I love it when my kids show a tendency towards entrepreneurship. One of the things I hope to accomplish by homeschooling is helping them to think outside the box when it comes to making money (which seems essential this day and age).
Instead of the tired paradigm “If I want money I need to find someone who will hire me to do something they want me to do”, the entrepreneur thinks this way: “I need to figure out what people want and provide it – then bill ‘em!”
This shows itself up in our daily lives frequently around here.
One reason is because, since I pay them an allowance, I expect them to buy “extras” from their own money. Hunger Games trading cards? A Hello Kitty backpack when you already have 2 perfectly functional backpacks at home? I would no rather pay for those than I would buy a unicorn.
This creates motivation.
11 year old Julien has a lively eBay business. His inventory was initially clutter around his room. But now, he has figured out how to get stuff cheaply from China and resell it at a nice markup to US customers.
This kid also buys big bags of gumballs or chocolate at the grocery store on sale, and selling them off piecemeal to eager but not as creative customers (read: his 12 and 9 year old sisters!).
Just yesterday the oldest decided he wanted a Netflix account. He knew they offered a free one month trial, so he signed up using his debit card (he has a “MONEY” checking account just for teens from ING, and that’s how I pay his allowance). He intends to cancel before the month is out, but not before he saw an opportunity to earn some cash from his siblings who were eager to take advantage! I overheard him charging the younger ones a penny for a minute of use. 30 minutes of SpongeBob = .30 for him. Not bad considering he has no operating costs – and with several TV-starved siblings, this could add up quick!
These kids have a definite advantage going for them. The cuteness factor, for one. When we go to a yard sale, people give them stuff for free. Just last weekend, Sadie got a free umbrella (that she had been asking me to give her for months with no success), Julien got a free backpack and they get free toys and tchotchkes all the time. All they do is ask how much an item costs and they typically take it home for nothing.
My kids are quick to complain about the dark side of child labor laws. Caleb, who will be 14 in June, would love to work for a decent wage if there were opportunities to do so. This is something I regret about our modern society.
Sometimes when my kids are asking me for something a little frivolous or inconvenient, I remind them of my hourly wage and ask them if they would be willing to pay me for my time. That cuts out a lot of errands!
I want my kids to learn that at its essence, making money is less about trading time for dollars and more about good ideas.
What do you do to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship in your kids?