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My Son Wants to Start A Business - Help Me Please


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So my 13 year old son is turning into quite the entrepreneur.  He mows lawns now to make some money, and we also opened up a trading account for him on Schwab.

As a hobby for the last few years, he also makes fishing lures. Every year when we go on our family vacation to Minnesota we have a family fishing tournament. It's a reunion every year, so we have anywhere from 20-30 family members show up each year. So we make a new lure for each family member every year. Everyone throws $2 in the pot and the biggest fish during the tournament takes the pot.

Anyway, we have made spinners, bucktails, hand carved floating baits, larger spinners, spoons, etc. Usually we buy the materials online and assemble them.

So now he wants to start a website to try and sell some of his lures. We have no illusions about making a ton of dough here - to me it's more the practice of having an idea, write down a business plan, research the costs, and then price an item for market. So basically if he wants to have this entrepreneurial spirit, I will help feed that desire.

So building the website is the easy part - I have some experience in this area and plenty of programmers I can tap into if necessary. It's the financial part that I need help with.

I can certainly set up the website for e-commerce - there are options available for that. My main question is HOW to set him up as a business.

Do we just use his (or my) social security number, or is it better to have a federal tax ID number? I'm guessing yes, but I really have no idea.

Any ideas or guidance would be helpful. Shtick welcome also.

:thumbup:

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I would still get an LLC simply for the tax deductions and protection. No real reason not to plus if he keeps it open he can always say “In business Since 2021!”

 

You can search for and apply for a trade name at the state level. It’s been “since 2004!” For me so some of my info might be outdated. 

Edited by STEADYMOBBIN 22
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13 minutes ago, STEADYMOBBIN 22 said:

I would still get an LLC simply for the tax deductions and protection. No real reason not to plus if he keeps it open he can always say “In business Since 2021!”

 

You can search for and apply for a trade name at the state level. It’s been “since 2004!” For me so some of my info might be outdated. 

Other than domes states charging $200 plus a year to file your annual return 

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59 minutes ago, BassNBrew said:

Other than domes states charging $200 plus a year to file your annual return 

Ahhh, yeah I wasn’t aware of that. My CPA lives few houses down and I just give him Wizard Lakers tickets every year and he does mine for free. 

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4 hours ago, El Floppo said:

Very cool!

I'd think setting up an s-corp might be worthwhile. Anything to separate you/him from any issues with the business. 

 

But no shovels?

These days, an LLC is probably a better option than S-Corp.  I don't know if you're in Kansas or Missouri but Kansas is a $55 annual fee and Missouri is $0.

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1st - this is great for you & your son! If he makes some $$ great. If not, just consider it tuition. 

I had an LLC years ago for a quality consulting biz. My thoughts might not apply given given the different time, states & business type.

I don't think you need an EIN unless you have employees but if you're collecting sales tax maybe that makes a difference.

I created an LLC just by filling out a form from my state's website and paying a fee. I was still able to file as an S Corp on my CPA's recommendation with some lawyer participation. Didn't need to make that decision up front though.

Tax benefits; supplies, tools, travel etc. Nice!

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Any business classification is really fine. He could start off as a DBA (doing business as) for right now and be fine. Thats your cheapest option. Being he (prob) does not have any other income, or it is rather small as a kid, the income and expenses would just be counted as his personal income. You simply get taxed on the sales/income and it is all yours. 

I moved my business from a DBA to an S-corp only b/c at the time it was putting me in wonky tax brackets with my full time salary, my business income and my wife's full time salary. But he does not have any of that to worry about. 

You might consider S corp if you wanted to be set up as an officer and guide for the business. You have some ownership and can make decisions being he is a minor. You may need to in order to help open a bank account or a business credit card for business purchases. You'll need to be more careful with the income as a S corp, and keep detailed sales and payables records. Unlike a the DBA, in an S corp the money is "the company's" until he takes it out (owner draw) and then that is taxed differently. Likewise, keep detailed receipts fro anything he spends, esp stuff like materials for the lures and such. Those are write offs and help offset the income. You also might be able to write off some space in the garage for hit workshop and other items.

All that aside, it is best to check with your accountant friend and ask them what is best.  

Banking aside, my business is in advertising and design. You will want to start thinking of a name for the business. You don't need to go crazy with a logo and all that, but what you want to think about is the "overall brand" now. Try and pick a name that will also have all the same social media handles available. Even if he just parks them now, at least claim them before someone else does. He may not be ready for instagram today, but by next season, he could begin developing a following which could translate into sales. 

I use this site when looking for business names. https://namechk.com/ It will tell you what is and isn't available.  

 

 

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Very cool.  Love the opportunity it’ll provide to learn about running a business.

