I have two children, both teenagers and over the past few years I’ve had the privilege of having them travel with me and work with me on a variety of things.
My son traveled with me to Las Vegas to attend CES. While there, he took some video (using the awesome Kodak Zi8) and helped me carry lots of gear for my video shoot with MSNBC.
My daughter has been with me on many trips as well. Her last project was using survey software from Zoomerang to input attendee response to one of my events.
I don’t usually pay my children when they travel with me, but for specific projects, such as my son editing video with Nero Vision, I do pay a small stipend.
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Here are six benefits to having your children involved in your business.
- They will learn a new skill. There are lots of smart kids in this country, but there are also a lot of intellectually challenged ones; ones that aren't able to string together two sentences or clearly community with adults. Letting your children do some “adult work” will give them new skills beyond what they might traditionally learn in school. My children are learning video editing, survey analytics, public speaking and so much more.
- You will bond with your children. Too many of us are busy clicking on our BlackBerrys or tweeting on Twitter, while we’re spending less time with our children. By having your children work on your business, you spend time with them and strengthen your relationship.
- Save money. You’re not going to pay a 9- or 13-year-old child the same amount that you would pay to someone on Elance. You’re children are probably looking for ways to get more money, so use this opportunity to help them earn more of it, while you save money.
- Teach your children business principles. My son was so frustrated when I made him issue me an invoice and warned him that the next time he worked for me I might take a week to pay him. In the “real world” of business you must issue an invoice to get paid, and your payment might come in 30 days–if you’re lucky. Teaching your children these concepts while they’re young will get them ready for when they have their own “adult” clients.
- Advancing entrepreneurship. Each year I speak with dozens of small business owners who have the taste of entrepreneurship in their blood, but that’s it. They really don’t know how to build a business, make sales or manage their cash flow. I’m no entrepreneur poster boy like Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki or others, but I can say I know a little bit. Real-life lessons in entrepreneurship are sorely lacking and the more parents can teach their children, the better off the world will be.
- Teaching your children responsibility. I told my son that I had a number of people I could turn to for video editing but that I’d give him a week to do several videos (from my trip to SXSW). After that, I’d turn to my regular video editors. He did the videos. Giving your children a choice to earn money and work with you helps them mature and become more responsible.