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Ways To Make Money From: Child-Oriented Opportunities

Child-Oriented Opportunities

NO KIDDING: CATERING for the little ones is big business. If you’re enterprising and energetic but still young at heart there are plenty of ways to make more than just pocket money.

You won’t necessarily require any prior experience, although parenting skills and/or childcare qualifications will come in handy. Read on now get the lowdown on the best child-oriented opportunities around.

  1. Kids’ collection service

These days parents worry about their children walking to and from school, so will either drop them off themselves or hire a regular taxi to do it. The lack of financial support offered by local authorities is another contributing factor to the school run’s popularity.

Charging $1 a head, school collection is a lucrative little service you can offer. You only need four daily journeys carrying four children a time to earn $80 a week, probably for less than an hour’s work each day. Picking up children from discos and youth club is a great way to boost these earnings.

Have a cheap leaflet printed and distribute them around local estates, put them up in shops, and pass them on to schools and parents’ groups.

You should inform the police, local council and your insurance company when you start. To avoid the regulation associated with being a ‘hire car driver’ you could operate as a ‘short-term employee’ of each client.

  1. Nurseries and crèches

For anyone who loves children, setting up a crèche or nursery is a superb way of providing a necessary service and making some part – or full-time cash from it. You’ll need to register with your local authority, so contact the Social Services for details of your nearest Children’s Inspection Unit – they’ll provide guidance and information.

You, plus your staff, will need to be qualified, so contact your local further education college for details on obtaining a Nursery Nurse Examination Board (NNEB) Certificate or a BTEC National Diploma / Certificate. Public liability insurance is also mandatory – Commercial Union offers a special ‘Kiddicare’ policy.

Finally, you’ll need a stock of safe toys, that conform to British Safety Standards. You may be able to get a start-up grand from your TEC or Business Link (check in Thomson Local or Yellow Pages), or from the Prince’s Youth Business Trust if you are under 30 (tel: 0171 925 2900). You could run a small nursery from your home, or hire premises at a local community Centre. Alternatively, set up a crèche close to people’s places of work – in office buildings for example, or in warehouse space on an industrial estate – so that parents can drop kids off their way to work.

To publicize your nursery / crèche put notices up in local shops and company notice boards, hand out flyers, and leave posters in strategic places. Contact local schools, nurseries and social groups too. A newspaper ad is worthwhile initially, until you have enough children to be able to rely on word of mouth publicity. Get a listing in the business telephone directories and any child care directories – local authorities often publish these. It’s a good idea to organize open days so that prospective parents can look around.

  1. After school and weekend care

If you don’t possess childcare qualifications, here’s a good alternative. By setting up a base where you look after children for a short time after school you can provide peace of mind for working parents and a safe environment for their children.

Charge a weekly fee of $5 to $10 per child, or an hourly fee of $1.50 to $2. They should be given a drink and biscuits, plus space to do their homework, read, play, or watch television until they are collected.

Looking after handful of children for just a few hours could earn you in excess of $80 every week. You might wish to combine this with a school collection or babysitting service for extra cash.

  1. Health and fitness classes

As kids become increasingly reliant on TV and computer games for their entertainment there is a real need for child fitness and development classes, especially for the very young. By providing the opportunity for structured play you can improve a child’s physical and social skills and their self-motivation.

You could set up a ‘junior gym’ in your home and buy, borrow or rent basic sports equipment, or make use of existing equipment at a nearby school or sports centre. Any responsible parent worried by the possibility that their offspring might ‘vegetate’ will soon sign up.

To maximize profitability, offer classes for under-fives during the day in term time, then open these up to older children during school holidays. Offer after school sessions too, and novelty parties at evenings and weekends. Don’t forget you’ll require suitable insurance.

  1. Music workshops

Another great way of improving a pre-school aged child’s development is by setting up music workshops. Kids delight in musical involvement – singing, dancing and playing instruments – which helps them develop co-ordinate, confidence and musical ability. Parents may feel these are more constructive than standard nurseries, so you can charge slightly more.

  1. Adventure playgrounds

Indoor adventure playgrounds, providing safe and fun entertainment, are popular with parents and children alike. For a modest investment on premises, plus equipment such as ball pools, slides, climbing frames and bouncy castles, you can create an amazingly attractive money-spinner. Depending on the amount of activities offered you can charge up to $5 for entry.

A high profile marketing campaign in the locality (newspaper ads, leaflet handouts and deliveries, posters and banners, a press release and photo campaign with the local media) before and shortly after opening will set the ball rolling, and thereafter word of mouth should be enough to keep the kids coming back for more.

