entrepreneur partnership

Homeschool…to Entrepreneur Partnership

Many homeschoolers choose business over college. Homeschooled all his life, Stephen was not sure he wanted to attend college. He visited several colleges, spoke with recruiters and current students, took the ACT test in preparation, but was still not certain that life was for him.

His ACT scores were extremely high, opening up scholarship opportunities that would help pay for a four-year degree at some of the best schools. Still, he hesitated.

Jeremy and Stephen had been friends for many years; their families enjoyed social time together often. Jeremy, also homeschooled, had good scores on his tests. He had always just assumed that college was the next step, although he had no idea what he wanted as a career.

entrepreneur partnershipThe boys often helped others in their church and neighborhood with needed chores. They did lawn work, cleaning out garages, took care of pets while owners were away. They learned as they went; their customers were willing to teach them skills while getting help. Often they received pay, but other times they just did it to help out a friend. These odd jobs were just a part of their everyday lives; they enjoyed working, being busy, and helping others.

entrepreneur partnerIt was a cool September morning when their futures changed. They were helping Roy, an elderly friend of theirs from church. Roy lived alone now and often needed help with cleaning and yard work. They even kept his dog bathed and brushed.

While taking a break from trimming trees, the boys and Roy chatted. Roy remarked that he sure would miss them, their talks and their help, when they went off to college. They assured him that they would help whenever they were home. Then he asked the question: Had they decided what they wanted to do with their lives?

The boys were silent for a few minutes. Stephen remembers stirring his cider with the cinnamon stick, feeling awkward and not knowing what to say. He really had no idea. Jeremy broke the silence by stating that he guessed he would take his first two years in general studies to try to find what he wanted to do.

Roy explained to the boys that he had his master’s degree and was never against college, but for him, it wasn’t very useful. He had had the same problem; he didn’t know what he wanted to do, but his parents were able to send him to college, so he went. He majored in biology, planning to enter the research field. But, that just didn’t turn out to be what he truly wanted to do. Retired now, the majority of his life he had owned a small restaurant with his wife. While he didn’t regret his college days, he also didn’t find them largely beneficial.

Stephen remembers the question Roy asked them implicitly: “Have you boys thought about expanding your help business, rather than going to college?”

That one question led to many hours of discussions over the next few days. The boys had certainly been making a fair amount of money, even considering that they were only working a few hours each week. They relished the feeling of helping others, especially those that needed their assistance, like Roy.

entrepreneur partnershipBoth boys were hesitant to speak about the possibility with their parents. They knew that their entire families were assuming they were college bound. The reaction of their parents was a pleasant surprise. Not only did they express their support, but they also offered to help them set up a structured business plan. Stephen and Jeremy were business owners before they completed high school.

It helped that they had the support of family and friends. Having a small base of customers helped, too. Building their business slowly while completing high school gave them a chance to build a solid structure and create a good plan.

While they offer basic help for all, they have since specialized in helping the elderly with whatever they need, including transport to shopping and appointments. Remarking that Roy inspired them, they feel that helping the senior citizens in their community is especially important to them, and they also donate time to helping those not able to pay whenever possible.

Now a legal partnership, Stephen and Jeremy have begun to hire others to help them as the business has grown beyond what they can manage full time. Other homeschool teens are now helping them part time, as they grow out their business.

Much happier to be building a business now, rather than spending time in a classroom, both boys remark that the best part of the business is that they are still helping others with necessary tasks and are able to make a difference in others’ lives.

 

Homeschool to Entrepreneur Writer

The love of reading

Katie is the youngest of four children, all homeschooled by their mom. From the time Katie was a baby, she loved books. Her older brothers and her parents read to her every day. Bible stories and Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories were among her favorites. She also loved stories about animals, as well as children’s books such as the Dr. Seuss books.

As her reading skills grew, so did her love of reading. She loved the internet, as it gave her an endless amount of material to read on all subjects.

young-girl-computerDuring her younger years, Katie also discovered she enjoyed writing as much as she loved reading. Although she was quite adept at most of her school subjects, she wrote with great enthusiasm. Her mother noted that whatever Katie’s future held, her writing skills would be a huge asset to her. As a teen, she explored possible career paths, most of which included college. Her mom helped guide her, but Katie was not yet sure what direction to take.

The skill becomes the career

While on the internet one day reading some blogs, Katie came across a blog on how to become a blogger. She searched for more information on blogging, then on other forms of writing. Her mom said that Katie was so immersed in what she was reading that she didn’t notice the time. When her mom came in the room to remind her they needed to leave for the youth group meeting, Katie could not stop talking about what she had discovered.

Katie’s mom laughs that Katie didn’t seem to stop for a breath the entire drive to the youth group meeting that night. Her excitement over her new-found career path just seemed to bubble from her.

