Most entrepreneurs share similar stories about their earliest entrepreneurial adventures from their youth.
These stories are often about selling something to their classmates and/or door to door in their neighborhood.
Don’t think I’ve ever heard one about selling lemonade though.
So how does one encourage their child to make similar memories and potentially tap into an entrepreneurial spirit that will undoubtedly help them later in life?
For us, phase one of the process was introducing an allowance system a few years ago.
Teaching the kiddo about money, giving her a mechanism to save and spend it as she sees fit has been amazing.
I’m pretty sure my daughter has a better understanding of income and spending, specifically spending less than you make, than most of my own adult peers.
Understanding money, it’s value and all of that has helped to fuel her desire to generate more income.
More money above and beyond her allowance means she can buy more squishies or whatever the next big trend in blind bags will be.
I know I’m infuriating anti-capitalists right now, but we’re not pushing an agenda of greed. Quite the opposite as money is a means to an end in regard to having some stability in life.
We do encourage charity and the concept that being able to generate more income means that you can, in fact, have more that you can be charitable with.
Not just that, this entire exercise is teaching self-reliance and sustainability. There’s not a damned thing wrong with being able to provide for oneself.
Okay, so allowance was the first phase. Now that she has a good understanding of money, the next logical step is to generate income beyond her fixed rate of allowance, which is only $5.50 per week until she turns 12.
This is where things get a bit harder. It’s not all that easy to for an 11 year old to generate income especially as the only one of her peers that receives an allowance and has disposable income to spend.
In the past I’ve offered her opportunities to make some additional money by doing chores that I didn’t want to do. Unfortunately, those opportunities never sparked her to alert me of things she could be doing that I could be paying her for.
Nothing wrong with that, as it was established that her allowance while not being directly tied to chores, is paid because she does help out around the house.
Fortunately, as of late, she’s been sharing some ideas with me on how she can make a few extra bucks on the side:
- Making and selling slime
- Making and selling Rainbow Loom pencil toppers
- Selling her old toys on eBay instead of giving them away
While these ideas aren’t terrible, they are limited by her being home schooled and not having a network of classmates to market to as well as being at an age where she’s not really sure / doesn’t have access to doing certain things.
I can argue that it’s also on us as parents to jump in and do a decent amount of the work to encourage these ideas and help turn them into a reality.
With that, StickerMule was having a sale this past Fourth of July week (like every other week, amirite?) and I thought “hey, you draw, why don’t we try selling some stickers!”.
A bit of back story here. I have a tattoo on my leg of a couple of robots that the kiddo drew a few years ago. It absolutely looks like a kid’s drawing but that’s part of the charm.
It’s pretty much the only tattoo I get any compliments on anymore.
There’s something to be said about a child’s freedom when it comes to art that generally can’t be matched by an adult.
So that’s what we set out to do, design a sticker together and see if we can move a few units to friends and family (scroll down for obligatory up sell ;)
We’re still early in the process but thus far, my daughter has drawn a super cute robot that looks a bit like the Prince from Katamari (as per the designer).
I was able to step in and digitize / vectorize the artwork, get it setup on StickerMule’s template and get it ordered (thus funding the first order).
The munch got final approval on the proof ;)
Since then, I’ve helped get her Etsy store going, got the products listed, ran out to get envelopes and index cards for thank you notes and have put together a spreadsheet to track P&L. The wife and I have also been tapping our networks to get some early sales.
Million thanks to Lindsey, Teresa and Grandma & Grandpa Rita for the support :)
When the stickers arrive next week, the kiddo will be writing thank you notes and stuffing envelopes and the wife will be on top of the shipping.
Teamwork makes the dream work as they say.
While trying to spark her entrepreneurial spirit I lost cite of the fact that sometimes people need to be shown the way. Teach a man to fish (as they also say).
With coming in and running the show for a minute while handing over the tools and techniques to do it herself, I suspect over time she’ll be able to step up and own the entire end to end process.
All of that being said, if you’d like to help support a youngster’s entrepreneurial journey, you can pick up a sticker here :)