I would spend my summer holidays playing sports with my friends and building dangerously high tree huts without any council consent. But as I got older, I didn’t want to do ‘kid stuff’ in the holidays anymore. I wanted to do teenager stuff like hanging out at the mall and eating over-priced frozen yoghurt – which all cost a lot of money. Money I didn’t have. My parents never gave us pocket money as kids so we had to create our own income streams.
Here are the ways that my siblings and I made money in the summer holidays when we were too young to get a ‘real job’ and how you can help your tweens and teens do the same.
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My big brother basically created an old-school LinkedIn profile. My dad helped him craft flyers which highlighted his skills as a potential contractor – “I can mow your lawns. I can walk your dog. I can be a taste tester for your baking.” That kind of thing. He dropped them in letterboxes around the neighbourhood – and it totally worked! He learned about entrepreneurship and the tax-dodging benefits of doing ‘cashies.’ Helping your kid put together a list of employable skills is a huge confidence booster.
My oldest sister was employed in one of society’s most traditional tween trades. She was a babysitter. We had heard that some families payed up to $50 a night for a babysitter with a good reputation. She was determined to find these families. The dream of raking in the big bucks taught her the benefits of buttering up potential clients (also known as networking). Recommend your kids to your friends and help them to create a client base.
My other big sister was terrified of dogs so she couldn’t do a paper run or baby sit. She made money selling things online in the dog-free safety of our home. Mum helped her set up an account on TradeMe and Emily made a fortune from creatively pitching old junk as ‘up-cycled, vintage and shabby chic’. Creating opportunites for your kids to learn how to pitch a sale can help them develop employable skills for the rest of their life.
One summer my dad made me slave away for days dismantling wooden crates. I made bags of kindling and went around as a door-to-door salesman to houses that had chimneys. But it was the middle of summer so I wasn’t very successful in those months. Dad debriefed with me about how people would need the kindling later in the year when it got colder. So during the next school holiday I sold every single bag and made a killing. Let your kids fail, and let them learn – when they succeed they will truly understand the idea of delayed gratification.
My parents helped us learn basic economics and the satisfaction of a hard day’s work. They helped me learn the true value of money and every dollar I made was worth that much more because I had earned it.
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