My older two boys were always asking us for money until we put a stop to it and taught them how to handle money. They are doing a great job at handling and saving money. Now I think that it is time to teach them about entrepreneurship. I know that my job as a father is to teach them to know what to do with money. I think that it is time for them to learn to create their own wealth and create their own source of multiple income.
I did not learn about entrepreneurship until 2002 when I was getting my MBA. I always taught that I should get a good education and find a good job. I was programmed with this mentality in school, from my parents and society. A lot has changed since 2003. While getting my MBA, I started to question this wisdom. I was learning and paying more attention to people who had started their own businesses. I had a good job (I am still at the same company) and they were paying for my MBA, but I was not fulfilled. I needed to get more out of life.
I started to think about my childhood and remembered that I used to be a child entrepreneur. I used to do a lot of things to make money on my own to buy the things that I wanted. I was not given everything like a lot of children these days.
Here are a few of my “child businesses”:
- Paper Boy Mogul: A lot of kids have been paperboys (do we still have these?). I took it one step further. I signed up for a few different paper routes and would sign up other neighborhood kids to deliver the papers. I would pay them but would take a cut. I would sign up kids for a different days of the week and make money off of their hard work. I was managing them. I would give them bonuses based on how punctual they were and based on feedback from the customers.
- Neighborhood Gardner: This was another early venture. I set up and organized a team of some kids and we would hang fliers and go door to door looking for work. The work we did would be to pull weeds, cut lawns and water flowers. I think that we called ourselves “The Weed Patrol.” (I didn’t say I was keen on marketing yet!)
- Bottle Collector: We had a county park near where I lived and on weekend mornings I would go to the park to collect bottles. This was the late 1970’s and many of the teenagers hung out in the park and drank beer. I would get there early and go from can to can to collect the bottles (cans were not refundable back then). I was doing pretty good at this until other kids found out what I was doing and they started to do it. I tried to “organize” them but that didn’t work out.
- Street Vendor: There was a lot of building of homes in adjacent neighborhoods and I took advantage of this. I had a small group of kids that would go to the construction sites and sell cold soda on hot days and coffee on cold days. We expanded to sandwiches and chips. Things really started to take off but we were inconsistent and the construction workers complained that we weren’t there everyday.
I got back to my roots in the years following 2003. I have started a few businesses and hope to remove myself from the corporate world in the next 18 months. I have a few ventures that look promising and I think that I can do it.
I also want to teach my children to be entrepreneurs. The fact that I have been with the same company almost 20 years is a rarity these days. My children, more than likely, will not follow me in being a life employee of a company. I need to teach them to create their own paths. I must give them the skills to create wealth for themselves. Today, most kids that I know have more opportunity for learning than I had when I was growing up. They are more technological savvy and have more experience with life so, perhaps, have brighter and richer future.
I think tomorrow I will teach my boys about fulfillment in one’s work and start setting up plans with them on how to make their first million.