Are You a Kingdompreneur?


Are you a teenager that can relate to this definition?

A Kingdompreneur:

  1. Follows all the laws of the land.
  2. Shows employees and everyone who comes into contact with their business the love of God.

Do you see your business as a place to show love to people or share your love for God? Why not?

This podcast on Blog Talk Radio called My Fathers Business has pretty helpful information for using your business to further love and faith.

Here are some of their podcasts going more in-depth:

The Qualities of a Kingdompreneur Part 1

The Qualities of a Kingdompreneur Part 2




My book, Running a Micro Business, has more tips on running a micro business.

Carol Topp, CPA is the author of the Micro Business for Teens.




Micro Business Idea: Sign Spinning

Here’s a unique idea for a micro businesses: Sign Spinning.

Have you ever seen a group of kids advertise their youth group’s car wash by holding up a sign on a street corner? It’s a pretty good way to get attention.  Two teenagers, Max Durovic and Michael Kenny, were hired to be teenage sign holders.  But they got bored and came up with stunts where they spin and throw their signs like batons, strum them like guitars, paddle them like canoes and ride them like horses.  Sound like fun?  Maybe, if you are part clown, athlete and actor! It’s like earning money doing an extreme sport.

“Sign spinning is a lot like ballroom dancing, except your partner has no life of its own,” Brown says. “Giving the sign its life and personality is a spinner’s true task.”

Check out the successful website the boys have here: AArow There are even a few videos so you can check out their technique.

There are also several videos on You Tube if you’d like to see even more.

It’s no longer a micro business. AArow Advertising now has 36 franchises (copies of the business in other cities) all over the globe, and thousands of employees!

I think that you could find a local restaurant or store that needs some more customers. See if they will hire you to be a sign spinner for an hour or two and you are in business!


My book, Running a Micro Business, has more tips on running a micro business.

Carol Topp, CPA is the author of the Micro Business for Teens.


What Should You Charge Customers?

Many micro business owners struggle with what to charge for their services or products. If they charge to much they may never attract customers, but if they charge too little they may not cover their costs or make a decent profit.

Ten Dollar bills

Here are some tips for setting a price that you and your customer can live with.

  • Market survey-Ask your potential clients what they are willing to pay. You may be surprised at what some people will pay for your unique service or product.
  • Competitor price-Learn what your competitors charge. You can ask them directly or ask customers what they have paid in the past. A teenager giving piano lessons asked several other teenagers and parents about the going rate for beginning piano lessons to help her set her price.
  • Cover your costs-You must know what your costs are and then add more to cover taxes and your desired profit. One unlucky micro business owner only charged enough to cover her costs and forgot about taxes and making a profit to grow the business, let alone paying herself.
  • Don’t forget taxes– Work with an accountant to calculate what you will owe in federal, state and local income taxes. As a micro business owner you will also be paying self employment tax to cover social security and medicare. CPAs frequently tell small business owners to allow for 25-35% of their profit to pay for taxes.
  • Value your time-Some micro owners charge by the hour they are with a customer (such as tutoring by the hour), but fail to realize that they spend many hours outside of customer time. Travel time and preparation time should be considered when you set an hourly rate.
  • Adjust when needed-Adjust your prices if your costs increase, or if you find you are seriously under priced compared to your competitors. Also increase your prices if you find your product or service is in demand.
  • Adjust as you gain experience-An experienced worker is more valuable than a new one. After a few years of doing bookkeeping, a micro business owner made a plan to increase her rates for current clients over a three year period, but she charged new clients the higher rates from the start.


My book, Money and Taxes in a Micro Business will help you understand taxes!

Carol Topp, CPA is the author of the Micro Business for Teens


Why You Should Be a Sole Proprietor

Most books on starting a small business start with a chapter on deciding your business type. Sometimes they are called Choice of Entity chapters and they cover the major types of business structures in the United States today. Those types are:

  • Sole Proprietorship (one owner)

  • Partnerships (more than one owner)

  • Corporations including S Corporations and C Corporations (owned by shareholders)

Business guides tell you that making a decision on your business entity is a serious decision and must be made before you begin your business. You are told to do extensive reading and are advised to consult a lawyer. It can stop you in your tracks before you get started!

These guides are well intended, but are overkill for micro businesses. Micros are sole proprietorships (meaning one and only one owner) and here’s why:

  • Quick to start

  • No partnership agreements

  • No corporation status needed. Corporations need to file with their Secretary of State, pay a fee and usually abide by some reporting requirements.

  • Easiest to close. Partnerships and corporations are sometimes more work to shut down than to start up becasue of legal entanglements. But a sole proprietorship closes down when the owner decides he or she wants to move on.

  • Easy to understand. Partnerships and corporations usually need a lawyer to draft contracts with legal language t0 protect all the people involved.

  • Simplest tax structure. A sole proprietorship uses a two page form, Schedule C Business Income or Loss (or the simpler one page form , Schedule C-EZ) and attaches it to their personal tax return. Partnerships and corporations require completely separate multi-page tax returns and additional forms added to the owners individual forms.

  • No lawyer needed. Lawyers might be a good idea if you are signing a lease or applying for a patent, but most micros work from home and never invent anything new, so they can operate for years without needing a lawyer.

  • No accountant needed (but recommended for an initial consultant and for tax preparation).

  • You keep the profits. Partnerships and corporations distribute their profits to partners or shareholders.

