When my 9-year-old son wanted shoes with wheels, I decided to teach him the joys of running a small business.
"You'll need to earn the money," I said.
"I'm going to sell plants," he declared.
Initially, I wasn't on board. "Anthony, everyone sells plants."
He smiled big. "Not Bolivian rainbow peppers."
I smiled, too. Bolivian peppers are a delight to the eye.
"You can't buy those locally," I agreed. He had found a unique product.
Using what you have
Anthony utilized the basement area I'd already set up to grow seedlings for our garden. In February, he planted. He was responsible for watering, fertilizing and later transplanting.
In late spring, he realized he needed bigger plastic pots for the rapidly growing peppers. I created a spreadsheet to track his expenses. "After you sell the plants, you'll need to reimburse me," I told him. He bought in bulk.
Later, he decided we needed signs. I opened the spreadsheet again.
As I typed in the cost of lumber and paint, he said, "I'll use the scrap wood and old paint in the garage." He made two signs.
He sold the plants when they were at their most beautiful, when they were covered with peppers. Small, no bigger than the tip of a finger, the peppers start deep purple, fade to yellow, turn a bright orange and ripen in fire-engine red. The plants appear to be decorated with colored Christmas tree lights.
When the morning of his plant sale arrived, Anthony was outside at 6 a.m. I tried not to dampen his spirits. Who's going to buy pepper plants at 6 a.m.? I thought.
My son sold out in two hours. Every dog walker in the neighborhood bought one. He grossed $113. I subtracted $7 for expenses. He cleared $106 in profit, got his shoes and opened a bank account as a much more money-savvy kid.