Raising Kids to Be Entrepreneurs

Lifebook VIP Members Missy Butcher, Jason Moore, and Damion Lupo team up to bring us a 3-part article about raising children to become entrepreneurs, from the perspective of both a parent and a child.

Discover inspiring strategies that will empower your children to become the creative, successful, and fulfilled people they were born to be with the articles below.

Teaching Kids About Value Creation
By:  Missy Butcher

This topic is one of my favorites. It’s deep and wide, incredibly rewarding, and tons of fun… so I decided to share some of the strategies Jon and I have used over the years to teach our kids about an incredibly fundamental piece of life… value creation.

Talking and Listening

The first and most important strategy is to simply communicate with them! No matter what their ages are, our kids have always LOVED to hear, talk, and learn about money.

We ask questions and then LISTEN to them. We pay attention to what they love to do. We discuss their talents with them deeply. We find out what they are truly interested in, enjoy doing and are really good at, and then we let the creative juices flow.

Creativity is key here.

Kids are just like us – when they are doing something they enjoy, they learn so much faster and have a lot more fun in the process – and therefore usually create more value along the way!

Of course, it can be hard to find the right words to use sometimes – especially with little ones… but it is POWERFUL and INTERESTING to them at any age, and they tend to understand it quickly – no matter how we phrase it.

Jon has a really good opening statement that has worked brilliantly, not only on our own kids, but our friend’s kids too…

He starts off by saying, “I am going to share a serious secret of life with you – a secret that most grown ups don’t even know…” Not only is this sadly true, but kids LOVE this message! I mean, come on, it’s a secret that grown ups don’t even know! He’s really good at setting a mysterious and secretive context, which gets them “leaning forward”.

Then, he proceeds to tell them that the most important, successful, and awesome human beings that have ever lived discovered their special abilities by thinking and talking about it A LOT – and then they figured out how to use those special powers of theirs to create value for the people around them. They never stopped thinking about how they could develop their talents further and USE THEM to make life better for the people in their family, their neighborhood, and the world. He gives lots of examples that kids can relate to, like Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, even Sponge Bob (he creates lots of value and joy by making the best crabby patties ever)!

We brainstorm with our kids on how they think they can help others by using their “special powers” – their talents, skills, and favorite hobbies – to create value – and make money in the process.


Another strategy we use is immersion education. Sometimes the best way to explain something that is difficult to understand is to JUST DO IT.

We encourage our kiddos to experience value creation early and often.

The best way for them to understand this concept deeply is to let them dive in on their own and learn about how the process works first hand (with our support along the way, of course). When they’re young we start simple, with something like trading services for cash at home. Then move on to lemonade stands, yard sales, growing and selling garden vegetables to the neighbors – what ever interests them and gets them excited to do the work.

Going Above and Beyond

Generally speaking, allowance has never really resonated with Jon or I, so when I say “trading services for cash at home” – allowance isn’t necessarily what I’m referring to.

We don’t think that allowance teaches the basics of value for value, unless you really take the time to explain WHY they are receiving it – and stay disciplined about the value they need to create in return for it. So it can sometimes just end up being their paycheck for keeping their room clean, which is a value no doubt, but to us, pitching in and helping around the house is part of being a family and living together.

We do however believe in trading cash for services rendered over and above general household contributions… such as back/foot massages, extra cleaning (like all the windows in the house, and we have a lot of windows – or taking on an epic kitchen mess after a big family dinner), etc…

This “above and beyond” approach to trade of service helps them understand at a very basic and fundamental level that in order to create more wealth, they must create more value by going above and beyond to fulfill the needs of others.


In our home we strive to teach reality. To really help our kids understand the basics of value creation, we have them invest their own money into their ventures. We have certainly “been their bank” and loaned them seed money, but we make sure they pay us back before they take a profit.

They also need to make absolutely sure that their product or service is truly of value to others AND they need to find a place (or market) to sell. For example, they won’t do very well if they try to sell their broken toys at the end of the drive way (trust us on this one, Justin tried it and it did not work!).

The biggest bonus from this strategy is that it’s a huge self-esteem builder. When they do it themselves they feel powerful, because they are. They CAN effectively cope with the challenges of life and make big CHANGE happen.

