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Raising Entrepreneurial Kids… “Too Soon” to Start?

in Do What You Love, Family, Money Basics

Note: This is a post from Adam Baker, founder of Man Vs. Debt.

“Daddy, we need to plug my Leeeeap Frog into the puuuuuter.”

“Why is that, Milli?”

“I want some more of this…”

“Some more of what?”

“Some more of this stuff. I’m out of it.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about, Milli.”

“My Leeeeap Frog is sayin’ I need to plug it into the puuuuuter to get more.”

[At this point I realize what's going on. You see, if you don't have small children - "LeapFrog" is an educational handheld video game system. Or at least that's the goal. Milligan had used up all her "food" in her game - and in order to get more - you have to plug it into you computer and BUY more.]

“Oh Milli, that costs money to buy that stuff. I don’t think we’ll do that this time.”

“But I really want to plug this into the puuuuter and get more!”

“I’m sorry Milli, but we aren’t going to spend money on that.”

“I have monies!”

“Well, you have a few coins. But I think that costs a couple dollars. I’m not sure you have the much money.”

“I could get more money.”

“Ugh… I SAID… well… I guess… I guess you could do that. Where are you going to get more money?”

“The bank.”

“The bank doesn’t just give you money. You have to put money in there and they keep it safe for you.”

“YOU could give me more money for my Leeeeap Frog.”

“No, we already talked about that. How could YOU get more money?”

“I don’t know.”

“How do Mommy and Daddy get more money?”

“I don’t know.”

“Yes, you do. We try to help people. And we have to work really hard to do that. What do you do really well?”

“I paint pictures.”

“That’s a great idea, Milli. You are great at painting. You could paint pictures and sell them!”

“Sell my paintings?”

“If you paint really pretty pictures, I bet [insert multiple family member names] would buy one of them over Thanksgiving from you. If you saved all your money from that, you could get more food in your LeapFrog.”

[Milli thinking for a long moment]

“Milli, how much would you charge for your paintings?”

“5.”

“5, what?”

“5 quarters.”

“I think that’s a fair price. You know what, we have that painting you did on the wall. Remember? I could buy that from you to start. How much would that be?”

[Milli thinks for another 5 seconds or so]

“6 quarters.”

“What? You told me 5 just a few seconds ago?”

“No… it’s SIX quarters, Daddy.”

“Alright, you drive a hard bargain, but I’ll give you 6 quarters when we get home. You’ll need to save your money in a safe place.”

*****

And so, over the next few days, Milligan painted another 5 or 6 small paintings in preparation for Thanksgiving holiday. Sure enough, she had no problem selling out very quickly.

She now has plenty of quarters saved up – but hasn’t yet brought up the LeapFrog again. If she does, we’ll upload the in-game items for her like promised.

We haven’t yet covered that we need to save money and give some of the money. We’ll have a bit left over to consider that.

We haven’t yet covered how buying digital items may lead to a very short-term high, before buyer’s remorse sets in quickly.

We haven’t yet talked about how selling to family isn’t a good long-term growth strategy.

But at three and a half years old, I figure we have some time.

For now, I think this is a good start.

*****

What are your thoughts on raising entrepreneurial kids?

Is this kind of thing a good or bad influence?

Is it ever “too young” to start encouraging this?

*****

{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

Joan November 30, 2011 at 12:22 PM

NEVER too early, in our opinion. Our 11-year-old daughter’s responsibility is to handle washing and drying and carrying her own laundry, but she gets $1 a load for doing mine when I don’t feel like messing with it. Now I’m worried she’s going to up her price!

My husband, by the way, says, “I never made $1.50 off anything when I was three and a half!” So, go Milli!

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Adam November 30, 2011 at 12:58 PM

I agree… never too early.

I think I’m going to take this anecdote and use it on my girls when they start to say, “Daddy, can you get me this…” “Daddy, I want this…”

Saying “You have to work to make money to get what you want” sure beats “We don’t always get what we want, kiddo.”

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kristine s November 30, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Brilliant! It’s never to late to encourage children to work at something they love and have fun with it. We bought my niece a fake bakery and a cash register. Needless, to say we buy cupcakes from her and she loves it. Another note, our friends provide allowances for their 5, 7, and 10 year olds and they love to “save up” for big ticket items like field trip spending money or books at barnes and noble.

