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The Practical Perks of Involving Your Children in Your Business

Inspired by this week’s Moms Making Six Figures Podcast episode with Tax Strategist Jessica Smith who believes in making your money work as hard for you as you work for it, all while giving our children the gift of practical experience and work ethic.


I can still remember my first job.  There was no W-2, no new hire paperwork, no cash exchanged.  The contract was made between my parents and their dear friend, recently widowed, over a handshake and through tears of gratitude.  I mucked horse pastures, and cleaned stalls for an entire summer of Saturday’s in exchange for hot tub privileges.  In hindsight I know exactly what my parents were doing and I hope to be able to do the same for my children.


The Perk of Perspective

As parents we ask our children about their day, their academics, their athletics, and their friends, but it’s important that we share our lives with them as well.  By opening these reciprocal conversations, we offer our kids a window into the reality of work and making a living (and a life) for ourselves, and for them.   These conversations develop empathy and gratitude, and lay a valuable foundation for successful communication with others.

The Perk of Practical Experience

The workforce is rapidly evolving and so are the skills required to be successful; by involving our children in our businesses and in our daily work rhythms, we provide them with valuable knowledge and practical experience to advance their own careers when they choose to enter the workforce.  Many of our children have a variety of foundational skills, but lack the ability to hone them or apply them in a different context without direction and support.

Think of the variety of tasks you and your employees perform in any given day and begin teaching your children those same skills you now consider to be rote; you can develop their skill set as their interest and ability grows.

The Perk of Principles Learned

We’ve all experienced our own share of failures as working professionals (and as parents), and sometimes the sting is worse than others.  By teaching our children principles of the business world and developing their work ethic early, we offer them a safe place to take risks, and make mistakes, before a future employer or client delivers their first critique or negative review.

Start with a seemingly simplistic, but essential skill for everyone who is self-employed.  Teach your children how to create an invoice, disperse it, and collect on it for the work they are doing in your business.  A valuable skill set is learned, and responsibility and ownership over their agency as an employee is instilled.

The Perk of Parenting in a New Way

As parents we know the painful reality of the adage, “The days are long, but the years are short” and many of us are feeling stretched to find intentional time with our children with all the hats we wear.  Bringing our children to work and including them in our business, allows us more time with them when time is fleeting, and allows us to bond with them and strengthen our relationship in an entirely different way.  They get to see a different side of you, and you get to see the person they are becoming.

The Perk of Pennies Saved

If you are a sole proprietor or LLC, and your child is under 18, you can hire your child as an employee without paying social security or Medicare taxes, and write-off their work as a business expense.  Of course, you will want to discuss the specifics with your accountant and ensure the work they are performing is reasonable considering their age. If your children earn less than $12,000 (the standard deduction on any tax return), they have no tax liability. Better yet? You can teach your children the value of financial investment and saving by establishing a 529 College Savings Plan with a portion of their earnings to help them (and you) save for their future.

The Perk of a Passion Ignited

In addition to instilling the foundations of work ethic, from learning to report to someone else, performing a task as directed, and showing up prepared and on-time, you may also spark your child’s passion for their future education or career endeavors. Author and speaker, Ramon Ray, gave his son the opportunity to accompany him on work travel and shoot video, and later edit that footage, “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.  After that, I’d turn to my regular video editors.  He did the videos.”

Opportunities present themselves in any number of places, whether it’s in a conversation with a colleague while they’re organizing your filing cabinet, a spark of innovation while cleaning the office space, or a passion for social media marketing ignited when they take over your business Instagram for the day, your habit of making “Bring Your Child to Work Day” a normal rhythm of your life (and theirs) may just jumpstart their road to discovering their purpose.


Mucking horse pastures and cleaning stalls instilled a deep appreciation within me for manual laborers and their often thankless work.  Sacrificing my Saturdays helped me to understand the value of putting others before ourselves, and looking back on my first job I am filled with gratitude for my parents and their wisdom, and now have some of the fondest memories of ‘swimming’ in an indoor hot tub.

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How to Raise Great Kids & Leave a Legacy Through Your Children

Inspired by Inc.’s lead parenting columnist, Bill Murphy Jr.’s, collection of science-based parenting advice collected and shared.


As parents, one of our core desires for our children is for them to be happy.  As working parents, we recognize that one of the core tenants of our own happiness is the pursuit and achievement of success, however we have defined it for our careers, our families, and ourselves.  Naturally, we want to raise our children to succeed as adults, but we also want them to experience the emotional health that is supported by their encounters of success (and dare we say, failure) as children, teens and young adults.  If we invest our parenting capital in these five key areas, we can later reap the rewards of that investment in children who become successful and well-adjusted adults (and grown children who still want to come ‘home’ for the holidays).


One | Great Expectations

We all have expectations, and we all know the frustration that results when those expectations are not met (likely, because they were never communicated in the first place).  We also know the power of a boss who sets clear (and high expectations), revisits them often, and celebrates our fulfillment of those expectations.  Our children are no different.  The greater our expectations, when communicated clearly and supported intentionally, the greater our children will perform.  That performance will directly translate into confidence, and improved self-esteem.

Our expectations communicate to our children that we believe they are capable of doing hard things, that we hold them accountable, and that we want them to achieve their dreams.  Establish your expectations, communicate them clearly, re-visit and remind your children of them often, and affirm and celebrate their fulfillment of those expectations.

Two | The Power of Praise

People perform better when they receive praise routinely.  However, in order to support our children in taking risks, and pursuing academics and activities with persistence, the way we deliver that praise is imperative.  Otherwise, we may end up raising vapid egomaniacs, and the world is already full of those.

So, how should we deliver praise? First, know that there is no ideal ratio, but the more you praise your children, the better the results.  In other words, you cannot spoil a baby by holding them too much, and you cannot spoil a child by praising them too much.  Next, it is important that you praise their effort and specific application of skills or attributes, rather than their innate talents.  When you offer praise frequently and ‘correctly’ you avoid the adage of, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”.

Here’s an example.  Instead of telling your child, “Wow, you are so fast!” praise them instead by saying, “I am so impressed with the way you were determined to push your body to move your legs so quickly.  You didn’t give up!”

Three | Chores, Chores, Chores

According to the longest running longitudinal study in history, there are two key factors people need to possess to be both happy and successful: love and work ethic.  How, as parents can we instill those two traits in our children simultaneously? Chores.  When children participate in chores they learn the importance of work ethic, and they feel loved knowing that they have a purpose in their family life and knowing that they are contributing to that family life.

But, we have to include them.   And that means letting go of some of our own expectations along the way.  They have to learn, and the only way for them to learn is to practice.  Give them grace, and ample amounts of praise, and then learn to live with the missed crumbs –they will get it right, with time.

Four | Be There

In a Love and Logic world, it can be hard to remember that ultimately our children need us there, and they need us to be a safe and empathetic shoulder as much as they need us to walk them through the natural consequence they were just delivered.  When something happens to our children, whether they get hurt, make a mistake, or are confronted with failure, you can (and should) rush to their side.  In numerous studies, researchers found that adults who reflect on their childhood, had a much more positive perception of their parents when they were perceived as being there, rather than modeling self-reliance by maintaining their distance.

You can be there for your children, without ‘fixing’ the situation.  And this is the Love component of Love and Logic.  We don’t sit back when our child trips and falls; instead, we lovingly acknowledge their pain, “Ouch!  That looks like it hurts; I am so sorry that happened. What would make it feel better?” and we offer them Logic when the time is right, “Do you think your shoes being untied caused you to trip? What are your ideas for preventing another trip?”

Five | Champion their ‘Weirdness’ and their Social-Butterfly Aptitude

Children are laughably weird, and it doesn’t take more than a year or two of parenting to also realize, they come to us as they are —wonderfully and wildly unique— with their own interests and passions and eccentricities.  Rather than dejecting their affinity for dinosaur trivia, champion it and channel their interest into some real life connections, like paleontologists or a trip to a dinosaur museum.  Warren Buffet attributes his success to his eccentric tendency toward entrepreneurship as a child.  So embrace their quirkiness, and help to develop it so they can later leverage it for success and happiness.

While we’re discussing comments you may anticipate hearing at Parent Teacher Conferences, if your child is often discussed as being ‘too social’, help them to curtail it…to an extent, and know that children who are perceived as prosocial, later have a significant financial lead.  And if your child struggles socially, seek out opportunities and employ strategies to help improve their social skills and their future.


While there is no handbook for parenting, employing these 5 study-proven and scientifically supported practices will help you to raise children who are both well adjusted and successful.  And, at the end of the day, if “all you need is love”, and your children are loved and secure, you have already started a beautiful legacy.  We are so looking forward to the return on our investment, of a home filled with grown children during the holidays.

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11 Fun Outdoor Activities to Entertain Your Kids

Now that summer’s almost here, it’s time to put away the iPad and enjoy the great outdoors with our kids!

I’m not saying that you and your family need to partake in extreme sports; I am saying that you need to get outdoors. From a simple game in the backyard to a family camping trip, there are quite a few fun outside activities that will not only keep the kids entertained and active, but you too!

You don’t always need to spend a fortune on family fun, but you do need a good imagination and some energy (hello coffee—or sports drink!) to keep up with the kids! Here are 11 fun outdoor activities to enjoy the summer months with your favorite little people:

1. Backyard Camping

No need to go to the woods for a campout—just have one in your backyard! Don’t have a tent? Build a fort outside with old bed sheets and a few cushions.

If building a small fire isn’t an option, heat up some marshmallows in the kitchen—for s’mores of course! Throw in some more camping-type snacks (beef jerky, trail mix, etc.), some ghost stories, and a ball or frisbee to throw around, and you’re good to go!

2. Green Thumbs

This is for all you gardeners out there—get your kids involved in the garden too! It’s not only a fun activity for you and the kids, but it’s also a chance to combine fun and learning.

Give each child some seeds of their own to plant. Teach them how to water and tend to the plant as it grows. This fun activity helps teach kids a sense of responsibility for taking care of other living things (a great first step for that puppy they keep demanding!).

3. Kid-Friendly Paintball

If water balloons and paintball had a baby, this would be it! Fill the balloons with non-toxic, water-soluble paint, wear some old white t-shirts, and let the fun begin! Run around the grass and try to hit each other with as many balloons as possible, all while avoiding getting hit yourself.

Whoever has the least amount of paint on their t-shirt wins! This is the perfect game for some backyard fun or to play at a local park (just be sure to wash down the grass after the game is over).

4. Go Fish!

Fishing is not only fun, it’s an important survival skill. Plus, it teaches your kids to work for their food, helps them learn patience, and allows them to get hands-on with nature (and a little dirty!): putting worms on the hook, taking the fish off the hook, cleaning and filleting their catch—or throwing it back, depending on your own comfort level.

Find a local lake or river where fishing is allowed, and look up the rules for getting a fishing license—usually a simple process. Or if you live seaside and your budget permits, you might even consider taking the family deep sea fishing!

5. Take a Hike

Instead of relying on the tablet to keep your kids occupied, let nature take the lead. If you’re lucky, there should be a nature reserve nearby; if not, you may have to take a drive out of town. Either way, it’s worth it.

You’ll find that there’s plenty along the trail to keep them entertained, and a little physical activity never hurt anybody! Look up the trails ahead of time and choose a hike that meets your family’s comfort level—from a one-mile loop to a mountain hike, there are options for all activity levels! Just remember to stick to the marked trail and allow for plenty of daylight to finish the hike.

6. Slip ‘n Slide—Without Water

Say what?! Water is a precious thing and we shouldn’t waste it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun. Use shaving cream instead! Slipping down the slide will be just as fun (create a simple slip ‘n slide by spreading some plastic sheeting over the grass in your yard).

But don’t just watch—unleash your inner child and join your kids!

7. Play a Sport

Soccer, touch football, tennis, swimming—the list is endless. You and the kids can get some fun exercise (and it’ll tire them out for an early bedtime, fingers crossed!).

8. Have an Archery Tournament

All you need is some paint, a bull’s eye, and the kids’ toy bow and arrows. This activity is great for children’s hand-eye coordination, and hey—parents can show off their archery skills too!

9. Host a Family Olympics

Get the whole family involved and be creative with the sports and activities you include. Pair up with your kids so that each team has an adult and a kid (or three!)—or do kids vs. parents for the ultimate face-off!

10. Arts and Crafts

We could all do with some useful DIY projects now and then. Why not get the kids involved? They could help paint or assemble their playhouse, or even make some useful things for your home. Head out to the arts and crafts supply store for some kid-friendly home decor ideas.

11. Family Cookout

Family barbeques are always fun. Teach the kids some of your favorite family recipes and incorporate some of these outdoor activities into the day—whether it’s in your backyard or on a fun family vacation.

Imagination and Creativity is Where It’s At!

The sky’s the limit when it comes to outdoor activities. With some imagination and creativity, fun can be had by the whole family. Now that the weather is nice, get out there and enjoy some sunshine.

Don’t forget to snap some pictures to capture the moment!

Spotlight

Steph Shaffer On Why She Joined Moms Making Six Figures

Being a single mom with two young children in the early 90’s, my dream was to provide them with a stable childhood free from worry.

In my mind, realizing that dream necessitated owning my own business because as an employee, I felt I had few choices. I had worked for a small company that specialized in HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) for many years and eventually became a 50% owner of the business. Initially, I was elated, thinking, “I did it!  I am a small business owner and I’ve achieved the American Dream.”

What I didn’t realize was that in today’s economy, this “dream” can quickly turn into a nightmare.  

The Price of Business Ownership

There was so much more to small business ownership than I had ever realized or anticipated.  I know my fellow small business owners who are reading this can truly relate to the following experiences I dealt with:  The price of business ownership is enormous, not only monetarily, but also with your time.  The overhead costs such as mortgage or rent, utilities, payroll, payroll taxes, worker’s compensation, commercial liability insurance, insurance benefits and 401k plans for the employees and so on are staggering.  As an owner, I now had so many choices to make and my thoughts and worries never left the business; I often felt like my business owned me! 

