Do NOT smash creativity –> kidpreneurs & the wide open road

Last Friday, our country woke up to the devastating news of the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  For me, it was hard to concentrate on anything but the media coverage of this terrible natural disaster, and hoping and praying for the safety of those affected.  It is in times like these, that we are thankful for the little things in life, and take pleasure in what we have around us. I took comfort in my 2 boys and the opportunities that are in front of them.  The boys’ creativity, vibrancy, and outlook on the world is so reassuring.  I decided to reflect a bit on these 2 mini-entrepreneurs.

A few years back when my older son was in kindergarten, I had a good friend that worked at his school. This friend lived right near a place that sold my fave low-fat brownies (I know – they were probably 1000 calories a piece, but that is another blog).  It was a great set-up:  my friend would get a week’s supply of low-fat brownies, put them in my son’s backpack at school, and I would have my most indulgent nighttime snack all week-long.  It was my own personal low-fat brownie underground operation.  UNTIL, one day in the carpool lane, I received a phone call from another mom saying she owed me money for the chocolate treat?!?!? I had NO idea what she was talking about until I pulled up further in line and my son got in the car.

Guess What?  My son, who was 6 years old at the time, decided to turn the carpool waiting area into an entrepreneurial venture.  He opened up the packs of brownies (2 per pack) and sold 1 brownie for a dollar each!  At the time, there were still vending machines at school. so some kids had money for snacks, and for a few close friends, he issued credit.  When I suggested that he return the money, he said “No Way!”  He argued that the kids had their brownie and ate it, and it was only fair he keep the money.  What he did not account for was that I was his financial backer with the brownies, and he would have to take the initial investment out of the gross (his first lesson in biz).  This  was the day when I realized that I was dealing with a kidpreneur.

My older son is lucky to have a little brother that is never afraid to speak his mind, thinks out of the box, and acts as a “profit coach” of sorts. Together, the two boys make up a great pair – one is very serious and “crosses every T and dots every I”, and the other brings the ingenuity and creative thinking. They appear to be on equal footing in their biz ventures because each one holds a different skill set, and they realize that!  This is another valuable lesson in business for them – know your strengths and weaknesses and align yourself with someone who can fill your gaps.

My boys are known for their lemonade stand on the corner where our small street meets the main road.  As soon as it gets warm, we are carrying down all the supplies to the corner.  The little brother brings his unique skill set to the operation.  First of all, he is not one to be shy, so he chases down every jogger, person walking a dog, and car going by, haranguing them to buy lemonade.  Second, my little one took responsibility for instituting a price scale.  The boys charge 50 cents for a cup of lemonade, unless you are family or a close friend when is it is $1.  Yes, you heard me right — The friends and family discount is a $1. As always, I am the boys’ investor, and I still have to pay for a cup of lemonade.  Another business lesson here:  Never give anything away for free!  My boys apparently have their own “spark and hustle” going on…..

At some point, these 2 kidpreneurs are going to have to learn to raise their own capital.  In the meantime, they have moved into the service-based industry, and are doing quite well without needing anything to start their business up.  Their foray into this biz started with a “valet” service, in which they open and close your car doors as you come and go from our house, with a hand out for a TIP!  They have now moved into the biz of helping their grandparents with household work (carrying up laundry baskets, garbage removal, & grocery delivery).   They are SUPER SMART because they always pre-negotiate a rate before rendering services.

I know that you are thinking that they should probably do this free of charge for the grandparents, but it is a good lesson in promoting oneself, running a biz, and saving money.  Think about it?  The grandparents are always going to buy them little gifts, but this way, they are earning their own money and saving up!  The older one hangs onto the money and waits for a big splurge (basketball shoes) and the little one spends the money as soon as it comes in on whatever little trinket catches his eye.  We are working on saving with him!

I am fairly certain that start-up biz is in these kidpreneurs make-up, and the possibilities that are in front of them are infinite.  It is so awesome to watch these little biz guys grow up and learn life and biz lessons.  I want to be sure not to stifle this creativity and imagination EVER.  If your child has biz aspirations – here are a few steps that you can take with them to keep it going:

1)  Take children’s plans seriously.  Be a good listener and co-pilot.

2)  Help your child flush out their idea and set age appropriate goals.

3)  Do not discourage out-of-the-box thinking.

4)  Praise success and help your kids learn from their mistakes.

Our children are our future – Not only do we need to make sure that they are safe, but also that their ideas flourish.  There is a huge open road ahead of these mini-entrepreneurs.

{ 33 comments… add one }

  • Nicole March 14, 2011, 9:49 AM

    Wow. I am impressed. Your kids definitely have Spark and Hustle! Kudos to you for seeing this and encouraging it while teaching them lessons. I can’t wait til my little one gets a little older and see what develops!