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Nancy L. November 30, 2011 at 1:00 PM

I was never particularly entrepreneurial as a kid (or as an adult), so it amazed me to see my son in action last winter. He set up a stand in the MIDDLE OF WINTER, and sold chunks of ice to the neighbors as “Lawn ornaments”. The choices were “sundial” and “shark fin”, lmao. We helped him with a sign, etc, but figured he’d burn out pretty quickly–we live in a fairly rural neighborhood with very little street traffic and who wants to buy more ice when you have five feet of snow outside? But the kid managed to earn over $30 from neighbors, who couldn’t stop laughing at the choices!!! After a day or so, he realized he needed to diversify, so he switched to hot chocolate, but after about 3 days straight standing outside at dusk, he finally decided he’d earned enough and the store closed down. Those genes certainly didn’t come from me!!!

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James Schipper November 30, 2011 at 1:19 PM

She’s going to get a far better financial education from you than she ever will at school.

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Tom November 30, 2011 at 2:29 PM

It’s never too early. I have a five year old and everything he sees on TV he says I want that, I want that, I want that. Then I had to tell him he can’t have everything because it costs mommy and dady money. That’s why we work. We have to teach kids how to be responsible for money which will carry on as they get older.

I bought a fake coin/dollar set and go over the money with my son so he can at least know what amount they are. This is the first step and then we’ll move on once he gets the grasps on the value of it.

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Bonnie November 30, 2011 at 2:55 PM

I thing I love most about this post is that you didn’t come up with the idea, she did. Giving kids chores to let them learn about earning money often teaches them that earning money involves doing things they don’t like to do. Maybe this is why so many people don’t get out of jobs they hate. They assume that earning money is not something they are supposed to enjoy.

You helped Milli find a way to turn something she likes to do into the money she wants. This is a much more positive introduction to working. And, I think, puts her on the road to working at what she loves doing when she grows up.

Good job!

Disclaimer: poster has no children and therefore usually tries not to judge the way others raise thiers.

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Emily November 30, 2011 at 5:28 PM

1. Awesome.
2. Not only good, but great influence.
3. Never too early.

Can’t wait til DS catches the entrepreneurial bug…

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Darrin @ TheHappyFamily.net November 30, 2011 at 7:13 PM

It is NEVER too early to start! She will know more about running a business at 5 than many 25 year olds. Keep up the good work!

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hanalei November 30, 2011 at 7:18 PM

Adam,
I love reading your posts! This particular one reminded me of some feedback a reader left on the facebook wall – how he teaches his daughter to SAVE – GIVE (to a good cause) – SPEND. With her allowance, he’s noticed that she’d rather save and give, hardly ever spending on frivolous things.

I’d really love to hear more about the ways you two as parents are raising Milli to understand the value of money, while avoiding the curse of raising a spoiled child… too frequent in my circle of friends.

Happy holidays!

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Chris Jourdan November 30, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Awesome!!

Inspired me to give our kids (9 & 4) a “business” for Christmas… or at least help them start one.

Last week; we set up a “Kids” Savings account through ingdirect; but starting them on their entrepreneurial journey is much better!

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Cathy November 30, 2011 at 8:28 PM

Fantastic post! Absolutely dead-on, giving your child tools and skills at an early age. Most of the ” I want”or I gotta have” come from kids who have no clue what it takes to earn money. We set a goal to go to Europe and worked and saved for 4 years. My 13 and 14 year old daughters paid for their own plane tickets with money they earned from investing in my business and saving their allowance. Would they trade the Eiffel Tower for a bunch of garbage they could have bought with their money? No way!

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Shaun November 30, 2011 at 9:04 PM

This is a really important lesson. Financial literacy and entrepreneurship are great to teach kids from a young age. We never stop wanting things, but if you are taught how to think about getting what you want then you can apply it to almost anything. Really important to understand that banks don’t just give you money too, kinda like the way that food doesn’t just come from the supermarket.

I think Milli is going to be well ahead of the game starting as young as she is.