  1. Recreational and educational tours

Escorting children to places of interest – museums, swimming pools, the seaside, Alton Towers and the like – is an effective way of getting them out from under their parents’ feet during weekends and holidays. Of course, they’ll pay well for the privilege – set fees to cover your time, transport and any entrance charges.

You don’t need any prior experience, although you do need to be reliable and trustworthy. This makes it an ideal opportunity for part-time and retired teachers. Offer this service to schools, nurseries and youth clubs and market it directly to parents and children.

  1. Bedtime cassettes

A popular cry at bedtime is “Mum / Dad – will you read me a story?” But sadly, when parents are working hard to make ends meet they often don’t have the time to do this – which is why developing or selling bedtime story cassettes is such a good idea.

One possibility might be to set up a club whereby subscribers receive a new cassette each month, featuring a few children’s stories, serialized so as to last the whole month. Including fairy tales, songs and nursery rhymes might also help kids get off to sleep. You could work with story publishers or authors on the cassettes, or even write and record them yourself.

Mail order is an excellent way to sell this product, perhaps by promoting them via loose inserts in popular publications. Alternatively, sell them via existing retailers.

  1. Educational products and services

Education is obviously a vital part of a child’s upbringing. You could set up a ‘child education centre’ hiring out and selling educational books, videos, games and toys, either on a drop-in basis (you could operate from home) or by mail order.

There’s nothing to stop you developing your own products if you feel there is a gap in the market – sex education, vocabulary skills and math’s for very young are possible areas. Alternatively, market other companies’ products – The Learning Journey (Tel: 01892 543176) sells a range of interactive books and study aids aimed at children. Publishers Dorling Kindersley (Tel: 01692 536801 or 01889 562920) offer inexpensive distributorships selling educational books, CD-ROMs, video and active learning kits for children. Retired or part-time teachers could cash in by offering one-to-one tuition after school hours.

  1. Child care products and services

It’s not just children that need to be educated – there’s a huge market of products and services you can offer to parents who want to care for their kids more effectively.

Self-help books featuring ways of dealing with child-related issues – learning difficulties, drugs, sex education, behavioral problems, discipline and child care for example – are good sellers. Or, you could create a free newspaper featuring interviews with parents, teachers and experts, and earn money by selling advertising.

For your distribution and marketing on parents’ groups, schools, leisure centers, children’s shops and libraries. Alternatively, set up a parents’ helpline or devise a range of cassettes, and advertise them in related publications.

If you’re particularly qualified in dealing with parent-child issues you could offer courses, either face-to-face or by mail order. Expectant mothers are another target market for similar products and services.

  1. Kids’ clothing

Creating and selling colorful and durable children’s clothes is a consistent earner. Make them yourself if you have the talent and equipment, or act as a sales agent for another firm.

Try to make / sell quality, stylish designs with a strong image – these will guarantee sales in this area of mass produced goods via local retailers, although party plan and mail order selling are perhaps the most effective marketing methods for small-time operators. Use ads in fashion and parenting publications to sell products and recruit party plan agents.

  1. Children’s entertainment

Becoming a children’s entertainer is a fun way to make a living. You could do magic shows, tell jokes, model balloons, put on Punch and Judy shows, organize party games, sing songs – anything that gives the little ones a laugh.

If you’re skilled in this area it’s a good way to earn extra cash, although there all sorts of ‘teach yourself’ books available for novices to learn basic entertainment skills. Try to break up each section of your show, keeping them short to suit kids’ minima attention spans. You need to be adept at handling children (and their parents). Try to involve your audience in some way, such as getting them to help with tricks, dressing up or holding things, and give out some inexpensive gifts or prizes.

To market yourself, take out an ad in the Yellow Pages. This may seem expensive but it’s a good source of bookings. There may also be a local entertainment directory or listings guide you can get a mention in. A small classified ad in the local paper may also prove cost effective, but above all, get pleased children and parents to recommend you to their friends.

You can charge $100 an hour for a ‘show’ – a healthy wage perhaps, but bear in mind it must cover transport and equipment costs.

  1. Party organization

If you’ve no desire to perform at children’s parties, why not try to organizing them instead. Your job is to take strain of organization off the parents’ shoulders, sorting out invitations, food and drinks, entertainments, games and prizes.

Ideally you should ‘theme’ the party, perhaps even hiring costumes. Good ideas are science fiction, cowboys and Indians, witches and wizards, pirates, and superheroes. Speak to your client about what sort of party they want, and note any important details, such as the date and time of the party, how many people will be attending, and – crucially – their budget (which must include all costs, plus your profit margin). You then organize / hire the necessary supplies and entertainments according to this budget.

