Getting the Kids Involved

27 replies
This past Saturday was my son's seventh birthday.

He asked me early in the afternoon what kind of work I did, because Mommy told him I don't have a job and can't make any money.

I explained what I did; I write reports and make videos, which I sell on the internet to people who want to learn things.

He didn't understand how this worked. So I brought him to the computer, and showed him AWeber and E-Junkie and the Warrior Forum. We talked about it for a few minutes, and he wanted to know if he could help me work.

We spent the next two hours putting together a JV. We established a work process (he would read me passages from the latest books by Frank Kern and Brendon Burchard, and I would write down my thoughts about them in a report). We arranged a time frame (one week) and revenue split (fifty percent). And once the report was finished, I put it up for sale.

Today, I spoke to him on XBox Live, and we discussed the Next Phase of things. We're going to put it onto an affiliate platform and launch it on another marketplace. So we had to discuss the tradeoffs: keep the price the same, and lose much of our revenue to affiliates; raise the price, to make room for affiliate commissions; or - my son's idea - lower the price so more people would buy it.

We spent almost an hour discussing the fundamental principles of economics - supply, demand, and the marginal utility theory. Not in great depth, of course, but we established that he would prefer to raise the price... and did the math on what price he would prefer where it would still be of interest to buyers.

This child is seven years old.

Given a real project where he had to do real work, and real decisions that had real impact, he rose to the occasion.

And he's going to end up with a few hundred bucks in his hands. The first $125 goes to XBox Live points, per his request - Mommy won't let him have more than 800 at a time, so he can't buy any of the cool 1200 and 1600 point games. (He just recently had to beg a retail boxed copy of Plants vs. Zombies off his grandparents because it's 1200 points on XBLA.) The rest has to be split 50/50 between "savings account" and "whatever he wants."

The really interesting part, to me, was how quickly he figured out the basics of supply and demand. If you charge more money, fewer people want to buy. But when more people want to buy, you can charge more money. And he grasped almost intuitively that there is a "perfect" price, which gave me the opportunity to teach him the word "optimal" and delve into the idea of marginal utility.

Seven. Years. Old.

This stuff is not that hard.

A lot of people are out there agonising over questions like what to charge for their product and when to release it as a WSO and how much stuff to put into it.

Not. That. Hard.

Just make a decision. Stop thinking you can't decide these things. Stop thinking how complicated it is. It's not that hard!
#involved #kids
  • Profile picture of the author profitsforall
    We can all definitely learn something from kids.

    Kids, aren't burdened by self doubt, they don't question if something will work or not, don't generally wait to see if someone else succeeds at something before they try it.

    Instead they just do it and see what happens.

    My kids taught me a similar lesson outside IM, just never thought to bring the same mentality in to IM.

    Thanks for sharing this - time for me to let out the inner child.
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  • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

    This past Saturday was my son's seventh birthday.

    He asked me early in the afternoon what kind of work I did, because Mommy told him I don't have a job and can't make any money.
    What a lovely post Caliban.

    Mum thinks, very mistakenly, you don't have a job and don't earn, which is frankly out of order to tell your son that, then he goes back and teaches her about supply and demand and says he's set up an IM business at 7 with Dad.

    Well done.

    Very encouraging post for people struggling and very well done for doing this.

    Could this be the pre-adolescent version of Caleb Spilchen?

    Has he got hair like you? If not I recommend some kind of wig, shirt and tie and a cracking video is in the making. Perhaps an empty bottle of rum filled with Coca Cola to do the video with?
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    • Profile picture of the author affilcrazy
      Great post Caliban and there's an extremely important lesson here.

      I believe as adults (in general) we tend to over-complicate things, we're not very good at being spontaneous, can lack imagination, and fear of failure tends to hold us back. However, I watch my own kids and their friends playing, and you soon learn that they are so enthusiastic about everything, they're great at improvising, they have an open mind, they're fantastic at expressing their feelings to each other, and most annoyingly they seem to have a thirst for knowledge and are curious about everything!

      I am sometimes taken aback by how intelligent they are. You watch a group of kids who are initially struggling with something/anything. Without any adults around to stick their oar in and complicate things, a group of kids will pretty much solve any problem!