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Living the Balanced Life November 30, 2011 at 9:37 PM

My daughter has 6 children, the oldest of which is 11 years old. He has a business that his mom helps him run. This is a REAL business. He makes a gourmet wine jelly that is all organic and locally sourced. He sells at local farmers markets in the region as well as selling online. He is known in the foodie community in Atlanta as an awesome chef and entrepreneur.
She also is helping her younger daughters with making and selling jewelry and accessories from repurposed items.
I don’t think it is ever too early!
Bernice

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Brad Moore November 30, 2011 at 9:38 PM

Not too early! My 9-year old and 6-year old (I think I have the ages right…have to talk to my wife) sold a Green Machine on Craigslist and made $40. My 6-year old negotiated 20% for taking the pictures on the kids camera that downloads to the computer. And my 9-year old wrote the ad, was unwilling to go down in a price for a special needs kid (it was hard to keep my mouth shut and let him do things his way!), and eventually sold it for $40.

Not too early.

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Lindsay Wyglendowski November 30, 2011 at 10:13 PM

I love you Milli. Adam your knack for recreating this conversation is awesome. Keep up the great daddying. Love from NJ, still on wheels, moving into regular house soon…maybe. –Lindsay, Chris, Lily

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Siyo November 30, 2011 at 10:15 PM

I don’t think its ever too early, because when you are a kid you believe in all your dreams coming true and have yet to experience the real world. And you never know they could find something they love at a young age…. okay okay i’m a little optimistic hahaha :)

As parents we all just want the best and to have their imaginations run wild. I wish I still had one

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Brian Priest November 30, 2011 at 10:22 PM

If a child can learn how to make money then all the power to him/her. Many adults never learn how and need to be supported for by the safety net. It is a real problem in that they have the talent but no one ever taught them. I believe that people who are successful should be able to help others to succeed in life.

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Jan November 30, 2011 at 11:16 PM

There is ample research that children who do entrepreneurial things WITH their parent goes on to do things for themselves—Balanced Life’s post above has that well in hand. As mama used to say, “there are some things that should never be bought or sold.” Art at 3 tends to be either about exploration or love….. household chores at six are about learning about that it is important to respect yourself enough to do it because it is part of your life. Yet, making and selling jam with mom—-HUGE! There is a balance indeed.
As your last poster said—let the imagination run wild (and put that machine away).

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Tania December 1, 2011 at 2:24 AM

Great Story! Our 12-year old saved all his own money this last year to buy his own iPad2. He has better saving habits than we do, and has multiple plans for businesses he wants to start, including fixing up bikes from the Goodwill and re-selling them at a profit. I’d like to take credit because both parents are entrepreneurs, but he is a natural. Sounds like Milli is a natural artist and I think that’s wonderful reinforcement that will build a healthy belief that her work has value and she deserves to be paid for it. Good job!

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Elle December 1, 2011 at 8:56 AM

Great job with Milli – she’s already negotiating her price! I think teaching entrepreneurship is more than money less; you’re teaching self sufficiency and creativity. Those lessons are vital. You’re giving her tools that she can use as she gets older to create a life that she wants.

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Jennifer December 1, 2011 at 9:52 AM

This was so awesome because I’ve had the same conversations with both my kids at different times. Kids have to learn about finances and it’s just easier if you get them at that 3 year old “the bank hands out monies” stage rather than later on when they’ve already probably had experiences with spending cash. Since little kids can’t really go out and find jobs, entreprenuership is pretty much the only option. Finding a skill they can sell – be it paintings or cleaning – is a great way for them to learn about finances. Plus it’s only cute when they demand money when they’re small.

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Rebecca December 1, 2011 at 12:01 PM

I do not think it is too early. For me it is hard to say no when my 2 1/2 year old decides to say she wants something and I have to say no, but it is getting somewhat easier. My daughter was wanting a hot cocoa from our local coffee shop and I asked her if she had money for it…she said that she did and I said that she only had a couple of dollars and that it was going to cost more that what she had. She decided that she did not want the hot coca after all and decided to save her money instead.

Keep up the good work and as you pointed out there is always time for the other stuff.

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Elaine December 1, 2011 at 1:12 PM

It’s never too early to give honest answers to questions that children raise. The topic is irrelevant. If you’re hoping your daughter will become an entrepreneur, then you’re on the right track. If you’re hoping your daughter will become a life-long learner, one who knows it’s ok to question things, one who finds her own path, then you’re doing GREAT by giving her answers to questions she raises without bringing up other, more complex issues that she didn’t ask about. Asked and answered. Good job, Adam!

