Archive for work at home

7 Lessons I Learned Working For Myself

It was over 15 years ago that I started my first business publishing an offline review journal for medical professionals practicing in rehabilitation.  It was fun, exciting and then it crashed. Technology changed and I didn’t keep up.

The next venture involved publishing information products and an online newsletter. And the following project was also about writing and publishing. Come to think of it, everything I’ve done for the last 15 years outside of practicing medicine, has been about writing or publishing.

At 14 years old I told my sister that I wanted to be an author and writer. Over the years, with a few pit-stops along the way, that’s exactly what I’ve accomplished. Working for myself has presented challenges and required that I make several changes to the journey I’ve been on. And, in those changes, challenges and altered courses, there have been lessons learned.

Here are my seven favorite lessons that I wish I had learned earlier in the process rather than later.  Although you might not have your own business, your family, home and children are a business and you must grow them intentionally.

  1. Give Yourself Time to Learn, Do and Be Patient

May12ClockNothing happens overnight. You won’t learn the intricacies of your business, marketing, networking, payroll, outsourcing or taxes and legal issues in the first couple of months. You didn’t learn to be a parent in the first month either! Being in business for yourself is a marathon and definitely NOT a sprint. Give yourself the time to learn the individual tasks involved before diving headfirst into your intended future.

BUT, this is fine line you’ll be walking. Do not wait until everything is perfect before moving forward or you’ve waited too long. On the other hand, don’t move ahead if you don’t have processes in place to handle the business.  You wouldn’t open a convenience store without having a building – and you shouldn’t open any other business without having the necessary parts and pieces in place.

You have options. You can learn, outsource, hire a virtual assistant or get help from a friend or family member who has the knowledge. Ask for help from people at your church, from small business owners you know, from friends and anyone else you can think of. NEVER outsource the financial part of your business, but you don’t have to do everything in order to start getting clients.

  1. Keep Overhead Low

While you’ll want to outsource what you can, you’ll also want to keep your overhead low. By keeping costs down you’ll increase the return on your investment – also known as your business. You are investing time, energy and money into finding, acquiring and keeping clients. The less you spend on overhead, the more ends up in your pocket.

I have a friend who cannot resist buying something new for her business almost every month. She’s been paying monthly bills on memberships that she hasn’t used, ever. She’s convinced that she’ll need the content, software or virtual assistants next month, so she keeps paying. It’s drained her accounts and put her in a position of being desperate . . . not a good place to be.

On the other hand, I have another friend who has done everything himself – from learning web design to writing content and buying traffic. This has also been a poor use of his time. While he hasn’t had much of an overhead problem, he also hasn’t enjoyed much income. Doing everything himself means moving slowly.

There is a happy medium and only you can find it for your business and your ability to invest in your business. Keep your eye on how much you’re spending and how much you’re making.


  1. Persistence and Consistence

No business starts quickly and you probably won’t hit a homerun on the first try. It’s simple . . . you should persistently and consistently go after your goals. Remember, the question isn’t IF you will fail, but WHEN you fail, what will you DO.

Everyone fails. The truly successful people will get up and move forward using the knowledge they gain from their past failures. The trick is to fall fast, fall forward, get up and keep moving. Everyday take one step forward and you will get there.


  1. Be Intentional About What You’re Doing

Working in an office gave me a dependable income. I had a paycheck every 2 weeks, no matter what I did or how much work I produced. Of course, if I didn’t produce enough over time I would have been fired. But, my income wasn’t related to whether or not I brought business to the company.

When you’re working for yourself, everything you do must be intentional. On purpose you do not check email every 30 minutes, you do not spend hours on Facebook or any other social media site, you do not spend hours reading the news, other people’s blogs or anything else that is NOT making you money.

Instead, you outline the functions that do, or will, make you money – and you do those things. Everyday, every hour, you do something that brings you more clients or keeps your current clients happy. You ask for referrals, you learn more marketing strategies, you do those marketing strategies or you do the work you’ve been paid to do.

Intentionally – you do what makes you money. If you don’t, there isn’t a paycheck waiting for you at the end of the week.


