When I hit 7th grade, we were required to take a career assessment. I was trying to rig my answers so that it would confirm my primary career aspirations: actress or astronaut. My results returned neither choice. Instead, it told me I was well suited for a career in Public Relations. Funny that I didn’t even remember that until just now when I started writing about that memory.
Imagine what choices our kids would come up with if they took the career assessment of our youth? You probably wouldn’t find things like robot designer or blogger or even entrepreneur. I’m not even sure when the word “entrepreneur” came into fashion but I know it wasn’t part of my vocabulary when I was growing up.
These are what I recall my choices were:
- Go to college and get a job.
- Learn a trade and get a job.
- Get married and stay home to raise babies.
Nowhere on that list would you have seen, think of a unique idea and start your own business! And even if it did, I wouldn’t have known the first thing about running my own business. (Technically, I run my own business now but I still feel clueless on any given day).
Newly launched Venture Kits are trying to change that mindset for kids. Think of it as providing all the tools your child might need to embark on an entrepreneurial venture.
We recently received one of the very first Venture Kits, still in the prototype stage, called Treats To-Go. (In fact, it’s so limited that we received a numbered edition – #28 out of 500!).
Think of the Venture Kits as all the tools your child might need to start a business. Why might your kids need this or why might you want them to have it? Good question.
Note: Venture Kits are no longer available for purchase but it’s still a good template for helping our kids to start their own businesses.
I find there are three types of kids when it comes to being an entrepreneur: kids with the idea and determination to make something happen, kids that have the ideas but have no idea where to start, and kids that really don’t care one way or the other.
For example, you might have kids that feel entrepreneurial enough to set up a lemonade stand outside. But how are they pricing the lemonade to make a profit? Do they understand what profit is? How are they attracting customers? Is there an opportunity for repeat business?
Honestly, these are questions I probably wouldn’t have thought about but I’m always looking for ways to incorporate learning from real-life scenarios. So I kind of forced this whole idea on my son, Evan.
Evan is one of those kids that, much like his mother, has big ideas but often doesn’t know how to implement them and figures it would probably be too much work anyway. For all of these reasons, he wasn’t too thrilled when the Venture Kit arrived.
We started by looking at the contents of the kit and going through the exercises. In this case, we were going to be creating and selling treats to eat but we had to follow a specific business plan.
Step 1 had us pick a simple treat. The Venture Kit provided three different recipes for three different skill levels, or gave us the option to use our own. We picked the Chocolate Pretzel Treats because they looked fairly simple, had minimal ingredients, and also sounded pretty yummy (love what you sell, right?).
Then we did it all backwards. The business plan has you actually sourcing and measuring the cost of your ingredients, doing market research on what potential customers might be willing to pay, setting the price, taking orders, and finally making and delivering the end product.
There’s no wrong way to start a business but because this was a new venture and he had no proven experience in the treat business, we decided to buy the ingredients, make the treats, then do the market research.
Evan’s reticence to start the business quickly waned when I showed him how easy it was to make the treat and then it was all MOVE OVER, MOMMY. I GOT THIS.
Where we went astray was when he started seeing the fruits of his labor with dollar signs. This was his thinking.
I can put four pretzels in each bag.
I can sell each bag for $5.
I can make $70 FAST!
Yeah. That’s my Evan. And that’s why the rest of the kit was so helpful. It taught us to look at the cost of the ingredients and figure out an actual price per bag.
Then we did some market research (thank you, Facebook) to figure out how much people might be willing to pay.
We ended up making 79 pretzels. That netted us seven bags of ten with nine pretzels leftover (I broke one, also). Instead of decided to eat those leftovers, Evan, thinking like an entrepreneur, said, Maybe I can offer them as free sample to potential customers!
While we haven’t made any sales yet and we haven’t followed the kit exactly, it was a terrific tool to help him think like an entrepreneur. He was excited to produce something and learned all the terms in the enclosed glossary (like CEO, revenue, profit, market research, etc.).
Next on our list: follow through. But at the very least, he’s excited not only about selling his treats but making all sort of creative batches as we get closer to the holidays.