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Making Money:
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What Can I Do?
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From the Mentors
To help you figure out what you can do to make money, think about these things: your talents, your interests, your resources, and the market.

Your talents
Before you think seriously about some moneymaking ideas, think first about yourself. You'll do better at your job if it's something that "plays off your strengths," meaning it involves the things you're naturally good at. Here are some talents and skills. Which ones describe you most?

  • Physical strength
  • Good at sports
  • Good with directions
  • Good memory
  • Creative
  • Outgoing personality
  • Caring and patient
  • Reliable (people can count on you)
  • Punctual (always on time for things)
  • Good organizational skills
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Good with money or numbers
  • Good with your hands
  • Good with machines or technology
  • Good at school subjects

Your interests
So you've thought about what you're good at-now, what do you like to do? Some people think that a job isn't something you're supposed to enjoy, but imagine how cool it would be if you could make money doing things that make you happy anyway? The money would just be a bonus!

Here's an idea: think about what you would have fun doing even if you didn't get paid for it. Then, try to come up with a way you could do it for money. If you can't, think of something else you enjoy, and keep on going until you find something that works.

Or, you could do the opposite. First, think of a way that kids try to make money. Then, picture yourself doing this. Is it interesting? Is it exciting? Are you having a good time? If so, it may be a good choice for you.

Your resources
Resources are the materials you need to do a job, like equipment or supplies. Take a look around your home and make a list of the things that could be used to make money. You might have a video camera, a great computer system, a shed full of lawn and garden tools, or a closet full of art supplies. Once you have your list, try to picture what kinds of jobs these things suggest. How could you use the computer to make money? Or the video camera? Or the garden tools?

The market
In the business world, "the market" doesn't mean the grocery store. It means how well a certain product (say, lemonade) or a certain service (say, lawn mowing) is doing. If the market for something is "good" or "strong," you stand a good chance of doing well and earning money as long as you work hard. If the market is "bad" or "weak," it may be more difficult to do well.

If you want to make money at a certain job, you've got to learn to look at the signs and decide if the market for what you're offering is good or bad. Let's look at the two examples we already mentioned:

    Running a lemonade stand

    Signs that the market is bad:
    There are already lots of other kids running lemonade
       stands in your area, so you would have to fight
       for customers.
    The weather is very cold, so people may not want to
       drink lemonade.
    You live in an area where few people walk around, so
       there might not be enough customers.
    For some reason, people in your area don't like
       lemonade very much.

    Signs that the market is good:
    Nobody else is doing this in your area, so the customers
       will be all yours.
    The weather has been very warm, so people will be in the
       mood for lemonade.
    You know of a great spot for a stand where lots of people
       wander by all day.
    Lemonade is always popular where you live.

    Running a lawn mowing service

    Signs that the market is bad:
    You live in a neighborhood where very few people
       have big lawns.
    People in your area really like mowing their own lawns.
    Almost everyone you know pays a professional gardener
       to do the lawn.
    There are already lots of other kids offering the same
    The weather has been very dry, so nobody's lawn has
       been growing.

    Signs that the market is good:
    Your area is filled with big lawns to mow.
    Many people don't have the time or energy to mow their
       lawns themselves.
    Few people want to pay big money to professional
    Not many kids are already doing it.
    The weather has been wet, so lawns are growing quickly.

No matter what job you plan to do, make sure to take a look around and try to read the signs of a "good market" or a "bad market." In other words: do people need or want what you have to offer? If you're pretty sure the answer is no, you might have to come up with a different idea.

In the next section, we talk about one of the most important parts of working for a buck: Responsibility.


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