Once we know what we’re going to sell, we have to set up the tools needed to actually sell things. Setting up a home-based business for kids isn’t just a matter of slapping up a page on Etsy. To do it right and prepare it for scale, we’ll need to do a little planning around money.
For parents reading this with kids, know that this section is where you’ll need to provide the most help, especially if your kids are not of legal age to sign for things and open accounts.
First and foremost, the underpinning of modern selling is money. Money means we’ll need some way for us to save and collect money, like a bank account.
If you don’t already have a bank account, ask your parents for help setting one up; look to a kind of bank called a credit union. Credit unions function just like regular banks, except they tend to have much lower fees. Since we’re just starting out as a business, we want to minimize our expenses as much as possible. Be sure to open both a savings account (called a share in credit unions) as well as a checking account.
Physical Transaction Processing
In addition to a bank account, one of the other financial tools we’ll need is a transaction processing service, especially if we’re going to accept money in the non-digital world, like at craft fairs. Three reputable services exist to help us do this: Square, Paypal, and Amazon.
Each service gives you a little credit card swiper that plugs into your smartphone, along with apps that help you process transactions. There are 3 different kinds of transactions:
- Swipes are when we take a physical debit or credit card and swipe it through a card reader to process payment.
- Online transactions are when we take a debit or credit card online, when someone else types their card information into our website.
- Keyed in transactions are when we type a customer’s debit or credit card number into an app instead of swiping it.
How do the 3 services compare, in terms of fees?
- Square offers card readers and registers; it charges 2.75% per swipe or 3.5% + 15 cents per keyed in transaction but has no setup fee.
- Paypal offers card readers but no registers; it charges 2.7% per swipe, 2.9% + 30 cents online, and 3.5% + 15 cents for keyed in transactions.
- Amazon offers card readers but no registers; it charges 2.9% + 30 cents across the board.
Which is best? It depends on how much selling we’ll do physically, at places like craft fairs, yard sales, community events, etc.
- If the answer is none, then choose Amazon; their flat fees for keyed in transactions is lowest.
- If the answer is some, like a couple times per year, choose Paypal.
- If the answer is quite often, like every month, choose Square for the ability to purchase a cash register-style card reader.
In addition to a bank account and a transaction processor, we’ll need a digital storefront, a place to sell our goods. This can be part of a regular website, or it can be a standalone service. Note that this is different than accepting money in the physical world. What we sell determines what kind of storefront to use.
Are you selling a physical good, like craft soaps, jewelry, etc.? Etsy is the most well known digital storefront and is reputable. Amazon Handmade is another alternative. Both services take a commission similar to the way the card swiping fees work, as a percentage of your item’s price. Some folks enjoy selling directly on eBay, but that’s practically a profession unto itself.
Are you selling a digital good, like drawings, videos, eBooks, etc.? Services like Gumroad and Selz are reputable. Each comes with its own transaction processing fees in lieu of the card swiping fees.
We should now have a bank account of some kind, a way to handle physical world payments, and a way to handle digital payments. These fundamentals let us conduct business; in the next part, we’ll look at the marketing pieces we need in order to run a home-based business for kids.
Disclosure: Sadly, none of the links in this post are affiliate links.
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