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Elaine December 1, 2011 at 1:14 PM

…and it’s never too early to post another great pic of you and family. :)

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Jonathan December 1, 2011 at 2:05 PM

I dig it. And well told. And funny :)

And I only read through maybe half the comments, but I didn’t see this, so I’d thought I’d share it:

http://www.ted.com/talks/cameron_herold_let_s_raise_kids_to_be_entrepreneurs.html

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David December 1, 2011 at 4:19 PM

I’m not sure about getting a child materialistic, but showing that money comes from hard work – that nothing is for free, I think that’s a good thing. And could improve a child’s self-esteem rather than just give a hand-out.

So focussing more on the work part and what a child wants to do and less on materialism is a good start.

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Aaron December 2, 2011 at 4:03 PM

My son is seven and gets it. He saves all his money (learned from many cheap toys falling apart on him). And now he is beginning to scheme ways to make money. He still hasn’t figured out the idea of identifying a need (at school or in the neighborhood) and figuring out how to meet that need, but I sat down and read a Seth Godin post the other day with him. I think he’ll come along.

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Sharon December 2, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Having a healthy and balanced relationship between money,
wants, and needs starts now. As parents, I think we owe it to our
children to teach them the difference between wants and needs and how
money should be allocated to both. Great teachable moment.!

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Alexis Neely December 4, 2011 at 3:29 AM

I love this! I’m new to your blog and really like what I’m seeing. I’m on my own journey with debt that I’ll share with you sometime.

In the meantime, I too am a parent — my kids are 8 and 12. I think it’s never too young to ingrain right thinking into our kids’ minds; they’ll get plenty of conditioning from the media and the outside culture, so keep up the great work.

I love that my kids are entrepreneurial because I know that no matter what the monetary system does, where the economy is or what’s happening around the globe, they will know how to trade their value for the resources they need.

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Jeremy December 4, 2011 at 5:44 AM

Wow, I love this post. I got a kick out of “Sell my paintings?” You just know that a whole new world has opened up for her. Awesome.

My kids, age 2 and 3, are a bit too young for entrepreneurial activity, but I’ve still started them down that path. They fight over toys every now and then, as all kids do at some point, but I really don’t like to encourage sharing. I think it lessens respect for the property of others. But I do encourage them to “trade”. When one wants to play with the toy the other possesses, they go off to find another toy to trade with. It doesn’t always work (they don’t yet get the meeting the need part mentioned above), but I do catch them performing exchanges with each other when they think I’m not looking. So I would call it a win.

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Christyn@StrivingforSimple.com December 4, 2011 at 8:57 PM

This is a great! I have been trying to teach my 6 year old about money, how to make money, how to save money little by little. You should definitely start early with kids. They are quick learners and kids these days live in such a technologically advanced world, they are capable and want to learn everything.

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Shaun @ Smart Family Finance December 5, 2011 at 7:37 AM

It’s important to start early in my opinion. We taught my two year old about bargain hunting when she wanted a doll car. However, it’s been a while and I’m not sure the lesson sunk in. I think money is something that is an on-going lesson.

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Jim December 5, 2011 at 2:43 PM

(crossposted here and Lifehacker)

I think this is a bad idea at young ages (I have 2 girls aged 8 and 5), because what ends up happening is that the kids then start thinking up all kinds of crazy ideas for things they can charge people for and they end up hitting up family and neighbors too much. This is especially true in the summertime regarding neighbor’s parents. As a kid you’re supposed to be doing things you love because it’s learning and exploring and growing, not trying to squeeze $1.50 out of six relatives. We also ran into trouble with this regarding some neighbor friends because there wasn’t enough supervision so it was not clear that the revenue was split properly on a joint venture and that caused tension.

There is an age where I am sure it is appropriate to explicitly teach kids that everything is a potential commodity that can be bought, sold and bargained over, but for me 3 1/2 isn’t it (and neither is 5 or 8 for that matter). As an example if my oldest, who is taking piano lessons, wants to play a couple of songs for her friends, or even make a little performance out of it, I’ll encourage her to do it (at this age) for enjoyment’s sake, for practice at getting better playing in front of people, and not try to turn it into a profit center.

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Melissa Danielle December 9, 2011 at 2:13 AM

I’m reading about your experience and reflecting back to my (teenage and young) adult cousins who call my father at least once a week, asking for carfare or money to take care of their basic needs, after they’ve exhausted or been rejected by their parents. Occasionally, they’ll do some heavy lifting for money, but most of the time, it’s just nickel-and-diming.