  1. Learning to Turn it Off . . . Vacation?

The one lesson that I’m still learning and hope to conquer at some point, is how to turn it all off.  My office is in my May12Vacahome. There is no door on my office. My computer is right there and if I sit for just 10 minutes I can finish one more thing.

The trouble is that one more thing turns into 10 more things and before I know it, I don’t have time to do anything else but sleep.

Do NOT do this!  Shut the computer off. Take time with your children. Go on vacation. Take a drive. Go for a bike ride, walk the dog or go for coffee with a friend.  Your mind needs the downtime.


  1. Don’t Underestimate Your Worth

Anytime you work for yourself you MAY have a tendency to underestimate your worth. I have this problem. Several months ago I was approached to do some writing for a new client. I didn’t really want the project so I quoted a price I thought was outrageous. They didn’t bat an eye and agreed to pay my price.

I could have been getting this price all along!

Turns out this is one of the easiest clients I’ve worked with. Look around and see what others are charging for their services or products. You aren’t the lowest price (unless you’re offering the least for the money) and you probably aren’t worth the most. Determine where you think you land in the range and then check it out with you upcoming clients.

Test your price and settle on the one where you make the most while providing the best to your clients.


  1. No Meetings . . . All Business

When I worked at the hospital it felt like I was always in meetings. And, unfortunately, those meetings were useless. Usually we could have gotten through the information in about 25 percent of the time it actually took. People loved to chat, get off topic or run meetings without an agenda.

When you work for yourself there are no meetings like that because if you are having meetings you’re probably paying someone to meet with you. Suddenly, getting through meetings as quickly and efficiently as possible is better for your business.

I have also learned that it’s important to spend time having a meeting with myself once a week. I go over the plans for the week, the month and look at my progress toward the goals for the year. If I’m not on track I can correct course and keep going. Without these meetings I may have ended up in an entirely different place this week, and definitely would not have been as productive.


Take a bit of time to think about these lessons and how you can incorporate them into your own life without having to learn them yourself. And remember, your home and your children are also a business that you must grow intentionally!



Pros and Cons of Online Freelance Work

Freelance work online is definitely NOT all it’s cracked up to be.

Enticed with the promises of the “Internet Lifestyle” and working in my pajamas, I made my first foray into building an online business in 2006 with a website – Your EZ Books.

There was a newsletter, a website and readers. What I didn’t have was a marketing plan, income, motivation to continue and good reason why to work the business.

Understandably I didn’t experience the Internet Lifestyle, but I bought enough educational products promising to teach me exactly how to get there!

Freelancing continues to prove to be the best way to add extra income to your family or to build a thriving business, allowing you to work from home.

While there are some who prove to live out the four hour work week that Tim Ferris promises, there are others who just enjoy doing the work and getting paid.

Freelancers are people who sell their services to other businesses in lieu of working for one business for an hourly wage or salary. Those services can be website design and development, content, graphics, audio, video creation or performance.

Many larger corporations enjoy using freelancers because it reduces their overhead – no insurance, no taxes, no office space, no human resources cost. Freelancers enjoy the work because the pay is often higher since the business can afford more and the freelancer can work around their own schedule while meeting deadlines.

Why Become a Freelancer?

Becoming a freelancer is ideal if you enjoy the idea of working for yourself, marketing your skills and making money March21WritingCIbased on your talents and not just because you were hired.

Learning the skills to be successful is one of the quickest and surest ways of earning a little extra money or of making enough to quit your JOB (Just Over Broke) and strike out on your own. Through using the skills you learn as a freelancer you can branch out to build your own thriving business and reduce your own workload.

This is of course easier if you have a skill set that APPEARS to be in demand – such as writing, coding, website development or video editing – but can be a successful endeavor even if you don’t feel you have immediately marketable skills. In this case you may consider working as a virtual assistant until you can learn more skills.

A virtual assistant is something akin to a “jack-of-all-trades” who doesn’t work in an office space. Virtual assistants may man a help desk, answer company phones or email, do research, schedule projects or perform skills taught by the company.  Successful business owners focus on providing quality to their customers and therefore can’t be trying to do 5 things at once.

