Tuesday, February 25, 2014

5 Lessons My Kid Entrepreneur (and his Mom) Learned About Business (and Life)

Whew!  We are finally done selling t-shirts!  If you aren't familiar with our t-shirt campaign, you can read this post to get up to speed.  If you are familiar with our efforts, it is most likely because you were BOMBARDED on Facebook and Twitter by our constant posting and promoting to get people to buy one of Eli's shirts.  Sorry if you felt harassed.  And thank you for understanding that it  was all part of his mom's job (he hired me to do his marketing and be his Virtual Assistant).

As the campaign came to an end, we sat down to talk about what he had learned about business and success from this experience.  In doing so, I realized how much I had learned as well. Most of what I learned had to do with what an amazingly insightful young man my son is becoming.  But I also learned that I need to spend some time learning more about the best ways to use social media to market a product. are the 5 lessons Eli learned about business through his Teespring campaign - in his own words - along with my responses. 
  1. Designing the t-shirts was a lot easier than selling them.  I thought because I liked the design, everyone else would like the design too.  It's hard to make people want to spend their money. Well, sometimes it is hard. Unless they are like your dad and you are selling some ridiculous gadget on TV. Then it's pretty easy to get them to spend money (I only thought this one, I did not say it out loud!).
  2. I could have done more of the work on the internet if you would let me have my own email, Facebook and Twitter accounts.  I could pay you less if I was doing more of that part. I would still want your help, because you know a lot more than me, but c'mon, Mom.  I'm like the only one of my friends who doesn't have Facebook. Plus we could have advertised on you account AND mine and maybe sold more shirts. Point taken, Bud.  But still not sure I am ready to let you wade into the social media sea.  Put a pin in that one and we'll talk about it later.  You always say later, Mom.  Yeah, I know. It's what I say when I don't want to make a decision and I hope you'll forget about the topic and go play.
  3. Most kids don't have $15 to spend on a shirt.  They have to ask their parents and some parents are just mean and say no to everything.  I have to find some things to make and sell that kids can afford. Good observation.  We'll work on that.
  4. I want to do some fun things that I like to earn money, not just rake leaves and mow lawns.  I will do those too, but I want to do fun things to make money. Welcome to adulthood. Even when you find something to do that you love, there will still be parts of the business that you just don't like or might not be good at.  But you learn to deal with those things and get them done and out of the way so you can focus on the parts you love! You mean like how you love being our mom but hate cooking dinner for us?  I don't hate cooking dinner for you!  Well, you don't love it because you always get stressed out when it's time to start cooking. Touche, my man.  Touche.  It's not so much that I hate doing it, I just...well...okay. I kind of don't like cooking every night.  Note to self: do a better job of hiding disdain for cooking dinner.
  5. I was a little disappointed that Ellen didn't help me.  She helps people on her show all the time.  I thought she might help me because I wasn't asking her for money, I just asked her to tweet for us because everyone reads her Twitter and Facebook and she ALWAYS helps people. That kind of sucked, but I guess I get it. Probably everyone asks her for help because she makes a lot of money. Yeah...what we see on TV and what happens in real life can be very different.  It does kind of suck to realize that you are a little guy in the big scheme of things. But you had a good idea to try to reach out to people (Ellen, The Sharks from Shark Tank) who have a bigger audience and more selling power than you do. You just have to continue to find ways to connect with people who have large networks and be an amazing, engaging person with whom they will want to work. So...just keep trying to make friends with famous people?  Ummm...not exactly.  
So, yeah...we still have a lot to discuss and a lot of planning to do for whatever business venture is next, but he learned a lot and is much more aware of the work it takes to have a successful business. Thanks so much to all of you who supported him (and his mom) through t-shirt purchases, Tweets and Facebook Likes and Shares.  As his mother, I cannot tell you how much it means to me that you were all willing to participate in this project on his behalf.  You may think you just bought a t-shirt or shared a post.  But what you really did is help a 12 year old kid develop important attributes and qualities, as well as learn some valuable lessons that will serve him well for the rest of his life.  And for that?  I want to hug each and every one of you.  

The shirts are printing and shipping in the next few days!  He is so incredibly excited!  If you bought one, feel free to take a picture of yourself wearing it and email it to me or post it on Facebook!  Teespring doesn't tell us who made a purchase, so we'd love to recognize you for supporting a Kid Entrepreneur!   


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