Spotlight on 3 CEO Kids – The Williams Sisters of Drive Safe Signs

DNot every CEO Kid that I interviewed was in “business” for the money.  Some of them have been passionate about helping others and making a difference.  Making a difference in safe driving is exactly what the Williams sisters are all about!

Sarah: How did you get started and where can people find you on the Internet?

The Williams Sisters: We started Drive Safe  five years ago, when our Aunt began learning how to drive.

That same year we lost 16 teenager withing 20 days to motor vehicle crashes here in Columbia, SC. Those facts became the motivating factor to make “Drivers Safety Notification Signs” available for all teen drivers.

With all the technical enhancements to vehicles these days, like entertainment centers, cell phones, etc, we need resources to bring the focus back to safe driving and have our roads safe for all motorists.

Our website is http://www.drivesafesigns.com/, you can email us at drivesafesigns@aol.com You can also reach our business manager Richard E. Pelzer II, President and CEO of MEGA Management at pelzermega1@gmail.com or 646-320-2300

Sarah: When did you start thinking about starting your own business and becoming an entrepreneur and why did you want to start?

The Williams Sisters: We began our entrepreneur endeavors at the age of  10.  We’re professional models, dancers and actors.  We also own an entertainment group called Triple Threat.  We started our entertainment group because we love performing.  When we’re on stage and see the audience smiling and getting into our performance, it just make us so happy. There’s nothing better than to be able to do what we love and see people enjoy what we do more.

We have been performing for  years,  but  Drive Safe became a public need and we wanted to help save lives.  We have a product that can help make and difference, and when we read testimonies about how much our signs were helping, it made us want to do more.

Sarah:  What things influenced you to start your own businesses?

The Williams Sisters: The increasing fatal rate of teen drivers, and all the requests we received from other motorists while our Aunt and others were learning how to drive.  Also, Tiffanie is driving now, Twana is in training, and Victoria will be very soon.  We don’t want to experience the horror stories like our Aunt use to tell us.  Triple Threat was started because we love acting, modeling and dancing.

Sarah: What do you think are the most important skills you have that help you in business?

The Williams Sisters: First, it’s our outgoing personalities and also having confidence.  We’re not afraid to speak to anyone about what we want to do, or what we believe in.  Our grandparents are retired military, and they’ve taught us about self discipline, self motivation, along with life survival skills. This adds a lot of help because when we get lazy they never fail to give us a lecture !

Sarah: I bet you are right!  Most parents and grandparents are great at “giving lectures” at least on occasion.  Tell me about some of the obstacles you have had to overcome.

The Williams Sisters: We didn’t really have any problems. Because the teen fatality rates stayed the focus of the national media so much, most people were willing to do anything get on board.  We’ve had so many blessings.  We get so much press, support, and request to come speak at events. Sometimes it’s hard for us to keep up.  Starting our a business wasn’t very hard, but becoming a non-for-profit took us awhile!!

Sarah:  What about your age?  How has that affected you?

The Williams Sisters: We think our age was a plus, because people want to see children succeed.  We did a lot of speaking engagements at the age of 9, 10, and 11. Some people were amazed at our fearlessness to get up in public and speak.  We we’re asked to be the keynote speakers for the National Transportation Summit with maybe a thousand transportation leaders from different states.  No one could believe we we’re that age and delivering the speeches we did.

Sarah:  That is so awesome!  I love that you have been so fearless!  What about college?  Are you planning on going?

The Williams Sisters: Definitely.  We all love the Arts, so our majors will probably focus on the Arts with a minor in Business Management. We plan to open an Arts Academy together and offer modeling, dancing and acting classes for under privileged children.

Sarah:  What a great idea!  What kind of expenses or start-up costs did you have when you started your business and where did you find the money or capital to start?

The Williams Sisters: We needed money for business licenses, to build our website, and to get our safety products made.  Our grandparents were big supporters.  We also received a couple of grants, and donations from the community.

Sarah:  This is a fun question – what have been the best surprises that you found in starting your businesses?

The Williams Sisters: We have been so thrilled with how much people are willing to help! Victoria loves to eat, well we all do actually, but she the most (smile).  We were super excited by all fabulous free food at speaking engagements.  That was a big motivator for when we’d have to get up early for an engagement. We would think about all the free food, especially the sweets! ;-)

Sarah:  I hear ya!  I am one to admit that I do love to eat!  So tell me, do you do EVERYTHING by yourself or do you have people on your team that work with you?  If so – how did you find people to help you along the way?

