Guest Post By Sam Shazzam
Have you ever thought about starting up a business in partnerships with your kids? I have. I actually spend a bit of time imaging what that could look like. The thing about kids is they have so many creative, great ideas. The challenge as a parent is the ideas often seem like too much work or not really possible.
This doesn’t just happen at home it also happens at school. I remember when I was a child, no one at school ever said to me, “You’re an ideas person. Maybe one day your will run your own business”. Instead, I was asked what I was good at, and interested in, and told to do that. I often joke that if I followed the path my career guidance counsellor set out for me in grade 10, I would be a hairdresser. Of course, there is nothing wrong with being a hairdresser, but as I look back over my journey, I can see now, that hairdressing wouldn’t be a career choice to make me happy over the long term.
As a mum and business owner I am keen to let my kids play with the idea of business. There is so much it can teach them from a young age. One of the key characteristics I identify in individuals who are successful in life — and by that I don’t mean have lots of money and celebrity status but people who have a good life — is initiative.
Sometimes I look around and wonder where has all the initiative gone. It is like we are all sitting around waiting for someone else to make it happen because we were never told we were the ones who were responsible for making it happen so obviously somebody else was.
Kids can teach us heaps about initiative because they have oodles of it. This is so precious and valuable in life we need to protect and nurture it. One way we can do this is by saying yes to their crazy ideas, supporting them to make it happen and standing back to see how it plays out. Kids are capable of way more than we give them credit for.
The beauty of business is it teaches them a whole range of skills: financial, people, project management, planning, problem solving and the list can go on.
So what kind of business can I do with my child I hear you say? To begin with just listen to them kids are always super keen to make some money and propose ideas to you.
When I was a child my parents were always happy for us to work on our little projects. I remember being about 5 years old and walking through a caravan park with my sister selling shells we had painted with nail polish; we did so many car washes out the front of our house with big signs; I remember going to the airport and collecting trolleys for hours with my brother and sister because every trolley returned meant 20 cents; we collected cans; tried to sell green mangoes we picked off a tree; and went to the shop to get a few groceries for elderly people for a $1 tip.
Some of the ideas I have in mind for me and my daughters include going to our local markets to sell some bits and pieces we have made together or running a local hula hoop space at markets where other youngsters can join in for a gold coin donation. I have no doubt, given a few years, I will be bombarded with my children’s own ideas and I am excited about saying, “YES! YES! YES! Let’s do it!”
One of the amazing opportunities I am aware of for youngsters to try out their business skills is Bambina Bazaar – Business school for Junior Creative Entrepreneurs. You can check out a bit more about them here http://www.facebook.com/BambinoBazaar
Kids are awesome and they have some really great ideas. As a parent, one of the best things we can do is listen to them and say YES sometimes, even if it seems crazy. Who knows you might even surprise yourself and be filled with a whole heap of your own ideas. And always remember to have fun because hey who doesn’t want to Be A Fun Mum!