For many American kids, winter is when they get their foot in the door as budding entrepreneurs. They grab their shovels and head out to remove snow from driveways and sidewalks with hopes of making some extra cash.
But just a few years ago, two New Jersey teenagers learned the harsh reality of trying to run a business.
After a snow storm, the boys decided to make some spending money by shoveling snow for their neighbors. They printed flyers and started canvassing for customers. But shortly after they started, they were stopped by a police officer and told to go home.
In the boy’s New Jersey town, there was a law against soliciting. It was illegal for them to go door to door, letting their neighbors know they could be hired to shovel snow. The boys ended up shoveling only a few driveways.
All over the country, the entrepreneurial spirit of children falls victim to regulations on their tiny businesses. Last year in Colorado, a four and a six-year-old were told by police they had their lemonade stand shut down because they didn’t have a permit to sell.
Licensing barriers stand in the way of children and adults succeeding. Many industries have harsh requirements that can sometimes cost more to meet than they are worth. The boys running the lemonade stand in Colorado would have needed a permit that would have cost them $100 a day. Jobs such as interior decorating, floristry, makeup artistry and landscaping also require licenses that require weeks of training and hundreds of dollars in fees.
Luckily, New Jersey has tried to fix the problems. New Jersey repealed the permit requirements for shoveling snow and promoting that business. Hopefully we have plenty more young entrepreneurs learning how to use their talents and skills this winter!