In walks the virtual assistant!

The pay for either freelance work or virtual assistants can range between $10 to $100 per hour or you might be paid per piece of work – such as X amount per word writing an article or X amount for designing a website.

Let’s Start with the Pro’s

There are a number of advantages to earning a few extra dollars from home as a freelance worker, not the least of which are low start-up costs. In some instances, you might be able to get your first gig without any start-up costs!

But, for the most part, you’ll need a website to advertise your skills and showcase your past work. The cost for that website can be free or it might cost you $10 for the domain name and another $5 each month for the hosting.

Interestingly, the group of individuals who are doing freelance work is growing and growing quickly. This is because larger companies and smaller home-based businesses both understand the effectiveness of working with freelancers. This means that although you may have to compete for work, there continues to be more work requested each day.

How much you charge for your services will depend totally up to you. From personal experience I can tell you that a writer can make anywhere between 0.005 per word (not a type – one half a cent per word) to 0.20 per word, depending upon the writer, experience and content being developed.

Although the range of compensation is large, you’ll come to know what to charge and how much the market will accept based on your competitors, your own experience and your comfort level (which gets better the longer you work).

Either way you slice it, your income potential is greater working for yourself than it is working for a boss. YOU are the boss!

And as the boss, you pick your clients and your projects. I recently did my last bit of work for a client. It was a company who provided health related content for websites. She did the marketing and found the clients and then hired out the writers. I was one of those writers.

The relationship started out very well. She sent along several large projects which I finished on time and with an excellent review. And then came the trouble. Over the past several months the work has been incredible sporadic and I only received the projects the other writers didn’t want or couldn’t handle.

The last project was the last straw. I wrote it 3 different times and it turned out that I worked for less than one cent per word at the end. Hard to imagine that my own work deteriorated so badly that what was once excellent now had to be rewritten three times!

That’s a company I won’t be doing any more work for.

I believe that the best part of being a freelancer is the independence to move and work where ever I want. Although it’s nice to pick up and work at the local Starbucks or Panera Bread for variety, I am also enamored of moving out of state in the next year, and I can because I don’t have a physical location tying me down.

All That’s Good Has a Flipside

Like all things in life, all advantages have disadvantages. One of the biggest challenges for me as a freelancer is that I can set my own hours.

Many people find this to be an advantage, a significant advantage. But for me it is both a blessing and a curse (for MONK fans).  I can take my work where ever there is a wifi signal, work early in the morning or late into the evening. I can go to my children’s events and work on Sunday evenings to get it all done.

But that’s the issue for me. Discipline. It takes discipline to start early and end early.

Because I home school my youngest daughter I can work from noon until . . . . and therein lies the issue.

Until . . . .  I just don’t shut down until 11:30 pm when it’s time to head to bed!

March21PhotographyCIAs a freelancer you also make as much money as you can make. Your income is dependent upon your work. This is a significant disadvantage to growing a larger business, unless you use it as a platform to get there.

You will also experience inconsistent income from week to week and month to month. If this is your only source of income, it can be a challenge. Which also means that your potential income is also lower than it could be if you worked exclusively for a boss.

There are no traditional benefits at home. If you’re sick, there are no sick days. If you don’t work on vacation, you don’t get paid. No IRA contributions or medical insurance.

And the biggest con, which gets in the way of most freelancers I know

.  .  .  all lead acquisition and marketing lands on your shoulders.

This means without marketing and finding leads you won’t have business and you won’t have income.

Freelance work however, does give you the opportunity to learn marketing and lead acquisition while still working for your boss. So, while this is a huge stumbling block for most people, it is something you can learn while still earning an income from a stable source.



Creating Work Options At Home

The entrepreneurial bug bit me over 20 years ago. In that time I’ve worked with 3 network marketing companies (and still get paid by one of them), sold gift baskets to realtors and online at the Hallmark store, started my own medical review journal, published multiple websites, written several books, started and maintain two memberships, helped several businesses with their online presence and have ghost written for several authors.

