I don’t know about you but when I was growing up I never really thought much about having my own business. It just wasn’t a topic much in my household. The plan was always go to college and get a good job.
Now that I have my own kids and now that I’ve experienced both work worlds, having a job at a bank for 7 years and then subsequently having my own real estate business for even longer, I really want to expose my kids to both options.
They can either work for someone else in their system or they can create their own system and work for themselves.
The important thing is not steering them one way or the other, it’s just showing them that both exist so they can find the right path that makes them happy.
The idea of exposing them to business ideas early has been on my mind for a while and was recently sparked several times. First by an article in the Front Porch about Stapleton Kids with businesses and then again when I recently came across a Stapleton t-shirt business run by a dad and his two boys called NINE-TWO Apparel.
So when Emme, my oldest daughter (“7 almost 8” as she’ll tell you), mentioned she wanted to start a dog walking business I jumped at the chance to help her.
Before I go on I should mention Emme was bit by a dog while at a restaurant downtown no more than a month ago. She had to get stiches in her face from the attack. How brave is she to still start this business and how awesome is she to still have a big love for animals? (Ok, just a proud dad rambling. Did I tell you she went to advanced kindergarten yet? Ok that part isn’t true at all.)
So this last weekend Emme made some dog walking flyers and we delivered them around our block. We picked up a few clients (thanks Cam and Carey!) and she so her business is off to the races!
We went this morning and took our first two dogs for a walk, Jax and Eddie. It was great. I loved seeing how excited she was and what a great job she did. I even convinced her that as the owner she had to deal with the pooper scooper which she did. We finished up the walk, the dogs were great and she landed a big tip! (see main photo of Emme proudly holding up her first $5 earned in business)
So why is this so exciting to me? I’m excited because I see that she can learn a ton of things from this new business.
She, like most kids in Stapleton that I see, spends a lot of her time being entertained by us parents and our non-stop scheduling of fun things. That stuff is good (to a point) but she needs to also learn the good feeling you get when you do something for someone else, earn some money through your own hard work and provide a service that brings some value to the world for those you serve.
As we walked we talked about how the dog’s day is gonna be better cause he got exercise and a potty break and the owner’s day is gonna be better because he no longer has to worry about cramming in the walk during his busy day. Making some money is just a side benefit, not the main point.
Here are some other lessons I see her learning through this simple business experience:
– Discipline. We’re at the beginning but enthusiasm will fade and we’ll have to talk about follow through.
– Responsibility. These are people’s pets and we have to take great care of them.
– Customer service skills. She’s on it in this respect already. She made dog toys as gifts to surprise the clients with after their first walk. (She gets the wow factor!)
– Scheduling. How to be organized and meet your obligations. Once we get a few pets signed up we’ll have to figure this out.
– Saving money. When she makes money we can have the talk about what we do with it.
– Value of processes and systems. She is much smarter than me, she saw the value in a set process right away with no help. She created flyers but then also created a form with basic questions to ask once the prospect called in. (type of dog, pet name, owner name, etc) She’s got the marketing and the sales process going!
– Money. She’s already asking me about why some people make a lot and some make much less. Great chance to talk about education, providing value to the world and finding a way to make your services stand out.
Those are just a few things that come to mind after our first walk today. I’m sure there will be more lessons learned.
So if you see the value what could you start with your child? Lawn service? Babysitting? Something unique based on what they enjoy? There are a ton of ideas and plenty of parents on your block that will use your services to help jump start your kid’s new business.
If it sounds interesting give it a shot, if they’re interested it will spark some really cool conversations and who knows the impact it could have on them long term.
Lastly, if you live in Central Park West and you have pooch, please contact me. Emme and I will come over and take your dog for a free walk so you can try out her services!