I hear you that we should not encourage children to think that every exchange should be a transaction, but I also think that children, especially children who grow up receiving gifts on birthdays, holidays, and “just because”, should be taught early about how we have to work to pay for the things we want, and also gratitude and expectations of parents/adults when they want something.

How is this any different from babysitting, mowing lawns, tutoring, or whatever else kids do these days to make their own money?

I have a lot of friends who grew up in the family business (farming), where at a certain age they got to lead their own operation within the biz. There’s something to be said about how they are as self-reliant, independent professionals versus my friends (and me) who did not grow up with that experience.

There are many layers to this topic, and at the end of the day, like everything else, the parent will make a decision based on their values.

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Mark December 7, 2011 at 11:29 PM

It’s better to start early. The kids will have many advantages from starting early. They need time and investment in human equity.

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Wendy December 8, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Very much agree. Also, I’ve noticed that kids will start thinking they ought to be paid for everything and lose the sense that there are some things they do just to contribute to the family (chores around the house, including special one-time chores), and or that we do many things just to be kind or helpful. If the neighbor offers a few dollars for feeding a cat on vacation, that’s nice. But most people wouldn’t want their kids to expect money for doing a favor for an elderly neighbor, or to think “what’s in this for me?” when someone is in need. More on this particular topic, I would hate for kids to stop making things just to be creative, or to value their art only when they get paid for it.

But every family has different values.

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Wendy December 8, 2011 at 6:31 PM

(that was in response to Jim)

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Andrew December 8, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Wonderful post. I see so many parents yell “no!” at their kids all day long and expect them to understand or grow from such instruction. Kids aren’t dumb, they understand these concepts of business, capital, and spending power, you just have to word it in a way that will make them aware of the concepts at hand. Wonderful job!

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Emily Guy Birken December 8, 2011 at 9:16 PM

This is an awesome story, but I see it as having more to do with you empowering your child to solve her own problems (and not take them on as your problems) than with teaching your child to be an entrepreneur. (Although you’re clearly doing that, too.) But you have made it clear to your little girl that you cannot and will not take on her problems, but you’ll help her find a solution to them that she can do. That’s excellent parenting, whether the problem is money-related, friend-related, school-related, or anything else. I’ll keep this in mind for when my 1 year old is old enough to start asking me to “fix” things for him.

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Melissa Danielle December 9, 2011 at 2:01 AM

Great idea! I think it’s important to teach kids early the value of time and work when it comes to asking/expecting things from other people.

I grew up having a lot of things handed to me, without it being explained to me how my parents could provide it for me. Later, it was expected that I should just “know” these things. I think it does a disservice to kids, even if there’s no money involved, to not explain, early and often, how we acquire things, and if, how, and why they are important to us.

I especially like that you encouraged your three-and-a-half year-old to engage in critical thinking. THAT doesn’t get taught early enough, IMO.

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Vicki@collegeparentcentral December 9, 2011 at 9:12 AM

I love this story! Starting early and grabbing those teachable moments is going to be so much more meaningful than just starting to say “no” later on. Milli will have a great beginning at understanding the connection between her wants and her means. I am constantly hearing from college parents who are trying to help their college-age students learn about budgeting. Milli will be a “pro” by the time that she is that age. Thanks for sharing this!

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Randy December 9, 2011 at 5:13 PM

I think you should have her buy her own painting supplies and go ahead and teach her the whole game. Traditional school never will, and understanding expenses, COGS, and cashflow at a young age will only help them greatly. Great post!

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Matthew Hooper December 9, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Fantastic idea. My wife is just over 6 months pregnant with our first and it’s these kinds parenting tips that I am constantly taking note of.

I feel it’s never to young to teach life skills. As soon as a child exhibits an ability to understand is the chance to educate. I remember mowing lawns so I could go to the movies with my friends in elementary school because my dad wanted to teach me that “money doesn’t grow on trees”.

Nice work!

- MAtt

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MK@MANFORTHEAGES December 9, 2011 at 11:39 PM

I am looking for good ideas on teaching my young children (4,7) to be entrepreneurial in age appropriate lessons.

I know my mom gave my seven yr old a taste for making money when she earned $3 for babysitting her younger cousin (aka playing with her when my mom had light chores to do in a room nearby).