The Williams Sisters: We definitely don’t do everything ourselves! We actually have a nation of people on our team.  The Auntie Karen Foundation, Black Enterprise, Wal-Mart, State Farm, local and national news media, our community, and so many others it’s impossible to name them all.  We found help just by networking and speaking to everyone we would meet about what we we’re trying to accomplish.  Plus we have stayed in the media and received a lot of request for interviews.  When we are acting, modeling, or doing a dance performance we give out safety signs with our information. That has helped us find even more people to help us.

Sarah:  What are some tips that you can share in spreading your brand message and in making connections to grow your business?

The Williams Sisters: Get you a website built, then start networking. Start talking to everyone and anyone you meet about what you’re trying to accomplish and be sure to speak with confidence and passion.  If you don’t believe in yourself, then how will you get someone else to believe in you.  Contact your local news media and learn how to write a press release.  You can find a wealth of information on the Internet, use it as a free resource. Also attend social events in your community.

Sarah:  Great tips!  So tell me honestly – how do you balance it all?

The Williams Sisters: It gets hard at times, and we do get tired but our biggest motivator with Drive Safe is reading our customer testimonies.  There’s no greater feeling than to know we’ve made a positive difference in someone else life as well as helped save a life.  It’s the entertainment industry and we just love it so much.  Also if we don’t keep up our school work, our grandparents won’t let us do it. So that’s a big motivating factor.  We don’t do a lot of hanging out. We’re either doing school work, going to dance, piano, guitar, gymnastic classes, or networking at an event.  We have to keep a calendar to manage it all!!!

Sarah:  In closing what final tips would you like to share with other CEO Kids and entrepreneurs?

The Williams Sisters:

  1. Believe in yourself!
  2. Don’t be afraid to speak to others about your idea.
  3. If you have an invention get it protected (patents, copyrights, trademarks)
  4. Do a lot of networking.
  5. Dress professional.
  6. Surround yourself with great people who want to see you succeed.
  7. Never give up on your dreams!

Don’t forget to “Always Drive Safe, Aren’t Your Loved Ones Worth It?

– Tiffanie, Twana, and Victoria Williams.

Spotlight on CEO Kid Jordan Puchinger of Silver Jax

In this interview you will see how a crazy car accident ended up launching a teenager to CEO status.  Sometimes the hardest things in our lives become catalysts for us to find our greatest strengths.

Sarah:  Jordan tells us your entrepreneur story. How did you get started in business and where can people find you on the web?

Jordan: If I were to go back to when I was 8, that was when I started my first business. I did lawn care, and shoveled sidewalks and drive ways for neighbors and other people near my home.

I had many other different ideas as I got older. I started getting interested in online text-based games which people paid to play. I realized that I’d rather be the owner of one, than play one. So myself and my best friend Ty Wyton started a game called Metaphase. We had about 1,500 active users and made a hundred dollars or so every month.

I started my first REAL business when I was 15 years old. I was in a rather serious car accident. After leaving the hospital, I had a few spare months that left me really just lounging or in bed which ultimately, left me behind the computer. Shortly after I returned to school, I competed in Skills Competitions for web design & web development. I won locals, provincials and then represented Alberta in Halifax, Nova Scotia and placed very high. I should have won, but I made a few obvious mistakes that I still kick myself over. I set records for achieving the ranking I did and local TV stations wanted to interview me. I accepted, ended up on TV and had local business owners contacting my high school at the time to ask to speak with me. Messages were relayed to my teacher, then onto me. I knew I had a gift with web design/development just never really tried to monetize on it aside from my games. When I realized there was a demand, I started my first company.

I’m now on my second web design company, my most recent business called SilverJax Web Solutions. I’ve also recently gotten involved in a For Sale by Owner real estate listing company called Home Dealer.

You can find me on twitter @jordanpuchinger, linkedin SilverJax Web Solutions, Facebook Jordie Puchinger and my websites are www.silverjax.com and www.homedealer.ca

Sarah:  What things influenced you to start your own business?

Jordan: My family, and grade 10 teacher REALLY influenced me to start my first business. I believe that discovering my passion for web design & development early on in my life was key to my success as well.

Sarah:  What do you think are the most important skills you have that help you in business?