But, I haven’t limited my work-at-home ideas to just adults. A couple years ago I finished a book that my youngest son and I started when he was 10 – Even Kids Can Make Money.

In some respects I think I have a bit of functional attention deficit. Every job I’ve held has not been stagnant. At one small start-up hospital I held the record for the most number of jobs in the least number of years. Not that this was something to brag about! I started in Staff Development, moved to Human Resources (started the department actually), became the Clinical Specialist for the head injury unit and then moved on to become the Manager for the same unit.

All in less than 5 years and including a 3 month maternity leave when I had my twins.

Have you ever been to a work related seminar where they try to encourage the staff to embrace change in their lives?  No one ever had to encourage me!

So, when the idea of “retiring” my nurse practitioner license and working from home first popped into my head, it wasn’t a question of IF I would do it – but when and how I would get it done.

There are options in your own community that will allow you to earn extra income working from home or to take on your own business. In either case there are Rules of the Road that must be obeyed in order to be successful.

In my early years I was a rebel and didn’t think the rules applied. After a couple years I learned that although there were rules I could break, the trick was in knowing the rules that HAD to be followed.

Feb8DisneyMy father taught me the first one. Long before I learned about the Magic Kingdom, I learned this from my father who was also an entrepreneur and ran his own restaurant in a small town in IL.

It was a place where high school students gathered and were fed if they didn’t have enough money to eat.  Where a plate a fries would feed two teenage boys and where what was on the menu was dictated by the customers. It was a place where people came to hang out in the early afternoon before he closed and where he got to know and was known by the people in his community.

That first rule is, and will always be: The customer is always right. Whether the people you are working with are right or wrong – they are always right. There wasn’t a dissatisfied customer at his restaurant because he wouldn’t allow it.

The second rule is: You must follow the path laid out by businesses who have traveled the road before you. Only AFTER you learn the ropes should you attempt to blaze a new road. By doing this, you have the benefit of experience and success using tried methods in order to test your new methods.

Each journey is a little different. Each path has a few twists or turns you didn’t expect. But each path, in all likelihood, has already had someone traveling before you.

Taking those two important rules into account, and acknowledging that the second rule encompasses many other rules, what options do you have for developing a business that will either supplement your income or replace it entirely?

The number of ways you can supplement your income or start a new business is truly limited only by your imagination. However, in order to have an imagination, you must have a place to start. Here are 7 category ideas that may get you started thinking and imagining how you can increase your income without having an overwhelming workload, and still spend time with your children and friends.

  1. Physical Products

Sell physical products that either you or someone else made. Are you a crafter? You can sell in Etsy or even set up a store on Amazon. Do you know a rare book when you see it? Sell it on Amazon!

Do you have a cause you want to publicize? Use T-spring to design and sell t-shirts. You can design your own or work with a company who needs your help to get their campaign off the ground.

Set up your own website to sell your product either locally or nationally and link it to your Etsy page. Use a Facebook page to sell your products and ask your friends and relatives to “Like” and “Share” your page.

Have a product you want to invent? Investigate the manufactures in the area. Do a deal with them to produce your prototype so you can sell to an investor. Or put together a Kickstarter campaign for your new product, using your prototypes to encourage investors.


  1. Network Marketing

Although network marketing overall has a tainted reputation, there are several legitimate companies. If you work hard, spend time and energy learning from the best and putting those strategies into practice, you can do well.

Steer clear of companies that reward early adopters – or people who join the company first. Don’t get involved with companies that make you purchase your inventory to sell. Buy and use the products yourself – if you don’t like it, why would you sell it?

Work only with companies who have a good track record over the years, have independent research to back their claims and review that research. Look at the organizational structure, advancement requirements and statistics of people who have joined and subsequently advanced.


  1. Information and Ideas

Today instead of buying physical books you can carry a Kindle or purchase an e-book.  The best-selling information and ideas are those that can be put into action immediately and often fall into one of these categories:

Health & Wellness
Weight Loss

In other words, information or help for people who have a problem and want it fixed immediately.


