Ever since publishing, The Fear Of Screwing Up Our Kids As FIRE Parents, I’ve been brainstorming how we can give our kids everything without giving them everything. The worst thing we can do as parents is take away our child’s sense of accomplishment. I pity the kid who starts off driving a BMW to school instead of walking or biking.
But recently, I’ve been losing enthusiasm for writing because I’m often too tired due to full-time fatherhood. If I had a mundane job that required little thinking, work might be easier. Besides, how hard is taking care of a child if you’re gone for 12 – 15 hours a day, right?
Unfortunately, even as a stay at home dad with an online business, it’s difficult to be creative when you lack sleep. It’s as if creativity uses a different chemical in the brain that is finite in supply.
Hitting the 10-year business anniversary mark in 2019 can’t come soon enough. After that, I’ve considered becoming Keyser Söze, never to be seen or heard from again.
But I realized instead of lasting until 2019, I’ve got to last at least until 2042. Why? Because the absolute best benefit of owning a business is creating a life safety net for our children. Not only does a business provide insurance they don’t fall through the cracks, a business produces a perpetual teachable moment for all our kids to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to the real world.
The Real World Is Brutally Difficult
Imagine spending almost $500,000 in private K-12 tuition only to see your child go to an average university anybody could have gotten into. Because the school is average, he will likely land an average job or no job. Now imagine the best case scenario where you send your kids to public grade school and they get into a top rated university. You still have to pay out the wazoo, yet there is no guarantee they’ll get a great job.
The world is now a hyper competitive place. Even if your child is “perfect,” s/he will have a difficult time getting ahead because there is someone across the world with nothing, who will do everything possible to succeed. But what if your kid has some challenges? Here are some things you may worry about for your child that can be overcome by owning your own business:
- Your child may be a minority who will face racial discrimination her entire life
- Your child may be a minority who is required to score higher on standardized tests to have the same chance of getting into a university
- Your child may have a learning disability
- Your child may have a physical disability
- Your child may get into an accident, resulting in a disability
- Your child may be small in stature and get picked on by bullies because their parents are terrible
- Your child may be unattractive, even though you think he’s the cutest ever
- Your child may get in trouble with the law
- Your child may get suspended or expelled from school
If you own a business, you ensure that your child will always have something interesting to do no matter how much they try and fail on their own. Getting straight A’s or going to an elite university no longer matters as much, so long as they are learning.
Further, you don’t have to wait until your child graduates from college before introducing her to every facet of your company. You can start in elementary school or middle school so that by the time she goes to college, she’ll have a much better idea at what she wants to study.
One of the biggest problems with education is that we learn a bunch of subjects and forget everything we learned years later because we don’t see the relevance, nor do we apply what we learn to the real world. Therefore, we’re only teaching our children how to listen, follow instructions, study, and take tests. What a shame to only create an army of “yes sir, yes ma’am” in society.
When I went back to Berkeley for business school part-time, it was amazing to use my professors as business consultants for my job in finance. Suddenly, theory turned into application, and education became super impactful. The same can be said for getting your child involved in your business.
The Ultimate Business Expense
My wife and I were going over our YTD numbers and realized that our tax bill is going to be high because our revenue growth accelerated YoY. Because running an online media company has relatively low fixed costs, there is huge operational leverage where the majority of revenue flows straight to the bottom line. As a result, we started brainstorming ways to keep our taxable income down.
Some fun things we thought about included: 1) creating a conglomerate to buy real estate to flip or lease (See: How to make your business last forever), 2) hosting a business conference in Hawaii for a month, 3) hiring friends and relatives in a lower tax bracket to do some work.
Then we thought to ourselves: wouldn’t it be awesome to hire our son to help us with so many things we’ve been wanting to do? Too bad he’s not even a year old.
When I graduated from The College of William & Mary with an Economics major and a Mandarin minor in 1999, I had zero job offers. I got rejected from every single consulting job I interviewed for. There was only one company I was hanging onto, and that was an investment bank in NYC. But after over 50 interviews, the investment bank still hadn’t made me an offer prior to commencement.
The same thing happened with my then girlfriend and now wife. Although, by the time she graduated, she was determined to come out to San Francisco to be with me. I was looking to get any job anywhere that would hopefully pay more than $35,000 a year. She somehow had confidence knowing that everything would turn out OK on the job front after she arrived in San Francisco.
Our post college unemployment story is not unique. According to an Accenture study below, 78% of college graduates don’t have a job offer upon graduation. Further, Accenture found that 51% of graduates from the classes of 2014 and 2015 said they are working in jobs that do not require their college degree.
The Pay And Awesome Jobs We Could Offer Our Son
Let’s say our son ends up exactly like his old man, unemployed at college graduation. So long as he’s done his best to find a relevant job, that’s all that matters. Instead of having to feel depressed for a long period of time without an offer, he’s now got options.
As of now, we could comfortably pay our son a starting salary between $50,000 – $90,000, which would make his salary competitive to the Googles, Facebooks, Apples, and Procter & Gambles of the world. We would also offer him equity in the business, with similar 3-5 year vesting periods that match any promising startup out there. If he performs well, we can also offer a year end bonus just like the investment banks and strategy consulting firms.
If he joins our company, he would have the best mentors possible teaching him every aspect of running a business. And if we do our jobs right as parents, he’ll be able to hit the ground running because we’ll have already taught him about the business for the past 10 years.
