A few years ago, my youngest daughter got an urge to start selling things.
She liked to paint rocks and figured that she could paint a bunch and start selling them door-to-door. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.
I liked her desire to make money but thought that going door-to-door at seven years old was maybe too young. But I ended up coming around. Now I see how valuable this is for her development, and encourage her to do more of this type of thing.
Developing a Good Work Ethic When They Are Young
The thought that my daughter is already thinking about how to make extra money is incredible.
She had an idea and figured out a way to use her cuteness to sell painted rocks. Did she make a ton of money? Not really. But the extra $15 she made was money she saved and used to buy a kids dirt bike.
There are many kids who “fail to launch” when they turn adults. The fact that she tapped into a skill she is passionate about to make money is a good sign that she is preparing herself to go out on her own — even if she is only 8-years old now.
Is her selling painted rocks a groundbreaking idea? No. But it could end up turning into something more significant in the future. And the more important thing to me is that she is developing good habits that she will benefit from her whole life.
She’s learning to take risks to get what she wants. That is a skill that is harder to develop until you create good habits and a solid work ethic.
When she wanted to go door-to-door, I was concerned about the risks involved based on her age.
However, we live in a very safe neighborhood. And as long as one of us adults is keeping an eye on her, I don’t think it is a massive risk.
Building up the courage to walk up to an unknown door, knock, and sell something isn’t easy. I did something like this when I sold newspapers in middle school, and it was incredibly difficult. You know that most people aren’t going to be interested. Rejection is guaranteed.
Our daughter had an advantage that I didn’t have. She is cute as can be. But sometimes she has confidence issues. This activity not only gave her some extra money, but she learned she could do it.
She has a very driven nature (like her dad!), but fear and confidence issues have been a problem for her whole life. Activities like this that make her get out of her comfort zone a little bit can have a tremendous impact on her psyche.
Part of life is dealing with the thoughts we tell ourselves about who we are. When we don’t think we can do something, we have failed before we’ve started. But encountering small wins like this shows herself that she can do more than she thinks she can. This experience also provides an excellent opportunity in teaching her some solid money management skills.
Handling Rejection and Not Giving Up
This opportunity allowed me to walk my child through rejection. Because most of the people did not buy rocks.
Rejection can be a mental drain on our mind if we let it dwindle our confidence and drive. But it can also have the opposite effect.
Working through these thoughts at an early age is incredibly valuable. She now knows that just because she encounters failure, that she shouldn’t give up. That most success comes from failing multiple times, and still pressing on.
I’m experiencing this with Money Stir. At times I feel like I am not making as much progress in generating more traffic as I would like, but then I remember that once I figure this out, it will be a massive win.
Working through our debt also was similar. When we were looking at a vast mountain of debt, it was sometimes hard to find the motivation to continue on the hard path in paying the massive balances off. But now that we are on the other end, we now realize the pain and suffering was worth it.
We all have the potential to be creative, but it takes practice to act on those feelings.
I want to give my daughter a head start in tapping into her creative side. This experience will help her with whatever she decides to pursue.
I noticed that when she started painting rocks, she wasn’t putting that much effort into it. But then she began to get more creative with the designs and using different colors. She started adding unique touches. You could see she was pouring out her heart onto these rocks, and it ended up reflecting on how many she was able to sell.
At first, this exercise might seem simple. But there are so many ideas she learned in this process, and it was a joy to see her come out of her shell. I know she has the potential to do great things, and I want to do what I can to encourage her to tap into her passions.
Taking Advantage of Every Teachable Moment
Your child doesn’t necessarily have to start a business to learn excellent money skills.
For example, you can play video games with your kids and teach them valuable money management ideas.
The idea is that we want to teach our kids how to be smart with their money. That spending money is good, but spending more than you make is bad. And saving for your future at an early age increases the options you have when you are older.
Sometimes this means letting our kids fail and walking them through that process. In fact, failure can be a great teaching opportunity. They should experience these feelings early than end up making massive financial mistakes that are hard to recover from.
I want my kids to be aware of what is going on. That life is full of choices. Sometimes that means cutting back, and other times, it can mean splurging. As long as they are thinking about what is going on, and the consequences/benefits of their choices, they should do well.
Chris Roane is a financial blogger who loves to be transparent about money-related issues. He’s paid off massive amounts of credit card debt and is the blog author of Money Stir. His main focus on Money Stir is talking about how money relates to our relationships, personal development, and how to plan for the future we want. He’s been quoted on Market Watch, The Ladders, and other publications.