  1. Service Provider

You are in a perfect position to undercut the prices for services rendered when you practice from your home. It means your overhead is less, you don’t have employees and don’t have to manage human resources. As a service provider your income is limited by the number of hours in the day – unless you expand and bring on employees. Some of the services you can provide to people include:Feb8HouseKeeping

Customer service Rep (look online for openings or contact the companies yourself. They can connect your computer with their system and you can answer phones and sell from home when your home is quiet.)
Tutor – middle school and high school students
Online teacher – inside of an established online school, or tutor online
Social Media Marketing Specialist for companies in your community
Consultant – weddings, parties, etc.
Pet sitter
Virtual Assistant


  1. Middle Man

You have been given branded pens, umbrellas, balls, cups and any other number of paraphernalia at events. Who is the middle man between the company who prints and the company who orders? Carve out a niche market for yourself and start marketing your services to companies in your local area. Initially, you can do this over the phone or meet company representatives in person. Negotiate great deals with the manufacturers and be sure everyone is happy.


  1. Writer

Do you enjoy writing? Telling stories? Doing research? Maybe you have some specific knowledge, such as medical, technical or real estate, others would pay you to write about.  Do searches for freelance writing jobs in your favorite browser. Apply to companies that pay for articles to help you get started and increase your confidence level in your skill.

Never pay anyone to get a job – they should be paying you. There are several bloggers who write about freelance writing and how they’ve gotten jobs in the past. Study what they do, imitate it and get your first client. It is work that can be done after the children are in bed. It requires diligence and research to produce accurate results. But when you have a good client who is satisfied with your work, it can lead to more work.


  1. Blog and Vlog

Although this is technically writing – it’s writing and video blogging for yourself and not someone else. If you feel you have something to say, have an amusing lifestyle, or tell funny stories, you can generate an audience of people who will purchase your t-shirts, mugs and other physical products. They will watch your videos and visit your blog. You can sell advertising space or your own products in that market.

This takes persistence, consistency and the desire to spread the word about what you’re doing.


NOTHING is too small or beneath you if you want to earn that extra money. I have a friend who is an accountant. After 20 years she was laid off her job. She took on a couple of clients cleaning their homes 2 years ago. Today, she works 4 – ½ days a week and makes more than she did full time as an accountant. She’s burning calories all day and has lost 20 pounds.  She listens to books on tape while cleaning, is home when her children get home from school and is enjoying her life.

Before diving head first into something new, do your due diligence and investigate not only the business potential of what you want to pursue, but also your own potential in this particular endeavor. Don’t attempt to do something just because it makes money – you’ll grow to hate it. Instead, find something you enjoy and then figure out a way to make money doing it.



Building Your Independence One Brick at a Time

It was October of 2006 when I decided to get SERIOUS about developing a business that would be sustainable and profitable. It took me years to learn the ropes and many mistakes later before I could safely say that I was supporting my family without dipping into savings, retirement, life insurance or credit cards.

Yes! I used all four to keep body and soul together while struggling to build something I could be proud of. The divorce came at a very inopportune time.

Business was rolling along and I was making ends meet. Barely making those ends meet – but they were meeting!

And then the economy crashed and what I provided to my customers became expendable.

I was no longer needed. I was wanted. But in those days you purchased what was needed and not wanted.

So my income plummeted and it was a couple of years before I recovered. I blame the slow recovery on my inability to learn what had to be done in enough time.

The same things happen to small businesses around the country every year. Whether they are small home based businesses or brick and mortar businesses, the owners must pay attention to the changes in the economic landscape and determine if their product will make the grade.

Originally my small business was a way to express myself creatively and enjoy a bit of income. But after the divorce it was how I put bread and butter on the table.

Having a business has provided me with more than income. I’ve learned skills I’m using with other companies to help their business grow. I’ve gained strength I never thought possible. I’m learning the fine art of networking – when I’m really just a homebody and prefer to stay behind the scenes.

And, I’m putting food on the table without worrying about paying the rent every month.

Have you considered the benefits you’d reap if you spent an hour or two a day building something you could call your own?

