Would you rather make $10 or $50 an hour?
It seems like an obvious question with an obvious answer, but I wish someone had asked me that as a teenager.
It might have saved me almost $30,000 in student loans.
As a teenager starting my first high school job, I knew I was sentenced to a few years of minimum wage. Making something as ridiculous $50 an hour (hell, even $20 an hour) was reserved for professionals with advanced degrees: doctors, lawyers, and the like – all of who had earned the right to seemingly enormous paychecks.
And I wasn’t complaining. It was my junior year of high school, and I felt like I had a pretty sweet gig. I was gainfully employed as a part-time, after-school nanny for a nearby, wealthy family. The pay was decent ($10 an hour in cash), the commute only a few minutes from my school and the perks were delicious (a free dinner and unlimited snacks while I was on duty).
It was an easy, sweet gig. It did not, however, help me build wealth or pay for college.
But all teenagers went through this: a decent job that wasn’t too challenging but put $200-$300 in your pocket at the end of the month … right?
Little did I know that there was a world of creativity and economic possibility that I was completely missing out on as a teenager. I never dreamed that I had other options besides working for someone else, that my skills and talents could have helped me pay my way through college and graduated debt free.
That I could, indeed, choose between $10 and $50 per hour.
Solving the Student Loan Crisis through Entrepreneurship?
This is where a book like Lemonade Stand Economics comes in. It’s the idea that if you work hard and work smart in high school, you can launch a real, money-earning, legitimate business where you can earn more money and graduate from college debt free.
When I first saw the book Lemonade Stand Economics, I immediately wanted to find a time machine and go back and slap my teenage self across the face. It’s one of the most creative, practical and obvious solutions to helping high school students avoid college debt: encourage teenagers to start their own business.
The book is written to help high schoolers do just that; Lemonade Stand Economics is a how-to guide to launching a business as a teenager with the goal of making serious money – not just minimum wage at the neighborhood deli (that was me).
It’s chocked full of information for teens about finding your skills that will make you the most money (aka, your sweet spot), how to market yourself and how to price your services. There’s even a section on what to do if mess up with one of your clients (which you inevitably will)
I admire the message behind Lemonade Stand Economics – let’s arm high school students with the skills they need to run their own businesses and pay for college out of pocket. While I’d argue that the other side of the college equation is equally if not more important (uh, $50k for a degree? That’s outrageous!), teen entrepreneurship is an important movement unto itself.
So if you have a creative and entrepreneurial sister, brother, nephew, niece or child, do them a favor: sit them down with a copy of Lemonade Stand Economics and ask them the million dollar question: would you rather make $10 or $50 an hour?
Lemonade Stand Economics was kind enough to send me a copy of his book for my honest review. All of my opinions are my own.
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