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linda December 10, 2011 at 10:58 PM

Fabulous! I’d buy that painting for 10 quarters plus shipping and handling!

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Betsy Talbot December 12, 2011 at 4:24 AM

There was a really funny segment recently on The Daily Show about this – a game called Tapfish that allowed kids to buy more food for the fish in their virtual aquarium. One dad was shocked to find that this “free” game cost him $1500 and maxed out his credit card.

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Noeleen December 13, 2011 at 7:41 AM

Oh wow, this was SO worth the click! I loved it. I loved the natural conversation & the message. This was a great read for me today, and my son is just talking about getting part time work. He does martial arts though (and school) – how will he fit it all in? I don’t know, but your blog was really inspiring.

Thanks.

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Jonathan December 13, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Children learn fast and providing things are done sensitively then I don’t see why teaching them good business practice can’t start asap. We are always influenced by something all the time and why not teach them the business basics now through play?

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Rachel December 15, 2011 at 8:46 AM

I am appalled that leap frog is using in game cash in the same way that iPhone/Pod/Droid/Facebook games do. They are specifically marketing to children (really young children) and teaching them to harass their parents for more, More, MORE!!!!! Vultures

Thank you for breaking the cycle with your little one.

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Jim December 15, 2011 at 4:22 PM

“I am appalled that leap frog is using in game cash in the same way that iPhone/Pod/Droid/Facebook games do.”

How many people when they teach their kids how to make money intentionally insert an ethics component into it? Because otherwise just teaching your kids how to make a commodity out of everything and anything will turn into exactly this.

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james December 15, 2011 at 7:03 PM

so funny. I had a similar experience as a child. only I went and mass produced my drawings and went door to door selling them…

without my parents knowledge.

i’m not sure how many times i hit the woman down the street up for change before she called my mother to ask if she needed help with grocery money. HAHA.

(i’ve continued my capitalist ways to this day!)

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Brian Sloan December 17, 2011 at 12:14 AM

! love this site and love the post. I wish I had been more disciplined with finances when I was younger. Way to go!

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femmefrugality December 17, 2011 at 12:16 AM

So cute! I love how she raised the prices on you! What a sharp mind!

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Tram Tran @young business oppotunities December 17, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Adam, You are an AWESOME dad! really, you are.
I wished I knew what you taught Milli when i was 3 and a half. That would have been so much better=) Well, it’s never too early or too late to learn this stuff.
come say hi sometimes=)

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Adam Toren December 19, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Adam, not only is this a GREAT post but a very important and much needed post!
My brother Matthew and I wrote an award winning book for the very reason that “Tomorrow’s Future Starts Today!’ – kidpreneurs.org

You’ve heard the saying “It’s never too late.” We say, “It’s never too early!” Even children can be introduced to basic business principles and the rewards of entrepreneurship.

Our goal with KIDPRENEURS is to outline some basic tools and strategies kids can use to gain some valuable experience in starting, managing and growing a successful business venture. Through easy-to-understand basic principles and a creative approach, we outline some key techniques that will have a powerful and positive impact on your child’s ability to understand entrepreneurship.

Using kid-friendly design and illustration, we break down some of the major points of entrepreneurship, so your child can have fun as he or she learns!

All children share the inalienable right to become financially independent, whether rich or poor, city or suburb. Sharpening a child’s entrepreneurial skills will equip them with the skills necessary to tackle a limitless future. There is no reason it cannot start at an earlier age. Kidpreneurs puts the power in the hands of the future.

Adam: I’d love to send you a signed copy of Kidpreneurs so you can share a review with your readers.

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Alex Humphrey December 19, 2011 at 6:19 PM

That is an AMAZING start! After reading you for awhile, I can only imagine this is the first in a million tiny entrepreneurial lessons she’ll learn.

She’ll out-do us all, Baker. lol

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Lindsay Downs December 21, 2011 at 1:05 AM

This is terrific. I have 5 kids, ages ranging from 1 up to 10, and we have had SO MANY of these conversations. My little entrepreneurs printed up signs and posted them around the neighborhood saying they were selling their stuff so they could get more money.

Now if I could only convince them that no one wants their old, smelly tennis shoes…

Thanks for sharing!

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Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2 December 21, 2011 at 3:02 PM

I love this topic. It reminds me of how I wished my mom had hung around Richard Branson’s mom a little more.

