Patrick G. Mackaronis on Teaching Business Skills to Child Entrepreneurs

Patrick G. Mackaronis, co-founder and Director of Business Development at social media startup Brabble, waxes poetic on teaching business skills to child entrepreneurs.

Parents whose children have entrepreneurial leanings are likely to discover it early in the children’s lives. Before preschool is over, these children want to run lemonade stands or hold yard sales. By elementary school, their business plans expand to include pet sitting, dog walking, yard work and a variety of exotic and sometimes harebrained schemes flowing from the child entrepreneur’s vast imagination.

Not all unusual business schemes are doomed to failure, of course. One 8 year old child in our community convinced her parents to let her buy glow sticks for $1 at the dollar store and resell them for $2 on the town square. She made $200.

Children with entrepreneurial spirit are easily recognizable for their persistence. These children don’t give up when someone discourages their business plans. They may speak their ideas for running a business more emphatically in response to adult expressions of concern. They may even make some revisions to accommodate the concerns. But the one quality that is a hallmark of child entrepreneurs is that they will continue to show interest in pursuing their business ideas.

As the parent of a would-be child entrepreneur, your role is to support and guide the child so that he or she learns solid business skills. It does involve some work, but take heart: studies have shown that most successful business owners started their first business as a child.

Business Plan

Most children with a desire to run a business know exactly what sort of business they want to operate. Parents can help them establish a very basic business plan so that they understand the different facets of running a business.

For example, the parent and child can figure out what product or service the child will offer, what costs will be incurred in providing that product or service, where the start-up funding will come from, where the customers will be found, how to price the product or service, how to advertise the product or service, limitations on providing the product or service, and work quality.

Product or Service

Help the child organize his thoughts about exactly what product or service he or she will offer. Is this a product or service for which there is a genuine need in the community? Is this a product or service the child can realistically provide?

Start-up Funding

Whether for supplies or advertising, a child’s business may involve start-up costs. It is important for a child to understand that selling something or providing a service involves more than taking in money. Business investment is a risk. Is the child going to buy the lemonade ingredients for his lemonade stand with his allowance? Is he going to do some chores to earn that money? Are his parents willing to give him a start-up loan to be repaid from his profits? The child should understand that he will only make money if he is able to earn more than he invests.


No matter what service or product the child plans to offer, customers wanting that service or product are essential. A child who decides to write and sell a newspaper or make and sell homemade perfume or take on a task that to all appearances is beyond her years may have a hard time finding customers beyond those few friends and neighbors who hire or buy out of kindness.

Choosing the location or timing for a product or service based solely on the child’s schedule will also limit the customer base.

Encourage children to think logically. What kind of people want to buy lemonade? Thirsty soccer players? Why not set up the lemonade stand near the soccer field? Where do you find people who need dog walkers? Maybe a nearby vet or pet store will allow the child to advertise on their bulletin board.

Children also need to put their creative abilities to work. When my 7 year old wanted to start a leaf raking business, we expressed concern that people would be hesitant to hire a 7 year old and her 6 year old sister. Her solution? Hire her 11 year old brother to work with her at 3 times her “salary” so she could capture customers by promising the services of a 3-person team that included an 11 year old.


Children are often unrealistic about pricing. They tend to approach pricing from the perspective of the amount of money they want to earn. Encourage your child to view the pricing issue from the customer’s perspective as well as their own. Also encourage them to take costs and the price of competing products into account when pricing their product or service.

What does this product or service normally cost? What makes hiring or buying from a child more risky or beneficial for the customer? Is your child offering something extra? What is the cost of any supplies or advertising? Show the child how to calculate a profit by taking into account the payoff of any start-up costs and ongoing expense of supplies and/or advertising.

Sales/ Service Area

In choosing a sales/service area, parents will be concerned about the child’s safety as well as reasonableness of the child having access to the work. A job across the city is not feasible unless the child is old enough and permitted to ride a bike or bus there, or unless a parent will drive the child to and from the job.


Where and how does the child plan to advertise? Do local ordinances restrict neighborhood signs? Make sure the child understands that permission is required to post notices on private property including store bulletin boards. Will the child be advertising on the neighborhood listserve?


Parents are likely to limit a child’s business activities to accommodate safety concerns and to ensure that the child’s business is not interfering with school and other important activities. Spell out in advance what the rules are: does a parent have to meet a prospective customer? Is the child restricted to providing service only to persons known to the family? Is the business only able to operate on weekends? Does a child have to be able to perform all of the work himself without parental assistance? Is there a limit on how many customers the child may take on in a specific time frame?

Work Quality

Helping a child develop a sound work ethic is an important role for a parent. A child undertaking work for pay should understand her responsibility to perform all of the required work to the best of her ability. If she gets tired or bored, she cannot simply abandon the job. If she is babysitting, she may never leave a child in her care unattended and must know when to seek the help of an adult. If the child cannot do the work because of unanticipated skills issues, the child needs to be honest with the customer and not accept payment. If the child inadvertently breaks something of the customer’s, the child needs to know that it is her responsibility to offer payment, even if that means she potentially makes no profit or incurs a loss for the job. If the child wishes to do another activity when work is scheduled, it is her responsibility to either reschedule the work if possible, find a replacement acceptable to the customer, or sacrifice her own preferred activity to live up to her business commitment.

