“I was chuckling yesterday – it’s so nice when your kids come to a conclusion all on their own, a conclusion you have been waiting for them to reach.
“The back-story to this one is this. A couple of years ago, my daughters started a business breeding pet rats. They borrowed the start-up capital from us, and paid interest out of their pocket money. After a while, two of them wanted to pay down the principal out of their pocket money, too, to get rid of the debt earlier. (We decided not to intervene with a good-debt-bad-debt conversation at that point!)
“One of the twins didn’t want to pay extra, and there were words exchanged.In the end, we reached a compromise – the one who didn’t want to pay extra would become an employee. She would be paid each time she helped with the cage-cleaning, but she would not be entitled to a share of any profits which came down the track.
“This smoothed things over, and some time later the debt was all paid and the profits were being distributed between the other two. We discussed the difference between being paid for what you do at the time you do it, vs taking a risk and possibly getting a bigger payday later.
“They wound the rat business up after a couple of years, and a couple of months later, the oldest was finally old enough to apply for a job a McDonalds. The younger two, about the same time, started internet businesses. I talked to the oldest about having an internet business, too, but she was so dazzled by the enormous size of her first fortnight’s pay from McDonalds that she wasn’t interested.
“She said she wanted to repeat the employee-vs-business experiment they had done with the rat business, with her as the employee this time. She was very confident that she could make more as an employee than the others would online.
“Over the past few months, she has started to notice the problems with being an employee. She was sick, and had to reduce her hours. She was rostered to work while her friends were out at parties. She learned how everything worked within a few weeks, and boredom set in.
“The final clincher was when she started rethinking her career choices. The years of study to become an anaesthetist started to look like a bit of a drag.
‘But,’ she said, ‘if I’m not going to be an anaesthetist, what will I be?’
“I pointed out that there’s not a huge hurry to decide (she’s only fourteen after all), and then I dropped in a mention that if she had a bit of money coming in from an internet business, she wouldn’t have to make a final decision about her career for quite a few more years.
“She thought about it. Then she said ‘If I was making enough money from the internet business, I wouldn’t ever need a job, would I?’
‘Not unless you wanted to do something that you have to do as an employee,’ I said, ‘like being an astronaut.’
“Wheels turned almost audibly.
‘I want a website,’ she said.
“And so endeth the experiment!
“Don’t get me wrong – I’m not opposed to people having jobs. There have been times in my career that I have been, at least on paper, on someone’s payroll.
“I am opposed to people being raised with an employee mindset. I am proud of my McDonalds employee daughter, not just for having the gumption to apply the very first day their website would let her in to do so, but also for going out and getting a trade certificate as a barista before she applied, to make herself more appealing as an applicant, and for almost immediately becoming one of their fastest front-counter operators.
“The way she explains it, she sets herself challenges to see how fast she can get the orders together, because it makes the work more interesting and rewarding. She never just shows up in ‘time serving mode’ with the sole aim of surviving her hours and collecting her pay. Even at a job as apparently menial as working at Maccas, she is thinking all the time about how to add value, for herself and for her employer.
“If everybody approached their work with that kind of attitude, what a wonderful world it would be!”
By Jenny Ford
Cash Smart Kids.com
To find ways for your own children to start their own internet businesses visit Teaching Children About Money.com