Jordan:  Honesty, self-motivation, integrity & hunger to do better. Without those, word travels fast and your potential customers/clientele start disappearing. A great work ethic ultimately influences success as well.

Sarah:  What great skills to possess!  What were the biggest obstacles or problems you had in getting started in business?

Jordan: Knowing where to start – being a young entrepreneur & quite independent it was a difficult knowing exactly where to start. I have learned over the course of my career that surrounding myself with a mastermind alliance, people who are willing to help is critical. The best part is, approaching mentors is easy when you’re young. The already established businessman and business women are often eager to help young entrepreneurs.

Sarah:  This is kind of an obvious questions Jordan but what is the biggest problem that your business helps to solves?

Jordan: The problem my business helps to solve is assisting in establishing a successful brand & web property for customers. Much too often you’ll come across a poorly made web property which in most cases is an extreme turn off for their customers. I assist by using the skills I’ve built on since I was 11, 12 years old to make sure that they have an extremely high quality product that revolves around their brand & customer.

Sarah:  So where did you come up with your idea and what investigation did you do to help you know that this was a great opportunity for a business?

Jordan: I wanted to develop a system that website owners could login to and manage their site. I did this in 2005 when content management systems weren’t all that big yet. Nobody here in my city was doing it at the time and I figured I had an advantage. I did a lot of studying of the other web companies in town. I looked at the work they had completed & even called a few of their clients to try and squeeze some information out of them on their satisfaction & what that company could improve on.

I did a lot of cold calling and even called my competition to ask them inside questions I was looking for answers to.

Sarah:  That’s awesome Jordan.  Way to dig in and find what you needed.  How about your age Jordan? How did that affect you?

Jordan: I used to think my age was an obstacle. At first it may have been, but after you get that 1 good client, that 1 good testimonial – all bets are off. Even more so, business owners appreciate the “small business, young entrepreneur” pitch. They were once there, they know the struggle & they’d much rather (in my opinion) support the smaller, younger guy. Of course quality comes into play, but if you’ve got the goods – age doesn’t mean anything.

Sarah:  That is absolutely true – if you have the goods – age doesn’t mean anything!  What about college?  Are you planning on going?

Jordan:  Being in business for myself, there are always the ups and there are always the downs. I have beat myself up a lot, and I have learned to keep the “mental demons” out. When things were bad, I’d say “dang, I wish I went to college”. The truth is, the textbook stuff you learn in a class room is readily available for free on the Internet – you just have to know what you’re looking for. If one day I wake up and decide that being a business owner isn’t me, then perhaps I’ll go back to school. At this point in my life, I don’t see it happening.

Sarah:  It is amazing how much information you can find on the Internet and I admire you for sticking with business. I did go to college but not once have I worked in the field that I graduated in and I know many other people can say the same thing of their college experience.

What kind of expenses or start-up costs did you have when you started your business and where did you find the money or capital to start?

Jordan: My start-up costs were minimal.  I needed a business license & to register my business with the government which only required a few hundred dollars. Other than that, the only other equipment I needed was a computer (which I already had). I have never gone into debt for any of my businesses.

Sarah:  Congrats on your business being debt free!  So what have been the best surprises that you found in starting your businesses?

Jordan: Everything! Every day has been a new adventure!  All the struggles and all the great things – everything has been a good surprise to me because they have brought life lessons that I will hopefully never forget. Signing the big clients, or even just a client in general is always the biggest rush for me!

Sarah:  I know what you mean!  Getting the “Big Deals” in business is awesome!

Do you do EVERYTHING by yourself or do you have people on your team that work with you?  If so – how did you find people to help you along the way?

Jordan: I’ve always had “contractors”.  I don’t have any full-time staff. For the most part I try and do as much as I possibly can myself. I’ve had I guess what you could consider “full-time” staff, they worked the 9-5 with me but that didn’t last long. They were close, close friends and one thing I’ve most definitely learned in business is that close friends are EXTREMELY difficult to work with as employees. They think you’re looking down on them when you ask of something  or they feel that they can just do it later, you’re their friend you’re not going to get angry or upset.

Sarah:  What ideas and approaches do you use to market your business and what do you find works best for you in getting the word out about who you are and what you are doing?