Katie spent the next couple of days on career exploration centered on an online writing career. She discovered that while blogging was certainly a good possible choice, many other options existed, too.

College at least delayed

Katie decided that she would try a career in online writing before considering college. Never excited about spending time and money on college, she felt an enthusiasm for being able to jump into a career without that expense. Some of her friends encouraged her to consider college now, with them. But, her path was different.

Fast forward two years

While some of her friends chose local or distance colleges, others chose vocational schools, and still others pursued jobs, Katie poured herself into writing. She began with writing articles for others, usually at no pay. She was just gaining experience. Soon, she had offers for paid content.

teen-girl-computerAlthough she already had a computer and basic necessities for writing, she used her income to purchase a few more necessities, and even invested in an online freelance writer course.

One of her favorite memories is when a few of her close friends came home on break from college. While they were quite happy with their chosen college route, Katie’s writing career truly impressed them. She showed them her office, a remodel of her schooling area, where she was able to write. When the reunion was over, Katie quickly made notes about the stories they told of their college experiences. She used those notes to write more freelance articles for pay!

Freelance Entrepreneur

Katie did not truly make much of a profit the first year, as much of the small amount she was paid was reinvested. But, before her college-educated friends received their bachelor’s degrees, Katie’s monthly income was quite impressive. She has decided that the freelance entrepreneur lifestyle is perfect for her, though admits it would not work for everyone.

She credits her homeschool years and the freedom they allowed her to pursue her own path. While she might have found this path from any education, Katie believes that the encouragement from her mom and dad, as well as the homeschool education, helped her refine her career choice. She states that without the reading and writing through the years, her life might be quite different.

Katie recently started writing a book, in addition to her content writing. Now engaged, she plans to continue her online business when married, too. She is sure that it will allow her to homeschool their own children in the future, too.

 

 

Homeschool to Entrepreneur


Meet Cindy, Homeschool Entrepreneur

It’s no secret that homeschooling often leads to successful entrepreneurs. I suppose it’s a combination of the homeschool lifestyle, parents that encourage, and the fact that homeschoolers have the time and ability to explore such opportunities. Many find that the homeschool-to-entrepreneur route is a natural progression.

One such young entrepreneur is Cindy, a young woman who discovered her love of baking, combined with a flair for creativity, could create amazing baked goods that she could sell at a profit.

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At the age of eight, Cindy baked her first cupcakes and decorated them by herself. She had been helping her Mom in the kitchen all of her life, but now she was truly a baker. She continued to help in the kitchen, often designing her own baked goods. When she was in high school, Cindy’s mom encouraged her to include a cooking and baking course in addition to her other homeschool studies. Cindy loved it, and often spent more hours in the kitchen than with her other studies.

Cindy began selling under the Cottage Food Laws, baking cupcakes, muffins, and cookies, and selling them at a local farmer’s market. Cindy sold out of her creations most weeks, but took advantage of having a surplus at the end of the market when possible by giving samples to other vendors. She also took her baked goods to her church and passed them around.

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Her business was built slowly, mainly because there were limits to what she had time to bake. The cottage food laws also limited what she could do. But, Cindy continued, though slowly.

Building Entrepreneur Skills from Homeschool Studies

Entrepreneurs need more than just the skills to create their product or perform a service. They need to manage their accounting books, work with customers and suppliers, and be overall managers. These are skills that many homeschoolers find they learn as they develop their enterprises.

Cindy agrees. “When I was trying to decide on prices, my Mom showed me how to figure my costs of supplies and then add in my time plus a profit margin. At first, my profit margin was pretty slim, but as I gained business skills, I learned to shop around for better pricing and found markets that would support a little higher selling price.”

The one skill she is afraid she might not have developed as well is that of managing others. Cindy is the youngest of four children and hasn’t had a lot of practice as a manager. Her mom helped her solve that deficiency.

“Mom saw that I was planning to expand and some day would need good managing skills. She says a good manager knows how to be managed first, so she allowed me to volunteer at a local day camp for children eight to 12 years old. I wasn’t really in charge of anything; I just did what I was told at first, and over time found ways to help even more. Eventually, I was promoted and was able to then coach other new volunteers. It was pretty good management training — at least a beginning.” Cindy explained.

When Cindy completed her homeschool studies, she wanted to open her own bakery. But, a bakery costs money, and although she had been saving money from her cottage food sales, she didn’t have nearly enough to purchase the equipment and afford rent.

Gaining More Professional Skills

That’s when she came up with a very creative solution. Cindy found a restaurant that needed a baker for just a couple of days a week. Although she was not professionally trained, the owner was very intrigued by Cindy and impressed by her skills. He decided to give her a try.

Working at the restaurant gave her some important skills, allowed her a chance to get a feel for the commercial environment and machinery, and helped her acquire her food licensing. Just as important, the owner agreed to let her bake some of her own products when the kitchen was available.