Let Them Fail

Years ago, Jon and I learned something so incredibly important from our dear friend, Nathaniel Branden. This is profound to parenting in general, and applies so intensely here…

Never steal your children’s struggles.

Don’t ‘pad’ their lives by giving them all the answers. Failing is such a good teacher. It is a necessity in the process of gaining success. They have tried things that have worked. They have tried things that haven’t worked. And they KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.

Painting a Picture

Here’s an example of a situation where we applied these strategies with our daughter Jade (who is definitely a budding entrepreneur):

Jade has always been very creative and loves to paint. When she was in 2nd grade, we discovered that she was moderately dyslexic. She was struggling in school and as a result, her self-esteem was suffering. Jon had a brilliant idea to get her self-image back on track, by combining her love of painting with her serious interest in making money. He talked to her about his idea and she was ALL IN.

That summer he gave her painting lessons and over the next 16 months, he worked with her to finish enough paintings for a solo gallery show. We asked our friend who owned a gallery in Chicago if we could rent his space for a one-night show, and he agreed at the cost of $1000. We made invitations and sent them to our family and friends. Over 200 people showed up at her opening and she sold her first solo show out in 30 minutes. After she paid us back for all the expenses, she ended up netting over $3000. It was a massive self-esteem builder for her, which totally changed her life and she’s never looked back since.

Our kids have made and sold everything from organic veggies, to all kinds of baked goods, t-shirts, paintings, online video gaming sites, used items at flea markets and garage sales to starting an importing jewelry business, animation cell business, babysitting service, etc… all before the age of 12. For all the ventures they’ve actually started, there have been dozens and dozens of ideas that didn’t make it through the discussion phase! Of those that have, most didn’t work. But the ideas that worked have put thousands of dollars of hard earned cash in their OWN bank accounts.

An Alternative

For those of you that have kids that aren’t really interested in being entrepreneurs, there are tons of other ways to teach them about value creation…

Owning a family business is an easy opt-in. Kids can do simple tasks at a very young age. Anything from emptying the trash cans or packing boxes to filing, answering the phones, taking orders, and even creating new products.

They can offer their skills and time for volunteer work – like caring for pets at an animal shelter or spending time with senior citizens.

Remember, value creation is about creating value – not only about making or earning money. The financial rewards are a CONSEQUENCE of value creation.

Teaching your kids about value creation boils down to one simple concept…

Really get to know your kids and nurture who they really are deep inside… Help them uncover what they have to offer to the world – best and highest use of THEM. And then help them apply their talents to helping others. The earlier they can discover this for themselves the better their life will be and the better they will make life for others.

Meet Bodhi, a 5-Year Old Entrepreneur
By: Jason, and Nandi Moore

My 5 year old son, Bodhi has been watching what I do very closely (as children do) and he always asks, “Can I shoot a video too dad? Can I work on my business?”

So, finally, just before the weekend, I asked him if he wanted to partner with me to build a business online…  He got SO excited dancing around and cheering…”REALLY Dad! I would LOVE that!”

When I asked him what kind of value he wanted to create for people, he said he wanted to “teach people about dinosaurs,” his favorite topic…  So, we grabbed all the books and encyclopedias he has on the subject, sat down with BAWB (The “Big Ass White Board”), and did some research…

We came up with 5 topics, 1 for each of 5 short 1 minute videos…

* What are dinosaurs?
* The Dino World
* Different Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures
* Dino Diets
* And How Dinos Died

We white boarded his headlines and copy, came up with a name (“Dinosaurs Are Dino-mite”), secured his domain, set up his hosting…  Then, we went to work designing and building out his framework together using wordpress with optimize press 2…  We created a banner and a simple video landing/sales page with a buy button that redirects to the video series with some bonuses…

He spent the greater part of 2 days practicing his content delivery off of notes he asked me to print for him…  “I need to go over and practice my program dad”…(because he has seen and heard me review my scripts many times)…

Then, we went to work shooting his videos and editing his videos…  He seriously worked right alongside me, guiding every step with HIS vision of what he wanted it to be and how he wanted it to look…

* Doing the research
* Buying the domains
* Setting up the hosting
* Installing wordpress
* Installing optimizepress
* Designing the site
* Scripting the videos
* Setting up the studio
* Shooting the videos (he even used a teleprompter)
* Editing the video
* Uploading the video
* Creating the PDF
* Setting up book links
* Setting up paypal

He has learned a ton about creating value, building a business online, marketing, and sakes…and has been SO EXCITED every step of the way…  And he already has ideas for 3 more projects he wants to launch…

* Mammals
* Sea Creatures
* Health & Life Coaching (role modeling dad :-))

I’m blown away by how into this he is at 5 years old… and I know THIS WILL CHANGE HIS LIFE FOREVER…  I keep thinking, what will be possible for him with access to these skills – with him knowing how to market and sell value online?

