Summer can mean more profits or a slow season depending on what type of business you operate. Summer also means the kids are home, and along with that comes some stress about how to keep them busy and productive while you run your business. Why not have the kids help you out?
According to a Gallup poll about student aspirations, more than 40 percent of US students in 5th through 12th grade want to either become entrepreneurs (43 percent) or to invent something that changes the world (42 percent). What’s missing for these kids is real-world experience, and you can give that to them.
Here are three ideas on how to get your kids involved in your business so everyone benefits.
- Keep talking. When your kids are really young, it might not be possible to give them actual tasks to do. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about your work and workday and let them feel included. There’s a difference between just saying, “Mom and Dad have to work now” and saying, “You know that big project I was working on? I need to go meet with Mr. Jones now so we can check on the progress.” There’s rarely a solid line between work and home when you’re an entrepreneur. Your kids will appreciate you taking the time to explain what you do.
- Give them small tasks. Once your kids get old enough to handle responsibility, look around your office and make a list of small tasks you can assign them, such as filing or shredding papers. Kids today are incredibly tech savvy and might even know more about some technologies than you do. In school, kids are required to do research on the computer, so hone their skills by having them gather background on clients or check on your social media accounts. Have you neglected posting to your business’s Instagram and Pinterest accounts? Some kids are skilled enough to take on the task of taking pictures of new products or employees working that you can use in your social media campaigns.
- Put them on the payroll. One of the advantages of running your own business is your ability to hire family members and deduct their salaries as a business expense. Plus, if your child is under 18, you won’t have to withhold or pay any FICA (Social Security or Medicare) tax on the salary. There are a few exceptions, so check the IRS family help rules to make sure you’re compliant. Be sure your children are doing a real job with real responsibilities and are paid an appropriate wage. Make sure they know your expectations and realize they’ll be held to the same standards and rules as any other employee. Hopefully, this will help you avoid uncomfortable issues with your staff.
For more tips on working with family, check out "What You Need to Know about Hiring Your Kids" and "Small Business Spotlight: All in the Family with The Bookkeeper."
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website SmallBizDaily.com to get the scoop on business trends and to sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.