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The interesting journey to raising kid entrepreneurs

By Yetty Williams
15 June 2019   |   3:28 am
As an entrepreneur myself, I have learnt so much from my journey of raising kid entrepreneurs. Truly, parents influence their children based on what they know or what they are willing to learn.

As an entrepreneur myself, I have learnt so much from my journey of raising kid entrepreneurs. Truly, parents influence their children based on what they know or what they are willing to learn.

It all started last summer when the children asked us what they were going to do for the summer and if they were travelling. I told them that travelling is expensive and if they wanted to go, what would they do to help?

After some thought, they said they would raise some money and would do so by selling slime. Dad was totally on board too. We supported them by helping them get the supplies that they needed. They got to work and started making loads of slime. Then the selling started.As Kid Entrepreneurs they learnt their first lesson. Because you are selling does not mean someone will buy.

Demand was not high because everyone (their friends) was already making slime. Secondly, parents were not really willing to buy slime for their children. They also realised that they could not sell enough to make the total they were trying to achieve.They could have given up! But nope that was not an option. We discussed what else they could make and sell? I told them that their dad and I would add to what they make if we saw them working hard to achieve their goals.

This was the next lesson they learnt. The goal remained the same, the road there would just be slightly different. This is what pivoting means, sometimes you have to change direction. I am in my element here by the way; as I am able to pull out all the teachable lessons from these experiences.

So they decided to start making and selling artwork. They started with their aunties, uncles and grandmas. We also agreed that if they hit their target and surpass it the additional money would be spending money.

It was a great experience for them as they learned what it takes to earn. They also practised teamwork as they distributed the work between themselves. Someone focused on making the artwork while another was better at marketing and finding customers.Fast-forward to this summer and the conversation has come up again. They have started their artwork sales again. This year they decided that they need to brand their artwork and have created their own labels!

Setting Goals
From my end, I increased the goal and the number of artwork they must sell this year. We also talked about who they would sell to. In reality, though their aunties and uncles love them, would they really want to buy the same type of painting again? So this year they have decided to do some more customisation and also offering their old customers to buy for someone else. Lastly, they decided they have to try and sell to more people than last year. In addition to aunties and uncles, they started marketing their artwork to more people.

Their first stop was to ask me to put it on my Instagram page. I posted it there and then they waited. No one slid into my DM to order.
This was another exciting teachable moment for me. I told them that having a lot of followers on social media does not mean that when you put an item for sale people will buy. Instagram is not something that is passive, you have to work it!

I could tell they wanted to rely on just that channel – my Instagram page. When it didn’t work we discussed alternatives. The sales have been going on and the excitement and sense of accomplishment they feel with each new sale is awesome to see.

What Are The Big Lessons?
. Creativity- Kid entrepreneurs like all entrepreneurs need some creativity. Creativity cannot be outsourced, everyone needs to use some in everything that they do. I saw the way my daughter would craft the messages to the customers through my WhatsApp. She would say things like “Dear Aunty S, we would love for you to get some of our artwork; we can customise it for you and please do share with your other art-loving friends.” Real Aww

I mean, who wouldn’t buy with this message?
But in reality, some did not buy! which is fine. That is life right? Not everyone will buy what you are selling. Some of these lessons are just as important as academics! Of course, they are building their math and writing skills here! Calculating totals, writing their pitches (okay I am getting a little over-excited here), but you get the idea.

. Work Experience- I truly believe that children need to get work experience early, ideally, we should not wait till they are in their 20’s before they hold their first job. Apart from learning a good work ethic, they also learn the value of hardwork and what it takes to earn. Throughout this sales process, they are seeing that it takes quite a bit to earn enough to get what they want.

I noticed that last summer their attitude to spending changed. We would go shopping, or we would ask them for toll money and they would be like “why is that so expensive” and we had some interesting conversations on the reason why roads had tolls anyway! Valuable skills.

. Confidence- As kid entrepreneurs they are learning to be self-confident, to be bold, to ask for what they want and to take feedback. They are learning to be creative, for example, they decided to offer a discount if their customers buy two pieces of artwork.

Have I said how proud I am of them and how they have thrown themselves into this? I have also used this time to show them some stories of other Kid Entrepreneurs to encourage them.Their customer service skills are also improving. Many of the things that adults need to be successful include grit, resilience and understanding the value of money. These are things that cannot be downloaded; they only come from experience.

Honestly, some of the things they have learnt already I wish I had learnt as a child.
They are learning that you can turn your talent into value and that you can create anything you wish. They want larger size canvases now so that they can make masterpieces that they plan to sell for a much larger amount. Also sharing their research about artists who can sell masterpieces for huge amounts.

Other things they have learnt are that you can change your offering where possible, some of their clients want specific colours. They are learning that being polite and pleasant opens up doors and makes people want to deal with you. They handled all communication themselves, I did not do any for them, they had to contact everyone themselves. All using my phone.

Keep Records
They have a sales notebook where they are recording all their sales, interested people and the orders placed. I also explained the concept of sales versus profit. In addition, they understand that they need to capture the cost of buying the supplies and ensure they are selling at a profit.

Lastly, a sale is only final when the transfer has been made, Someone saying they want to buy is not the same as when payment has been made. So no counting your eggs before they are hatched.

Marketing Deconstructed
Marketing can be a big word or concept, in reality, it is really just the steps you take to connect your products to the people who want to buy.

What I probably love the most is the gleam in their eyes when they make a sale! And yes they enjoy their summer experience so much more because they were a part of the process.Do you want to buy a piece of artwork from my kid entrepreneurs? DM me @lagosmums.

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