Your kid has much to gain when they ignite their entrepreneurial spirit. Use this system, and you might just gain from it as well!
Entrepreneurs, among other qualities, need to be able to recognize opportunities in the marketplace. This means finding a need, and figuring out how to solve that need in a profitable way.
This can be as simple as a kidpreneur (or kidpreneur-in-the-making) opening a lemonade stand on a smoldering July day near a construction site, and as complicated as creating a machine knob specifically for tea growers in Japan.
And having this ability doesn’t have to result in a person starting their own business; it works equally as well for your child if they work for someone else in the form of more merit raises, one-time bonuses for one-off projects, promotions, leverage in salary negotiations, etc.
In fact, the skill of recognizing an opportunity, and seizing it by writing my own job description resulted in me snagging my first job out of college (worth an awesome $40,000 + benefits to me at the time). More on that in a bit.
So no matter which path your child pursues as an adult, we want to ignite + foster this skill for them.
I’ve got a way for you to do just that.
A System for Your Child to Identify a Need in Your Home + Propose a Solution
We want to encourage your child to come to you with things they see that could use improvement, and ways they could add value or provide a solution for you.
Let’s go through how to do this.
Step #1: Discuss with your child the idea that people need things + services.
Here’s a conversation outline for you with a few blanks to fill in (where underlined):
“People need things and services in their lives. They need things to maintain their health, they need things to make life more enjoyable. They need parts to make repairs to their belongings. They need really cool items to buy as gifts for others. They need better systems or processes to make things work more efficiently, which just means taking less time and less money and getting the same (or better) results. All over the world, people need things. In my own life, three needs that I’ve satisfied through purchasing something include X, Y, and Z. By purchasing them, they made my life easier because <<FILL IN SPECIFIC INFORMATION FOR EACH EXAMPLE YOU GAVE>>. Generally when people need something, they are willing to pay money for the solution. That’s why there are so many companies, all which provide products + solutions for people’s needs.”
Pssst: Man I wish I could go back 17 years and give myself this talk! Would’ve saved me several adult years of banging my head against the wall trying to understand how to make money.
Step #2: Task your child with identifying a need around the house/property/car.
What could this look like?
A Few Examples for you + your kiddo:
- Find a more efficient way to organize the “command center” in your home.
- Use Google Maps or another program to find a more efficient route for your commute.
- Organize the wood pile + create newspaper logs that are fireplace-ready.
- Find a better way to organize/clean/maintain the video game center in your home.
- Clean out your car (I used to do this for my parents!) + add a car trash can to the back area so that in the future the kids can just use that instead of throwing things on the ground.
- Introduce a better laundry system for the family’s clothes so that they actually all end up in the laundry room, sorted, and ready to be washed.
The possibilities are endless, and specific to what needs your child sees in your family life.
Step #3: Once they’ve identified a need and come to you with it, you must decide if it’s worth it to you to move forward. Don’t be afraid if, after they’ve told you a need they think you have but that you don’t actually have, to tell them that it isn’t a current need of yours. Hey, the road to success is paved with failed products! This is excellent feedback so that they start to understand their “customer” and dig deeper. Perhaps they’ll even start to ask YOU what you want from them!
Step #4: What are both of your expectations for this job so that you know when the job is completed correctly?
Let them tell you what they propose to accomplish and what that would look like.
Then you share what you, as a paying customer, expect in results. Hash this out if need be (just like a real negotiation between a biz and their potential client).
This includes a deadline.
Step #5: Now you need to ask them for a price.
I know, I know. You might be wondering, “why on earth am I going to let my child choose how much I’m willing to pay them for something they want to do around the house? Isn’t it MY money?”
I totally get that. But remember that the nature of this lesson is to ignite that entrepreneurial spirit in them. Instead of you offering what you’re willing to pay, have them go through the exercise of pricing their efforts. Then the negotiations start.
This sets them up for good negotiation + valuation skills in the future.
Determine the market price you’ll pay, which is where their price (the supplier) and your price (based on how much you need what they’re offering + a dash of several other things) meets. $__________.
Step #6: Your child completes the work + notifies you.
Step #7: Using the checklist you both created, provide oversight and see if everything is as it was supposed to be.
Step #8: Pay the agreed upon rate once everything is up to par. And if they don’t quite complete the project + deliver what they promised, it’s up to you whether you want to make a partial payment, or not pay at all (satisfaction guaranteed could be added to this lesson as well).
If your child makes it through this process, then they will have successfully figured out a “market” need, fulfilled it, and gotten paid from their initiative. This is something that will no doubt shape their futures.
And if they don’t quite succeed? Well the lessons are vast for all entrepreneurs as they traverse through the mistakes, failures, and successes.
It’s really a win-win situation.
Let me show you what I mean, with an example in my own life.
How I Used this Skill Set to Write My Own First Job Offer Worth $40,000 + Benefits
While some of my dorm mates were floundering around trying to find employment, I was busy enjoying my last two months of college before entering the “real world”.
Why is that? Because I had a job waiting for me. And the only reason why I had that job was I spotted a need in a local company, and wrote my way into it.
I had interned for an organization in my small college town, and they ended up building a start-up company set to open its doors sometime around when I was due to graduate. One day I asked them if I could have a full-time job there come June. The director looked at me, and said, “go ahead and write up a job description of what you propose you would do here. Then we’ll see.”
So I went back to my college dorm and worked on a job description. I thought about what the company was trying to achieve, and tied this into what I wanted to do with my life (at least what I thought I wanted to do at the time).
I wish I had saved a copy of the actual job description, but my sharp memory tells me it went something like this:
“Amanda L. Grossman will be the International Marketing & Sales contact at Chesapeake Fields. The International Marketing & Sales Person is responsible for researching new markets around the world where Chesapeake Fields’ products would be well received. Primary responsibilities include understanding these markets, making contact with potential wholesalers and distributors, sending samples, and being the brand ambassador for Chesapeake Fields within these markets.”
With one minor change − they put sales in front of marketing in my job title − I got an offer from them for $40,000 + benefits to do just that. Within the one year I worked there, I ended up negotiating an initial container load of $27,000 worth of our product to a major food retailer in Taiwan.
Unfortunately, my job AND that company went under not long after my first and only year there. But writing my way into a company right out of college based on a need I saw that I could fill? Well that was enough to impress future employers who then hired me.
See how lucrative learning this skill could be for your child? I’d love to hear below what needs (perceived or actual ones) your child comes up with to fulfill.