'I'll be home late, mom. Big meeting'

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Starting a business takes plenty of hard work, dedication, sweat, and capital.

Try being a teenager and striking out on your own.

On top of everything else, you have to worry about homework - and the prom. Your parents have to co-sign all of your contracts. And nobody takes you seriously.

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Sixteen-year-old Aaron Greenspan, who runs Think Computers in Shaker Heights, Ohio, knows all about the latter.

Like the time he called the Internal Revenue Service to apply for an employer ID number and the attendant hung up on him after he told her his birth date.

" 'I can't talk to you, goodbye,' the woman said," Aaron recalls. She called back later that day - at her boss's urging - and apologized.

Abigael Anthony, who runs a Web site called Animalbytes in Olney, Md., says plenty of advertisers were "put off" when they found out she was 17. She ended up outsourcing all the advertising to another business.

But perhaps the biggest barrier to success is no support.

"Lack of emotional support will probably put teens out of business faster than any other business issue," says Jennifer Kushell, founder of The Young Entrepreneurs Network, who started her first business selling T-shirts when she was 13. "Parents really need to be supportive of their kids."

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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