How to turn your child into a summerpreneur
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.
Mama.codes 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
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.