The child’s business commitment should also be viewed as a family commitment. If you have allowed your child to commit to taking care of someone’s pets or to babysit, forcing a cancellation for subsequently scheduled family activities of your own sets a very bad example for your child. It also affects your child’s credibility as a reliable service provider.

Teaching children the skills necessary to operate their own businesses can be trying, but the child who masters these skills has developed important tools for success in the adult business world. The responsibility and self-reliance that running a business engenders will aid the child entrepreneur in a vast array of future endeavors.

Patrick G. Mackaronis’ Interview with the BreadStreet Investors Union Founder, David Kent

Patrick G. Mackaronis, co-founder and Director of Business Development at social media startup Brabble, interviews BreadStreet founder David Kent., Inc. is one of the nation’s leading investor leads providers. David Kent, President of, Inc. recently started the first and only of its kind Investors Union founded to create a marketplace for private investment deals such as oil and gas drilling, films, alternative energy, new technologies and other types of worthy ventures that do not have access to the public capital markets because of stringent SEC regulations in the area of private investments in start ups. I thought it would be interesting to learn more about his newest project along with his tips for Entrepreneurs currently on the market for investors funding. Check out his answers about this latest project!
Jim: David, can you tell us a little about yourself?

David Kent: I consider myself an entrepreneur. I enjoy being in business and helping other businesses find investors and get their ventures off the ground. I’ve had curiosity about business ventures and investments from an early age. I started my career in an oil and gas call room pre-screening investor prospects for big Texas oil and gas companies. I worked my way up into a supervisory position, learned the ins and outs of the business and soon managed my own call room. I’ve been in the investor leads industry for 10 years now and I’ve been the President of, Inc since 2005.

Patrick G. Mackaronis: You mentioned the investor leads industry? For many Entrepreneurs, this industry remains a mystery. Can you tell us about the secret behind the veil? Who are these investor leads and can they help Entrepreneurs looking for funding?

David Kent: Absolutely! According to a study by the Small Business Administration, 96% of small businesses get funded through individual private investors. A private company looking for angel capital needs access to quality pre-screened investor leads that they can present their opportunity to. Lead providers normally purchase investors leads lists from companies raising capital or create their own lists through investment surveys and then sell those lists to other companies looking for funding. A good investor leads provider surveys investors to make sure they meet the standards for an “Accredited Investor” set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). further goes beyond the basic definition of a leads provider and actually invites accredited investors to join as members of the BreadStreet Investors Union for the purpose of reviewing investment opportunities. This process tremendously helps Entrepreneurs in that they end up talking to an interested investor willing to listen to their proposal as supposed to cold calling an investor lead from a generic investor leads list sold by our competitors.

Patrick G. Mackaronis: What is the BreadStreet Investors Union?

David Kent: The BreadStreet Investors Union was started as an initiative to help accredited and financially sophisticated investors streamline their investment research process and to create a marketplace for private deals that cannot be marketed to the public because of the SEC non-solicitation rule. In the past few years, we had received many reports from BreadStreet Investor Members that they get overwhelmed with investment calls from all kinds of companies and that they do not have the physical ability to properly screen the multitude of calls to find “the one”. This gave us the idea to start the Union where members set their exact investment criteria and investment range. When the right opportunity comes along, our members are the first to have a look. Now, investor members of the Union refer all of their investment calls to the BreadStreet web site. Callers complete their proposals on our secure Investments Message Board and our investor members get a notification if the opportunity meets their criteria. They can further take a more proactive approach and search the board themselves. The best part about being a Union member is that you get activity reward points for the investment reviews you complete that you can redeem for various perks like gift cards, travel, laptops etc. Thus, investor members of the BreadStreet Union never get taken advantage of by investor lead providers who sell the investors’ personal information without the investors’ authorization. Our members totally love the program and we enjoy great loyalty from our members!

Patrick G. Mackaronis: What about Businesses looking for funding? In what ways can the BreadStreet Investors Union help them find that funding?

David Kent: The benefits to capital seekers and issuers are many and the Union can definitely have a great impact on businesses’ ability to find funding. Let me start though by saying that, Inc does not participate in the capitalization process in any way., Inc does not pre-sell, close or advise investors to invest in any company and BreadStreet cannot promise or imply the final results from the discussions between Issuers (capital seekers) and Investor members. What we guarantee though is that any capital seekers who comes to us and meets the criteria set by our union members will have the best shot. It is our guarantee that every single investor prospect from the BreadStreet Investors Union (categorized as “Documented Investor” at our site) will not only be a qualified financially sophisticated investor but will also be ready to take our Client’s call and have a hard look at their deal! No wasted time for Entrepreneurs + 100% Reg D compliant leads! Further, the letter that the Union members provide to BreadStreet is made available to the Entrepreneurs. The letter includes the investor’s financial professional (accountant, investment advisor, banker) contact information and an authorization to any party in possession of the letter to verify the investor member liquidity stated on the letter.

