Rachel Coker is 18 and has 4 micro business! Copy her!



Rachel Coker is 18 years old and runs three micro businesses: author, piano teacher, photographer and now she’s adding writing coach!

You should copy her!

Watch the video below as Rachel discusses to a group of parents and teens at the Cincinnati Home School convention, how she started each business. She shares tips and ideas that you can use to start a micro business.

Did Rachel inspire you that you could take your interests and turn them into a money-making micro business?

A micro business is a small, simple and fast to start-up, sole-proprietor business that usually consists of one worker, the owner. Micro Businesses are usually low-risk and easy enough for a teenager to manage along with schoolwork and other extracurricular activities.

Check omicro-mid-1ut my books today and start your own micro business for success! Available for purchase on Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Createspace, and as a PDF eBook on my website.

If you do publish (or self-publish) a book, then you’ll benefit from reading my book Business Tips and Taxes for Writers, because writing is a business!

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 http://TeensAndTaxes.com and http://TaxesForWriters.com are a good place to start.

Buy my ebook Teens and Taxes at http://TeensAndTaxes.com. The $3 cost is a business deduction!

Keep good records. Consider using accounting software like Quickbooks, Outright.com, Freshbooks.com 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 TeensAndTaxes.com

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


Teenage Taxation Without Representation video


Here’s a short video produced by three teenagers on

Teenage Taxation Without Representation


Teenage Taxation Without Representation (C-SPAN Student Cam 2014) from lei on Vimeo.

You can jump to 4:00 min to see me explain that the self-employment tax threshold of $400 has not been adjusted since 1954!

If it had been adjusted it would be $6,000!

Imagine being able to earn $6,000 before you had to pay self-employment tax! Think that would encourage some teens to start a micro business?

Help me and these teenagers adjust the tax on teen entrepreneurs. Click on the link for a letter you can send to your Representative or Senator.

Eliminate tax on teen entrepreneurs


Carol Topp, CPA

Is your age an asset when running a micro business?

Ray Land was a shaggy-haired teenager when he founded Fabulous Coach Co. in 2004. He says he struggled to recruit drivers—and eventually gave in and trimmed his hair. Fabulous Coach Co.


There are many benefits to starting a micro business as a teenager including:

  • You know more about somethings than some adults (like Algebra II and social networking)
  • You usually have more energy
  • You can charge less than adults

But can your age be a hindrance to getting respect? Some young entrepreneurs say that being young can be a problem:

From the Wall Street Journal article  Baby Face a Challenge for Entrepreneurs by SARAH E. NEEDLEMAN comes this story:

When Ray Land launched Fabulous Coach Co., a Brandford, Fla., transportation business in 2004, the then shaggy-haired teen struggled to recruit drivers—and eventually gave in and trimmed his hair.

“They didn’t say it was because of my age, but that’s what I’ve always thought,” says Mr. Land, who is now 23 years old. “I keep a very professional look and try to be cautious in how I talk to people. I don’t use the word ‘yo.’ “

The take-away from this entrepreneur:

  • dress nicely
  • look professional
  • use professional language, especially in emails. Avoid text message speak when you want to sound professional.

In other words, use your age as an asset, but don’t let it get in the way of making a sale or serving a customer!

Carol Topp, CPA

For being generous, I get a 2 star review on Amazon?


My ebook Teens and Taxes recently received a two-star review on Amazon.

Here’s what the reviewer, Gary Marble, said:

This is a very short booklet, offering little detail. It does have some helpful information in it, to be fair, but it offers little more than is already stated on her website. I was not happy to pay $2.99 for the e-book (more like a pamphlet in size).

I never respond to negative reviews on Amazon, but if I did here is what I would write:

I spent several hours researching and writing my ebook, Teens and Taxes. I spend several more hours updating it every year. I answer questions on my TeensAndTaxes.com website from readers without charging them my hourly rate as a CPA. I am generous with my time and share my expertise in a short ebook (40 pages) for only $3 and for all this I get a 2 star review?!

I am criticized for offering little more than what is already stated on my website. So I’m being criticized for being generous by offering free advice on my website? The ebook offers quite a bit more than the website. It complies all the information on taxes for teenagers in a way my website and certainly the IRS website does not. It includes samples of tax returns for teenagers that are not on the TeensandTaxes.com website. It offers a lot of detail for parents who are confused by the IRS tax laws.

If you’ve read the ebook or have been helped by my TeensAndTaxes.com website, you would consider adding a positive review to the book’s Amazon page? I’d appreciate it.

Feel free to reply to Mr Marble’s 2 star review, if you wish. I won’t comment, but you certainly can!

Thanks for letting me rant, everyone.

The 2013 version of Teens and Taxes will be available soon.


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



Free Webinar: Best Micro Businesses for A Teenager to Start This Week!

The Institute for Excellence in Writing will be hosting a free webinar on

The Best Micro Business for a Teenager to Start This Week!

Monday, July 29 , 2013 at 8: 30 pm ET, 7: 30 CT

Join Andrew Pudewa as he and Carol Topp, CPA discuss how a teenager can start a micro business this week. Carol will explain what a micro business is, how to get started, pitfalls to avoid and even walk you through a mini business plan to ensure success! Teenagers welcome to attend!


Only 14 minutes after I sent an email, one hopeful attendee, Pam and her son, were told it was full! Wow! That happened fast!

Although registration on the IEW website is closed, you can RSVP on the event Facebook page here:

IEW will post a link to the event about 15 minutes before we begin.


Hope to meet you at the webinar!

Carol Topp, CPA

Is a father-son partnership a good idea?

Photo credit: photostock and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo credit: photostock and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My son wants me to go into business with him. He is selling marshmallow launchers at festivals. I will front all the money to buy the booth spaces and supplies to make the product. He is to give me 40/60, plus the expenses.

After reading your book (Starting a Micro Business), should I front him the money and he pay me back? Or should I do a partnership with him. I would really like him to have credit for starting his own business.

Thanks for your help,
M.D. from Ohio


Dear M.D.,
In general I discourage business partnerships. In Starting a Micro Business I share four reasons why partnerships can be a bad idea:

  1. Difficult to dissolve
  2. Unequal efforts from the partners
  3. Liable for the debts of another
  4. Tied for life to your partner

Instead, I usually suggest a parent loan the teenager the start up money and then be repaid over time. That way there is no long term sharing of the profits after the start up loan is paid off.

I hope it goes well and your son learns a lot!

Carol Topp, CPA