If he EVER wants something for himself, whether its a trip to the zoo or amusement park, a new train set, or even a new car or a collage education, when he’s older, he will have the knowledge, skill, and ability to go out in the world, produce value, make money, and create the life of his dreams!

We officially launched his business yesterday morning and, to his great joy and delight, he’s already generated some income…

He will be paying back the small business loan I provided to cover his costs (domains, hosting, etc) plus a small consulting fee for my work… just like in the REAL world…  And after those expenses, ALL PROFITS go to him and will be divided for savings, investing, charity, and for spending.

For the rest of this week, we are learning about and working on organic and paid traffic…to drive his sales up and ensure success…  And THAT’S WHERE YOU COME IN…

Please help me support his success by investing $5 in his Dinosaur Training…and PLEASE share this and invite your friends to do the same…  We have the opportunity to really impact him and transform his possibilities forever…

By the way, this is REAL VALUE he created with my help and, while I know YOUR KIDS WILL LOVE IT…even as an adult, YOU will no doubt learn a few things you didn’t know about dinosaurs and their world as well…

Click here to see Bodhi’s adorable video, and support his first online business today!

Parenting an Entrepreneur
By:  Damion Lupo

What does the world need more of from the next generation, our children?



The world needs dreamers, artists, and visionaries – kids who’ve developed the ability to think critically. When I was a kid, one of the ways I did this was via the business ventures I started (when I wasn’t getting busted for being ADD in school).

The first one I can remember was my Nintendo business at age 11. I grew up basically broke, in a working class family with no allowance or extra money from my family. The message I received on a weekly basis (which by the way is a HORRIBLE message for a kid to receive) was that there was no extra money and a serious lack/scarcity.

Instead of accepting this (since I really wanted to play video games), I came up with the idea for a wholesale/retail business. I saw people selling their games in the newspaper for $25 and realized I could play all the games I wanted if I bought them in bulk and then sold them one by one for $25 after I was done playing them. Only problem was, I was 11 and had no car.

So I hired my parents to drive me 25 miles to the other 11-year-old sellers (gas and dinner was the price I paid). Then I’d offer to buy all the kid’s games for like $15 each making it easy for them to unload everything at once. Plus I’d hold up crisp, clean, new $100 bills and get them all excited about cash. I learned all about negotiating with this business. Truth is, I just wanted to find a way to play games since my parents were so “mean” and couldn’t/wouldn’t buy them for me.

Over a couple of years, I got my fill of games and ended up making a few thousand dollars. The bigger lesson and growth was my understanding of FREE MARKETS via PARTICIPATING in them, and that ideas are abundant and priceless. I learned that I could literally print my own money when I asked the question, “how can I create value for another person?” This led to other businesses including my real estate business 10 years later. Funny thing is, I did virtually the same thing. Only the value I created resulted in a lot more zeros than the $10 I made on Super Mario Bros in 1988.

Since kids are idea machines and start out without limitations, the money ideas we plant in their heads are life changing, either empowering or debilitating, the direction is up to us.

For any child who has even the smallest flicker of entrepreneurial ambition we should support it and nurture it, no matter how nutty is seems. Regardless of whether the idea pans out, the fact that the idea is possible in their mind creates infinite possibilities and abundance in all areas of their life.

Next time a child shares their wild business idea with you, a little support and encouragement from you will likely change their life and maybe even the world through ripple effects of your actions and words. It’s worth the momentary effort.

My gratitude goes out to my parents for taking the time to support my “crazy” idea for video game “flipping.” It could be that their openness to my ideas helped open my mind to the ultimate house flipping and developing that made me a millionaire in my 20’s. Hmm, maybe I should send them a thank you note for those drives across town 25 years ago.

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