Ah, summertime. That magical time of year when schools are out, and kids are underfoot. It can be challenging for adults who are trying to balance work, life and the profoundly out-of-whack expectations of children who are used to being stimulated and entertained non-stop from 8am-3pm M-F. So, when life gives you one eternal request to play Fortnite, make your child get a summer job. And not just any position. One they brainstorm, construct, operate and execute all by themselves! Introduce them to the joys (and endless opportunities to learn about problem-solving, resilience and independence) of joining the world of entrepreneurs.
(Parental) help not wanted
The key is to let your kids take the lead on their business, so they feel ownership of the creative and financial benefits. Here are a few helicopter-parent-free steps from the founders of Kidpreneurs that you can take to get your child off to a great start before you let them take the reins:
- Give them space to brainstorm
- Teach them about setting goals
- Support their ups and downs with the entrepreneurial mindset (failure=success)
- Write a business plan
- Invest in them
Products and service ideas are everywhere. Sure, when you hear “kidpreneur,” you immediately think of lemonade stands, but what about coaxing your kids into pushing past the obvious with their imaginations? What do they enjoy? What have they outgrown? Have them look around in their rooms, in their closets, under their beds (if they dare). What combinations of old things can they use to create a new invention that people might be interested? What is your child great at that many adults aren’t? Making photo books? Helping troubleshoot IT problems? Kids during the summer are uniquely blessed with “time” a thing adults are so busy squandering. What if your kid offered to do odd jobs and run errands for a family friend? That’s what TaskRabbit does. Get your child going on the gig economy! Freelance is the future!
For more ideas for your child’s summer side hustle, check out this article. What about a used toy market, a dog-walking business, lawn-mowing, pet or babysitting, eBay selling, baking, or can recycling?
Don’t forget to have fun with the marketing! These two kids have even made a “how to” video for a lemonade stand. Pro Tip: “The less you charge for lemonade, the more tips you’ll get.” Adults are suckers for handmade signs, but if your kids are interested in stepping up the professionalism, Canva is a great website for making cool-looking flyers and web materials for free. Paperless Post also has a cool Flyer feature where you can invite people to an event (say if your child decides to host an event to make money – outdoor movie, theatrical production, bake sale). And if you want to get professional, you can print reasonably-priced business cards, postcards, and stickers at Moo.
S’more inspiration for entrepreneurs
Take a look at this adorable idea that came from the pantry and resourceful daughter of a friend of mine: Sasha’s S’mores Sets. These mason-jarred goodies were the brainchild of Sasha, a creative 5th grader who loves crafting and was looking to make a little extra cash. She had her mom send out an email blast with photographs to generate leads and then wowed customers with deliveries made by Sasha herself: “This easy s’mores set will get you prepared for those hot summer nights when you just need a s’more. Shasa’s s’more kit makes four ooey gooey s’mores. In every s’mores kit contains eight halved graham crackers, four mini bars of Hershey’s chocolate and four marshmallows. Please contact my mom, and I will deliver to you. They are $8/ea.”
Advice from the mother of all entrepreneurs
We’re talking about Eve Branson here, literally the mother of one of the world’s most adventurous and fearless entrepreneurs, Richard Branson. “Ricky” as his mom calls him, has failed spectacularly many times in his career (check out a long list of them here) but believes these failures enabled him to succeed spectacularly in the end. He’s worth $5 billion as we speak, so, so what if Virgin Cola, Virgin Vodka, and Virgin Brides were all flops! They were all opportunities to learn, according to him. Here’s a little parenting inspiration about letting your child “fail” from a letter his mom Eve wrote to him.