Kids Earning Money by Starting a Business

Since a very long time our childrens (unschooled) have told us they want to earn money in a very specific way and they have recently told us with pressure that they want us to make it happen for them now. They seem very serious as they come back with it again and again with more and more intensity. But how helping a child earn money? We are both parents professional craft people and they want to make craft and sell it like we do. I though we could start them there own little business and explain to them how we manage ours so they can manage there business. They asked questions about it and they seem opened to our telling about expenses, spending, salary, savings, donation, etc. And also on how to sell, market, etc. I told them I would help them. But I don’t want to do to much. I don’t want them to feel thay have to get my opinion all the time for them to succeed. We never praised or negate there art, work, play, inventions, appearence, etc, just like you say and they still will ask if we find there craft beautiful or not and if we think it would sell or not. What about this question. We want to be authentic so we say things like (only if they ask): – ”I find it really well made” – ” I don’t find this beautifull for me, to waer on me because its not the kind or things that I wear but I find it very nice for you or other people who like these kind of things” – ”Yes, I like this one even for me” -”I find it very beautifull” and if asked if I like it for me I say the truth ”yes” or ”no but on you its really wonderfull” Are those kind of responses ok (for not praising or negating?) first of all? And for them selling things, they ask me: ”Do you like this one for selling?”, ”Do you think this would sell?”. By the way they ask not only to us, parents, but also between them brothers and sisters. And they made a policy that they don’t want others to say there opinion before asking if they want to hear it. And sometimes they decide that someone can say there opinion without asking permission and if they receave a negative comment they will respond firmly things like: ”I don’t care you don’t like it, I do”, ”You don’t like it for you or for me, or for selling or you don’t like it at all?” and then after the response they will share firmly there position like’ ”well you are totally right I scrued this one up I’m actually starting a new one”, ”well I like it”, ”oh well..you are the only one in the house who does not like it, I asked everyone else”, ”we don’t have the same taste for this or that”. And they seem to be ok with all of this. They asked how they would know if it would sell and I think I did an error. I said ”I told you I would help you so I’ll tell you if what you have made could sell in our consigment stores and on our store on Etsy because I know what the clients in there like”. Should I have said ” well try to sell anything you think would sell and you’ll seeby your self! ” ? Is me trying to assist them will block there initiative and creativity along with self worth, assurance, self esteem, etc? And for management, is it ok that I guide them or I let them manage there money like they want and understand things after they would have spend it all and not be able to buy furnitures anymore? Is it ok for me to provide there first supplies to work with as a gift? Thank you so much.

 

First of all, your responses to their queries of quality of their product are very encouraging, honest and respectful.  Good for you! It seems to me that in business, it’s not so much emphasis on what the manufacturer personally likes, but what the buyer’s personal tastes are.  Your ability to let them figure out on their own what would and wouldn’t sell is a valuable lesson in marketing.  If you are stuck on what to say, just ask questions.  Children (and adults) learn by not being told, but by trying things out, asking questions and by experiencing things that don’t work out.  (Yes- failing!)  It’s great that they have the opportunities to create, sell, or not sell and learn those valuable entrepreneurial skills while still young and while the financial cost is not yet too serious.  You are a wonderful parent to provide that opportunity.  Encourage them no matter what.  The world is full enough of naysayers.  Even if they try hard to sell and it doesn’t work out, they will remember that you were always behind them.  They are lucky to have you as parents!

Judy Arnall,

Author, Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery