Ever since my daughter could talk, she’s been interested in money. Not just money, but making money, as an in full-blown entrepreneur. I believe it started after reading David McPhail’s classic childhood story, “Pig Pig Gets a Job.”
Don’t get me wrong, she will still ask for a handout of money any day. However, the kid is not afraid to work. Her creativity in coming up with business ideas astounds me. She definitely has an entrepreneurial spirit!
Over the years she’s had many ideas. Her ideas have included: a bike wash, garage sales, and even an in-home restaurant. Once she sold an old ice cream carton she up-cycled into a paper fairy garden.
An Entrepreneur Is Born
Our daughter’s entrepreneurial spirit really blossomed, though, this summer. We allowed her to try one of her big ideas: a lemonade stand. Our home is at a somewhat busy t-stop in the heart of our little city. On a sweltering hot July day, she set up a lemonade stand right next to the stop sign in our front yard. It was complete with a cash register and handwritten sign.
While my husband stayed in the background keeping a watchful eye on her, she began yelling at the top of her lungs, “Lemonade! Ten cents.” Within minutes she had her first customer, who rolled down their window at the stop sign, handed her a dollar, and drove off with an ice cold cup of homemade lemonade.
Over the next hour we watched as probably 30 people stopped for her lemonade. Most of them would hand her cash out their car window at the perfectly placed stop, but others came walking down the sidewalk with change in their pockets. All of them overpaid, usually a dollar, although a few people gave her $5. None of them would accept change. We will work on learning how to count change next year.
The Lemonade Stand Success
When it was all said and done, she had made close to $50…which blew my mind completely. We brought her money in, counted it with her at the kitchen table, and discussed her business expenses. Her dad and I had given her a loan upfront to pay for the large container of lemonade mix, plastic cups, and big bag of ice. She paid us back the $5 for those. She also paid her workers, her 3 year old brother and my husband, $10 each. Her workers had done running for her, marketed to customers, mixed more lemonade, and other odd jobs to keep the stand going throughout the hour.
It was difficult for her at first to see half of her pay disappear, but she seemed to understand fairly quickly that she could not have done it without the help or the supplies. $25 still felt like a lot to her once she thought about it!
The Investment Jar
From there, we had her divide her money into her usual Spend, Save, and Give jars that her allowance is divided into. We also encouraged her to consider adding a fourth jar: an Investment jar. We talked about how mom and dad had invested in her business by giving her a loan for the startup supplies. Then we talked about how if she saved a little bit of the money she made that day, she could use it to buy her supplies next time, to make even more money. She came around quickly to the idea. Thus, the Investment jar was born to aid her entrepreneurial endeavors.
Over the summer, she had many more lemonade stands. We estimate that she made around $200 total, and got to keep close to $100 of it in her pocket as profit.
At the end of the season, we talked about what she might like to do with her money. For a long time she had been eyeing a big Doc McStuffins mobile toy clinic. It retailed for around $50. She was so proud the day she took the money she earned and bought it.
We were also so proud that day. It’s not always easy to be a parent. I often feel like I am totally failing at this mom thing. Watching my daughter step into a 6-year old entrepreneur role, though, I felt like I must not totally be messing it up. She worked hard. She earned money. Even better, we were able to teach her some valuable lessons about how money works.