When you’re an entrepreneur with kids, you tend to feel overwhelmed. You’ve already taken the step from steady paycheck and benefits. You’ve also stepped away from being guilt free when you work. No one told you that when you work for yourself, you work crazy hours. Yeah, they write books on marketing, social media, and yes, planning. However, no one told you who was going to get these kids so you could work on your business.
We love our children with all our heart, but when you have the luxury of working from home, you have the crazy of kids underfoot, in your face, and possibly getting crumbs or juice stains on your just printed contract. You get smart comments like “what did you expect,” “shoulda kept your job, and you wouldn’t have this problem.” Oh and let’s not forget the spouse that thinks you sat home all day doing nothing but they’re tired because they’ve been at work all day.
Yes, it can be that bad, but it doesn’t have to be like that ALL THE TIME. Those are same kids that are working your nerves can be your best employee and business builder you ever had. If you need the help then why not get it from the ones who are making you crazy, YOUR KIDS.
My First Boss Move
I made myself and everyone else a promise. My daughter was getting a job at 4. If I had to work so did she. What this gave me was at least two hours per week of uninterrupted work time: her title, Director in Charge of Shredding. She wasn’t an employee; she was a boss. I let her pick the two days a week she wanted to work; I chose the hours. Her hours were 9-10, and she was expected to be dressed and on time. No, I couldn’t produce enough paper for her to shred for a whole hour, but I knew other folks that needed shredding done.
As the Director in Charge of Shredding, she was required to open all envelopes, remove documents that needed shredding and throw away the rest. She was expected to empty the shredder when it got full. Finally, she was required to clean up all the shredding that fell on the floor, as best as a 4-year-old could. It got so when I would try to shred on my own; she would inform me that it was her job and she would take care of it.
The Making Of A Chief Kid Officer
That is where it began for us. When my daughter turned 9, we informed her that we were giving her shares in the corporation. As a 10% shareholder, she had to step up her boss game. She was serious about it, and so were we. We told her she couldn’t boss anyone over 19. At the time, only one of our employees fit that bill, and she rode him like Zorro. When we told her to back off, she started drawing pictures of his duties and showing them to him. He was so glad when he turned 20.
The other part of being the owner for her meant she had to work in the company. So at the ripe age of 9, she became a cashier for the restaurant. She was added to the payroll, made minimum wage, worked an average of 6-9 hours per week, and received a paycheck like the rest of the employees. What we found out by hiring her are that cute sells. We had customers come in to see the cute kid behind the counter. Her customer services skills were on point, and she pocketed more tips than the grown-ups.
Morgan was on the schedule for days she was supposed to work. Her fundamental duty as a cashier was to ring up orders, and we did the rest. As her experience grew, she worked a day where she opened and a day where she closed, thanks to homeschool. This meant she had to count the drawer to make sure it matched the sales report. She was also responsible for getting change on the days she opened and make bank deposits. Later her duties included bagging the smaller orders and cleaning the front of the house. It got to the point we could leave her at the shop with whoever was in charge. If she wanted to go work early then, she had to ask her manager, not us. As a boss, if one of the cashiers called off, she had to fill in.
Corporate Officers Meeting
As Chief Kid Officer she was included in the Officers Meeting. You may find it surprising that her perspective on kid customers was valuable and pertinent to growing our business. It also gave her a sense of accomplishment and made her feel empowered.
Think about it this way, McDonald’s has been marketing to children for years. How many times have you gone for a happy meal for your child and got something for yourself? Your main reason for eating McDonald’s was you didn’t want to make another stop, and your kid wouldn’t shut up about it? It is a well-known fact that parents don’t intentionally spoil their children. You want five minutes of peace. You’re not a bad parent. Sometimes you feel outnumbered or out energized. How many of you give into your kids even when you don’t want what they want?
Having your kid at the business table may help you find a way to tap into the kiddie customer market. Don’t focus on the fact that your industry may not be kid-friendly. Do a take my kid to work day. On the ride home ask him or her what was the best part. If they have a response to pique your interest, then don’t be closed off to exploring the possibility.
When our daughter offered input, we made sure she understood that whatever she created to attract kid customers, she was responsible for implementing and marketing. We, in turn, would turn her crude drawings into posters and her words into social media post.
My Next Boss Move
As I started to branch out with speaking engagements, I took my daughter with me. When I thought she was ready, I gave her five minutes of my time to speak. Once when she was talking to a high school class one of the students claimed he felt worthless because of my daughter’s accomplishments. At ten years old Morgan had a checking account and an investment account that includes Nike, Starbucks, EA, and Microsoft. She also had a published book on Amazon titled Morgan Mischief.
The book was based on a story she wrote when she was six. I helped her turn it into a three chapter book and get it published. Helping her with her book inspired me to write one of my own. That Damn Girl Stuff: A Mother’s Truth only came to fruition because my daughter encouraged me. She even helped with proofreading.
I later wanted her to accomplish a book on her own. I took some pics and asked her to make a storyboard. As she laid out her pictures, I typed the story as she told it to me. As I typed, I thought to myself, that’s not the right way to tell that story. The thing was, it worked for her, so I let it be. That is how little girl BIG JOB came to be.
Now she wants to work on a mother-daughter poetry book. It was quite by accident that I found out she’s a good poet, so a book is in the works. My daughter’s accomplishments are her own but the fact that she got a job at four plays a big part in that.
She’s Still A Kid
You may think this took away from her childhood. Oh my heavens no! This is evidenced by the screaming sleepovers, Minecraft wars, and other kid stuff she did after work. What she looked forward to, was turning off work just like a grown person. We both learned to leave a job, at work. As a kid, she still had her irresponsible moments, and I was still a mom.
When we closed the business to move out of state, I asked her what was she going to do for money. She said she would get a job at Jack-in-the-Box. I had to explain to her that while she had two years of experience, she was underage to work outside the family business. When a friend asked her to take care of her dogs, I told her if she did it for free once don’t ask to be paid later. She now invoices every time she feeds the dogs.
The Benefits of A Boss Baby
One of the things I missed out on was five years of tax savings by not putting her on the payroll sooner. People have the misconceived notion of labor laws and working children. Yes, they exist but not to keep your child from working.
The other thing I missed out on was funding my child’s retirement. Yes, she has an investment account. She could have also had a retirement account. This is something I found out later. However, it is our endeavor that by the time our child turns 18 she can purchase her first duplex as a place to live and generate income.
The things I did not miss were teaching my child business and life skills that no one can take away. It amazes me how many young adults don’t know how to write a check or make a deposit. I did not miss out on empowering her to the point of being eager to speak in front of a room full of strangers to tell her story.
As a parent and boss, I set the tone for my child. I came to realize if I couldn’t boss my daughter, then I may not be able to boss anyone. You may think it’s different with grown folks. Let me tell you, as a business owner, my staff were my babies, but I let them all know, including my daughter, that if I hire you, I can fire you.