I am raising a couple of enterprising teenagers. The entrepreneurial gene begins developing the minute you won’t buy something they want. I am sure you recognize the first response, “Fine. I’ll buy it with MY OWN money!” Regrettably in this household, their money is still MY money and it cannot be squandered because we worked too hard to earn it in the first place. Second response is usually a default to Grandma who is a softer target, for sure. If that roadblock is encountered, the creative problem solving really ramps up.
When Caroline was 14, she encountered a windfall of cash for Christmas. By Christmas night, she had figured out exactly how she wanted to part with $300. She desired a REAL Elsa costume. (I’ll wait while that sinks in.) Earlier in the day she had entertained her three year old cousin who had a lovely toddler variety Anna costume and Caroline hitched up an old prom dress and a bed sheet and they played. It was kind of adorable. I immediately squelched her Christmas joy by telling her that unless she was going to wear it to her prom plus three others that I might volunteer her to go to with some nice boy who didn’t have a date, she was not about to spend that much money on a costume. Besides, she was too old to play dress up anyway.
In about 15 minutes, she returned with a new proposition. “You know all those people who want Olaf and snowflake cookies? How about you ask them if they want Elsa to come to the party and they can pay me $50. In a few parties, the dress will pay for itself. Well now, if that dress can make you some money that might be a different story. I listened to her proposal hesitantly because I wondered if anyone would actually pay $50 for an Ice Queen to come entertain children at a birthday party. Turns out, they would. By the time the dress and wig arrived, she was booked. She immediately dressed her best friend as Anna and Enchanted Events Middle Georgia was born. They had a full
lesson plan of games and entertainment and even a few upgrades. The dress paid for itself very quickly and she was successful enough to buy Cinderella’s wardrobe including glass slippers. That was six Elsa dresses and two Cinderella costumes ago. As for how she handles "her money", she is more of a spender than a saver because lip gloss and shoes.
As I was driving her all over creation to earn her “own money” playing with children and
opening ice cream shops, her brother was jealous. All of the good ideas in the house usually belonged to him and he didn’t want her walking around with more money than him. He tried his best to weasel his way into the princess business by offering to handle her booking or website or facebook page. She would have none of it. “And you are a LONG way from Prince Charming, so don’t even go there!” He proposed all manner of services he could offer her and she didn’t budge.
“How about if I can make it SNOW at your parties?” Well that was the notion that cracked her icy shell.
“Okay, but you will have to put on a Kristoff costume to come with me.”
Next thing I know, he is on the internet buying a snow machine and snow fluid. Of course, everyone who wants a couple of Snow sisters at a party also wants it to snow, especially in July in Georgia. Not long after, he decided that most people might also want snow cones so he purchased a commercial snow cone machine and decked it out with the image of their favorite snowman.
Chase doesn’t generate many of his own ideas but he is always angling to capitalize on someone else’s vision. He desired a 3D printer so he could make his own drone parts but I stole his joy the same way I did hers. Absolutely not.
“How about if I made you all the cookie cutters you want for free?” Now he was speaking my language. I had been purchasing all my custom cookie cutters online from other nerds with 3D printers but having one in my own house printing cutters any size I wanted really appealed to me. Suddenly, it was a reasonable idea. He soon realized that everybody I taught to bake cookies appreciated custom cookie cutters the same way I did. He had an easy market. Plus, all those ladies were easy to charm. He is so busy printing cookie cutters that he hardly has any time to print drone nonsense.
Last year he had a savvy economics teacher who apparently appreciated his entrepreneurial spirit. He became enamored with investments and how his money could work for him. As the demand for cookie school grew, he insisted that I increase the price. Since I wouldn’t do it, he proposed that he be allowed to buy out a whole date and then he would sell the spots for what the market would bear.
“That is illegal and unethical!” I scoffed.
“It is not. Ticketmaster does it everyday!” Since I am not a fan of him in an orange jumpsuit, I am preventing the scalping of Cookie School spots. If he can’t get money for the demand, he will accept favors.
“Don’t open that email from my teacher! All she wants is a spot in cookie school and I need to see if I am going to exempt that exam first!” He is either going to be worth a million dollars one day or he is going to a white collar prison. Not sure which.