I never had a real business as a kid just a bunch of ways to make money, none of which involved anything other than getting cash or checks and depositing in a savings account:

  • Commercial salmon fishing (ages 8-17)
  • Catching crawdads and selling the tails for steelhead bait (10-13)
  • Collecting and recycling newspapers (11-12)
  • Mowing an Xmas tree farm and several-acre fields (12-17)
  • Raising 100-150 chickens (fryers) at a time and selling them (14-17)
  • Cleaning the high school football stadium on Saturday mornings after games (15-17)

So I never had a real job until I was in college.  But looking back I also was missing important lessons as my dad was staking many of these financially (his tractor, his barn, etc).  But I always had my own cash to buy an Atari with Space Invaders, pay for my own summer camps, buy some basketball cards, or pick up a sweet dirt bike!

 

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5 hours ago, Ron Swanson said:

These days, an LLC is probably a better option than S-Corp.  I don't know if you're in Kansas or Missouri but Kansas is a $55 annual fee and Missouri is $0.

I’m in Kansas. But that fee is certainly doable. Thanks!

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Focus on aspects of starting a business that are fun and things that he'll learn from.  Do things in an order where he'll take something away from it whether he builds a fishing lure empire that lasts for centuries or whether he quits next week and never earns a cent.

I would definitely not waste your time thinking about business type until/unless he starts actually selling a substantial amount.  No reason to spend anything and the paperwork is neither fun, nor a valuable learning experience.

Ultimately, his success (and a lot of the satisfaction of any small business) is going to come down to whether he can sell anything.  He should be thinking about "Who will buy these things and how will they find out I'm selling them?"  If he can't crack that nut, then nothing else really matters.  Ideally, you can help teach him how to think about this question and how to find the answers...

Are there local fishing supply stores that sell lures?  If so, maybe he can arrange with them to show his lures in the store and split the money from sales?  If so...this is your chance to teach him how to approach people with a business proposal (whether by email, phone or in person)

Do people buy and sell things like this on ebay?  

Is there an active community of fishing enthusiasts on Instagram or any other social media?  If so, it's time to learn about social media marketing.

If he creates a website, how will he get the right people to find it?  Maybe people with similar sites will be willing to swap links...another opportunity to teach him how to send 'cold emails'.  Or maybe he can learn about SEO.  Or depending on his writing skills, he could potentially write guest blog posts for other sites, in return for some publicity.

If you don't mind burning some money on this, he could learn to do paid search advertising on line.  If you're going to do that, it's worth teaching him the basics of how to test different search terms and ads and how to optimize those that show some promise and kill the underperformers.

Depending how far he goes with this, you could probably teach him some basic spreadsheet techniques for keeping track of his sales or for evaluating how his 'marketing funnel' is working and figuring out how to improve performance.

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As far as marketing I think zoobird makes some great suggestions.  I would add YouTube to it. Fishing channels are hugely popular and they are marketing a lot of products through them.  If your son can get any of the YouTube guys to start using his lures sales will take care of themselves. In fact, he might want to stick to the smaller audience YouTube fishing guys or he could get overrun with orders which people like to say "is a good thing" but really isn't in all cases, especially with the global supply chain issues we are experiencing right now.

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2 hours ago, zoobird said:

Focus on aspects of starting a business that are fun and things that he'll learn from.  Do things in an order where he'll take something away from it whether he builds a fishing lure empire that lasts for centuries or whether he quits next week and never earns a cent.

I would definitely not waste your time thinking about business type until/unless he starts actually selling a substantial amount.  No reason to spend anything and the paperwork is neither fun, nor a valuable learning experience.

Ultimately, his success (and a lot of the satisfaction of any small business) is going to come down to whether he can sell anything.  He should be thinking about "Who will buy these things and how will they find out I'm selling them?"  If he can't crack that nut, then nothing else really matters.  Ideally, you can help teach him how to think about this question and how to find the answers...

Are there local fishing supply stores that sell lures?  If so, maybe he can arrange with them to show his lures in the store and split the money from sales?  If so...this is your chance to teach him how to approach people with a business proposal (whether by email, phone or in person)

Do people buy and sell things like this on ebay?  

Is there an active community of fishing enthusiasts on Instagram or any other social media?  If so, it's time to learn about social media marketing.

If he creates a website, how will he get the right people to find it?  Maybe people with similar sites will be willing to swap links...another opportunity to teach him how to send 'cold emails'.  Or maybe he can learn about SEO.  Or depending on his writing skills, he could potentially write guest blog posts for other sites, in return for some publicity.

If you don't mind burning some money on this, he could learn to do paid search advertising on line.  If you're going to do that, it's worth teaching him the basics of how to test different search terms and ads and how to optimize those that show some promise and kill the underperformers.

Depending how far he goes with this, you could probably teach him some basic spreadsheet techniques for keeping track of his sales or for evaluating how his 'marketing funnel' is working and figuring out how to improve performance.