    • Rachel Blaufeld March 14, 2011, 12:58 PM

      Nicole – With you as her mom, I know your little gal is going to be a savvy go-getter!
      We will have to skype again soon with the whole gang! RB

  • Kathy Osth March 14, 2011, 10:56 AM

    That is a classic photo of the boys!

  • Becky Parre March 14, 2011, 11:01 AM

    I so believe that kids know who they are and what they want to do! Unfortunate for some, a grown-up comes along and tells them they are not or can not. You have a great message!

    • Rachel Blaufeld March 14, 2011, 1:08 PM

      Becky – you are so right!! We have to keep ourselves from stealing that passion from them….RB

      Kathy – I love the photo, too! RB

  • Merlyn Sanchez March 14, 2011, 11:37 AM

    You offer great advice for the parents of a mini-entrepreneur.

    My son is also quite entrepreneurial and I have had to squelch my “protectiveness”. I always listened with an open-mind and asked questions to get him to think his idea through.

    He is now a very enthusiastic member of DECA (a high-school business organization) and is competing in the national event at the end of the month.

    • Rachel Blaufeld March 14, 2011, 1:06 PM

      Thanks Merlyn – so happy to hear that your son still enjoys his passion for creativity and is using it wisely! I hope that I can say the same when my boys are in high school. RB

  • Irene Turner March 14, 2011, 12:28 PM

    Lovely. I am sending this off to my daughter in-law as she is a big supporter of educating her children and supporting this. She and I both appreciate…and I can see your boys clearly! congrats!

    • Rachel Blaufeld March 14, 2011, 1:05 PM

      Irene – thanks for sharing with your daughter-in-law…I hope that she enjoys! RB

  • Alara Castell March 14, 2011, 2:24 PM

    This is so great! I am a big believer that when I have children to let them do their thing. I love that you let them do this and teach them at an early age about business and capital. It’s awesome. Parents need to let their kids talents shine and embrace them because we got some talent out there already. I hear about so many kids who start there own business and it’s fascinating.

    Alara K. Castell
    Your Sassy Spiritual Guide

  • Laurie Hurley March 14, 2011, 4:36 PM

    Your sons should partner with my daughter who bakes and charges me for her goods that I use of dessert at my networking meetings! I totally agree that supporting and mentoring kidpreneurs is a must – for them and their parents. It teaches such great life lessons. I love your sons’ “family discount”. Good stuff!

  • Haralee March 14, 2011, 7:28 PM

    Great post and picture! Some kids are fearless, and accept a ‘No’ with diplomacy, and move on. It is wonderful.

    • Rachel Blaufeld March 15, 2011, 6:54 AM

      Thanks Haralee — Amazing how tough kids can be — right? RB

  • Rachel Lavern March 14, 2011, 11:10 PM

    Your children show promise–making an impact with their gifts, talents and strengths. You may find a website that a family member really loves interesting:

    Rachel Lavern
    Personal Transformation, Enlightenment and Development Coach
    “Live without limits because nothing is impossible to you.”

    • Rachel Blaufeld March 15, 2011, 6:52 AM

      Rachel – funny that you mention that site …. my boys are reading the book and coming up with lots and lots of ideas!
      Yesterday, my 7 year old quoted, “you have to spend money, to get money.” HaHa. RB

  • Judy Stone-Goldman March 14, 2011, 11:53 PM

    I laughed at the brownie entrepreneur! My step-son was like this, riding his bike to the store to buy candy and then selling it to his brothers and sisters. He even learned to bake cookies so he could sell them! I admired his ingenuity.

    I think your attitude is great and your desire to nurture this way of being creative really honors your children’s spirit and spunk. Very enjoyable to read about.

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer
    Boundaries, Balance, and New Life Directions Through Writing

  • Janice Schwarz March 15, 2011, 7:55 AM

    Awesome kids!

    And this part, is so true for both individuals and their businesses: “This is another valuable lesson in business for them – know your strengths and weaknesses and align yourself with someone who can fill your gaps.”

    A SWOT analysis really is a great tool for a business owner. And it can even be applied on a personal level for self-examination. 🙂

  • Susan Berland March 15, 2011, 12:45 PM

    Your kids are so lucky to have you as their mom. I can only imagine some parents who would have crushed their spirits. You let them soar and teach them as well. Bravo!

  • Manhattan Beach Momma March 15, 2011, 1:18 PM

    You are definately the “fun” mom! I appreciated your ideas about how to encourage your kids entrepreneurial endeavors.


  • Barbara March 15, 2011, 4:24 PM

    Great posting. I’ll have to get my kids the kidpreneur book. They set up a lemonade stand last week and now can’t wait for the weather to get a little bit warmer again. Maybe we can put the 4 boys together and they’ll support us!