      Thanks for the reminder

      Partha
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      "There is no fixed teaching. All I can provide is an appropriate medicine for a particular ailment" - Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do (on Zen)
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  • Profile picture of the author Nigel Greaves
    Excellent post Caliban.

    It's great to see someone who clearly knows how to help their child develop an ability to think in real terms. Plus, of course, help him to understand the concept of earning money to pay for what he wants.

    I'm sure in years to come your son will realise just what precious gifts you gave him for his 7th birthday: A business education plus the most precious gift of all, his dad's time.

    Well done,

    Nigel Greaves
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  • Profile picture of the author cyong
    interesting post. definitely sometimes we had great ideas from source that we not even think of.
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  • Profile picture of the author Audrey Harvey
    Well done, Caliban, if I can show my two (aged 8 1/2 and 11) to master what you've taught your son, then they're pretty much set for life. Best education a child can get.
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Ayres
    That is really good, my son is just 6 at moment, so there is still hope to get him into mu business then!
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  • Profile picture of the author HorseStall
    I personally think that is one of the problems with the current educational system. I'm a huge proponent of Charter Schools that use project based learning and Montessori education with experiential education. Giving kids real world situations to learn by allowing them to run a school store or other similar project instills the values that are needed by tomorrows entrepeneurs.
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  • Profile picture of the author mattlaclear
    As proud parents of 6 great kids we learned the power of jv'ing with them in the business years ago. It's amazing how quick a kid's attitude will change when they can meaningfully contribute to something that puts real good money in their pockets. Hats off my man. Follow through with the project though!
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    • Profile picture of the author bretski
      Great post, Caliban. Gotta love the ex's! Drag those kids outside the box! They'll love you for it later.
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    • Profile picture of the author Sandor Verebi
      Caliban,

      My congratulation to your son and his dad, too. Your excellent post shows how smart today's kids are.

      They have not deteriorated, than we adults, so they recognize sooner the connections between things which may be hidden before us.

      The today's education system does not sufficiently prepare them for life, I'm afraid (at least in our country). It is a great help for the child if a parent is able to explain things about.

      Well done, Caliban!

      Cheers,

      Sandor
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Smart like his Dad. Way to show Mom. lol
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    • Profile picture of the author bretski
      ...plus, it's always a good idea to have a good relationship with those who will make the decision of which nursing home to put Dad in.
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      • Profile picture of the author Sandor Verebi
        Originally Posted by bretski View Post

        ...plus, it's always a good idea to have a good relationship with those who will make the decision of which nursing home to put Dad in.
        Oho! You think it is time to prepare to that?

        Cheers,

        Sandor
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        • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
          Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

          Not. That. Hard.

          Just make a decision. Stop thinking you can't decide these things. Stop thinking how complicated it is. It's not that hard!
          Well, if this isn't an occasion for "That's what she said" then I don't know what is.
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          • Profile picture of the author bretski
            Originally Posted by Jill Carpenter View Post

            Well, if this isn't an occasion for "That's what she said" then I don't know what is.
            Love you, Jill! Just made my day!
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  • Profile picture of the author Caleb Spilchen

    Could this be the pre-adolescent version of Caleb Spilchen?
    Nope, he's American, I'm Canadian.. The temperature difference defines a change in the people

    Caleb
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  • Profile picture of the author brendan9971
    that is one of the most touching stories i've read on wf by far!!!

    thats amazing that a seven year old kid is interested in this kinda thing and understood the concept of supply and demand!

    thankyou for posting this CDarklock!
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  • Profile picture of the author AmandaT
    I've never thought about introducing the kids to IM like this, but I know with my little brothers and sisters I've always made a point to try to help them understand business. (Most of my siblings are 12-16 years younger than I am.)

    I learned from my mother when I was 10 and my eldest sibling was 7. She taught us how to dig and shock up worms so we could sell them to local fishers. By the end of the summer the two of us had asked to talk to several stores and were the main worm suppliers to four local convenient stores and a large sporting goods store in the area. We learned how to package effectively, keep a back up stock, and balance costs and profits. At 7 and 10 we had a booming business that we loved and cared for until the day we moved away several years later.