  • No investors to keep happy. You, the micro owner, need to be happy with your business’ progress, not outside investors or partners.

So don’t get bogged down with deciding a business entity before you launch your micro business.  Simply start as a sole proprietorship.  If you become phenomenally successful, then look into S Corporation or C corporation status to see if it might be beneficial.


My book, Starting a Micro Business discusses more reasons why you should start your micro business as a sole proprietor and avoid partnerships.



Carol Topp, CPA is the author of the Micro Business for Teens.

From a 17 Year Old Author on Self Publishing


Vanessa Van Petten, author of You’re Grounded!, wrote and independently published her own book when she was only 17. In this blog post she shares eight steps to self publishing a book.

How and Why to Self-Publish Your Book

by Vanessa Van Petten

My Quick Story: I finished writing the book almost completely when I was 17 and did not even think about publishing it until it was all done.  When I thought I would publish it, I contacted a few literary agents that my family knew, who explained to me the steps and issues below, and I made the decision to not even try to get into a traditional publishing house (see why below).  I hired an independent editor I found online and contacted a few different companies to self-publish.  I chose iUniverse and have been very happy with them.  I now have a literary agent at Endeavor Talent Agency and we are working on a few new book proposals and possibly getting my first book, “You’re Grounded!” re-published with a traditional house because my sales have gone so well.

Read the rest of Vanessa’s article here.

It’s a short description, but enough to get you started if you have a book idea.

I self published my first book, Homeschool Co-ops How to Start Them , Run Them and Not Burn Out using Aventine Press, a print on demand publisher. Check them out.


My book, Business Tips and Taxes for Writers, contains more helpful information for authors and self publishers.

Carol Topp, CPA is the author of the Micro Business for Teens.




Never Say These Things to Your Customer



Adapted for teenage micro business owners from:

15 Things Retailers Should Never Say

Negative Customer Service Phrases to Avoid

By Shari Waters, for

Shari has a great list of 15 things to never say to a customer.  Most apply to a retail business, like a store in a mall, so I pared down her list to those that most apply to teenage micro business owners.

1. I Don’t Know

Customers don’t expect retailers to know everything, but when it comes to answering a product question or other inquiry, they do expect the salesperson to be confident enough in their knowledge of the business to provide an answer.

Better: “That’s a good question. Let me find out for you.”

3. Calm Down

There may not be a more infuriating phrase in customer service than this one. If a customer has reached a boiling point and is ranting away, the best thing to say is nothing. Let the customer finish. Once he or she has gotten everything out, they will begin to feel better and may be more receptive to a solution.

Better: “I apologize.”

8. I Can’t Do That

This is another negative customer service phrase that should be banned from all store staff.

Better: “What I can do is ___.”

14. I’m Busy Right Now

Have you ever said, or heard, the following? “If it weren’t for customers, I could get some work done.” If you are in retail, chances are you’ve at least thought it. The truth is, without customers retailers wouldn’t have a job.

Better: “I’d be happy to help you.”



My book, Running a Micro Business, has more tips on serving your customers.


Carol Topp, CPA is the author of the Micro Business for Teens




10 Commandments of Customer Service

Jordan Budd, business owner of OBX Seafood

I love these customer service tips and I have edited them a bit for teenager’s running a micro business (that’s why there’s not 10!).

The Ten Commandments of Great Customer Service

From Susan A. Friedmann, for

Know who is boss. You are in business to service customer needs, and you can only do that if you know what it is your customers want. When you truly listen to your customers, they let you know what they want and how you can provide good service.

Be a good listener. Take the time to identify customer needs by asking questions and concentrating on what the customer is really saying. Listen to their words, tone of voice, body language, and most importantly, how they feel.

Identify and anticipate needs.
Customers don’t buy products or services. They buy good feelings and solutions to problems. The more you know your customers, the better you become at anticipating their needs. Communicate regularly so that you are aware of problems or upcoming needs.

Make customers feel important and appreciated.
Treat them as individuals. Always use their name and find ways to compliment them, but be sincere. People value sincerity. It creates good feeling and trust. Thank them every time you get a chance.

Know how to apologize.
When something goes wrong, apologize. It’s easy and customers like it. The customer may not always be right, but the customer must always win. Deal with problems immediately and let customers know what you have done.

Give more than expected. Since the future of all companies lies in keeping customers happy, think of ways to elevate yourself above the competition. Consider the following:
  • What can you give customers that they cannot get elsewhere?
  • What can you do to follow-up and thank people even when they don’t buy?
  • What can you give customers that is totally unexpected?


My book, Running a Micro Business, has more tips on serving your customers.


Carol Topp, CPA is the author of the Micro Business for Teens




What Teens and Recent Grads Need to Know About Money


Managing money is a valuable life lesson. In Carol Topp’s podcast she discusses what teenagers and recent graduates need to know about managing money.

Listen to the podcast

This Handout lists helpful resources for teaching teenagers about managing money.


Carol’s also has a 4-part podcast series on teaching kids about money:

Episode 7: Teach Preschoolers About Money

Episode 8: Teach Kids About Money

Episode 9: Teach Pre-Teens About Money

Episode 10: Teach Teenagers About Money


Career Cover-100px

Carol’s newest book Career Exploration for Homeschool High School Students is available in print and ebook format. Learn more.

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,
  • Phil Vischer podcast at

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!

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.