Jordan: The best marketing in the world is word of mouth & customer service. Every other marketing effort is nothing more than a solider to those two. However; I have done TV ads, paid advertising on Google & Bing. I use Social Media as much as I possibly can along with flyers and seminars.  I think I have tried just about everything.

Sarah:  So what are your daily or weekly efforts in spreading your brand message and will you share some tips on making connections to grow your business?

Jordan: My daily efforts consist of replying to every e-mail I get. Sending new e-mails. Cold Calls, dropping into random business fronts and introducing myself. Nobody can spread your brand as well as you, the business owner can. If someone else does a better job at that, then they deserve your job.

The best advice I can give is to give great customer service!  You can call a million people but if you don’t have one client to back up your story or support you, you don’t have a business yet.

Sarah:  Those are good tips!  Did you try any marketing approaches that did not work for you?

Jordan: I think every bit of marketing is in some way successful. Marketing is successful in many aspects – whether it’s building your brand or you are financially benefiting from it – you’re succeeding somehow. I’ve not yet – nor do I think I ever will put an ad in a phone book. I know that more than 88% of people look online for a business, product or service prior to opening a phone book these days.

Sarah: Great tips – thanks Jordan. So how do you balance it all?

Jordan:  Long hours, dedication & a passion for what I do. I’ve got a business coach that helps me in making sure that I set goals & take action. Being an entrepreneur isn’t a 9-5 job – you’ve got to be ready to jump in head first.

It’s difficult at times to balance everything, but when I get frustrated or feel like I’m losing control I know it’s time to stand up, take a break and come back to it in an hour.

Sarah:  I’m glad to hear you have a business coach Jordan.  I think that is key!

In closing what last words of advice would you like to give other CEO Kids and entrepreneurs?

Jordan: I think the one bit of advice that I could give to entrepreneurs of all ages is that being an entrepreneur is a slow burn. You have got to believe in yourself, and more importantly you’ve got have an extreme passion for it. If you’re not passionate about your work then you’re not happy. If you’re not happy, it’s not going to work.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It’s a slow burn and you’ve got to be happy in your own skin whether you sink or swim. You have to know that you’re doing what you love and if you keep at it you will succeed. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

To all the young entrepreneurs out there contact me! I would love to assist you in establishing your online presence and help build your brand equity!

Spotlight on CEO Kid Perry Chen of Perry’s Previews

The interview I did with Perry Chen and his mom Zhu was probably one of the most fun interviews I have ever done. Perry has a spontaneous sense of humor!  You will see what I mean when you listen to the interview! ;-)

** Be sure to scroll down and leave a comment!

Perry started writing movie reviews using his unique kids-friendly starfish rating system on his website (www.perryspreviews.com ) as an 8-year-old third grader at San Diego’s Torrey Hills Elementary School from the Del Mar Union School District.  This came about because of a parent-teacher conference.  Zhu was told at this conference that while Perry was in third grade he was reading at a high school level.  Zhu decided to not let Perry’s gifts go to waste but instead to stretch him by having him write movie reviews.  Within two months of writing his first review, Perry had has own movie review column and became a credentialed critic allowing him press entrance into all of the screenings of G/PG movies.  A Five Starfish movie is considered Perrific!

Here’s Perry’s speech at TEDx Redmond!  Definitely Perrifc!

The hard part for Zhu has been in knowing what direction to assist Perry in going because he is not only a talented critic, he is also great at animation and art.  Zhu has saved over 1,000 of his drawings and is working to investigate the best use of his many talents.

One of the ways Perry is able to use his animation skills is in the production of a movie short:  Beyond the Forset

Here are some other really fabulous features that have been done about Perry:

Kid Crix Grand Pix through Different Eyes: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118026037.html?categoryid=4137&cs=1

His Appearance on NBC LA “Today in LA” on October 24, 2010http://www.perryspreviews.com/?p=1638

And now a little about Perry’s mom, Dr. Zhu Shen:

Filmmakers Notebook: In Dr. Zhu Shen’s Case Mother Really Does Know Best http://www.filmmakersnotebook.com/?p=2892

Not only am I inspired by Perry and his amazing gifts but I am equally inspired and grateful for Zhu and her willingness to do whatever it takes to stretch her son to be all that he can be and to give him experiences beyond what the current school system can give!  You are a FIVE STARFISH parent Zhu!  Thank you for your example and excellence in parenting!

Thirty Days of Gratitude

I believe that one of the most powerful things I have done to grow my businesses and create peace in my life is to be grateful.

