? Much better than ever before!”


Lisa, at A Rup Life said, “He (her 13 yo son) flew through the material, devouring it.  He has always been business minded and I knew this would be a hit with him.  This course came at a perfect time for him.  At 13 he has been searching for ways he could earn extra money.  He found several ideas in the book.

“One of the things that he was supposed to do with the course was to give a little pitch about his business and see what people’s reactions/advice would be.  Now my 13 year old is not super comfortable with doing this kind of thing but he BLOSSOMED!!  To see my kid grow and be working on a project to achieve his personal goals was pretty awesome. This course might have been short but it left a big impact on my teen.  I have a strong feeling we will be in business mode for years to come just from this one course!”


AdenaF writes, ” Starting a Micro Business is a small book. It only has seven chapters. But don’t let that fool you. It starts off explaining exactly what a micro business is. Then she gives you ideas. Forty-two of them. And these aren’t  just a shot in the dark. They are great ideas.


Acorn Hill Academy got it right when she learned, “I was delighted to learn that it is NOT an entrepreneurship – no one has to come up with a brand new idea. You work with what you already know how to do.”
Christine at Our Homeschool Reviews, shared this from her 11 year old:  “Micro Business for Teens is a great step-by-step guide for teens and tweens to learn how to easily start up a micro business. These books really help you start a micro business, keep it going, advertise it, and avoid financial problems, as well as giving examples of other teens’ businesses. I think more teens and tweens will be able to start a micro business after reading Micro Business for Teens!”
Interested in your own copy of the Micro Business for Teens books? Purchase them here or at these online retailers.

The reviewers read three books: Starting a Micro Business, Running a Micro Business and the Micro Business for Teens Workbook.