By Dallas Crilley is a 15-year old kidpreneur from Dallas. He’s a much sought after motivational speaker and the author of Kidpreneur—Genius Ways for Kids to Pay Their Way Through College. It’s available at bookstores or www.kidpreneurclub.com
Calling all kids! It’s time to put down the video games, stop chatting with your friends on the computer and do something more meaningful.
As a 15-year old boy, I can tell you that I’m seriously worried about my generation. It’s different than any other in history — most of my friends expect their parents to do everything for them. Their idea of being motivated is getting up the energy to ask mom or dad for money! It’s ridiculous, and if things don’t change this country is in serious trouble.
Think about it. Most grown-ups are in credit card debt now. Just imagine how bad it’s going to be when my generation gets its hands on a few charge cards. I’m a part of the instant gratification generation, and it’s only going to get worse.
We have to teach children the value of a dollar and help them understand that making money is fun. Kids are born entrepreneurs. Just about everyone had a babysitting job, ran a lemonade stand or sold cookies door to door. However, instead of encouraging the “kidpreneur” in their child, many parents send their kids to the mall to get a job in a store and suddenly work becomes a drag.
I’ve spent the last year studying teenage entrepreneurs and I’ve discovered a pattern. The ones who are successful are the ones who turned their passions into profits. They didn’t start their business looking to make money. They did what they loved and the money followed.
Computer legend Michael Dell is a great example. According to his official biography, he was just 12 years old when he first started delivering newspapers. He soon discovered that the real money wasn’t in delivering papers, but in selling subscriptions. He noticed that the people most likely to buy were either newlyweds or couples just moving in.
He thought to himself, “There must be a place where this information is stored.” He decided to jump on his bike and pedal down to the courthouse where he found the office of marriage licenses and real estate transactions. He started copying down names and addresses and then pedaled over to their house to close the sale. Soon it was no longer worth his time to do the research, so he started hiring other little boys to bike down to the courthouse and bring back the information. According to his bio, Michael Dell was making more than his principal by the time he graduated high school.
Here are the lessons I learned from Michael Dell and dozens of other teenage tycoons:
FOLLOW YOUR HEART
Parents should ask their children what they would do with their lives if money didn’t matter. The answer is usually very revealing. If the child says they would work with pets, perhaps they would be interested in starting a pet sitting or dog walking business. If they tell you they would play video games, maybe they could start a business tutoring younger kids on how to take their game to the next level.
ENCOURAGE THE KIDPRENEUR IN YOUR CHILD
Don’t discount your child’s idea. Grown-ups are great at telling children why something won’t work. I know that you’re trying to keep your child from failing, but remember, childhood is when dreams need to be nurtured. I’ve always believed that for every person who is out there saying something can’t be done, there’s someone else who’s already out there doing it.
GROW YOUR WINGS
Children will create businesses that don’t work out, and that’s okay; that’s where the learning happens. You always learn more from the failures in life than the successes. Just encourage your child to jump from the nest and trust that they will build their wings on the way down.
Now the question is, what are you going to do with this information? We suffer from the same vitamin deficiency: Vitamin A—Action. If you want to really help your child, you’ll love them enough to encourage them to go for it. Who knows? You may discover your child is born to do business and if you’re lucky, they’ll be able to take their passion and sell like Dell.
Dallas Crilley is a 15-year old kidpreneur from Dallas. He’s a much sought after motivational speaker and the author of Kidpreneur—Genius Ways for Kids to Pay Their Way Through College. It’s available at bookstores or www.kidpreneurclub.com
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