Archives For raising children

Photo Taken By Hannah Stelzl

It takes a few years longer, but hiring my kids to work with me has been the best decision I’ve ever made (not to mention the tax advantages)…It takes about 15 years of dedicated work and mentoring, but in the end, the quality is unsurpassed.   My wife and I are raising entrepreneurs!

Some home schoolers are accused of raising socially inept teens.  While I have not seen this to be true, no one is accusing me of this.  Sometimes I do get comments about child labor laws, but lucky for me they don’t apply to your own children.  I know, because I tried using that line when I was a teen.

So meet David, my 16 year old sales rep.  Born and raised in our house; he started his first business managing a bee farm about four years ago (still going strong), builds incline stretching platforms for local physical therapy offices in Charlotte NC, and is in the process of rebuilding his bathroom from the studs up (new tub, cabinets, walls, tile, plumbing, etc.)  He’s a problem solver, enjoys building, math, science, and gourmet cooking; on weekends we mountain bike together, along with his three younger brothers.  One day he hopes to run his own bed and breakfast – perhaps in the nearby Blue Ridge mountains.  In the mean time he is learning about business.  He sells online classes for me, is studying and working with my accounting system, and attends events I speak at, to assist with logistics, AV, and product sales, while learning to interact with business people. Most recently he attended a demand generation event in the mid-Atlantic and closed his entire table of eight on moving forward with a security assessment (to be performed by the sponsoring reseller).  We’re looking forward to a great year together!

© 2011, David Stelzl

Photo taken by Hannah Stelzl

Last night I had the privilege of  presenting new material on Entrepreneurial Thinking to a group of fathers and young men (mostly college age).  I thought it might be helpful to post a few comments to keep the learning process going:

1. Andrew Carnegie (in the early 1900s) wrote: Capitalists need compliant workers…willing to work for less than the value their productivity creates – this is profit….The answer to worker unrest is to build an educational industry designed to teach workers just enough to get them to cooperate.  My comment – don’t accept average…don’t give into this kind of thinking.  Get out of the box and do something great today.

 

2. In 1908 Publisher Henry Holt said, “There is too much enterprise, excessive overproduction of brains is the root cause…we must emasculate man’s entrepreneurial energy.”  My comment; Don’t let this happen!  Let someone else lose their ambition, but don’t you do it.

3. I meet people all the time who are wondering what they want to be when they “Grow Up”.  Many of these people are well established in business, in their 50s, yet, and unfulfilled.  Why?  Don’t just go with the flow, sit down and think, how do I want to spend my life and what is my fulfilling purpose going to be?  This is especially true for young people just entering or leaving college.  Don’t just go to class, build a resume, and look for a job.  Consider what great things are out there to do, then set about doing it.

4. Seth Godin Wrote, in his recent book, Linchpin; “Unskilled people are interchangeable – we’ve been culturally brainwashed.” He’s right you know.

5. We are too risk adverse!  Our training has taught us never to try anything that isn’t already proven to succeed.  We learned this from our teachers who insisted on us doing things a certain way; their way.  The alternative was an “F” – failure.  Entrepreneurs don’t think that way.  Innovation is key – start being creative simply by creating.  Assume most of your ideas will not be good, so set them aside and come up with new ones.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Interesting article today related to my ongoing theme and future book on Raising Entrepreneurs.  Writer Jeff Opdyke (so close to John Updike he was destined to write!) comments on his thirteen year old getting a job.  Actually it’s a great write up as he contemplates the reality of teaching his young ones how to work and instilling some kind of work ethic.  The disconnect comes with thinking work is somehow a deterrent to having a great childhood!  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  The problem here is that we’ve associated work with jobs at a fast-food restaurant or blue collar operation.

Sure, not every child comes from a family where opportunity is readily available (although many can make it happen if they really try – most won’t)  But certainly John’s do.  Stop thinking about work as something a teenager goes out to do and start thinking more in terms of the entrepreneurial experiences available along side a parent or sibling.  The writer actually comes close to making the right connection when he references the traveling and learning experiences his thirteen year old is already engaged in.  Think outside the box.  What can he do to incorporate this child in his own work in a more profitable way?

We’ve created worldview that assumes all well-off families have children that will follow suite without experiencing the work we did to get here.  That’s just wrong.  From there, we assume that teen years should be spent playing ball, and then somehow, magically, one is transformed in their college years, into a hard working, creative entrepreneur.  This is also not true.  The time to start is now!  In those early years, finding exciting ways to make money.  My kids are bee farming, building things, creating jewelry, building blogs and websites, and writing books.  They are making money through their own creative efforts, and daily, they consider how else one might creatively start a new line of business.  It’s a game in a way.  What need can I meet, and how can make it a win/win that produces profit for me and value to my clients?  Are they somehow missing out on a great childhood?  I doubt it.

You can read John’s article here (and I do recommend reading it): http://online.wsj.com/article/SB128121678189825407.html?mod=iGoogle