Patrick G. Mackaronis: Ok. From what we heard so far, I have no doubt that many Entrepreneurs will be thrilled to talk to the BreadStreet Union Investor Members. How does BreadStreet get compensated though? Clearly, lots of work goes behind the scene.

David Kent: Yes of course. We make sure we do our homework. Yet, the service is inexpensive compared to commissions charged by licensed broker dealers. Our Clients only get charged a flat fee for contacting an investor member of the Union. Further, they pay the fee only if they want to contact an investor member and not if the investor calls them as a result of seeing their ad posting on the Investments Board. The contact fee is anywhere from $250 to $400 per Documented Union Investor Member and the average liquidity of our investor members is in the range of $193,000. We have members with liquidity as high as $10 million and the contact fee is still a flat fee of $400. Besides, if an Investor member declines to review a proposal, we guarantee the delivery of an investor prospect with comparable qualifications to the Entrepreneur who recruited our service.

Patrick G. Mackaronis: Can you give us an example of the type of Client who comes to the BreadStreet Investors Union?

David Kent: We have one man sole proprietorship type start ups to big oil and gas corporations using the service. Any private company looking for investment capital will find the service invaluable. We have Clients in all industries.

Patrick G. Mackaronis: What will you recommend to the business people who are long on ideas but short on cash who may not be able to afford the service?

David Kent: If they cannot afford the proactive approach of directly contacting the accredited investor members of the BreadStreet Investors Union, I would recommend the next best thing which is having their investment proposal posted on our Investments Board. We give many incentives to our investor members to regularly check out the board. If an investor calls you as a result of seeing your ad, all you pay for is the ad spot, which is $49.95 a month and you further get complementary access to our premium database of surveyed investor leads and listings of angel capital and venture groups..

Patrick G. Mackaronis: What is your single best idea for Entrepreneurs on the market today seeking capital to get their ventures off the ground?

David Kent: Get proactive and make some calls to investors! It never hurts talking to a millionaire!

Patrick G. Mackaronis: Thanks for your time David! You’ve given us some invaluable insight to your organization that I am sure will be helpful to Entrepreneurs!

Interview by: Patrick G. Mackaronis

New York City Beaches A guide to the Hamptons, Long Beach, Jersey Shore and more

The following is a post from Patrick G. Mackaronis. Patrick is the Director of Business Development for New York City-based social network Brabble. In this post, Patrick will give us some idea about the NYC beaches. Patrick can be best reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

The Hamptons

The South Fork of Long Island compromises the towns of West Hampton, South Hampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Amagansett, and Montauk which collectively are called The Hamptons. Each town has one or more beaches to relax on. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, this area fills up with party-minded summer shares, rich celebrities, and many city residents escaping for the weekend. Because of this exclusivity, it is an expensive place to visit in the summer. The beaches also almost require pre-paid parking passes, but some do have day parking. The nicest beaches are on the Atlantic Ocean side. The movie Jaws was filmed off Montauk.

Getting there

By car: driving from the city will take around four hours depending on the traffic.

By train: taking the Long Island Railroad or LIRR from Penn Station is a good option but can be crowded during holiday weekends.

By bus: the Hamptons Jitney picks up and drops off at several Manhattan locations to and from several Hamptons locations.

Long Beach

Only an hour away by train, this is one of the popular beaches for day trips from Manhattan. There is a long wooden boardwalk where people jog or bike down the length. The beach is also very long with several roped off swimming areas staffed by lifeguards. This beach requires a beach pass which costs $10 per person and can be purchased off the boardwalk before entering the beach.

Getting there

By train: on the LIRR there are trains to and from every hour starting around 8 am from Penn Station, cost $13.50. It’s a quick walk from the train station down some residential blocks before hitting the beach. If you’re not sure which way to go, just follow the crowd.

Jersey Shore

Also much like The Hamptons, the Jersey Shore attracts partying share houses, and weekenders, but without the notoriety of rich celebrities and pretentiousness that comes with it. Beaches abound up and down the shore sometimes in quaint Victorian towns. Some of the famous beaches are, Bradley, Point Pleasant, Bayhead, Seaside Heights and Surf City. Beaches here require beach passes. There is also a casino at Atlantic City for people who want to gamble après beach.

Getting there

By car: several of the closer beaches are a couple hours drive from Manhattan.

By train: all of the towns are served by the New Jersey Transit trains from and to Penn Station.

Coney Island

Has a beach, boardwalk, amusement park, museum, and aquarium. They’re famous for holding the July 4th Nathan’s hotdog eating contest. Every Friday this summer they shoot off fireworks at 9:30pm.

Getting there

By subway: take the D, Q, N, F train to the last stop Stillwell Ave.