Most people start their own business while working for someone else. And, that’s the best way to do it.

You have the safety net of a consistent salary, while building an additional income. Eventually you might make enough to quit your day job and stay home with your children.

What would that mean to you and to them?

Independence is a hard won process, especially as a single mom. You may not want your independence. Down deep inside you might want a partner by your side who can share the burdens of everyday living. But the reality is that right now, it’s not happening.

So how can you assert your own independence, teach your children the value of hard work and ingenuity, and be satisfied each night when you lay your head on your pillow?

The additional income is a great resource. You’ll be able to go out to dinner a little more, have drinks with your friends, go to the movies or buy those special pair of boots your teenage daughter has been drooling over.

But it’s more than income.

It’s independence. And with independence is the ability to CHOOSE dependence. You have the option to choose a partner and not to feel as if you need one to fill the gaps in your life – both relational and financial.

Because with a business that you own, marketing will force you to develop relationships with other people, create a circle of friends if you don’t have and will put you outside your comfort zone.

Truth be told, the growth that yields the most is that done outside of your comfort zone, and often during a time you feel you’ve failed.

Failure isn’t failure until you refuse to get up and try something new. When you get up and keep learning you’ve started growing.

Looking back these last seven years I am blessed by the growth I’ve undergone. Whether it’s personal pain or financial instability – I’ve been growing by leaps and bounds.

It’s time to identify the areas in your life that need some tweaking and developing.

Your children are watching you. Whether you know it or not – whether they say it or not, they are watching.

You are their compass. It’s a great responsibility and an awesome future that lies before you. Your actions will affect your children and your children’s children. When you can fully grasp that concept you may be completely overwhelmed.

That’s good – it’s the start of a whole new beginning and a whole new you!

I started this article with the intention of talking about why it’s important to have your own business and how you can get it done. But I realize that there are multiple opportunities for you start something at home, and multiple people who are willing to show you how to get that done.

What I needed eight years ago was a kick in the pants to get the thing started SERIOUSLY. I don’t mean dabbling daily in checking email, reading sales copy or checking out the newest and greatest way to drive traffic to a website.

I mean getting serious about choosing a business – not a website, not a scheme, not a process – but a business.

If you want to see yourself bringing home a little extra cash every month and growing that into a thriving business, then it’s time to get serious about doing things with intention and not getting up each day, putting your head down and getting the work done.

Now is the time to look up, take stock of where you are and determine where you want to be.



7 Benefits Children Experience When They Have Their Own Business

Zachary and Megan were 8 years old when they first said they wanted to earn money. Nicholas was 10. Gabrielle is 12 and has absolutely no interest in working anywhere, for anyone.

Children are different from the day they’re born. It doesn’t matter if they’re twins raised in the same home, or siblings born 15 years apart. Each child has a different attitude and different perspective based on their unique personality and experiences. My children are not different. Zachary and Megan (twins) begged long and hard enough that they got a paper route at the age of 9.

Every Wednesday they wrapped the community paper, delivered it to homes in a neighborhood 10 minutes from ours and collected the fee once a month. It took them only a couple of months to realize that they could get through the collections faster if they split up and got more tips when they brought their cute little brother along. Cherub-cheeked Nicholas tagged along from home to home, holding his siblings’ hand and smiling sweetly at everyone who answered their doors.

I followed closely behind in the car as they trekked down the street. In the winter they came in the car to warm up between houses and in the summer they ran from house to house. Never once did they think about quitting. Each month they were paid about $20.00 a piece for their effort and they started saving. They learned about savings accounts, how to manage their money and how much effort it took to make a couple dollars.


At the age of 10, Nicholas wanted to find other types of work, so he and I researched, brainstormed and talked with relatives about what he could do. From that effort came the book you’ll find in “Check It Out!” below.

What’s the Benefit?

During those years when they were working and watching their mother run her own business, they learned several very good lessons. These were lessons they couldn’t have learned in school, by someone else telling them or through reading a book. They were lessons that they will keep for the rest of their lives, that they can generalize to other situations and for which they have been grateful.