Notify your client about what they’ll be getting and discuss a possible timetable for the party. On the day you should be on hand to help out and ensure everything goes smoothly.

  1. Under-18s discos

There are few social events available for under-18s compared with adults, which is one reason why discos for youngsters are popular.

They’re easy to organize – one possibility is to promote discos via local schools, whose premises you can use. Also contact youth clubs and other social clubs. Be friendly and ready to organize extras such as hiring the venue and organizing extras like tickets and refreshments.

Discos are ideal for children’s parties too, so don’t forget to get listings in the Yellow Pages and other directories, and inform local party organizers about your service. You’ll require your own sound equipment, records, and transport, but you could use it to ferry children back to their homes afterwards to earn extra cash.

You can charge around $150 for a three hour disco so this is a brilliant source of part-time earnings.

  1. Personalized books

An innovative gift idea, personalized books appeal to both kids and adults. They incorporate someone’s name within the text of the story, with further details such as where they live and the names of friends and family, so that the child becomes the star.

If you have a PC with a printer it’s possible to store the basic text in a file with illustrations, and add the client’s details to create a tailor-made book that will be highly treasured.

Approach publishers with details of your business with a view to purchasing rights to their stories – you can either pay a flat fee or split the proceeds. The publisher may help with marketing and publicity, although you could go it alone, promoting the books through retailers and / or using ads in newspapers and child’s interest publications to sell your product.

Alternatively you could buy one of the franchises that are on offer for less than $1,500, with many popular titles.

  1. Selling toys

Buying and selling children’s toys is a solid part – or full-time business. To be successful, stick to the very latest fad toys and the consistent sellers, and don’t carry large stocks.

If you want to start small, sell door-to-door or take out market stall – it’s good idea to demonstrate toys so that customers can see them. Mail order might suit the more ambitious – use regular ads in comics and young persons’ magazines, but don’t sell anything too expensive.

If you can anticipate a trend and get in at the beginning of a new craze, the profits can be outrageous.

  1. Toy rental service

A marvelous alternative to selling toys is renting them out. First, buy a small stock of toys – a mixture of the latest games and gadgets, popular sellers and cheap items purchased from jumble sales.

Next, get a small van and decorate it as a ‘toymobile’. Your task is to drive round housing estates in a similar manner to an ice cream vendor, except you are renting out toys rather than selling ice creams. By charging a daily or weekly fee per item you can recover your purchase costs very quickly, leaving a hefty profit with more than enough cash to update your stock with.

Work hard in the beginning to publicize this service – drop leaflets through doors in fairly well-off neighborhoods, and put up ads in shop windows. Offer to call in at kids’ parties too.

The novelty of this service will ensure your van is inundated with customers every time you make your rounds. And since parents and guardians will pay highly to keep their charges amused, you’ll make good money too.

  1. Play costume hire

Hiring out play costumes is a good way of tapping into the children’s party market, as well as kids (or rather their parents, who will be paying for it!) who want to liven up their regular games.

Alien customer, army uniforms and replica outfits of favorite. TV characters will be particularly in demand. Alternatively, design and make a range of animal outfits – lions, bears, dogs, cats, mice and rabbits, for example. A typical costume might consist of a mask, a suit, and attachments like ears, tails and feet. Get sales by linking up with toy shops, costume rental services and party organizers.

  1. Secondhand prams and pushchairs

Having a baby costs parents a lot of money, with things like prams and pushchairs being particularly expensive. Many families have to do without or rely on handouts. However, the demand is such that anyone selling these items secondhand, along with cots and other baby products, is likely to do well.

You could sell them from a market stall or even your own garage, using ads in local newspapers to get customers. Obtain stock from car boot and jumble sales, and repaint, mend and clean items as appropriate. Very often, items you purchased for next to nothing will go for $10 or $20.

  1. Baby hampers

When a new baby is born the parents are faced with a huge list of things to buy or borrow. Make things easier by putting together ‘baby hampers’ –packages comprising everything needed for the baby’s first year. You’ll need: nappies, bottles, sterilizing equipment, a cot, blankets, a changing mat, a wash tub, baby food, bibs, baby grows, a sling or carry cot, mobiles and toys, and various toiletries, including soap, cream and baby wipes.

You could purchase these items in bulk from a warehouse or cash and carry, before repackaging them in an attractive box and selling them at a profit via retailers or mail order. Don’t do the hard work yourself – recruit packers to do the work for you.

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