I have a great employee. She almost never complains, at least not about the work, does the little work I have for her after about the third time I remind her and although most folks would say I am paying her too much – it all works out for the best. At 12 years old she is the youngest employee on our staff of two, but she has been with the firm for almost 6 years and that gives her some seniority.  Since her food and lodging is completely covered I know she is making good use of her paycheck, putting it toward clothes, school supplies and a growing college fund.

And that is only one of the many benefits of my home based business. Hiring my daughter, and previously my son, are part of the benefits of owning my own business. Home based or not family members can be employees of your business and you can avoid certain rules and paperwork requirements needed for regular employees. While the salary I pay my children can not be outrageous the IRS rules are perfectly okay with this hiring practice. Whether emptying the garbage, sweeping the floor, filing or making bank deposits it is both a good learning experience for them and a great way to transfer profits out of the business and into the hands of deserving family members. Since these dollars are now removed from the net income for the business they are not taxed and staying within the limits of income for your child can make them tax free to him or her also.

In order to set up a relationship like this – (no tax advice being given here – please check this over with your accountant)
you must actually have work that your child will perform.
your child must actually perform the work
set up a written schedule of worked performed and hours worked(good for them and good paper trail for taxes)
Open a bank account for your child. While a savings account is all that is really necessary we found that by opening a checking account and getting a debit card we were now ready to help our children spend their tax free dollars on clothing, school supplies and other parent approved items
And the most important – you must actually pay them. You can only claim salaries that were actually paid. And it would of course be best if you paid those salaries on a regular basis throughout the year. This is not an end of the year tax reduction idea. Make regular paychecks out to your employee for actual work performed. This is good for their learning the value of work, it is good for your business and it is good for the IRS.

This is only one of the many benefits in owning your own business. But for many of us the idea of opening a business is both scary and over whelming. It is also a concern about where to open the business, what type of business and who has the time for such a thing as business ownership.  Fortunately  there are a lot of good answers to all those good questions.

The cost of opening a business can be anywhere along a wide spectrum – from little or nothing to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  On one end of the spectrum is the lemonade stand and on the other is a manufacturing plant. Since my guess is that you are closer to the lemonade stand of thinking  we’ll address a few points here and more in later articles.

A lemonade stand is usually set up with items you usually already have around the house. A table, some chairs, markers and paperboard for signs, pitchers, water, sugar, disposable cups and frozen lemonade. If you care to upgrade to a classier clientle the investment into real lemons is a possibility but lets assume we are working on a shoe string budget for capital expenditures.

Now that you have your products and location set up it is important to set up a marketing department. This would usually consist of a few friends who take your carefully designed marketing signs, stand close to the curb and yell at passing cars.  If business doesn’t take off according to plan you can increase marketing by getting more friends, yelling louder or send them down to the corner where traffic is heavier.

In all seriousness – it is possible to set up just such a business in the adult world. Internet marketing has a lot of similarities. You can start with items you already have at home. A computer, a place to work, an internet connection and a glass of lemonade. When it comes to marketing, rather than yelling at folks to stop and see what you have to offer, you can move your lemonade stand to a place where a lot of thirsty people are looking for something to drink and have them come to you, money in hand.

And once your lemonade stand is up and running the kids can  work around you, emptying the garbage, filing the papers and making bank deposits. Want to put up a lemonade stand?

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