by Lizl Naude, founder of Lilly Loompa
When is the right time to involve your kids in your business?... Today was the first official day of ‘work’, for my two daughters, both aged under 12. I gave them instructions to the tasks that I needed done, which were mostly the cleaning of tuna cans for our Toona Can product. After I explained the task I went over to my desk and attended to some emails. After a while I heard some bickering between the two of them. They were struggling to divide the work and defining roles. I heard the eldest, Chelsea, (in a highly irritated voice) say: “It’s impossible to work with you Kirsten!” And she walked off! I had to chuckle!
I started my company in 2004 and since then have run different businesses under the Lilly Loompa label. So in essence Lilly Loompa was my first baby. Then a few years later my two daughters were born in 2007 and 2009 respectively. They have been growing alongside this business and have even outgrown it in a sense. There were times when Lilly Loompa lay dormant and her growth was stifled due to personal challenges, all the while her human siblings reached their set milestones as nature intended.
As of late I have noticed a growing interest from their side. I am developing products that seem to grab their interests and their likes. So much so, they have been helping me on an ad-hoc basis…with the fun stuff like styling the products for photoshoots, choosing the colours for new products, etc. In fact, my hubby has been advising me for a while to get them involved, but I have been ignoring his judgement. It just seemed too much of a hassle to train them. I scarcely have time to do everything and to still train them just seemed too overwhelming. It could also be apprehension as I feel they might still be too young to think about business.
However, research shows that the earlier a child is exposed to an entrepreneurial cause, the more successful he/she will be at making a positive impact in the world. President Donald Trump is an example of a parent who allowed his children to tag along to business deals and property inspections. He allowed them to learn from him while he managed his businesses.
With all of these convincing factors, I decided it is time to involve my daughters. Also since it is officially school holiday, it seems like the perfect time.
Here are my deciding reasons:
It’s an opportunity to earn extra income. They are always wanting things and this way they can work for their own money and save up to buy the items that they want.
They will learn the value of money. This way they will learn what it is to work and get paid. They will learn the effort it takes to earn a living and hopefully appreciate a Rand more.
It is a great way for them to learn valuable skills like time management. They will learn to allocate a time limit to complete tasks and also learn to divide their time between household chores, schoolwork and their paid job.
They will also be learning to meet deadlines. Hopefully they will understand the importance of keeping to them.
I want them to learn the importance of taking instructions. They should learn to take notes and make sure they clearly understand what is expected of them.
It will teach them to constantly think creatively. With constant practise I want them to develop resourcefulness and a sense of innovation that comes only from being an entrepreneur.
They will learn to understand work ethic. By still allowing them to enjoy their childhood, I want them to develop discipline and how to counteract laziness.
It will teach them to think big. I want them to have vision and dream about the future and their purpose.
They will become my biggest brand ambassadors. My kids have become huge fans of my work. Although it is their norm to see me run my business, they will always compliment me about a product or an achievement.
And to top it all, I will have two extra pairs of hands that get to learn first-hand what it is to run a business.
I am convinced that the way we are going to build this nation is through entrepreneurship. Training the younger generation to think in an entrepreneurial way can only be beneficial. I am teaching my kids to follow in my footsteps. One lifetime is scarcely enough to complete all we have been called for. Thus training our kids should be second nature. They will continue with the legacy after we are gone.
I called my girls into my office after they struggled to complete the task, and I had to give them a PEP talk. I reminded them of the ground-breaking work they are doing. I reminded them that we are building a legacy for their children and the generations to come. I explained in plain English that these tasks that seem menial now will turn out to be crucial for their journey. I also explained to them that when Mom gives instruction for business, she is no longer Mom…she is now the BOSS!
Lizl Naude is the founder of Lilly Loompa in South Africa, a company that creates beautiful and usable products made with recycled material. Lilly Loompa's “Rubbish Range” is the result of Lizl's craving to deliver pieces that are completely "green". Lizl is a self-taught designer and initially started designing and making furniture because she couldn’t afford to buy new pieces to furnish her home. She started to scout and source for budget material and quickly realised that most people discard of very usable materials. The company manufactures a variety of products, from storage holders, lamps, to dinner table accessories, among others. All materials are carefully sourced from waste and sustainably reimagined as beautiful, yet purposeful products. Eco-friendly, handcrafted and 100% South African, each Lilly Loompa piece, once trash, is now a meaningful piece of treasure.
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