In just a few days, the school bells will ring for the last time this year and usher in lazy, hot summer days and a season full of tan lines and snow cones. However, before that happens in my house, I have a plan for how I am going to make my 11-year-old's summer both fun and lucrative, and teaching her the principals of entrepreneurship by having a vested interest in her company: the business of dog care.
With her allowance, I helped my daughter buy an ad in a local community newspaper, advertising her dog walking services. As her "investor", I ponied up some extra money to take out ads elsewhere to help her expand her business. Almost immediately, my enterprising young lass picked up five clients, paying her $175 per week to walk their dogs once per day, five days a week for an hour each day.
My daughter loves dogs (and loves probably isn't a strong enough word), so I told her to add to her menu of services -- again, as using my vested interest in her company as leverage. We sat down at the computer and created her service menu flyer, offering dog bathing and nail clipping services as part of her "elite" package. I called around to local groomers to come up with a fair market price for my daughter's project. We did, and all five of her clients agreed to add on her bathing and nail trimming services to their package. By giving these pooches a bath once per week, she gave herself a $150 a week raise.
The more dogs she adds to her client list, the more money she can make, and I (as the silent partner) am one happy camper.
Why Do This?
I kick started my daughter's fledgling company for a variety of reasons. First, I want my children to understand the value of a dollar, and to appreciate a hard day's work. I want my daughter to have her own money that she can learn to budget, save and spend appropriately -- with my expert guidance at the helm. I did this because it's much better for my kid to be outside walking and bathing canines than it will ever be for her to sit on the couch eating junk food and playing video games all summer. I did it because as she's earning money each day, she stays busy, out of trouble, learns the benefits of entrepreneurship and so our family isn't spending outrageous amounts of money on summertime activities. She keeps her weekends free and open for recreation, and (even though she has a job) has plenty of time for slumber parties and spending time with friends.
I chose to make this summer different. Instead of planning different ways to spend money our cash this summer, I chose to help my daughter build a foundation of entrepreneurship and teach her a lesson that will last her entire life. After all, how many other kids can say they were a business owner at 11?
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