Recently my 9 year old daughter decided it was time to start earning her own money. In the spirit of self-initiated purpose, she didn’t consider working for someone else and began to ponder earning opportunities. She read a couple books on ‘business for kids’, used Google for some ideas and discussed it with us. The most obvious question was “what do you enjoy doing?” My husband often tells the kids “do what you love, the money will come”. While we do encourage fiscal responsibility, we also balance it out with an emphasis on enjoying our lives. I remind them to “Chase the dream, not the dollar” because if you achieve the dream, the dollar is a natural consequence. And so my daughter began to think about what she enjoys doing, and how to turn her passion into an income.
Some critical peers began to suggest that she may be too young for that sort of thing. “Shouldn’t she be concentrating on her studies?” one said.
And I thought about how many high-school and college kids are probably told “Don’t worry about that now, you just concentrate on passing your midterms, or writing your paper” and this is interesting and slightly disturbing to me but of course I shrug the criticisms and move forward.
So I watched and provided necessary support as she tried her hand at making bows and barrettes, then jewelery and even some doll clothes… but none of these activities really worked out. She wasn’t all that impressed with the outcome and found herself getting bored and frustrated with the process rather quickly. I simply encouraged her to keep trying and not stress over it.
After some time, she found soap-making! This seems to be it for her right now and I am very proud to say that my girl has been doing a great job of opening her own business.
I want to add that there has been very little input from me and my husband. This project has almost entirely been hers. We stood by, were there when she needed suggestions, help or a ride to the craft store – but mostly we just observed and let it happen. I will admit I often wondered if she’d run out of steam or if I’d find myself consoling her after something fell flat. I also wondered if it will fizzle out being that it took a few months to really put it all together; but it has been going remarkably well and I’m very proud of her patience, tenacity and determination.
What’s more, she seems to really know what she’s doing. After having done considerable research…reading, looking up other kid entrepreneurs and asking questions of her two entrepreneur parents… she is applying what she has learned very well!
But more than business research, she also utilized books, magazines, Youtube, craft blogs etc… to learn how to improve her soap making designs and the quality of her product. We did help her understand how to price her products fairly, but she did the math on her own and figured out what her cost was and how to decide on a reasonable profit after cost for materials was covered. I was also impressed to watch her separate her profit into ‘business money’ and ‘money for me’.
Sure she spends some of it right away, but there is also savings and money to turn over into replenishing her supplies.
In review – my 9 year old daughter just opened her own business.
In the process she:
- researched business strategy
- experienced trial and error until it was ‘right’
- researched her art and how to improve the product
- conceptualized her ideas and figured out to create them
- designed her business card
- saved her money and purchased her materials
- figured out how to split profit from expenses
- practiced a really cute ‘sales pitch’
- experienced the inexplicable sense of accomplishment that comes only from earning profit on your very own hard work
- and is currently exploring and learning how to choose and design a website to showcase her products
This serves as yet another reason that I have to laugh whenever I think of the common question asked of home educators “but how will they learn?”
Filed Under: How to Home Ed
About the Author: Laurette Lynn is the Unplugged Mom© Founder of UnpluggedMom.com and Host and founder of Unplugged Mom Radio© Learn more about Laurette Lynn by clicking here.
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