This gave Cindy the ability to build her business without the upfront capital, while offering the restaurant some incredible baked goods to feature. She is still saving for own business, but has already made changes to her plans, based on her experiences at the restaurant. She and the restaurant owner are discussing how she might be able to sell to his restaurant on a contract basis once she opens her own shop.

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While Cindy is not yet a self-supporting businesswoman, she is well on her way. She continues to bake for the restaurant, but now has a new line of healthy baked items that she sells. She’s discovered the health market is expanding and pays better than selling those sugar laden cookies that others sell. True entrepreneurs reshape their business to suit the customers, and Cindy has done that.

Cindy’s mom is proud of each of her children and makes it clear that Cindy is just one of her kids. Cindy’s dad is a business owner. Her siblings are also business owners, two of them in partnership.

Entrepreneurship is Biblically Based

God encourages us to have family businesses, and homeschoolers are uniquely equipped to raise our children to be capable and successful entrepreneurs. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a child deciding to go on to college and choosing a professional degree to work for others. But, it is not the only way. For many, business ownership is far more practical and fits the homeschool mindset.

Read 24 Bible verses about small business:  http://christianpf.com/24-scriptures-about-business/

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Not Passion-led?!

What happens when you can’t teach according to your child’s passions? Let’s face it — there are some courses that simply must be taught, and eventually you run out of ways to combine it with their passion!

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What I have done in this situation is to show my boys how this knowledge/skill is essential to their life goals. I’ve shared previously that TLC wants to be a truck driver, so we have had many conversations about the knowledge and skills he will need to achieve his goals. Since he not only wants to drive a truck, but he also wants to run the business and have a fleet of trucks, he will need to know how to read, write, and work with numbers, as well as have social and leadership skills in order to succeed. That’s not always enough to keep him motivated, but it is his purpose for pursuing subjects he doesn’t care about.

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The other thing about non-passion subjects is they have to be scheduled in. Every day. This is life. Every day we have to do things we don’t want to do. For TLC that means that every day we do math and reading/writing. The rest is less structured and comes from more diverse sources.

Sometimes I simply have to say, “You have to learn this and it’s non-negotiable.”

This year, as we move into junior high, we’re going to build a vision board — something that will help TLC keep his dreams and goals in front of him, to help him realize his need to continue pursuing his passion. He has big dreams, giant goals, and I want to teach him to how to achieve them. Finding a way to work through the stuff we hate to do is part of that process. His dreams won’t come true with ease; they will take hard work and he will face adversity along the way. School is just another stepping stone, an opportunity to learn how to push through adversity and succeed.

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Finding The Passion

It’s not always easy to discover our child’s passion. Sometimes their interests bounce around so much and in such wide diversity that the true passion can be missed. Sometimes we get so focused on what we are expected to teach them that we miss what is important. I saw this video recently and it reminded me that what interests and intrigues me is not what captures my children’s hearts. (It’s worth the 20 minutes!)

How can I help them find and develop their passions? How can I help keep their creativity alive?

We tend to approach life from our own personal perspective, which is natural and expected. I had big dreams as a child. I wanted to be a doctor from the age of 6. It was my goal in life. I passionately pursued what we now call STEM subjects, I was thrilled with all kinds of book learning. I still love books, I still love reading and developing new knowledge. My sons are not that way. They would be happy if they never saw another schoolbook in their lives (or they think they would be!). I have to readjust my approach to their schooling and it’s hard for me to remember that some days! I often bow to the pressure to make sure they are excelling in math and science. They don’t need to excel in math and science, unless they want to.

I’ve said it before… God calls all of us to different roads. If every one of us became doctors, lawyers, scientists, etc., our world would fall apart around our ears. Who would build our houses, deliver our groceries, farm the land, and so much more?

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I was talking with LMB recently and we were talking about how I loved school when I was a child. I enjoyed every part of learning and was eager to go every day, but I hated sports. He laughed and told me that he was the opposite because he loved sports but hated schoolwork. It reminded me that he IS my little athlete. It’s still hard for me to remember that because, well, because I still don’t like sport activities all that much! He’s good at it though and it interests him! Right now he wants to learn how to golf.

Another eye opener for me was that recently, a gentleman from church offered to mentor and work with my boys. He came over last week to do woodworking and the three of them built a worktable for the future projects he has planned. It was awesome to see how LMB came completely out of his shell and into his own. I never realized how well he could swing a hammer! He quickly picked up the lessons on using a tape measure, chalk line, saw and hammer. I realized that this, too, is something he’s good at and something that could serve him well in his life. Interestingly, they included a lot of math and science in the building without realizing that they were putting to use what they had learned in school.  They also learned that sometimes you make mistakes and it’s okay – they’ll get fixed.

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Life is a work in progress. So is school. So are passions. Let’s set aside our own desires so we can teach our children to follow their passions and dream big!