Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kid Entrepeneurs

So Jared and I decided that Ashton gets to go to Australia with me in a couple weeks for the Power of Moms Retreats over there. We've always talked about taking each of our kids on a special trip when they turn 12 and I feel much better about being on the other side of the world for 10 days when I can combine a special bonding experience with Ashton with this chance to provide some great stuff for Australian mums. My trip is covered by the registrations for the two Retreats we're doing over there (if you know anyone in Australia, send them this link please!). Jared and I are covering a chunk of Ashton's expenses but he's been diligently working on earning his portion of the cost. He's been babysitting a couple times a week for neighbors. He's taken care of a bunch of data entry and helped edit videos for Power of Moms. He's saved up his birthday and Christmas money. And this past weekend he earned a nice chunk of money by doing this:
counting up the money (with our friend Grayce)
It was the Parade of Homes last weekend in St George, and as usual, there was a home in the Parade in the development where our house is. So we decided to head down there and hold an open house to get some good traffic through our house. Ashton decided to capitalize on the situation and do a little selling of his own while Jared and I worked on selling the house. So we bought a bunch of stuff at Costco (which Ashton paid for with his own money) and Ashton made some spreadsheets to figure out how much to charge and how much profit he could make. Then the kids, headed by Ashton, set up a refreshment stand in front of the house. Armed with granola bars, oranges,and bottles of water, Ashton and his various "employees" (siblings who stuck by him all day and were paid real money as well as neighbors who helped for a while and were paid in granola bars) sat out there all day on Saturday and most of the day on Monday. They made nice signs for their stand and experimented with different marketing strategies. They smiled and waved at every car going past to attract customers - and tried putting the cutest small neighbors on "waving" duty.  Liza and her friend tried dancing around to attract customers. They were very polite to customers (we practiced on this). Sure, there were squabbles about who'd earned a granola bar and who got to make decisions about how the various goods should be displayed. But all in all, the refreshment stand was a great success. After paying for supplies and paying his employees (Isaac and Eliza) at a rate that felt fair to all, Ashton walked away with $124 and is now very close to what he needs for Australia.

It was hard to stand back and not micromanage the project (I am a recovering control freak, after all). But after offering a few pointers on pricing and ideal cost/profit ratios and insisting there be total politeness to customers and respect and appreciation for"employees," Jared and I backed off and let Ashton run the show. And it was great to see him really step up and come away feeling so proud of his accomplishment while helping the other kids feel proud and happy about the whole thing as well.

I was generally supposed to stay clear of the stand (Ashton: "No offense, but we have a lot better business when you're not here..."). But as I did a little yard work nearby, I could here some of the conversation between those working at the stand and between the kids and customers. I loved hearing the kids speak so nicely to customers and explain their pricing and purpose so well. I loved seeing how many kind people stopped by and were so sweet and encouraging to our kids. There are a lot of nice, nice people in this world.

We got to go on a beautiful hike out behind the house and had a bunch of our old friends visit including "Grandma Sae" (in the photo below). This lady is one of my heroes and the kids love her like a grandma (plus they think it's pretty cool that she's shorter than most of them now). She lives right up the street. She has amazing stories of growing up poor in Hawaii and having the bombs on Pearl Harbor shake her house. She had to work from the time she could walk. And now that she's 84, she keeps young and spry by helping everyone in need. She insisted on scrubbing out closets in our house when we moved and she was late coming to visit us yesterday because she'd needed to help a lady in the hospital and help another lady move. She keeps her mind active by taking Spanish lessons and learning about everything she can and she keeps her body healthy by going on daily walks and attending Tae Chi, Yoga and Zumba classes regularly. I want to be just like Sae when I'm 84!

And we got great traffic through the house. Scores of people came through and asked lots of questions and expressed lots of admiration. We fell in love with our house all over again as we explained the materials we'd so carefully chosen and admired the amazing views alongside the people who walked through the house. The kids have been praying every day for "nice people to buy our house who will love it as much as we do." That would sure be nice. We'll see what offers materialize. Oh how much we'd love to pass our beautiful home along to someone else who'll love it and reduce our financial stress! It's time. It's really time. But it's been such a blessing to be able to go back and enjoy it a little more before it sells. Good old Krawnchie Boo will always have a big place in our hearts. If you want a virtual tour or know someone who wants a great house in St George at a great price, check in out here.
view from our back porch
view I used to wake up to every morning - from my old bedroom

Great room and kitchen

Downstairs rec room/wet bar (sort of empty now that we've moved)


anna said...

If we were moving to St. George--and my sister would love it since she is in Hurricane--I would totally buy your house! I love it!

Eyrealm said...

Wow, prayers coming your way on the sale. Good for those great kids and their buyers for doing things just right to make all that money!

Emily said...

The most wonderful thing my parents did when they took us traveling as children was to arrange for us to spend a day in a local school. It was amazing to meet kids our own age around the world who were so similar to us, yet oh-so-different and learning and doing such different things than we were at home. We made friend connections and gained eye-opening experiences--and it gave the parents a chance to have some grownup time! Just an idea, but I bet you could coordinate that through a mom attending your retreat.


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