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Troy Dunn: Different Approaches For Different Ages

Gear Your Pitch By Age

Children’s responses to entrepreneurial ideas will differ dramatically according to their ages. I’ve identified four basic age categories and will describe in a general way what you can expect when you talk to a child of any age about business. Knowing ahead of time how your six-year-old might react when you suggest picking up the pinecones in the front yard or what your f

ourteen-year-old is going to say to the idea of a dog-walking business, will help you present your ideas with the best chances for success. The younger your child, the easier it will be to introduce new ideas, but even teenagers can be successfully persuaded that they can become future millionaires.

Ages 5 and Under

These children for the most part haven’t entered the school system and still truly live in a magical world – think Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. They are untouched by flawed philosophies (with the exception of any incorrect teachings in your house!). So, although very young, they are the most teachable and the most willing to believe all things are possible.

You can assign these children simple jobs that can be mastered easily and quickly, pay them immediately, and let them spend the money equally fast. Children this age need instant gratification, so give it to them! Don’t worry about spoiling them- they will naturally learn to exercise more restraint as they get older. This way they will be ahead of the curve at a very early age, able to think of themselves as successful entrepreneurs even if they have no idea what the word entrepreneur means!

Ages 6 to 10

The children in this age group are prime candidates for the introduction of learn-to-earn concepts. They have the belief systems of younger kids but the attention span and drive of older children. They also are very fixed on strong “wants” at this stage, a big plus when motivating them. They are eager and believe most things are possible.

Your approach with these kids can be more sophisticated. They will participate in matching a job to their interests, can grasp the simple mathematics of business, and can understand the importance of marketing. It is pure pleasure working with this age group, as they are very happy to spend time with you, enjoy brainstorming, and love earning money and buying what they want.

Ages 11 to 14

This is the most challenging age group, because they are beginning to group up and away from you and are so less willing to bu into the plans you suggest. (Another reason to start your future millionaire on the path to success as early as you can!) They are beginning to think that they’re smarter than their parents, yet they’re not so sure how smart they themselves are, which often makes for insecurity and rebelliousness. They are increasingly absorbed in their peers and don’t want to look stupid or be different. It also doesn’t help that their hormones are beginning to kick in, affecting their moods and focus.

Further, preteens and early teens can be, or at least pretend to be, very cynical. They believe very few things are possible, so persuading them of their own strengths or ability to succeed is tougher. But if you know all of this ahead of time, you can tailor when they challenge you, and have some really good job ideas ready so that they will become intrigued in spite of themselves.

As difficult as this age group is to work with, act in also be the most rewarding, because a successful business experience at this stage of a child’s development can have the greatest impact of any of the four age groups. When a pre- or early teen creates a successful job for himself, his self-confidence soars along with his bank account, and he often gets a valuable new sense of himself.

Ages 15 to 18

Unlike the previous group, kids in their mid to upper teens believe many things are possible, and the learn-to-earn philosophy with a young person this age can bring fast results. They are mini-adults and, unlike the previous age group, are less affected by peer pressure and are more mature and focused. They have started asking themselves big-life questions about their educations, careers and lifestyles and are also more aware of the real costs of living and the tremendous, ongoing need for money.

At the same time, kids of this age are more “want” driven, which is a big plus for you. If, for instance, your teenage daughter wants a car and you haven’t caved in and brought her one, this “want” alone could launch a very successful beginning to teaching her to be a future millionaire.

To stimulate young people this age to start thinking about using their gifts to make money, treat them link the young adults they’re becoming. No more “kiddie” businesses here. Teens will be interested in doing something more meaningful and profitable.

If a child this age was introduced to learn-to-earn techniques while still young, future millionaire habits will be firmly rooted, and your teen will have accumulated some wealth. A child who is just beginning at this age, however, can still progress at a very, very fast rate, because she will be motivated to earn money, receptive to your ideas, willing to work hard, and more apt to stick projects than younger children.


For a complete guide to raising your kid for success, check out the rest of Troy's Book: Young Bucks