Set Goals for Success
It is never too early to teach a child about money. After all, they have seen you participate in transactions from a very early age. Creating an opportunity for them to learn about money is easy and fun. If your child seems receptive, providing a business opportunity is the ideal lesson. No business can be successful without a plan drawn up. So let’s explain how to set goals to get the business off the ground.
My seven year old has begun a business breeding guppies and selling them. We first started out making a list. The list contained topics such as what she would do with the profit and how much equipment she would need to get started. We had a lot of fun researching and listing, and best of all; shopping. Initially we went window shopping. This helped give her a sense of what things would cost. This also helped us set an initial budget goal to work with. She worked around the house earning the money to get her basic supplies and a couple fish to get started.
Teaching How to Budget
Children are absorbent little sponges when it comes to information. What they learn in life, is what they see around them. Rather than scooting them immediately from your home office when preparing to balance your checkbook, or sort through receipts, take time to explain what it is you are doing. Show them the check register, show them how you file the receipts. They will observe and listen and soon find what you are doing to be less interesting than the activity they walked away from in the neighboring room. Now that you’ve explained, they have learned a life lesson, and you assured yourself enough time to finish the project at hand.
What do you do to budget? What can you do to teach your child how to budget? Let’s use the example of a child’s small business. Such as in the business my daughter started, you need to work with a budget to be successful. We looked at all the items we needed to get a very basic setup going. The container, a net, some gravel and some food along with a pair of guppies. That is bare bones basic, but that too was a lesson for her. You can’t wave a magic wand and get instant gratification just because it’s what you want. Now she has something to look forward to; something to work toward. She still needs another container to separate the female fish from the male fish upon the arrival of the little ones. Again, a list of chores and duties are made up with values attached. For example scooping the litter box is valued at twenty-five cents. She is learning a new responsibility, how often the box needs to be scooped, and the value of this duty.
The money is saved and the container is purchased, and just in time! The small fry are beginning to arrive! As I scoop them to their new home, there are squeals of delight. Each fish rapidly arrives as if to roll out from the size of the period at the end of this sentence. All that is visible now is eyes and a tail. These creatures are so very small. Yet another beautiful life lesson. So many questions. So many answers. As she counts the fry, she is exclaiming how much money she will make.
As she saved her money, she had several different jars for the different things she was saving for. She wanted spending money available to her as she saved. For each quarter, a nickel went into her spending jar. It was interesting to observe her logic. In the end, she chose not to frivolously spend, and it all went toward her business.
Cameron Herold talks about harnessing a child’s creativity through entrepreneurship. Find something your child likes and show them the sky is the limit. When I told my daughter I bred guppies as a kid, she thought that sounded fun. She went several steps further by purchasing wide-mouth mason jars and creatively placing ribbons around the top with various charms and used several different gravel colors for each jar. She markets the fish as a pet you can watch grow from a little tiny spot swimming in the water to a beautifully colored, easy-to-care-for fish. She learned through her sales experience, that the more unique the presentation, the higher the sales percentage. With the jars, her customers get a small care package complete with food and instructions. She also includes a handmade business card with her phone number for future orders or other necessary communications. She has sold quite a few jars at our local farmer’s market. She has done so well in fact, that she ran out of inventory until just a few days ago when twenty new fry were born. They won’t be ready for at least a few weeks. She makes sure they are good and strong before she allows them to be adopted out.
For any relationship, whether it be with your child, your child’s teacher, your community, you know that effective communication is important. Just telling someone you are selling a mason jar of microscopic-sized fish will not score you an automatic sale. My daughter learned that by explaining how she independently raised the small fry from birth to the several months old;she peaked her customers’ interest. By eloquently describing how the customer is going to enjoy feeding and caring for their fish; how easy they are to own, she makes the sale. By displaying her knowledge with confidence, not arrogance, she gains respect and customers. Mind you, being seven, not forty helps as well.
A toddler hears “no” exclaimed often as they explore their environment. Some experts say praising your child too much is not good, while other experts say spouting off “no” makes your kid less intelligent. Finding a balance could be as simple as focusing on the child’s confidence. Are you saying no out of fear the child might get hurt? Are you saying no out of fear the child may damage something? The core emotion could be fear. Alleviating that fear could be as simple as praising you both for your hard work in all that you both do. Defining boundaries before exploration at any age is a healthy approach to building confidence. Both for you and your child. Continue communicating about the day’s occurrences and life in general. Communicating with your child from infancy makes for a smarter child. Your child will have the communication skills necessary to confidently communicate and interact with others effectively.
Healthy Creative Boundaries Harvest Success
Who says we need chores to learn life’s lessons? When I was a child I got a dollar every Saturday. The requirement to receiving the weekly dollar was that no matter what amount of chores I did, or did not do throughout the week, my room had to be clean (my two younger brothers’ room had to also be clean). What did we kids learn from that? Well my little brothers used to shove everything under their beds and hope that my father would not look there. This became an all day ordeal. I soon learned that I needed to keep my room neat throughout the week so that I had the two hour slot open Saturday morning to clean my brothers’ room. That way I could take my dollar to the local convenience store and blow it on candy. When that was no longer fulfilling, I began selling things door-to-door. That experience was very good for me. Taught me some great skills I still use today.
By letting our children explore the ownership of their own company, whether it just be a lemonade stand or a future million dollar company; the experience will be a viable childhood experience. Take Isabella Weems for example, She is the founder of Origami Owl, a direct selling company. She started the company with the desire to buy a truck at the age of fourteen. The company is now flourishing. While I see this as a trend, the point is, a child started this company and is undoubtedly learning some great lessons about life.
- Social Skills
- Replacing Currency for Exchange of Services
These are just some of the important attributes to be carried on into adulthood. It is Fun! Fun learning! I have never heard a kid who has their own business say they dread making money or they dread having such responsibilities. They love it!
Encourage a child and a child will be encouraging.