Great ideas. And we've already talked about some of these.  

Right now I have him working on his cost spreadsheet. He has a tab for each type of lure he wants to make, with all costs associated with each material used in making that lure. He was doing stuff on the spreadsheet last night that I don't even know, so he's got that part down already.  :lol:

He's then going to research retail price of similar type lures so he can see how much/how little profit there will be in each type.  And that number will go into the spreadsheet. Then he'll extrapolate those numbers based on quantity he needs to sell to cover ALL of his costs (website costs, his labor, etc).

Then we'll build the website. As of now, the plan is keep it simple. Build the site and post it on all the social media channels I am on. That should give him a nice initial boost and a few sales just to test the waters, so to speak.

The whole theme of the website and the lures - his story, so to speak - will be about a 13 year old wanting to make lures because he loves fishing and everything about it. And these lures do catch fish - we have used them every year he's made them.

 

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21 hours ago, STEADYMOBBIN 22 said:

Can also try Etsy but doubt that will be on you’re clients radar. 

My daughter's boyfriend started tying his own flies over the winter. He just watched some youtube videos and started making them. Wasnt even fishing with them yet. Put them on etsy and started getting orders. Obviously not getting rich, but I was surprised he actually sold some. 

Good luck to little ChiefD! :thumbup:

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31 minutes ago, ChiefD said:

Great ideas. And we've already talked about some of these.  

Right now I have him working on his cost spreadsheet. He has a tab for each type of lure he wants to make, with all costs associated with each material used in making that lure. He was doing stuff on the spreadsheet last night that I don't even know, so he's got that part down already.  :lol:

He's then going to research retail price of similar type lures so he can see how much/how little profit there will be in each type.  And that number will go into the spreadsheet. Then he'll extrapolate those numbers based on quantity he needs to sell to cover ALL of his costs (website costs, his labor, etc).

Then we'll build the website. As of now, the plan is keep it simple. Build the site and post it on all the social media channels I am on. That should give him a nice initial boost and a few sales just to test the waters, so to speak.

The whole theme of the website and the lures - his story, so to speak - will be about a 13 year old wanting to make lures because he loves fishing and everything about it. And these lures do catch fish - we have used them every year he's made them.

 

Do I smell the annual fishing trip transitioning into a business expense?

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For saltwater fishing over 50% of the lures I buy are made by local people. There is a strong market for local lures for salt water fishing in Texas.

I cannot speak to the other markets.

 

Local fishing forums are a where I have found the small manufacturers in the past.

Edited by MTskibum
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He should get his friends to post pics and videos holding big fish with testimonies that they caught it on ChiefD jr. lure.

I remember a TV infomercial from years ago of pretty cool soft plastic lure that would "dive" into the fish hangout that you were targeting.  I don't think I bought it was definitely intriguing.

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Oh yeah, and maybe he can work out a good deal with the local tackle shops.  Not sure of the typical $$$ structure but give the tackle shop a big incentive to keep his product on the shelves.

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5 minutes ago, eoMMan said:

He should get his friends to post pics and videos holding big fish with testimonies that they caught it on ChiefD jr. lure.

I remember a TV infomercial from years ago of pretty cool soft plastic lure that would "dive" into the fish hangout that you were targeting.  I don't think I bought it was definitely intriguing.

Yeah, we are going to do this when we go to Minnesota in June. 

 

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Sounds like you and your son are off to a great start with this!

E-Z Glider's info seems super-useful...if his friend can get orders for lures on Etsy, so can your son.  Removing that one extra step (Search on Etsy->Sale instead of Social Media Post-Website->Sale) might result in drastically higher conversion rates.

 

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No advice here, but I'm sure our old friend h8 will probably be a customer at some point.  :oldunsure:

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5 hours ago, eoMMan said:

He should get his friends to post pics and videos holding big fish with testimonies that they caught it on ChiefD jr. lure.

I remember a TV infomercial from years ago of pretty cool soft plastic lure that would "dive" into the fish hangout that you were targeting.  I don't think I bought it was definitely intriguing.

I bought that one.  It did dive like advertised, but didn't catch fish.  

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So the website is probably 30% done. It should be ready for launch by the end of the month.

Getting ready to order a first supply of materials (using his own seed money that he has saved from mowing and such). He needs to finish up some research in terms of costs but things are moving in a positive direction.

 

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My 14yr old is on a similar adventure.  He discovered paracord as a hobby and is turning it into a business.  I steered him towards square for the website and ecommerce.  It's stupid easy. I gave him the keys after setting up the basics; he's taken it from there.  Even employing a photography friend for the images.  

