Working with your teen: Is real success possible? Mood swings? Attitude? Apathy? Competing interests? Is working with my teen really possible through the teen years? One word: Yes!!! Following these 6 teen business tips will put you on the road to real success with your child.
Maneuvering the pitfalls of the preteen/teen years are difficult for anyone. Change is the common factor during these years. Your relationship will change. Your child will change. You will change. How can I possibly add the stresses of a business to that mix and be successful? It seems like a recipe for disaster. But what if it could be the biggest success of your parenting career? Would it be worthwhile to try? Would you be willing to take the chance and jump in? Well, I can tell you that if you are willing to commit to the process, it can be the single biggest factor in launching your child into adulthood with the skills they need to thrive beyond high school.
My daughter begged me to join a social selling company. She was was adamant that this was the way she was going to earn money for college. I had never been interested in direct selling and even looked down at those who did. Coming off a very difficult time in her life where she had been cruelly bullied, I decided this might just be what she needed to find self-worth and self-confidence. She had not ever asked us for much, so I agreed. I assumed this business would be short lived. She would surely lose interest in a month or two and I’d be the hero who allowed her to give this a try. The cost to join was low so what did I have to lose? All of a sudden I found myself yearning for success for HER more than for me. I wanted this business to at least make the money I have invested.
At our first party, she explained our “why” to the group. You know the BIG “why” that encompasses why were we part of this company and what we had hoped to achieve. It wasn’t money… It was growth. Women were SO endeared to Samantha that our sales EXPLODED. Had we stumbled onto something bigger than I imagined? I almost couldn’t believe it. A couple of months went by and I watched as party after party the sales continued. What was happening?
The BOTTOM fell out of my plan
Until one party I looked over to see my daughter sitting quietly in a corner reading a book. READING A BOOK! I walked over to her and whispered SWEETLY (ha!) in her ear. “Get up and DO something.” She replied (with attitude I might add) “what do you want me to do?” I saw RED! How dare she get an attitude with me when I have put SO much work into this business! I took a deep breath, put my hand on her arm and said “I don’t care what you do, but do SOMETHING.” The next words out of her mouth changed EVERYTHING! “I want to do something, but I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO” she replied.
As I stepped back and realized the weight of her words, the lightbulb went off. She really didn’t know what to do. Somewhere along the way I had left her behind. I made all kinds of assumptions that she was figuring it all out as I was. The truth is she desperately wanted this to be her business, but she did not have the life experiences to help her figure out HOW to plug in. In my vigor to make this business successful, I had missed the fact that she wasn’t following the intricate matrix of little steps that had come so naturally to me.
That moment changed how I looked at our business
I was determined to fix this problem. After all, I wasn’t in this business for myself. I dissected every piece of the business. Based on her age and the things she DID know, we began a process of developing all the skills she needed.
The RIGHT GAME PLAN
Once we had the RIGHT GAME PLAN, we were able to work together successfully. We earned our first incentive trip in just 4 months of being with the company. We began building a strong team and continued earning. Fast forward to our one year anniversary, I watched my child earn the “Most Inspiring” award on the national stage at our convention. She was not the same child who had started this business with me a year previously. She was gaining confidence, finding self worth, learning REAL business skills and even finding a heart to help others do the same.
By implementing these simple teen business tips, you too can find success in business with your teen. Even if your success does not take you to the national stage or on incentive trips, you can develop your child and better prepare them for work life as an adult. Remember their growth and development IS THE ULTIMATE GOAL!
6 Teen Business Tips for Success
Teen Business Tip #1 – Find a business that is FUN and YOUNG
Something your child finds interesting. The key to gaining the interest of a teen/pre-teen is a product that is fun. Find something they like. Take them to other’s parties or let them see the products online. The more they like the product you are suggesting the better your chances of keeping their interest long term. I also suggest that companies with products that change frequently or have new releases often work well for the shorter attention span of your child.
Teen Business Tip #2 – Learn the business yourself first
List all the things you need to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. You have to know how to do a job before you can teach it. That doesn’t mean you have to know everything before you start developing your child’s skills in business. Sit and write down everything you do to care and feed the business. As you master each task you will be ready to begin teaching your child.
Teen Business Tip #3 – Break it down into bite size tasks
Once you are ready to begin training your child, break down each task you do into smaller tasks. Tasks like determining which products to order, setting up displays at parties and events, and taking inventory (if you carry inventory) are the perfect place to start. BUT, be careful NOT to let that be the only thing your child does. As they get the hang of smaller tasks, teach them new ones. Just like us, teens get bored with menial tasks. Remember to start allowing them to interact with your customers. Keep your child always in the forefront of your business. This will help them get more comfortable working with people and speaking in front of them. Don’t expect them to do it all right away, but find a small piece they can explain and allow them to do that every time until they are read for more.
Teen Business Tip #4 – Define clear roles
In any business defining clear roles is the key to success. Once you’ve determined what your child’s roles are, gain agreement with them. Be sure you are both aware of the tasks expected to be completed. Expect your child to complete their tasks. Then hold both of you accountable for your jobs. How do you do that? By rewarding or paying according to the jobs completed. More about rewarding in number 6 below.
Teen Business Tip #5 – Start thinking of your teen as a partner
The bridge from child to business partner is a difficult one. To develop your child in business you HAVE to walk that bridge. How do you start across that bridge? First explain that you are now business partners. It is CRITICAL that they understand their views and ideas matter! Begin weekly business meetings. That’s right! I said “BUSINESS MEETINGS.” Set aside dedicated time to discuss what is working, what isn’t and review roles for the week. Don’t be a NAG! Expect your child to complete their tasks. But don’t harp on them every minute to complete their tasks on YOUR schedule. If they don’t complete their tasks in time, then you address that by not rewarding them for their job. Allow them to fail. They will learn that if they want the reward, they will have to complete the work in a timely manner.
Teen Business Tip #6 – Reward them appropriately for their efforts
No one works for FREE. That should include your teen. In our case all the money went into her college fund, but we still found ways to reward her. She received things like mani/pedis, movies, money for shopping etc. Determine “pay” based on contribution to the business. As the responsibilities grow, the reward should grow with it. Don’t exclude them from company incentives. If your child is contributing to your business, they should be allowed to participate in the incentives. Yes that means free stuff, cash, trips all of it. Just because you are the adult doesn’t mean you get to keep all the good stuff. My husband agreed that our incentive trips were for us since we worked it together. He missed going on them with us, but he understands that we are developing real business skills in Samantha and was proud of her for working towards the goal and achieving it.
These teen business tips will feel unnatural as the parent. But if you can change YOUR perspective and approach just a little and start looking at your child as your business partner, BOTH of you will find success and your business will thrive. You CAN Succeed in business with your teen.
Join Sandy & Samantha Brantley in our community on Facebook: H&H Strategies NOW