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These clever entrepreneurs started young

Matthew DeCicco, 4, of Hewlett sells painted sea

Matthew DeCicco, 4, of Hewlett sells painted sea shells to raise money for his passion -- buying superballs for his collection from supermarket machines. Credit: Handout

Just because kids can't get working papers until they're 14 doesn't mean they can't earn a little moola -- and this Saturday may be the perfect time to get started.

Saturday is National Lemonade Day, celebrating the summertime drink. And what's the classic first capitalist venture for many kids? The lemonade stand. Julie Eberly is chief expansion officer at lemonadeday.org, a group dedicated to teaching kids how to start a lemonade business, and she offered these tips, which also can apply to other ventures:

* SET A GOAL Do you want to buy yourself an iPod? New clothes? Raise money for charity? Calculate how many items you'd need to sell at a certain price to reach that goal. Decide whether you want to go into business with a partner and share profits.

* PERSUADE AN INVESTOR TO LOAN START-UP MONEY You'd need to buy the ingredients to make lemonade and the cups to serve it in. You should pay your investor back from earnings.

* FIGURE OUT WHERE TO SET UP YOUR STAND Consider the amount of foot traffic, permission to sell there and whether it's a safe place. Decide what hours to work.

* MAKE YOUR BUSINESS STAND OUT Give it an unusual name or decorate your stand with a sign. Create an umbrella or other covering to keep customers in the shade.

* GET BACKUP On the day of the sale, parents are encouraged to be out selling with their kids to ensure they are safe.

Here are three Long Island youths who aren't selling lemonade, but have turned into quite the entrepreneurs.

Jeremy Cole

 Age 14

Town Commack

Venture JCole Productions

Jeremy films children's birthday parties, interviewing the birthday child, parents and grandparents and capturing the action, and then he edits the video and adds special effects and transitions. His business catchphrase: "Wouldn't you like to be in front of the camera for your child's party, not behind it?" Jeremy filmed about 10 parties in the past year. "I've always been interested in film. I thought maybe I could put those skills to use," Jeremy says. "Obviously, I'm not going to be directing films yet, but I thought this could be something to put a little cash in my pocket." Because he has younger sisters, he was able to advertise to their friends and then he got more business through word-of-mouth, filming bowling parties, mini-golf parties, backyard festivities and more. He charged $35 starting out, then raised his price to $50. With the money he earned, he bought more equipment, such as a tripod and a green screen to help him advance in filmmaking. He's trying to come up with another venture now, "retiring" from the birthday party biz.

His advice "Don't be afraid to do something."

Contact j.cole131@yahoo.com.

 

Samantha Hunt

Age 11

Town Wading River

Venture "Fight Like a Girl"

Samantha begged her mom to take her along on Long Island's 2-Day Breast Cancer Walk next year, but each walker needs to raise $1,000. So Samantha decided to turn a painting she did for school of a butterfly with a pink ribbon through the middle into car magnets and sell them. She wrote the name of her mom's walking "team," "Fight Like a Girl," on the ribbon. Samantha has sold about 60 so far, raising $300 toward her goal. Businesses in town also sell them for her.

Her advice "You just really have to think of a good idea, ask your parents, and figure out stuff."

Contact To order one of the car magnets, which costs $5, visit etsy.com/shop/samanthashirts.

 

Matthew DeCicco

Age 4

Town Hewlett

Venture Painted seashells

Matthew collects bouncy balls that he would buy for a quarter each from machines at the supermarket, with mom Stephanie or Grandma supplying the funds. But this summer, Mom told Matthew if he wanted to continue buying them, he'd have to use his own money. So Matt collected shells on the beach near the family's cabana at Silver Point Beach Club in Atlantic Beach and sold them for 25 cents each. He made $14 the first day. Then he decided to paint the shells and then sold those to earn even more.

His advice "Act cute."

Contact Matthew sets up next to the cabanas when the mood strikes him.

Safety suggestions for kids selling online

Some kids go beyond the simple outdoor stand, venturing to sell their products through Facebook or other Internet sites. Christy Matte, who writes the Family Computing guide on About.com, offers these safety suggestions if a child expands to the Web:

* Set up a Facebook page that doesn't identify the child as the "owner" of the business. Also consider using a site such as Etsy.com, where people sell homemade goods without having to identify themselves.

* If the child needs an address for people to send checks to, use a post-office box, never a home address.

* Check out options such as Google Voice, which lets people sign up for a Google phone number that automatically forwards to a line of your choice. This way people can call you without actually knowing your home or cellphone number. "There's lots of ways to stay anonymous and still run a pretty cool business," Matte says.

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