Teaching Business Skills to 9 Year Old Child Entrepreneurs

I asked the little kid if he wanted to know how I made money. He said Yes. ‘It’s called Google Adsense. It’s real simple…’

Parents who run their own business want to share what they’ve learnt with their children. You want what’s best for them, what you didn’t have growing up. In short, a better life. Did your parents explain to you how to run a business? Ever wish they had? Even secretly?
Spring Seeds

Ireland – The Way it Used to Be

No one in my family, or even in my extended family, had run a business when I was growing up. They were 9-5ers. Older folks worked for companies like Guinness all their life. You got a job. That was it. A combination of factors disallowed them from improving their situation. Religion, education and our location on the edge of Europe all played a part. But it was more than that, if we were really honest.

USA – The Way it Could Be

I moved to the US in my 20s. California to be precise. Pretty soon I was working at Intel, NEC and other IT firms. Some days I’d wake up and wonder how I’d went from a small town in the west of Ireland to working with some of the smartest people on the planet.

Once I got enough work under my belt, I went solo and started as a contractor.

Then I hired some other technical writers and took on small projects, building up our portfolio and attracting larger clients. We weren’t rich but it was great to have some control of where things were going.

And running my own little business gave that feeling of ‘doing something worth doing and doing right every time’. A feeling I didn’t always get working for others.

How to Share What You Don’t Know

Later when I returned to Ireland I would ‘share’ what I’d learned with my former school mates and family.

‘How did you learn all this stuff?’ someone asked after I told them about going to visit MacroMedia (now Adobe). Again, I shared what I knew. And then it hit me.

You can’t share what you don’t know.

My parents had no experience of commerce, of contract negotiations, of any type of business. Other people did ‘business’. They ‘worked’.

Even if they wanted to – and I’m sure they did – they couldn’t explain to me how to get out of the 9-5 and setup my own business.

How to Share What You Know

There is a scene in the Jim Carrey Movie Liar Liar where all the kids explain what their parents do for a living. He’s a Lawyer/Liar, get it?

I asked our son what he thought I did.

‘Surf the web?’

How do you explain that you sell digital products online to a 9 year old? The next day I showed him some of the things I do online. One was Google AdSense.
‘You put the ads on your site, people click them, and you make money.’

‘That’s it?’

‘That’s it.’

Later that same day he asked me if it was ok to click his own ads. I didn’t get it at first.

What he’d done was copy and pasted my Google Ads into his blog.

Clever!

He was using Blogger.com (but since moved to Posterous as he prefers the interface!) and could add text into the side bar. The Adsense ads were proudly displayed down the nav bar. He sat there waiting for his buddies to click on them and the money to come in.

‘No, you can’t. It’s against the rules.’

‘So, what do you do?’

I showed him how Twitter, Facebook and other sites help drive traffic to the site. The more visitors, the more clicks. I showed him different ad formats. He choose the ones that suited his site best, selected the HTML code and pasted them in. They looked great.

That brought us to marketing and generating traffic.

‘So, can I go on Twitter too?’

And he did and started to ‘encourage’ his buddies to visit his site.

Planting Business Seeds

This story is just the tip of the iceberg. What I got from all this was that you can introduce the principles of business to children if you tap into something they can relate to.

For him it was about financial independence.

Think about it. When you’re a kid, you have to ask your parents for money. And they resent it. They want their own source of income, though they make not be able to articulate it as such.

‘How about if I could make my own money?’

Since then, I’ve introduced him into other aspects of running the business. I don’t called it ‘business’ but phrase things in ways that appeal to him and they he can relate to.

We often talk about pricing strategies, customer segmentation, ecommerce, affiliates, upselling.

This approach allows me to plant the seeds that may come to fruition later on. Or maybe not. As a parent, you have to also keep a distance and tailor your expectations.

But, as long as he keep asking, I’ll keep sharing.

Over to you.

What do you feel are the best ways to introduce business ideas to kids?

Photo:

Download these MS Office and Apple templates today

Acceptance Test Plan

Contingency Plan

Software Development Templates

Acquisition Plan

Conversion Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Action Plan

Cost Benefit Analysis

Software Testing

API Documentation

Database Design

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Audience Analysis

Datasheet

Statement of Work

Availability Plan

Deployment Plan

System Administration Guide

Bill of Materials

Design Document

System Boundary

Business Case

Disaster Recovery Plan

System Design Document

Business Continuity

Disposition Plan

System Specifications

Business Plan

Documentation Plan

Technical Writing Templates

Business Process

Employee Handbook

Test Plan

Business Requirements

Error Message Guide

Training Plan

Business Rules

Expression of Interest

Transition Plan

Capacity Plan

Fact Sheet

Troubleshooting Guide

Case Study

Feasibility Study

Use Case

Change Management Plan

Functional Requirements

User Guide

Communication Plan

Grant Proposal

Verification and Validation Plan

Concept of Operations

Implementation Plan

White Papers

Concept Proposal

Installation Plan

Work Instructions

Configuration Management Plan

Interface Control Document

Software Development Templates

Acceptance Test Plan

Maintenance Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Acquisition Plan

Market Research

Software Testing

Action Plan

Marketing Plan

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

API Documentation

Needs Statement

Statement of Work

Audience Analysis

Operations Guide

System Administration Guide

Availability Plan

Policy Manual

System Boundary

Bill of Materials

Project Plan

System Design Document

Business Case

Proposal Manager Templates

System Specifications

Business Continuity

Proposal Template

Technical Writing Templates

Business Plan

Quality Assurance Plan

Test Plan

Business Process

Release Notes

Training Plan

Business Requirements

Request for Proposal

Transition Plan

Business Rules

Risk Management Plan

Troubleshooting Guide

Capacity Plan

Scope of Work

Use Case

Case Study

Security Plan

User Guide

Change Management Plan

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Verification and Validation Plan

Communication Plan

Setup Guide

White Papers

Concept of Operations

Social Media Policy

Work Instructions

Concept Proposal

Contingency Plan

 

Configuration Management Plan

Conversion Plan