Here are some jobs our son could do that may be applicable to your business as well.
Business Development. This is a revenue generating role for bringing in new business. He would be responsible for finding new synergistic products and advertising partnerships with Rostov TV. Business development is the most common and coveted role every post-MBA graduate, who isn’t a founder, wants to land. Maybe he can develop a tie-up with Rostov TV and the NBA. Or maybe he can reach out to the fast-growing Chinese and Indian advertising market. The possibilities are endless.
Multi-media Director. This role would expand communication beyond writing and into audio, video, virtual reality, and so forth. People consume information differently. The role of the MMD is to reach out to as many different types of consumers as possible to grow traffic.
Marketing / Advertising Director. The marketing director is responsible for not only organic marketing, but also paid marketing. The marketing director knows that if he spends $1 to get $1.01 in profits, he should do so all day long. He will become an expert in PPC, CPL, CPM, and organic marketing, which is vital for all companies who have an online presence.
Head Of Content. The head of content will be responsible for editing all articles, coming up with the editorial calendar, staying in tune with current events, and potentially hiring and managing a team of writers. It takes a shrewd eye to produce topics that resonate with people at the right time.
Director Of Finance. The Director of Finance will be responsible for conducting monthly financial reports, paying attention to areas that need optimizing (reducing expenses, maximizing revenue in the podcast channel etc), raising money if necessary, and providing financial optimization presentations. He will also be responsible for tax filing.
Head of Engineering. The head of engineering will be in charge of creating the best online user experience possible for Rostov TV readers. He will create new features on the website, manage the back end systems, make sure the website is always online, experiment with new technology delivery systems, and more.
Head of Public Relations. PR is responsible for generating as much buzz around a company’s product as possible. One way to do so is by pitching to journalists and TV producers. Another way to create publicity is to work with creative agencies. A PR professional will also write press releases and spend as much time explaining a product to consumers and investors.
Director Of Community. One of the no brainer expansion opportunities for Rostov TV is to start and grow a personal finance forum directed towards financially savvy individuals. He would be tasked with managing the forum installation, growing the community, setting the guidelines, managing conflicts and spammers, and eventually creating a business opportunity.
Anything. When you run your own private business, you can literally create any role you want for your son or daughter. Let’s say your daughter majored in Art and eventually wants to get into a career that has everything to do with art. You can hire your daughter as the Artistic Director for your company in charge of branding, imagery, and display. Or, you can pay her to create great images for your business. The possibilities are endless.
Your son or daughter doesn’t have to work for your company forever. But I’m sure s/he will learn way more about each job role than if s/he were to work for another company.
A Business Provides Better Solutions
Think about these two common scenarios:
Traditional Scenario One
Your son gets a set weekly allowance, if he’s good. Maybe he’ll do some chores here and there, but that’s it.
Business Ownership Solution
Your 7th grader only gets an allowance this month if he creates an advertisement flier, stuffs them into 500 envelopes, and mails them out to prospective customers. He gets a $10 bonus for every response above five. He uses his art and writing skills, while also developing operational efficiency and grit. You get to explain to him about conversion rate metrics for gorilla marketing and teach him why he is targeting a certain demographic.
Traditional Scenario Two
You take your 9th grader on her first trip out of state to Williamsburg, Virginia to learn about American history and check out The College of William & Mary, a public university. She’s bored out of her mind and forgets about her summer once school starts.
Business Ownership Solution
You tell your daughter this is her first business trip. Therefore, she must save her receipts and work within a budget. She must take notes about what she learns, take insightful pictures, and write a post about whether it’s worth paying up for private school or the benefits of risk-taking after King William & Queen Mary decided to expand in a new land. She will earn 10 cents for every pageview her article generates (1,000 pageviews = $100), incentivizing her to learn about A/B testing and write convincing prose. After publication, she just might get extra credit from her high school English class.
What’s also great about the business ownership solution is that you don’t even need to have an established business to help your kids. You can just create a business together with your daughter when she is of age so long as you can afford the time and money. This is my plan just in case Rostov TV doesn’t last until 2042.
The sooner your child can launch, the sooner s/he can find happiness. With a good job, a heart full of gratitude, and a healthy amount of self-esteem, your child can then spend more time focusing on health and finding a life partner. What’s there left to worry about after money, career, health, and love are taken care of?
Just make sure as parents, we do our best to nurture a great relationship. What a shame it would be if our children wanted nothing to do with us once they graduate.
Conventional Tips To Stop Worry About Your Kids
- Put things in perspective. There are many situations that are way worse than your child’s.
- Imagine the worst, and realize it’s unlikely to come true. The fear in our head is always worse than reality.
- Get smart about being a parent, a doctor, a teacher, a coach. The more information you can arm yourself with, the less you will fear.
- Take deep breaths and meditate.
- Count your blessings.
- Unplug from Facebook and the internet. They bring about the worst situations.
- Exercise every day, even if it’s just a walk.
- Share your concerns beyond your partner to develop a support network.
Readers, what is a better reason for running a business than being able to educate our kids and provide them direction? What are some other things you do that allow you to worry less about your child’s future? With so much anxiety about getting into good schools to get a good job you don’t like, isn’t owning a business a fantastic way to eliminate all this worry for the next 22 years? Do you experience similar levels of worries and anxieties as a parent?