I was inspired by a good friend of mine, Shauntell Ottley to post things I am grateful for online for everyone to see.

Each day this month, I will be posting things I am grateful for in my life and business and ways that you can personally incorporate gratitude into your life and businesses.

Come back often and be sure to leave a comment about the things you are grateful for.  I would also love to hear ways that you teach gratitude to your children!  ;-)

Monday 11/1 – I am grateful for New Beginnings.  Each day, each month, each moment is a fresh start.

Today set your intentions for this month.  Let go of the past and focus on the present.  The PRESENT is your greatest gift to yourself and others.

Tuesday 11/2 - I am grateful to live in a Nation where we can choose our elected officials.

Show your gratitude by voting today and telling yourkids why it is important to vote.

Wednesday 11/3 - I am grateful for herbal tea. I had a webinar this morning and a radio interview.  Thanks to gallons of herbal tea I made it pretty well through both of them.

Enjoy a cup of herbal tea today or something you like even better.

Thursday 11/4 - I am grateful for business and life systems.  I spent almost the entire day in bed with a migraine, and severe congestion and back pain and yet my business kept going.  Orders still came in without me doing a thing!

Today think of systems you need to have in place so that your business can produce income without you being part of it.

Friday 11/5I am grateful today for opportunities and the choice to seize them.  Today I was asked to speak at TEDx Sacramento, met with a few joint venture possibilities, received a call from someone wanting to interview my daughter about her book, and so many more.  The interesting thing is there was a time that I didn’t see any opportunities in my life.  Things looked hopeless.  As I started to look for opportunities and expect them to come, they did!

Today look for opportunities!  Look for them to come! Expect miracles!

Saturday 11/6 – Today I am grateful for family.  I spent the entire morning and most of the afternoon writing THE BOOK. My kids pitched in around the house to get the chores done, the meals cooked, the grocery list made, and all the coupons found.  Spending time with my family is one of my favorite things in the world.

Today take time to show your family you are grateful for all that they do and for who they are.  Give them a hug, write them a note, or tell them why you are grateful for them.

Sunday 11/7 - I am grateful for Sundays they are a time to rest, rejoice, renew, refocus.

Take some time today to enjoy the Sabbath!

Monday 11/8 – I am grateful for friends!  I stated on Friday night that I would be off social media all weekend so that I could focus on writing.  It was so HARD!  I love connecting with people around the world and have found that some of my dearest friends  I have met on Twitter and Facebook.  I was so excited to wake up this morning and start reconnecting again! ;-)

Tell a friend or two or three today that you are grateful for them!

Tuesday 11/9 - I am grateful for amazing education!  I am attending a Speakers workshop and a Sales workshop today and I know the education I receive will be fabulous!

Today invest time in your education!  School is never out for the pros!

Wednesday 11/10 – I am grateful for technology!  This morning I am teaching a webinar called Creating Constant Cash and the topic today is on Money Management for business as well as charitable giving. I have only been doing webinars since about April and already I have learned a ton!  I don’t know what I would do with out this awesome piece of technology!

Today invest at least 15 minutes learning a new “technology”!  You must EMBRACE it to keep up with our “digital kids”!

Thursday 11/11 Today I am thankful for veterans and those who stand strong for the cause of FREEDOM and peace.  I am grateful for the opportunity I have to be an entrepreneur, worship as I choose and raise my children with the values that are important to me.

Today take time to reflect on the freedoms you have because of those who have gone before you and those who still stand strong to keep you safe.

Friday 11/12 Today I am thankful that comfort zone STRETCH!  Yesterday my daughter was interviewed on video about her cook book.  Cody of the PATCH videoed her while she made her OAMMs Granola recipe that she created in 3rd grade.  Clarissa was a bit nervous but all in all she did great!  Afterward I suggested she start a weekly cooking show on YT. She said “Mom, I’ll do video again in about a year.”  (We’ll see – I am really hoping she will do a show on the fabulous cranberry salsa she makes and her yummy red potato soup! ;-) )

Do something today OUTSIDE of your COMFORT ZONE and stretch your kids to do the same!

Saturday 11/13 I am so grateful for photos. I spent at least an hour last night going through our digital collection of photos for a project my 7 yo is working on for school.  I had forgotten some treasured moments in our family’s history!  It was so fun!