    Teaching children about business and getting them involved teaches them about money, responsibility, and puts them ahead in life. My mom had me doing all of the math, balancing the check book, everything for our business, under her close watch of course. I learned so much and it really laid the path for my future as a whole. I'm in IM now and my brother owns a successful landscaping business!

    All of this because I was sad I couldn't afford to pay $3 for a dozen worms... and my mom figured she would show me how to get them for free and my brother thought, "Hey, how about we sell these to our friends and neighbors for $2 a dozen?"
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  • Profile picture of the author Joseph Robinson
    Banned
    His mom is kind of a jerk for saying that about you. Boy will she be surprised when your son goes to her with a couple hundred dollars. Not bad for someone who doesn't make any money.

    More to the point of the post though: we really sometimes need to look at children and try to think what they do. They are lucky enough not to have too much bullcrap on their plates and see past everything to the end solution or idea. Its really amazing.
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  • Profile picture of the author AmandaT
    I really should do something like that with my sister... I was just thinking about the last time me and my 8 year old sister sat around and she was talking about all these things she wished existed on her computer. I just laughed it off at the time but now that I've learned more about IM, she has some really great ideas. It would be a really great experience for her... not to mention a valuable life skill since IM will probably be a great career choice for her later. Finding a job with cerebral palsy can be tough and we always wonder what type of career she will be able to find for herself.
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  • Profile picture of the author Amanda Craven
    Caliban, I just came across this and I am already putting my 9yo daughter to work! Seriously, I love the idea of creating something with your child rather than all the passive stuff they do nowadays (yup...all that staring at screens!).

    And that is exactly what you guys are doing together - creating something that will last well into the future, not just as a money making venture but as an experience you shared. Great example of how to parent in our modern, often fractured age...
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  • Profile picture of the author sscot
    CDarklock, Excellent post....... you always share best ideas with us. Thanks again.

    Tell him that I said happy birth day.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan Ashwood
      Get outta my head Darklord. Just last week, two of my girls (age 9 & 11) were asking exactly the same question, and my (soon to be ex) wife sneeringly gave them the same reply. SPOOKY!

      So I suggested that they each start their own blogs. Using Blogger or Wordpress.com, they're going to create 'diaries; of things around them, their adventures, pets and hobbies.

      For their age, they're both potentially talented writers, so they can even publish their short stories too. I figured this will get them comfortable with blogging and how the internet works, and by gently adding maybe some AdSense and Amazon ads to the sites, a start in the commercial world.

      Even if they get no visitors, it's a start. (I've called granny, uncles, friends etc., so there'll be a few).

      Bit by bit we can learn about Keywords and SEO stuff etc., so they will see how it all fits together. Later we may focus on a subject, such as Rabbit Care which is currently in vogue with both of them, so they can build a focussed monetized niche site too.

      Maybe by the time they leave secondary/high school at 18, they will already be financially independent. Maybe.

      It'd annoy their mother no end, but that's a bonus!

      Although their attention span is often limited, I am thoroughly enjoying the fact that they're soaking up information at an amazing rate.

      BIG FAVOUR???
      Last year my then 8 year old created her first slideshow about Cheetahs. We posted it to .
      It'd be very much appreciated if everyone maybe left a comment for her.

      Please, pretty please?

      Cheers

      Alan

      .
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      Now where did I put that pencil?

      Time for a cuppa.
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  • Profile picture of the author xavierfok
    I guess the kids nowadays are getting smarter and smarter. Very soon we will have to learn from the younger generation as they learn and know more than us.
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  • Profile picture of the author vvsingh
    Its real fun to read about your son's achievements. May Gog bless him and your family future success like this.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Meaney
    Great post CD.

    My 9 year old made his first website a few weeks ago about, *cough*, hamsters.

    And (right now) says wants to be his own boss when he's older - not work for me and not work with me, but for himself.

    Makes me really proud.

    With that said, when I tired to explain SEO to him.. he ran off with his hands over his ears screaming "Noooo Daddy Noooo!".
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