    • Rachel Blaufeld March 16, 2011, 9:25 AM

      That’s right Barb! Next time Five Guys can be the boys treat! RB

  • Louise Edington March 15, 2011, 7:18 PM

    I totally agree about encouraging all this! My kids seem to have lost the entrepreneurial spirit lately after years of sale stands of various kinds when they were younger. Think I’ll work on encouraging again. Looking back I always had it and lost it for a while too so maybe it’s always bound to reappear! I ran a youth club kind of thing in my playroom when I was around 10. Charged admission, borrowed a record player and records and bought cookies and lemonade to give out for entry fee. Hmmm that has set me thinking..
    Louise Edington
    Finding YOUR Freedom

  • Pat Zahn March 15, 2011, 11:38 PM

    Rachel – you need to post that “walking away” shot of your boys on my FB page: http// – I just posted that I’d love to see some there! I love their entrepeneurial spirit and you’re right we have to encourage our kidpreneurs.

    • Rachel Blaufeld March 16, 2011, 9:24 AM

      Thanks Pat — I will post photo for you! Such a cute shot….RB

  • Rita Brennan Freay March 16, 2011, 12:02 AM

    Wow, how cool of your kids!! My daughter loved her lemonade stand…actually still does..although her prices are a bit high these days (to make up for the time she is not selling)…lol! BUT, she makes her own beverages, signs, and money jar…loving every minute of it. It was all new to me and we just went with it, thinking it would pass…but 5 years later she still likes to do it! Now she will have 3 little ones following her…trying to cut in on her profits..rofl! Fully agree, we need to encourage the creativity and hear them out – allowing them to do their thing – with our support.

    Rita Brennan Freay

  • Brandy Mychals March 16, 2011, 12:18 PM

    Funny post, love the picture of the boys! I’ve had similar experiences with my daughter. I remember helping her with a lemonade stand where she requesting I jump around and attract attention so she could just handle the money. Another time she was walking toward a “customer” and I was saying something to her and she turned back to me, very serious and said, “Mom, this is business…” Too funny!
    Brandy Mychals
    Speaker, Author, Communications Coach
    Creator of Split Second Perceptions

  • Robbie Schlosser March 17, 2011, 11:44 AM

    Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for such an interesting story. Congrats to the boys for having fun with their ingenuity, resourcefulness, and determination. And congrats to you for making their experiences so educational! Setting a great example.

  • Julie labes March 17, 2011, 7:54 PM

    Don’t know what happened to me earlier comment

    My son started selling candy at school when he was 13 ..with the money he earned from they he bought owned and operated his own candy/gumball machine business which he now plans to sell as he goes off to college. I encouraged his entrepreneurial spirit and am so happy he has that in him now. Congrats to you for doing the same for your kids. I think it is so impoertant today for kids to ‘think outside the box” and not to buy that old line of..go to work for a good company and stay for 40 years…it doesn’t work like that these days!

  • Donna McCord March 17, 2011, 8:37 PM

    When my daughter was little she used to come up with ideas for earning money all the time! She would do neighborhood car washes, garage sales and a lemonade stand (with cookies too no less!). I think because we own our own business she picked up that entrepreneurial spirit and we did encourage her to have those experiences. Now, as she is getting ready to graduate from college, she is still thinking in terms of having her own business and we will see what happens next! I think it’s great how your sons are having fun with this and also how they are working together — that is so wonderful and they are fortunate that you are supporting their efforts!

  • Fiona Stolze March 18, 2011, 7:11 AM

    I am so impressed by what your kids bring to the table Rachel. Makes me stop and think about what my kids do. One is on the internet trying to squeeze every penny out of others in online symbolic transactions. Time to look upon this with new eyes and support him.

    There were quite a few lessons in this post Rachel, for both adults and kids. Thanks so much for sharing. Going to share this one too. x

    Fiona Stolze
    Inspired Art and Living

  • Darcie Newton March 18, 2011, 2:38 PM

    Fabulous post that reminded me of a project we did with our girls a few years back. Both crafty, our girls decided they wanted to have a booth at our local street fair. We arranged for them to get a booth at cost and decided what craft they were going to sell. The experience led us into discussions of investment capital vs. loans, profit margins, being the employee vs. the owner of the business and much more.

    I agree with you, teaching our young ones to handle money and nurturing their budding entrepreneurial-ism is important.

    Darcie Newton
    Discipline for profit, none for jammy zins or memorable necklaces

  • Alicia Dunams March 24, 2011, 10:59 AM

    My daughter has been a song writer since age 6 – and her stuff is good! I’ve encouraged her to write everything in Google Docs, and even work with her music teacher to write music to it. I told her that these songs may not be songs she sings, but are examples of intellectual property. Other pop stars can buy her music and she can make residual income through usage.

    We need to encourage creativity, as well as give them the practical and business know-how to take it to the next level.

    Thank you.

  • Mindy June 1, 2011, 9:23 PM

    I never knew JB was selling the brownies! They were the best!


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