After the newspaper route which Nicholas took over when he was 11, sprang a lawn mowing business for my son, Zachary, and teaching piano lessons for my daughter, Megan. Nicholas branched out and began collecting aluminum cans from the neighbors and turning them in, earning another $20.00 a month. My now-24-year-old daughter continues to tutor children in math and Spanish, and my boys have always had a job and paid their own expenses.

Here are the seven benefits my children have experienced from starting and maintaining their own businesses.

1.They learned to do things outside their comfort zone. If it feels uncomfortable to us, as adults, it most certainly is uncomfortable for children. However, in order to grow and mature we have to step outside our comfort zone and do things, whether we’re comfortable doing them or not.

And, truth be told, the more we stay in a zone that is not comfortable, the faster we grow personally. Because your children are learning this at a young age, they have a greater potential for growth and personal success as they grow. Megan and Zachary learned how to ask for the sale, approach new people and became comfortable talking about what they did and why.

2. They learned new skills. Building any kind of business means that you’ll need to learn a bit of marketing, selling, and producing whatever it is that you’re selling. I have a good friend who makes beautiful jewelry and crocheted hats and scarves.  She’s very successful selling them on Etsy and her own website. Although retired, she earns enough to cover most of the utility bills on her home. She’s doing something she loves and is proud to show to others. She learned this skill AFTER she retired!

Your children can learn to think outside the box to find new customers, how to connect with other businesses and develop partnerships to increase their sales and the sales of their partners. They may learn how to create new products, how to market using social media or sell their services face to face. It won’t matter WHAT they learn, only that they are learning new skills which they can use for the rest of their lives.

3. They became comfortable talking with strangers, talking over the phone and making connections. Although I mentioned these skills in #2 above, these are some of the more important skills that they can take with them as they go to college and enter the workplace. Strong businesses are built on making connections with others – and those connections are made in person, over the phone and by connecting over social media. Although most kids are a whiz at social media, they lack the skills needed for in-person communication because they don’t practice them. Most of our children live on their digital devices and they prefer it that way.

When we were growing up, if you wanted to play with someone you called or dropped by their home. Today, kids meet on games online, chat for a few minutes over Skype or text each other. The interaction you get through in-person communication is lost, but essential to being successful after graduation.

4. They learned the value of money. Before starting their first job, the twins would ask for a toy, gift or money to buy something without consideration of how long it might have taken to make that amount of money. But, after getting their first paychecks, they had a new found appreciation for the value of the dollar.

Granted, they would love mom to buy things for them instead of spending their own money; but even when spending mine, the twins are very aware of how much was being spent and whether or not they could get something similar at a better price.

5. They learned how to set goals. Nicholas is a great one for setting goals. He learned how to set a goal for how many people he could collect from each month. Knowing how to set goals, and developing a plan to achieve them has helped him finish all his college applications early, while studying for the ACT, maintaining straight A’s in school, playing on a very competitive basketball team and learning how to mix sound for a band.

Goal setting, developing a plan and execution is something we all need to experience any kind of success.

6. They experienced a self-confidence boost. The benefit of setting goals, developing plans and achieving success is that my children experienced a huge boost to their self-confidence. That translated into my son graduating from college, my daughter moving to another state by herself and successfully balancing work and full-time college and my younger son balancing a schedule that I wouldn’t want to attempt.

This is a boost they can’t get from a book, from someone patting them on the back or from any other means – EXCEPT by achieving the goals they set out for themselves.

7. They experienced how to learn from their mistakes. Experience is the best teacher and mistakes are the best way to learn. In recent research, scientists found that when people made mistakes but were able to learn from them they perceived the mistake as positive and they were able to grow faster and go further. When your children discover how to learn from their mistakes at an early age, they don’t experience the obstacle of getting derailed by those mistakes as they grow older.


There is one sure way to achieve success in life – you fail and you fail fast. You learn from the mistakes, get up and try it again, differently.  If you’ve learned HOW to learn from your mistakes early in life, you are leaps and bounds ahead of where you might have been.