How to turn your child into a sum­mer­preneur

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFESTYLE - By IN­DIA STURGIS

The sum­mer hol­i­days have ar­rived with a spate of omi­nous storms and flash flood­ing. But if you can’t get down to the beach, or even into the gar­den, there are many fruit­ful ways you can goad your chil­dren into spend­ing their time and mak­ing a pretty penny in the process.

As ev­ery par­ent knows, their son or daugh­ter is def­i­nitely prob­a­bly a mil­lion­aire-in-the-mak­ing, and given the new dig­i­tal land­scape it has never been eas­ier to har­ness their po­ten­tial and set up a busi­ness from the kitchen ta­ble.

Ju­lian Hall, direc­tor of Ul­tra Ed­u­ca­tion, a com­pany pro­vid­ing en­tre­pre­neur­ial ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes, be­lieves it’s never too young to start and schools chil­dren as young as seven in suc­cess­ful busi­ness skills. With a lit­tle help from him, here’s how you can turn your chil­dren into profitable sum­mer­preneurs.

A five-year-old girl made the news last week as the un­for­tu­nate sub­ject of a £150 fine by her lo­cal coun­cil af­ter sell­ing cups of lemon­ade to thirsty fes­ti­val go­ers at the end of her street with­out a per­mit. The en­ter­pris­ing young girl (slosh­ing out cups for 50p and £1) has since been in­vited by Bor­ough Mar­ket and mul­ti­ple events and fes­ti­vals to set up shop

1 Bend the rules:

with them and had an apol­ogy from the coun­cil.

“Wasn’t that ridicu­lous?” owns Hall. “If your child has an idea to make T-shirts, cup­cakes or per­son­alised fid­get spin­ners, they will do well from tak­ing them to an out­door fes­ti­val or farmer’s mar­ket be­cause there are so few chil­dren do­ing th­ese things.”

Tiger par­ents be warned; do not use chil­dren “as the stall mas­cot” says Hall, “they have to lead it”. Role play tricky cus­tomers be­fore­hand, get them prac­tis­ing with change, en­sure they have a charm­ing back­story ready for their prod­uct/recipe/ idea but, above all, adults love po­lite­ness.

2 Dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy means the world is your oys­ter:

“You can up­load your child’s book of po­ems onto Kin­dle from any­where in the world in sec­onds and start sell­ing it for 99p,” says Hall. “Tech­nol­ogy has taken the has­sle and heavy lift­ing out of be­com­ing an en­tre­pre­neur.”

De­sign­ing an app or learn­ing code (now taught in British schools from the age of five) can be lu­cra­tive. Lon­don born Nick D’Aois­sio be­came a mil­lion­aire be­fore his sev­en­teenth birth­day af­ter de­vel­op­ing the app Summly, a news sum­mari­sa­tion app, in his sum­mer hol­i­days which sold to Ya­hoo for $30 mil­lion. is a free cre­ative plat- form that teaches chil­dren as young as three to code through song, rhyme and sto­ry­telling via the App ScratchJr. Look up SPARK tenant School of Cod­ing which, from this Wed­nes­day, is run­ning sum­mer camps for ages 8 to 14 on app cre­ation and ro­bot­ics.

“Let them do a vlog that they can up­load pri­vately and share with friends and fam­ily,” ad­vises Hall. “Peo­ple love video and it helps raise a young per­son self-es­teem and con­fi­dence.” Get them to prac­tise edit­ing

3 Get them on so­cial me­dia:

us­ing iMovie on iPhone or Adobe Pre­miere Clip for An­droid de­vices.

In­sta­gram can also be the per­fect out­let for cre­ativ­ity and in­stant feed­back. “Get your chil­dren in­volved in tak­ing pic­tures, us­ing fil­ters and adding hash­tags and emo­jis.” Just be safe by en­sur­ing their pro­file is over­seen by an adult and only ac­ces­si­bly via their phone.

If there was one thing Ed­die Smith, the 15-year-old work ex­pe­ri­ence teen who made head­lines for adroitly manning South­ern Rail’s Twit­ter

4 Be your­self:

ac­count proved, it was that it pays to be your­self.

In field­ing ques­tions about duck­sized horses, fa­ji­tas and how to make the per­fect cup of tea, the Croy­don school­boy be­came South­ern Rail’s overnight saviour and a trending topic for days.

The les­son was clear; peo­ple love un­self­con­scious hon­esty at the helm of a busi­ness. Think, what would Ed­die do.

5 6 Busi­ness plan and pitch, pitch, pitch:

“Par­ents of­ten shield their chil­dren from the grown up stuff,” says Hall. But get­ting them in­volved in de­sign­ing busi­ness plans, pitch­ing and strate­gic mar­ket­ing “are all es­sen­tial parts the learn­ing”. He ad­vo­cates us­ing Busi­ness Model Can­vas, a one page tem­plate that is easy to find on Google. “Role play pitches and get them to prac­tise on un­cles and aunts — the whole fam­ily can help.”

Young En­ter­prise, an en­ter­prise and fi­nan­cial char­ity, runs The Fiver Chal­lenge ev­ery year, an ini­tia­tive that gives five to 11 years olds one month and £5 to set up a mini busi­ness and cre­ate a prod­uct or ser­vice they can then sell at a profit.

This year hand­made wooden fid­get spin­ners, emoji craft pom poms and gift cards elicited hun­dreds of

Start small:

pounds in profit by in­no­va­tive young­sters. Of­fer your brood a sim­i­lar amount over the hol­i­days and see which is the most re­source­ful.

7 8 Stick to what you know:

Whether it’s lacrosse, foot­ball, babysit­ting, draw­ing or col­lect­ing ants, your chil­dren know what they en­joy. 13-year-old se­rial en­tre­pre­neur Henry Pat­ter­son recog­nises the mon­e­tary value in this.

“You’re only go­ing to take in loads of in­for­ma­tion when you truly love some­thing,” says Henry, who is cur­rently writ­ing his lat­est book How to Dou­ble Your Pocket Money while on a fam­ily hol­i­day in Greece. “I al­ways ad­vise friends to stick to what they know.”

He has sold horse ma­nure (the fam­ily had horses), started a con­sul­tancy for trad­ing cards age seven and a busi­ness sell­ing ed­i­ble mud and worm sweets called Not Be­fore Tea. Now he’s launch­ing a not-for­profit foun­da­tion called Young & Mighty to en­cour­age other young busi­ness lead­ers.

“I never fit­ted in at school. I had ideas that oth­ers didn’t. But school isn’t ev­ery­thing. You need to em­brace your own cre­ativ­ity.”

Nine out of ten en­trepreneurs fail in the first three years, what­ever their age (an­other rea­son to start early…).

Never give up:


Har­ness the power of your chil­dren this sum­mer hol­i­days and get them to start their own busi­ness.

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