Try as I might, I was unable to be truly engaged with my family because I was consumed with worry; the biggest of which was “from what line of credit can we borrow if we don’t bring in enough revenue this month?”  As much as I loved and was successful at my business, the stress was simply oppressive.

New Beginnings

I’m happy to say that I have since sold my ownership interest in the HVAC company and have embarked on an equally fulfilling and challenging business endeavor, but without all of the stress!  I absolutely love what Moms Making Six Figures has given me and I love what I do.

Have a question for Steph? Leave a reply below!

Spotlight

Tonya Stout’s Story: How “Moms” allowed me to balance work and family life, pursue my passion.

My story isn’t your ‘typical corporate career’ path.

It all began with a seed that God placed in my heart when I was in elementary school. I never had the desire to climb to the top of a ‘corporate ladder’ or break through the proverbial glass ceiling; my dream was to move to Nashville, TN, to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter in country music – way before ‘country was cool.’

Growing up in a blue-collar town, with mostly farms & factories, the seed of working hard for a living was deeply planted in my Indiana hometown. I graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Business Education. The reasons I chose an Education degree was so I could have the summers off to play in my band (that was my young, wrong way of thinking) and a degree in business could open a lot of doors in any field, including music. Eight years after graduating from college, my husband, my daughters and I uprooted from Indiana and headed south to Nashville, Tennessee.

Although I knew the odds were against me of ever getting a song recorded by a country artist, I still grabbed my guitar, played around town at songwriter venues such as the famous Bluebird Cafe, and began writing songs on music row. I had heard it was a “ten-year town” and, sure enough, after ten years of writing songs, yes, TEN YEARS, things began to blossom.

I’ve had songs recorded by Grammy Award winner, Billy Dean, along with country duo, Joey + Rory, and other independent artists. One of my songs I co-wrote has been played nationally on The Today Show with Hoda & Kathie Lee, and on The Andy Cohen Radio Show. I also recorded a singer/songwriter EP that is available on I-Tunes, Amazon, Spotify, Pandora, etc. and created a company called “Nashville Comes to Town – songwriters playing it forward,” where we perform in different cities and give back to the community.

Although I’m grateful for all of my musical accomplishments, the music industry has evolved from pressing a needle against the vinyl to listen to an old 45-record and songwriters being able to making a living writing songs, to low CD sales because listeners now download or stream songs illegally and a single doesn’t pay the creator much for their work of art. So, along with pursuing a passion like mine, I’ve always had to figure out a way to generate an income to contribute to my family and not be the stereotypical ‘starving artist.’

I’ve held many part-time jobs alongside of my music career, and before working with Moms Making Six Figures, I had a tiny taste of that ‘corporate’ career and knew, without a doubt, that wasn’t my gig. Funny how a corporate part-time job is really full-time hours, but part-time pay, while not having a quality of life or time to spend with the ones you love.

My childhood friend introduced me to Moms Making Six Figures and I was a little skeptical about it, but trusted her. My friend did not work for them, but she knew one of the executives who did, and she thought it might be a good fit for me. She was right.

My husband and I researched the business model and loved the part of the ‘residual income’ piece which is much like a songwriter who receives ‘mailbox money’ when their song is played. Not only has this part-time job allowed me to still be fully involved in the lives of my husband, and three daughters, I also have the time and flexibility to still write songs and play at songwriter events.

It was pretty refreshing to receive a nice check after my first month of working with “Moms”, and not having to wait ten years! The support that all of us women/men, give to one another, is how the ‘corporate’ world should be. Not only do we water our own seed, we love watering each other’s seeds & what a beautiful garden we have.

Tonya Stout
About the author: Tonya Stout is a successful singer/songwriter, wife, and mother of three daughters. She has a degree in Business Education from Ball State University and grew up in Indiana.
Press

Families Surrey West : Feb 13, 2014

 

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It was this time last year that Lyndie was first introduced to “Moms Making Six Figures” by her friend, Angie. She was living with her family in San Diego, California at the time and she was a stay at home Mum to her two children- Olivia and Nico. Lyndie says ‘with both children nearing school age I had started thinking about my “next step”. I was eager to find a way to return to the workplace, re-establish a career and a sense of independence but I also wanted to be able to do that whilst prioritizing family time. I really wasn’t sure that such a possibility existed but am happy to say that one day my friend, Angie, shared with me how she had been able to do just that. One year later and I have a growing business in California and am now excited to be expanding back home in the UK. The most rewarding part has been helping other women do the same. If you would like to learn more please request information on our website. We would love to talk to you, learn about you and tell you about our organization.

Visit momsmakingsixfigures.com