Of course, you remember these milestones and cherish them as a parent. It’s amazing to watch a child grow from a completely helpless infant to a teen or young adult with his own opinions and ways of doing things.
Maybe your child is even old enough and capable enough to help you in your freelancing work. That’s right, how about contracting your child to work for you?
If you’re self-employed or run your own business, at some point you’re likely to receive the advice to hire your own children as a means of getting a tax break.
However, hiring your children has benefits beyond taxes. It’s excellent training for your child, and gives you practical help. Most of all, it can be good for your relationship.
Seven Reasons Your Child Should Work for You
Here are some benefits to hiring your child:
- Tax benefits–The first and most obvious reason to hire your child (usually below 21 years old, or double-check the age covered in your local tax law) is to get tax benefits. The cost of hiring contractors and employees, including your own child, is a tax-deductible business expense. And, since your child is likely to be in a lower tax bracket than you are, that income will be taxed less, if at all. Remember, though, that to enjoy this tax benefit, your child should be doing real work (not playing online games all day) and receive a fair compensation. Consult your accountant to make sure you comply with the laws in your country. These laws include how old your child should be before they can be employed, what type of working conditions they should have and other requirements.
- Your child will develop new skills or master existing ones–There’s nothing like actually doing something “for real” to get really good at it. You’ll want to start by hiring your child to do something he or she already has skills for. For example, my 15-year-old daughter is quite good at editing videos on the Mac. I could pay her to draft-edit videos for me. I’ve also heard of 13-year-olds who can do web programming or create web sites from scratch. Teens nowadays are techno-savvy and yours may be able to do some of the things you would normally hire a virtual assistant for. At the same time, they’ll develop life skills, like getting organized, managing time and resources, interacting with co-workers (you and possibly your clients), among others.
- Your child will gain work experience–The experience of working for pay builds character. Your child will pick up your work ethic, and learn that it pays to have valuable skills and apply them. They’ll learn what it takes exactly to make money, and they may become more appreciative of what you do and how you care for them. This work experience will also be good for your child’s resume, when the time comes to apply for university or a job.
- Increase your child’s confidence–Earning their own money will give your child a sense of accomplishment and independence. It’s good practice for adult life, when they will be responsible for supporting themselves.
- You can evangelize about freelancing–Social norms are skewed in favor of employment. By hiring your children, you have the perfect opportunity to share the advantages of freelancing. They’ll experience firsthand what it’s like to work at home, to have flexible working hours, to earn a living on your own terms.
- Get practical help–Having an extra pair of hands and brain in your home office will lighten your workload. Treat your child as any team member, with clear tasks and accountabilities. And, enjoy the advantages of outsourcing.
- Enhance your parent-child relationship–Imagine, you’ll be spending extra time with your child while you’re getting things done and earning money. What a terrific combination! The experience will help you get to know each other better and practice essential communication skills. Depending on your personality, and the state of your current relationship, things can be difficult at first. For example, your child may not take you seriously enough if he or she considers you more of a friend than a boss. With proper communication and management skills, you’ll work things out.
Ready to Hire?
If you have a working-age child, what tasks can you hire him or her to do? If you already have a child working for you, how has the experience been like for you both? Any tips to make the arrangement go smoothly?
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