Do you remember your first job? I sure do! It was at my dad’s side gig where he sold Jacques Cohen Espadrilles products out of the family van. I’d get up before the sun and go to the flea market with him every Saturday, unpack boxes of shoes and sort them by color, size and style. It was a perfect “job” for a 6-year-old.
Working the family business at such a young age instilled a lot of business traits that shaped me into the savvy business woman I am today. I learned that smiling made me approachable, a good attitude made the day go faster, working hard and doing a good job made me a reliable asset, and completing tasks gave me a sense of accomplishment.
It's something I've now passed down to my sons who both help with our family business. So how do you get your children involved in the family business?
At 9 and 6, they can unpack chair glides from the manufacturer, inspect for quality, count them in quantities of five, put stickers on the bags and repackage them with our company logo. They are eager to earn money and enjoy seeing it adding up in their Kid's Bank. Most of all, they will be the first to tell you they are proud to contribute to the family.
I asked people in my Facebook community if they owned business, and if so, how they get their children involved? The responses were instead experiences from their childhood—a trip down memory lane.
- I worked in a car dealership counting parts at age 9 when my mom ran parts inventory.
- I swept the floors at my parents hair salon.
- I collated marketing material and metered mail.
- I cleaned the shelves and windows at my grandfather’s shop.
Each experience touted the reward of being “paid” in candy or some other sweet treat. The payment they earned was minimal because the job was expected, but the little extra cash taught them to become good stewards with their money. I find if my eldest buys something with hard-earned money, he is more likely to take care of it and remember where he left it.
Having young children work alongside you creates strong family bonds and gives them the chance to create a strong foundation to becoming successful adults in business.