Heather is fairly private and doesn’t like to appear on my blog or Facebook. She gave permission for this spotlight and even granted a video interview in case it might help another aspiring kid-preneur.
When you don’t get an allowance and you have wish list too expensive for a birthday or Christmas gift….what’s a tween to do?
Around here we call it work. When Heather (11) decided she needed an IPod, she asked me what kind of jobs I was hiring for at the moment. I listed some of the usual: deep scrubbing the kitchen floor, cleaning the laundry room, organizing my office, cutting down overgrown brush. She passed.
I happily hired other pleasantly motivated children to do those jobs. They counted their money in front of her, and she thought a little more about her situation.
She came and found me where I was working, and sprawled across my bed. “Mom, how much do IPods cost?” We looked them up at the Apple Store & Amazon and compared those prices with buying used from Swappa. Swappa won out and I assured her while the price still looked high, it was within reach if she learned to work.
I offered again to let her to clean the kitchen floor. This time she took it. Then she asked, “What ELSE can a kid do for money? I mean, besides cleaning?” We had a good talk about bringing value to the market place by freeing someone else make more money, or by doing something that they can’t or don’t want to do themselves.
Then we brainstormed a list of things that Heather (at 11) could do that might be valuable to someone else. She picked her favorite thing and we wrote up a business plan. She decided to offer her services as a mother’s helper: $5 an hour for complete child entertainment while the mother worked somewhere else in the home. She packed a bag of books and activities and we talked about possible discipline scenarios; cooking options if she was working during meal time; and how to handle multiple children at once.
Then I put a note out on Facebook announcing her skills, experience, rate, and availability. Within 24 hours she was booked for the summer with 4 different clients each requesting weekly or biweekly service. She had so much business that she had to hire her older sister to fill in for her on occasion. In a month she saved enough to buy a used IPod and kept working anyway. It felt good to be useful to an adult, to be meaningful in a child’s life and to earn money doing it. She came home from work skipping and smiling and energized.
Here’s a rarely seen video interview with Heather. I apologize in advance that the sound is so terrible. I was sitting closer to the mic than she was, there were kids playing on the playground behind my house making background noise that was easy to ignore in person, and this was the first day of getting a voice after a bad case of laryngitis. BUT better imperfect and done, than never done at all.
This is Day 5 of our 31 Day series, Kids and Money