Episode 215- That’s A Shell Of An Idea

So we just spent the last month in St. Augustine, Florida, and we are now taking the month of February and the Gulf shores of Alabama in orange beach, Alabama to explore as a family this whole region for the next month as homeschool parents. What we love to do when we go on the road is have the kids build a business while we’re in these places and Elizabeth is just wonderful. The way she does all this. She puts all this together. She came up with this idea in st Augustine, let me backtrack. We were in Arizona last year. The kids wanted to make some money. So we said, well, look around, how can you be helpful to people around here? What can you do that can earn money and be something that people want to pay you for? And they quickly noticed that there were weeds growing in all the yards in Tempe and they probably needed to be pulled.

And then we found out that you actually have to get your weeds cleaned up by city ordinance or you get fined. So landscaping services, that’s what they did. They came out and either sprayed or they pulled weeds. So like I know they’re paying these landscaping companies a decent amount of money and some people don’t want to spray, so why don’t you knock on doors and see if you could be the one that pulls the weeds. Dylan was seven at the time, so he’s got kind of an unfair advantage. He goes up and people just want, you know, they see a seven year old show up at the door wanting to do work. People want to pay him without even doing the work. They just like the idea of them doing that. So I said, this isn’t going to last forever but, but enjoy this while you can.

But the first person who knocked on the door, he loved the idea. So how about I give you $5? And he loved it, went out, I helped him a little bit and he pulled the weeds. They started a business where we did this almost every day that we were there for the last month and a half. And they had one day where they got a big job and some others, and collectively they made over $160 in that day. I’m like, guys, this is real money right here. Like I don’t want to go too far ahead of ourselves, but if we lived here, you can literally start a landscaping business and build this just like this and make as much money as a lot of adults do. So they did that the entire time we were there. We came to Florida, they weren’t sure exactly what to do. And one day Elizabeth was out with the boys collecting shells while I was working and they stopped at the dollar store, which is one of the kids’ favorite stores, which I love.

And she had this idea like, why don’t we collect these shells? And then you buy these frames and then with your glue gun you guys can glue the shells onto the frames and sell them to the people at the beach. And then they said, well we could do candle holders as well. And they saw these little pots like, well we could put shells around the parts. We can customize it to the local area so the kids wanted money and we’re not giving them money. So they’re like, let’s do this. So we create this makeshift little art studio in the place where we’re staying, which is called the dining room table. And they went to work, and I’m not going to tell you it was all rainbows and unicorns. There was a lot of bickering. There was some complaining. Well, there was more than some complaining at times.

There was nervousness about selling. Who do we bring it to? You know it’s not good enough. I don’t think we did this just right. It was fun, intense at the same time. And they had a bunch done and it was now time to go sell. And then the nerves came about because even adults have a hard time selling. They feel insecure. They’re not sure what to say. And luckily when they went around, they had a pretty captive audience and they made a couple of quick sales, but they also got a ton of nos, which I was so glad to see because that’s real life and it’s pretty cool when your kids come back and you go out with them. They go, I just made $22 and not only that, people complimented them on the quality of the work. It’s so interesting when you go around to go sell, when you see who’s interested, who’s not interested in reading body language, and we figured out pretty quickly when you’re walking on the beach, if you’re going to approach one person, they say no more than anybody, especially when it’s a male.

There was nobody that blew them off quicker than some guy on the beach by himself. Often. They barely looked up saying no thanks or just no. So it’s just a great lesson for the kids to realize that. So they learned that the older, the couple, the more receptive somebody will be because they really saw the kids putting the effort in and we’re trying to tell them, you’ve got grandparents here that there’s some money and they’ve got time, they’ve got grandkids. This is a pretty good audience to sell to. So the process has been really good. They’ve made some money. They went out the other night, I think it was Saturday night. We went out in the old town of st Augustine, just great audience to sell to and they made over $100 that night and sales and I came back and I thought about the whole thing a bunch and I have a tendency to go too hard cause I’ll be like, okay guys, let’s go get more shells tomorrow.

We’ll get more frames. And I’m looking at the potential of what they can do and Elizabeth like slowed down a little bit. Well you’re like let’s not take the fun out of this for them. And I’m like I got you, I got you. Cause I just get excited but I’m not getting excited for the money. And this is what I want to talk about today. This little business has so many components that kids and adults have to learn, and we got to have a really deep conversation about it one day because Dylan, our youngest, really loves the selling part. He’s got almost no fear when it comes to grabbing his stuff. Going up to somebody, say, hi, I’m Dylan. We made these things ourself. We collected the shells. Would you like to buy any? So the other two were getting frustrated because Dylan was making a lot of sales.

