Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My little entrepreneur...

According to economist Joseph Alois Schumpeter (1883-1950), entrepreneurs are not necessarily motivated by profit but regard it as a standard for measuring achievement or success. Schumpeter discovered that they: 
greatly value self-reliance,
strive for distinction through excellence, 
are highly optimistic (otherwise nothing would be undertaken), and
always favor challenges of medium risk (neither too easy, nor ruinous).

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A few weeks ago Erik lost his phone. He didn't tell us he'd lost his phone for a week, so by the time we found out he had completely forgotten where he even had it last. I got him to look through his room, and eventually he was hunting around under his bed and brought out the crate he stores all his precious things in. He pulled the lid of but left it sitting over half the box while he pulled things out, looking for his phone. It was obvious to me he was hiding something so I told him to take the lid off the box completely. In the box was a neatly folded mustard coloured pair of jeans I knew I hadn't bought for him.

He'd been asking me to buy him these jeans for months, but as I stood there staring at them it occurred to me he hadn't mentioned them in a few weeks. I asked him point blank if he'd shop lifted them. He said he hadn't, he'd bought them with his own money. The thing is, he doesn't get any pocket money. So, I asked him where he'd been getting money from.

He told me he had a small enterprise going at school where kids were giving him money and he was buying them energy drinks at the mall on his way to school and charging a dollar retail broker's fee. In that moment I was both aghast and proud.

I had to sit him down and tell him trafficking energy drinks like V and Mother to 12 and 13 year olds was a bad idea! He said he'd researched the drinks first to make sure they were okay and that, anyway, the kids' parents bought them these drinks after school all the time. So, I took him to the product sites and showed him the recommended daily limit for these drinks was one per day and I pointed out that unless the kids told their parents they'd already had one that day, he was putting those kids at risk. I said he was banned from buying energy drinks for kids at school.

So, last week I found out he was still running his enterprise when he told me he was going to buy hair colour and asked if I'd colour his hair for him. He said I had said he, 'Couldn't buy them energy drinks, drugs or alcohol, but you said didn't say I couldn't buy them chips or chocolate or regular soft drinks.' I had to laugh - he wasn't put off by the obstacle I'd set for him. He'd done what every good little entrepreneur would do, and branched out into other markets.

I have to admit, I'm proud of his ingenuity and initiative. I cannot believe the kids at school are will ing to pay a full $1 commission on a can of soft drink, but I guess he is supplying a demand. He has built up a loyal clientele by creating a trust relationship (the kids trust him with their money overnight).

I knew not giving my kids pocket money would motivate them to make their own money!

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Good Job!