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Friday, May 16, 2014

TOS Review: 'Micro Business for Teens'

Micro Business for Teens Review

I was asked to review three books from Micro Business for Teens. The books I received were in PDF format, but they are also available in print form. The books are ideal for ages 10-18, so I was thrilled to get a chance to review these books with my son - A newly turned 14-year-old who is anxious to take on the business world.

I received the following three books in PDF format:

Starting a Micro Business - $9.95 print / $4.95 e-book download
Micro Business for Teens Review
The Starting A Micro Business book consists of 7 chapters:
1 - What is a Micro Business?
2. Getting an Idea: Micro Business Ideas Best for Teenagers
3. Problems and Pitfalls and How to Avoid them
4. Plan It First: Writing a Business Plan
5. Financing Your Business Without Breaking the Bank
6. Taking Care of Business: Extra Information to Get You Started
7. Encouragement: Final Words to Motivate You

Running a Micro Business - $9.95 print / $4.95 e-book download 
Micro Business for Teens Review
Running a Micro Business begins with an introduction that expresses what's different about this book. It then follows up with the bulk of the book which included nine chapters:
1. Sales
2. Marketing
3. Customer Service
4. Record Keeping
5. Bookkeeping Basics
6. Using Software
7. Legal Names and numbers
8. Reducing Risk
9. Time Management

Micro Business for Teens Workbook - $14.95 print / $9.95 e-book download
 Micro Business for Teens Review
The Micro Business for Teens Workbook contains tons of activities and questions to help your teen really think about his or her business venture before launch.  It contains an introduction of how to use the book, followed by 14 chapters:
1. What is a Micro Business?
2. Getting an Idea
3. Problems and Pitfalls
4. Writing a Business Plan
5. Starting Without Debt or Risk
6. Research and Learning
7. Encouragement
8. Sales
9. Marketing
10. Customer Service
11. Record Keeping
12. Bookkeeping and Software
13. Names, Numbers and Insurance
14. Time Management

The author of the books is Carol Topp.  She is a CPA who was born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin (our favorite state where we tour every year with my hubby who is a musician). She now lives in Ohio. Her ambition is to help teenagers start their own small businesses. Carol has a degree in engineering from Purdue University and is a Certified Public Accountant. She has worked at a practice she started herself. Before owning her own business, she worked for ten years as a cost analyst for the US Navy before choosing to stay home to raise her two daughters.


The books are very fun to read. The first book starts out explaining what a micro business is. The books are all geared toward teens and pre-teens, but I found them to be an enjoyable read as an adult as well. The author makes it easy to follow through the entire book by inserting quotes from famous figures, like Ben Franklin, and scriptures that apply.  I found this to be especially encouraging. There are also fun excerpts presented in outlined boxes throughout as well as helpful charts.

The books walk a pre-teen/teen through realistic possibilities of starting his or her own micro business. Everything is presented with realistic expectations and has the reader actually walk through brainstorming ideas that are do-able using individual talents and interests, creating a business plan, and setting forth a working budget. Included throughout the Starting a Micro Business book are resourceful links to websites and PDFs where the reader will find extensive helpful resources that complement these books, while the Running a Micro Business book is packed full of helpful charts. 

I will go so far as to say that, in my opinion, the author seems to cover everything a young person needs to launch and run a micro business.


I was excited to receive these e-books, and immediately introduced the idea to my 14-year-old son. I chose to use it with my son, because he is very interested in sharing his computer coding and gaming skills on a platform that will be a money maker for him. I was anxious to see what ideas would develop through the course of him reading these books and completing the workbook.

The first thing I did was watch a video that was included with the information we received. I sent the link to my son to watch and talked with him about it. The video was a huge inspiration, as it featured several other teens who were successful. One of those teens had similar computer-related ideas as my son.
The next step was to read the books and have my son work through activities and questions in the workbook.

My son has come up with a micro business idea and is enjoying taking the steps to launch it into what is hopefully a success.  I don't want to share all of the details of what he plans, but I will say that it has to do with his love of computer animation and gaming. I am anxious to watch it grow.

We are off to a great start, and I'm looking forward to watching my son grow in his micro business ventures...

There is also a 4th book in the set that is not part of this review, but is very helpful for teens once they have their businesses up and running.  It's called Money and Taxes in a Micro Business

The above video is another helpful resource that complements the Micro Business for Teens books about Starting a Micro Business.  It is a one-hour public television show that features six homeschooled teens who discuss their micro businesses. Corresponding to the YouTube video is a resourceful discussion guide.

Another resource that enhances the Micro Business for Teen books, for students who prefer something other than sitting down and reading books, is an online portal called FastTrack. Its purpose is to present the same information as the books in audio, video, and interactive PDF format. It is still in the creation process, but you can view the first lesson for free at FastTrack.MicroBusinessforTeens.com.

Micro Business for Teens is intended to be taught in either a private homeschool, one-on-one setting or as a class in a homeschool co-op. Find a free teacher's guide with sample syllabus, and discover any group discounts that may work for your homeschooling group.

Find Micro Business For Teens on Facebook, Twitter as @CarolTopp, or Pinterest. Read what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought as well: 

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  1. Can I am what programs your soon studied to get into computer programming/animation? I have a soon that is interested as well.

  2. I don't mind your asking at all, though it's difficult to answer because he has pretty much sought out whatever interested him on his own, and I have approved it so long as it's free or open source. I know he started with Blender software, which is what VeggieTales used to use, at least on some animations. He also loves getpaint.net.net and is playing around with some other software now. One is called Vegas (which isn't free). He also learned a lot by just playing around with Windows Media Player, which comes on most Windows loaded computers. ...Good luck to your son.

  3. Tere,
    Thank you for the wonderful review. I really appreciate it.
    I'm so happy to hear your son is enjoying launching a micro business. If he learns anything at all, it will be a success. :)
    If he makes a profit, that's icing on the cake!

    Thanks also for posting about the public television program. It was a lot of fun to make. The teenager you mentioned (Phillip) is now a college graduate and is working for Google in California. Cool!