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Do you look for opportunities to teach your children through real-life experiences? Don't forget, that only a fraction of your child's education comes in the form of curriculum!
You don't have to be an "unschooler" or "delight-directed learner" to see the world as your children's schoolroom and appreciate the opportunities life provides for teaching those things that can't necessarily be learned through books.
One big part of our life learning has been helping our children explore cottage industries and teaching them how to work. Previously we shared 4 simple cottage industries that are perfect for tweens and teens. Some of these projects were born out of hobbies and natural interests. Others were short-term money-making projects for those of our children who weren't ready for jobs outside the home.
If your teen is looking for ideas to start a home business or you are just interested in life learning experiences, here are 4 more cottage industries that you might not have considered. These are certainly worth pursuing, both for the life skills they'll teach and the money-making potential.
Two summers ago Tara's hubby taught their oldest son how to detail cars. He practiced on several family members' vehicles until Dad thought he was ready. (Sadly, he turned down the Johnson's behemoth 12-passenger van when we offered it. Hmm...I wonder why?)
He charged $55/ car (which took about 3 hours to detail) and $75/ truck or SUV (which took 4-5 hours to detail). If there was excess tar on the vehicle, he charged an additional $10. He grossed $15-18 / hour, which isn't too bad for a 15-year-old (especially considering the current minimum wage is $8.15/hour before Uncle Sam takes his share).
Here's a list of needed supplies to get started:
Last summer, two of our children paired one's interest in woodworking with another's interest in horticulture in this joint venture.
Owen made simple flower boxes...
And Sarah sanded, painted, and distressed them before filling them with potting soil and petunias. They had them finished in time for Mother's Day.
I especially like the rustic handles Owen made from cut grapevine.
That's it! They were simple, but beautiful.
Even though these two look more like siblings, they're actually cousins!
If they repeated this project, we would do a couple of things different. First, we'd start our own flowers from seeds instead of buying flowers. We'd also try to use reclaimed / repurposed wood in order to lower costs. Their profit margin wasn't as high as we would have liked (I think around $10-15 per box) since they used new wood from Lowe's. However, that was part of the learning process!
Breeding pure-bred rabbits to sell as pets or for 4-H clubs can be quite a lucrative venture. Although there is some initial cost (rabbit pens, feeder/water bottle, and mating pair, to name the main ones), this investment is recovered quickly with very little future expense.
Meet Abby :)
Last summer, Tara's 12-year-old started his rabbit-breeding business. He bred the mating pair twice and sold both litters before winter, grossing about $400. Here's a breakdown of his expenses:
This makes his net profit almost $200 so far. However, that amount should be much higher this summer, since most of his expenses were initial set up.
Personal Care Products
This is the only project that one of our own children has not personally tried.
Last Fall I received a lovely thank you gift as part of a Host Appreciation Dinner for hosting a National Bible Bee group in our area. One of the gifts was peppermint-flavored handmade beeswax lip balm. The first time I tried it I was hooked! I love this stuff. It makes my lips so soft.
After inquiring who had made it, I discovered that the daughter of one of the dinner coordinators had a small business making and selling the lip balm, along with other natural personal care products. At one time she even had an online store. She has since become involved in other projects, but continues to make the products for friends and family.
This recipe from Lemons, Lavendar, and Laundry seems pretty close to the one I was given:
Source: Lemons, Lavendar, and Laundry
With so many people developing allergies to chemicals and additives, as well as the high interest in natural living, there is definitely a market. The products themselves often only involve a handful of simple ingredients that easily could be purchased in bulk, such as beeswax pellets; a pure source of fat, such as coconut oil, olive oil, or shea butter; and a high-quality essential oil.
If setting up an e-store isn't something you care to do, your teen could market through local businesses, Etsy, or craft shows. Our kids have had good success selling on Facebook.
>>Follow our Cottage Industry Ideas Pinterest Board for more ideas!<<
These are just a few of the many niche markets in which our kids can pursue cottage industries. Sure, it can take a lot of work, but the benefits are valuable:
For more cottage industry ideas, download our free ebook: 99 Creative Ideas to Keep Your Boys Busy This Summer.
Any other great cottage industry ideas? What home business has your child tried?
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