Marketing For Kids, Part 1: Introduction

Marketing For Kids

Few things teach us the value of money like not having enough. For good or ill, many of the experiences we have in life are governed by two primary resources: time and money. Parents strive to teach their children the value of both. As a parent myself, I want my kids to grow up understanding not only that time and money have value, but how to create more of both when necessary.

Many parents try to teach the value of money with methods like a weekly allowance. The catch with an allowance, as most parents implement it, is that it creates a fixed labor mindset: you do X and you get Y, and that rarely changes. Reality is far from that; from uncertain job markets to entrepreneurship, life is rarely so predictable or secure. Allowances also tend to teach that it’s okay to do the minimum amount of work to earn the minimum amount of money, which is not a life lesson I want to reinforce.

What I’d like my kids to learn instead is that with the right mix of time, effort, and knowledge, they can achieve more than just the minimum. They can create results – including money – which go beyond just punching a clock for 8 hours a day or collecting federal minimum wage. If they want something, they’ll have the tools and talent to generate the necessary resources to earn that something. What they will need to provide is focused effort – and that’s a lesson for all of us. Every day, we make choices that improve or diminish our lives, from what we eat to who we call friends to what we do with our leisure time.

This multi-part series will tackle the fundamentals of marketing as it applies to a home-based business. My eldest child is interested in setting up an Etsy-style shop, so in this series we’ll look at the basics of setting up a home-based business and focus on the marketing of the products. We’ll start with things like the USP – the unique selling proposition – and customer profile, walk through the necessary marketing technology infrastructure, and build out a marketing plan that a technically savvy tween/teen can execute reliably.

Will my child strike it rich with these techniques? Probably not. Will they create a reasonably reliable, consistent stream of income above and beyond their allowance? As long as they put in the work. I’ll provide the tools and knowledge; they have to provide the effort.

If you’re a parent, or someone who wants to develop a “side hustle”, please join me on this journey over the next few posts. I also want to emphasize that this is not the “right” way to parent, nor are the lessons I want to teach my kids necessarily the lessons you should want to teach yours. This is one person’s opinion only; take whatever is valuable and leave what isn’t. The only people I take responsibility for are my own kids.


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The Difference Between Sympathy and Empathy

I recently had a discussion with one of my SHIFT colleagues about sympathy and empathy. We often conflate the meaning of these two words, but in practice, they separate (but related) concepts.

Sympathy translates from Greek as “with feeling”.

etymology of sympathy.png

Empathy translates from Greek as “in feeling”.

etymology of empathy.png

Both words share the root pathos, which originally meant a quality that evokes pity or suffering.

This is the key difference:

  • Sympathy means to feel pity or suffering with someone.
  • Empathy means to be inside someone else’s pity or suffering.

When we need to help others, sympathy helps no one. Sympathy simply doubles the amount of suffering in the world. Empathy – the ability to understand someone else’s suffering, to see the world through their eyes – is far more useful.

When we see the world through someone else’s eyes, we understand why they make the decisions they make, even if we don’t agree with those decisions. We perceive the conditions which generate their choices.

When we truly see the world through someone else’s eyes, we can help guide them to make better decisions while still being mindful of their limitations.

Adding extra emotion – sympathy – to already emotional situations does little to nothing to help improve things. Perceiving correctly, seeing things as they are from someone else’s point of view – empathy – can help me to help others find solutions to their problems. Given a choice between sympathy and empathy, I choose empathy every time.


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Friday Foodblogging: Hot Salad

Grilled hot salad

Salad isn’t always the most exciting thing to eat. It’s healthy, to be sure, but not always as savory or rich as we’d like – at least not without losing all the health benefits.

A hot salad is one way to deliver a bit more punch to the dish without overloading on high calorie dressings. It delivers a nice grilled flavor while still being healthy.

You’ll need a barbecue and a frying/sauté pan, as well as a large metal bowl.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, thickly sliced
  • 1 head of broccoli, thickly sliced
  • 1 bag or 4 cups of uncooked spinach, dry
  • Garlic salt
  • Non-stick Cooking spray
  • Optional: peeled uncooked shrimp

Directions

Spray broccoli and cauliflower with cooking spray on both sides of each slice.

Lightly salt with garlic salt.

Put the thick slices of broccoli and cauliflower on the grill over very high heat. Cook them like burgers, turning every 3 minutes or so until the stem is softened and a few fringes are blackened. I find this takes about 12 minutes total. Place in the metal bowl.

Once blackened on the edges, spray, salt, and put the onions and bell peppers on. Cook those similarly; I find they take only 6 minutes (3 minutes per side). Place in the metal bowl.

Spray the frying pan with cooking spray and add the spinach. Toss over high heat until the spinach is wilted but not cooked thoroughly; you still want a vibrant green leaf. Once done, put in the metal bowl. This takes less than a minute usually. If you’ve got shrimp, repeat this step with shrimp.

Place the metal bowl on the grill over low heat and toss vigorously to reheat all contents to roughly the same temperature. Mix, add additional garlic salt or other non-fat dressings (balsamic vinegar or lemon juice are both quite nice) and serve while hot.


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