I’m like, he’s being bold and he’s going after it. And our other two are a little bit shyer when it comes to this. So there’s some work that has to get done with the selling, but we have to sit down and have a conversation that selling is important. Everybody’s got to learn how to sell in business and in life, whether you’re trying to convince somebody to do something that you wanted to do or buy a product, everybody is selling all the time, but selling is not the only part of this business. Part of the business is collecting these shells and buying the frames and buying the pots. Part of the business is taking that and putting the product together and then part of it is sales. Start talking to them about all these different parts of the business. Which ones are you most comfortable with?

What do you think your strength is? What are the things that you don’t like doing and not that you’re going to be able to say no to wait yet because you need to learn all aspects at this point. But the oldest is the best at putting it all together and the youngest is the best at selling and the middle can do a little bit of everything really well. You quite literally have a business here because while one or two of you are out selling the other one or possibly two could be back creating. So if you’ve got enough shells and you’ve got enough frames and we’ve got the time, you can produce the products while the other one’s them. Really talking about efficiency. So you’re learning about products, you’re learning about sales. Now. Part of it also is when you make this money to keep a ledger of where the money’s coming from, how much did each things sell for, how much did you bring in?

Everybody gets their share and how are you separating this summer is going into spending, some is going to the saving, some is going into giving. So we had the finance aspect of it, but then there’s also the communication part, which is difficult with kids because not everybody is comfortable going up to adults and explaining what the product is explaining that don’t just say that you’re selling this frame. Say we collected these shells from the beaches and we bought the frames and we put it on ourselves. So this is an actual souvenir from this place that we created. When they didn’t say that. A lot of people like, Oh that’s nice and they’d walk away when they said they did the work to create that people were excited to buy and one woman who bought the frame in st Augustine Saturday night came up to us and said, this is the type of souvenir that I want to buy if I want to buy a souvenir.

I love that it was made from somebody here with the shells from this place. I said, guys, you got to start writing this stuff down because we can keep doing this for the next couple of months at different places that we’re going. But it also brought up some great challenges of communication. You’ve got to learn how to talk to people. You’ve got to learn how to negotiate with your brothers in terms of who’s doing what. You’ve got to understand as well that if you Slack off and your side of it, you are hurting the other side of it. So so many people say to, I was like, what does homeschooling look like? You know, do you use a curriculum? How does this even work? And to us, this is homeschooling because our job isn’t for them to just memorize stuff that they can look up. Our job is to guide them to become great adults.

They are generous, helpful contributors to society. So of course there’s ups and downs with all of this. The next day they were all exhausted and grumpy and they didn’t want any part of it that day. But even though they were tired, they learned that they can do this, they can actually create something, they can create an idea and they can build it and they can sell it and they can make money from it. So they don’t know that we kind of set them up because now if they want money, well you know it’s not coming from us. And if you want to buy something, well, each step along the way, you’re learning of ways to make money. So there’s no excuses. We’ve got the shells there, I’ll drive you over to buy the frames, but also teaches them that you’ve got to buy the products to build this stuff with.

So money comes out of the profit to buy the supplies. So you gotta factor that in. It’s not just all your money. And this is just why I love kids and entrepreneurship. I love teaching this stuff early. So it becomes ingrained and then that you have control over your future cause I don’t want to get too ahead of it. But if you do this and this is what you do with your time and you eventually hire the people out or you find ways to more efficiently strip mute this, there is no limit on your income. And I was never told this as a kid, we never talked about entrepreneurship in school. I talked about it more with my parents at times and they encouraged it. But in this day and age, I mean if they produce this and they got really into it, it’d be easy to set up a shop online and they can say, we travel and we collect these shelves and they can talk about it as a homegrown business.

And the potential is unlimited. So I’m saying this to encourage you. If you have kids, they’re capable of more than just getting good grades. Like they have the ability to do these things. And I can’t personally think of a better way to prepare them for adulthood and this world that they’re going into this freelance gig economy world that they’re going into. Then by working with them to build a business and as an upside for you too. Cause when they’re making their own money, you don’t have to give them any money. You’re teaching them to be financially responsible, just might save them and you a whole lot of heartache in the future. So just an idea I wanted to bring to you and with that I’m going to shut down and we are going to go search for some more shells. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

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