Richard Branson has been knighted by the Queen of England. Polls in England have shown that if he ran, he could become Prime Minister. They interviewed his mom and asked how her kid could become a billionaire.

She said, “I didn’t want Richard to be a weakling. I see so many parents sheltering their kids and telling them what they can’t do. So when he was eight, I put his bike in the trunk, I got a sandwich and a map and I drove 100 miles from London. I dropped him off and said, “Hey Rich, get yourself back home. Good luck.”

What doesn’t break us, makes us.

It took Richard 3 days to get home, sleeping in parks along the way, and in one of his memoirs Richard speaks of walking in the door of his home feeling like a conquering hero and never again being afraid of anything in life. And it’s not surprising now that this is the same guy who’s selling privatized space travel.

To the extent that you remove the risk from an equation, you’re diminishing the reward that can come to you as a result of your efforts. When kids are raised thinking someone else is responsible to fund their desires, I believe it trains them to fall right into line with the thinking of an employee.

Employee’s hate risk. They have the belief that going on adventures makes you late for dinner. I believe in helping kids embrace empowering risk as soon as possible is one of the greatest gifts you could ever give them..

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Cason December 27, 2011 at 9:45 AM

While this may be all good for now, be prepared for her to command money every time she runs a chore or something. And also, I can safely say she won’t be a great painter as this will impair her creativity (money does that to people). Now painting is something she might not enjoy just cause she’s doing it for the money (and leapfrog food)

Instead, make her paint just cause she can paint well. Occasionally, offer to purchase one of em cause its so well done.

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Karina December 29, 2011 at 10:15 PM

I think it’s never too young to teach kids the value of money and using your talents in order to be self reliant. I would think it’s also essential to teach children to follow their passion but entrepreneurship is a skill rarely taught in school or anywhere else.

Maybe this could be an opportunity to teach about the value of saving? Since she did earn the money and hasn’t mentioned the game, ask her if she would like to either buy the game or go ahead and save it for a later date.

Great life lesson!
P. Karina

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Jenny January 2, 2012 at 10:11 AM

I love that conversation, thanks for giving it to us blow by blow. I wish that my parents had had that conversation with me when I was a kid and supported me in something like this! My son has been wanting to do a lemonade stand forever and now I know I need to do it!

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Marie at FamilyMoneyValues January 2, 2012 at 9:42 PM

Check out the book “Young Bucks – How to Raise a Future Millionaire” by Troy Dunn – lots of good ideas on how to teach entrepreneurial concepts to kids plus ideas on businesses they can start.

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Erica January 5, 2012 at 11:51 AM

I think it’s a great idea. At 13, I started my own business taking out the trash of other residents in my apartment complex and soon, that also included cleaning the apartments of some residents.

I would suggest keeping it light- you want to teach a child responsibility but not so much that their childhood suffers…

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Lara January 9, 2012 at 2:36 PM

This reminds me of Stephen King. In one of the many biographies I’ve read, I remember he told about how his mom bought his very first book for a quarter. She was utterly delighted at what she got for her money. I forget how old he was, but elementary age for sure. He started writing professionally (selling at school, and sending stuff to magazines) when he was in middle school, or maybe even before. I think that moment with his mom made a big difference.

I don’t think it’s ever too early to start raising kids to think about what talents they have, what value they can bring to others, and how to earn money in return. It’s good, solid ethics and helps raise producers as well as consumers.

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Tim January 12, 2012 at 3:47 AM

I think that’s great to get her started now. That way the information is incorporated over time, especially if it’s reinforced, and becomes her norm. Where as other kids might think to borrow or reach for a card…your daughter will think of a way to generate money to pay for things. Or once she has the money realize the “thing” isn’t so important after all which frees up the money for other things like investing and whatnot.

By the way, I’d happily buy a painting for 6 quarters plus S&H. ;)

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linda January 12, 2012 at 1:16 PM

I am serious about buying that painting! Has your daughter sold it yet? I believe my original offer was 10 quarters +shipping and handling!

Linda

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Carla @ All of Me Now February 3, 2012 at 1:10 AM

So timely! We want to start teaching our daughter about being responsible for her money but don’t want to pay her to do chores (we believe taking care of the home is something you have to do not get paid for). So my idea was to help her run a business so this is inspiring =)

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