Here's his site for some ideas.  It's extremely basic, but he can take orders online.  I told my wife I don't care how successful he is with this, he's learning a ton of valuable lessons.  

https://www.zjclanyards.com/

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7 minutes ago, Ned said:

My 14yr old is on a similar adventure.  He discovered paracord as a hobby and is turning it into a business.  I steered him towards square for the website and ecommerce.  It's stupid easy. I gave him the keys after setting up the basics; he's taken it from there.  Even employing a photography friend for the images.  

Here's his site for some ideas.  It's extremely basic, but he can take orders online.  I told my wife I don't care how successful he is with this, he's learning a ton of valuable lessons.  

https://www.zjclanyards.com/

Wow, that's awesome. Will definitely order something from him.

 

We looked at Square, Shopify, GoDaddy's solution, and Wix. Ended up with Wix because they had a template I could work with that had a lot of the stuff I was looking for. We'll see if it turns out to be the right solution or not, but so far I've been impressed how easy it has been to set up and use.  

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24 minutes ago, Ned said:

My 14yr old is on a similar adventure.  He discovered paracord as a hobby and is turning it into a business.  I steered him towards square for the website and ecommerce.  It's stupid easy. I gave him the keys after setting up the basics; he's taken it from there.  Even employing a photography friend for the images.  

Here's his site for some ideas.  It's extremely basic, but he can take orders online.  I told my wife I don't care how successful he is with this, he's learning a ton of valuable lessons.  

https://www.zjclanyards.com/

@Ned's Mom must be very proud.

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21 hours ago, Ned said:

My 14yr old is on a similar adventure.  He discovered paracord as a hobby and is turning it into a business.  I steered him towards square for the website and ecommerce.  It's stupid easy. I gave him the keys after setting up the basics; he's taken it from there.  Even employing a photography friend for the images.  

Here's his site for some ideas.  It's extremely basic, but he can take orders online.  I told my wife I don't care how successful he is with this, he's learning a ton of valuable lessons.  

https://www.zjclanyards.com/

thats awesome. GL to him!!

I recently learned how cool Paracord Is b/c one of my clients has volunteers making bracelets for the care packages that they send to overseas troops. 

Some really cool stories from troops where the bracelet was able to be opened and use to really help them out. One story was where a serviceman was driving a Humvee  through a dangerous area and his spare fuel cans broke off the truck. So he was able to use the cord from the bracelet to tie them to the truck enough to keep moving. 

If anyone is interested in helping: https://www.operationgratitude.com/express-your-thanks-virtual/paracord-bracelets-virtual/

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, Ned said:

My 14yr old is on a similar adventure.  He discovered paracord as a hobby and is turning it into a business.  I steered him towards square for the website and ecommerce.  It's stupid easy. I gave him the keys after setting up the basics; he's taken it from there.  Even employing a photography friend for the images.  

Here's his site for some ideas.  It's extremely basic, but he can take orders online.  I told my wife I don't care how successful he is with this, he's learning a ton of valuable lessons.  

https://www.zjclanyards.com/

Thanks for posting this. There were some features there as I was going through the order process I hadn't thought of.  Much appreciated. :thumbup:

Edited by ChiefD
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Website 95% done. Just waiting on the banking link to go through so we can drop payments into a banking account.

Just placed an inventory order so we start producing product so we have some lures available when we are ready to launch.

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9 hours ago, ChiefD said:

Website 95% done. Just waiting on the banking link to go through so we can drop payments into a banking account.

Just placed an inventory order so we start producing product so we have some lures available when we are ready to launch.

Z is excited to be one of your first customers.  :thumbup:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Update:

The website is live and I'm going through the process of checking the ordering process. Finalizing our postage items, changing photos...all the minor details that need to be done before we show it to the world.

We have inventory ready to ship, so we are pretty close.

Will post the link once we are all ready to go.

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8 hours ago, ChiefD said:

Update:

The website is live and I'm going through the process of checking the ordering process. Finalizing our postage items, changing photos...all the minor details that need to be done before we show it to the world.

We have inventory ready to ship, so we are pretty close.

Will post the link once we are all ready to go.

Will these lures catch smart southern lurker bass or are they designed to catch starving Midwest fingerlings?

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20 hours ago, ChiefD said:

Update:

The website is live and I'm going through the process of checking the ordering process. Finalizing our postage items, changing photos...all the minor details that need to be done before we show it to the world.

We have inventory ready to ship, so we are pretty close.

Will post the link once we are all ready to go.

Can't wait to order one.  I know the moment Z gets his hands on one he's going to be inspired to keep making his own.

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  • 1 month later...

Well, after several months we are ready to go. Here is the link in case you want to check it out:

Corbinator Bait Company

We have some supplies on hand, so this would be considered our soft launch before I put this out to our family, friends, Facebook, etc.  So if you guys see any errors, please let me know.

Thanks fellas!

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