Is your child:
- A perfectionist (motivated) about some things, but not others? For example, is he or she anal about good grades, but has a messy room? Does he or she make bad grades, but ALWAYS arrive for their after-school job precisely on time?
- Messy (creative!)
- Scatterbrained (a multi-tasker)
- Bossy (a leader)
- A planner (they have vision)
- Brimming with new ideas that they’ll never have time to follow through on
- Flexible when plans change (versatile)
- But, unbending when they’ve made a final decision (decisive)
- Scary?? (a risk taker)
- A teacher (they like to show other people how to do things)
If most or all of these describe your child, he or she just might be an entrepreneur some day!
I was such a naughty and unpredictable kid that I think my parents hoped I’d just marry a nice guy some day, settle down, and be an obedient housewife (ha ha ha ha ha). Once, during my teen years, my mother threatened to send me away to school. No kidding!
I’ve always taught my kids: “You won’t get rich working for someone else.” And, while I never aspired to be “rich” myself (I, personally, detest snobby people and I feel far more at home with “real” folks), I knew I didn’t want someone else telling me what to do all day long, every day, for the rest of my life. Some people enjoy a 9 to 5 routine, and are happy to leave their work behind at the end of each day. Those same folks enjoy having weekends off away from work. And, yes, I realize that some people’s weekends don’t fall on Saturdays and Sundays.
There are other folks who love working so much that they don’t mind doing it seven days a week. And, they like the freedom to be creative with not only their work, but their promotion activities, their writing, their service and product offerings, and many other things…without a cranky, overbearing, narcissistic boss looking over their shoulder, telling them what they can and can’t do.
Yesterday, I was out driving with our son, Max. He was getting practice for his driving test. (Your prayers are appreciated, by the way.) We were talking about job interviews as he will soon be entering the workforce. Without taking his eyes off the road, he said, “Tell me again about all the ways you made money when you were a kid.”
So, keeping both of MY eyes on the road as well, I told him about buying toothpicks and cinnamon oil, and making and selling cinnamon toothpicks in middle school for 25 cents each, which enabled me to visit the convenience store for candy any day I wanted. I also told him about my pet mouse having 13 babies, and me selling them out of my pocket in high school (and getting sent to the principal’s office.). I told him about buying lollipops and candy bars in bulk, and selling them at a mark-up in the hallways between classes to make extra money. Of course, I also did babysitting work (I didn’t enjoy that at ALL) and I worked for my parent’s real estate company, sorting checks from their bank statements each month (I started that at age 10), learning accounting (on those old green ledger sheets, which I LOVED), cleaning model homes, picking up mail from mailboxes for clients who lived overseas, and much more.
When I turned 16, and was legally able to work, my dad got me a hostess position at his friend’s restaurant. That was another job I absolutely abhorred. I was fondled by an adult male waiter on the stairs there. That was my first experience of that sort and I didn’t tell anyone about it until I was an adult. The customers were okay but the daily routine was just that…b-o-r-i-n-g. And, in the winter, I had to stand by the front doors at the hostess stand and it was FREEZING some nights, even in Texas. Without telling my parents, I applied for a job at a local grocery store (it paid better!), landed that, and quit my job at the restaurant. Only after I did all that did I tell my parents what I’d done. I was afraid my dad would make me keep working for his friend at that horrible job.
Working as a cashier at the grocery store was my absolute, bar none, favorite job EVER. I LOVED using the scanner (Beep! Beep! Beep!), and seeing how many customers I could get to come into my lane so I’d have higher sales than anyone else each day, even though no bonuses were offered for that. And, I LOVED talking with hundreds of different people each day! An older friend of mine, also named Angela (who ended up becoming a Houston Police Officer), worked in the courtesy booth. I asked her to train me on what she did (I didn’t clock in during those hours) and, before I knew it, the manager was calling me to fill in when a courtesy booth operator called out sick. Then, I got a promotion! Using the intercom system was the funnest part of that job! “Clean up on aisle 5!”
What I learned during that period in my life was that taking the initiative, and not waiting for someone to invite you to do or learn something (or give you permission to do it), can be very good for your career, and your pocketbook!
Later, after I’d started a family, and was working full-time jobs (doing accounting), I always had something going on the side. Of course, I was writing for magazines by that time, and also writing the local weekly fishing report for money. But, I was also growing and selling bonsai trees (that was a huge money loser), designing signs for businesses (that also didn’t work out), and typing term papers for college students who didn’t have their own computers (that was a loooong time ago). And, when I lay in bed each night, I was constantly thinking of ways to break out of the corporate world, and head out on my own. Except for freelance writing, of course, typing term papers for college students was the most lucrative. That business dried up as more people got computers so I started doing bookkeeping for small businesses on the side and that was lucrative as well.
After I launched WritersWeekly.com as a hobby, I started writing and selling my own books, which eventually morphed into a successful publishing company, BookLocker.com. Since then, we have published more than 11,000 print and electronic books. I won’t repeat that story as it’s already posted online RIGHT HERE.
If your child shuns authority, does not like taking orders, is creative (and messy), and is obsessed with doing odd jobs for extra money, he or she will probably never be happy working for someone else. Whatever you do, don’t try to squelch those personality traits in your child. Teach them to use those traits in a positive (and polite!) way. Your little one may very well be on their way to starting their own business some day. And, that means they’ll be working far more hours than other folks, and might even be on their laptop at family gatherings over the holidays. But, fear not. Your child will be successful and they will be happy.
I’m not saying things have been entirely rosy over the years and there have been some days when I wished I had a regular job that I could leave behind at closing time, Monday through Friday. But, those days have been rare. I absolutely LOVE working with authors, and helping them transform their manuscripts into beautiful printed and bound books, and then helping them SELL those books! And, I have no plans to retire any time soon. My BookLocker cohorts will have to pry my laptop out of my wrinkled, withered hands at that point. But, they better give me a notebook and lots of colorful pens and pencils at that time because I will NEVER stop writing. 🙂
If you have a budding entrepreneur in your home, here’s my advice to you: Be sure they take accounting courses! Learning business processes and marketing tactics is all well and good but you want your child to have a complete understanding (and control!) of their own finances so they won’t be victimized by someone in the future. And, how can an entrepreneur budget and plan if he or she doesn’t know basic accounting practices?
Of all the things I learned growing up, both in and out of school, language arts, typing, and accounting have served me best as an entrepreneur. What was a complete waste of my and my teachers’ time? ALGEBRA!
Oh, I almost forgot! What about MY kids? Our oldest son is a golf pro at a local course. He is not self-employed but he loves his job. He’s wanted to be a golfer since he was a little boy. Our daughter helps run BookLocker and she’ll be taking over the family business some day. She has always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit (and her room was always messy, too!). Our second son is in dental school, and aims to have his own dental practice some day. He told me last night that he is ALWAYS looking at people’s teeth now. I responded by sending him a photo of the inside of my mouth. Max wants to own his own welding service some day. And, for now, Mason (age 13) wants to be an actor. He is currently enrolled in a local acting school, and is LOVING it!
Angela Hoy lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.
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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
HOW TO REMEMBER, WRITE AND PUBLISH YOUR LIFE STORY
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7.625 STRATEGIES IN EVERY BEST-SELLER - Revised and Expanded Edition
At this moment, thousands of would-be authors are slaving away on their keyboards, dreaming of literary success. But their efforts won’t count for much. Of all those manuscripts, trade book editors will sign up only a slim fraction.
And of those titles--ones that that editors paid thousands of dollars to contract, print and publicize--an unhealthy percentage never sell enough copies to earn back their advances. Two years later, most will be out of print!
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