Today get those files open on the computer or that box full of pictures and enjoy some time bringing back memories of treasured moments with those you love!

Sunday 11/14 I am grateful for people who GIVE!  For the 2nd year in a row I am in charge of what I call – “Ding Dong Dinners On – Thanksgiving Dinner Giveaway”. The youth ministry I help run collects all the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner for several families.  This year we are doing 15.  It’s a smaller number than last year but I know that MANY families in our congregation should actually be on the receiving end because of the economic situations in their homes but instead they have stretched and have GIVEN to help others!  My heart is so full!  Wednesday we will be ringing door bells and ditching dinners to families that need a little love!

Today think of some way you can GIVE!

Monday 11/15 I am so thankful for accountability partners!  I have amazing people in my life who hold me to what I MOST NEED to do to reach my highest potential and stretch my comfort zones.

If you don’t have an accountability partner then TODAY is a great day to think about who that person could be!

Tuesday 11/16 I am SO thankful for backups!  I thought I was missing something really important, but thanks to the Time Machine on my Mac it has not been found!

Today take time to BACKUP your files – pictures, videos, EVERYTHING!

Wednesday 11/17 I have so much gratitude in my heart for my husband! He has been really sick for a few days.  I am glad he is finally on the upswing. He is caring, insightful, patient, and smart.  Life is so much better when he is better!

If you are married, take some time to appreciate your spouse!

Thursday 11/18 Today I am thankful for trampolines.  I had the best time jumping with my youngest son!  He is really talented at doing flips and he has the most contagious sense of humor!  So fun to spend time with him!

Today invest some memory-making time in your children’s lives.  You won’t regret it!

Friday 11/19 Today I am thankful for my TECHIE son @JakesTutorials.  My Mac totally crashed last night!  He tried everything and finally was able to do a system restore.  Thank you Jake!  I am grateful for who you are and the gifts that God has blessed you with!

Today take some time to tell your kids how grateful you are for them and affirm their gifts!

Saturday 11/20 This morning I am so grateful that I got FREE tickets to the Kenny G concert last night.  It was so fabulous to spend time with my guy and it was great to hear music I love.  One of my favorite songs that I learned on the clarinet was “Songbird”.  So fun!

If you are married, today take some time to do something fun with your spouse.

Sunday 11/21 Today I am thankful for family councils.  We had a great family council on Sunday.  We talked about Thanksgiving plans, Christmas plans, what we could do for others, and what they could do to grow their businesses during this time.  We also shared a spiritual message which really brought us together.

Take time today to gather your family together.  Find out what is going on with them.  What are their dreams and goals?  How would they like to celebrate holidays? What are some concerns they are having?  How can you assist them in conquering them?

Monday 11/22 Today I got back on Facebook & Twitter and saw all the people commenting about the talk I did for TEDx Youth Sacramento on Saturday. It felt great to know I was so supported!

Today take some time to show your support of others! It will mean the world to them!

Tuesday 11/23 Today I am thankful that two of my kids are old enough to stay home and take care of the youngest child. I had to go back to the Dr. today because my feet have not healed and became extremely infected over the weekend.  Luckily, I was able to get in right away.  Looks like I have another few weeks of soaking my feet and wearing flip flops.  Good thing it doesn’t snow here!

Today be thankful your toes are not swollen and oozing like mine are! ;-)

Wednesday 11/24 Today I’m grateful for brilliant people who share their knowledge and give back!  Ryan Diess is doing a Facebook Bootcamp on Black Friday.  I registered for it today and am LOVING the education I am receiving! The entire Bootcamp is only $7 and ALL of the money goes charity via the Make a Wish Foundation!

Today be thankful that people are willing to invest their time to teach you things that will bless your life and business.

Thursday 11/25 Today I am thankful for a Gratitude Journal.  Take time around the dinner table to share all the things you are grateful for.  You can go back year after year and read the things written in years past.  It is AWESOME!

Today start your own family Gratitude Journal!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday 11/26 Today I am thankful for people like Ryan Deiss and others who share their knowledge and give back to others.  Ryan and his team raised over $50,000 today for the Make a Wish Foundation by doing a Facebook training.  I took 11 pages of notes!  It was amazing how much I learned that will help me in business.

Today take time to LEARN SOMETHING and be grateful for the person who shared their knowledge with you!

Saturday 11/27 Today I am thankful for kids who STRETCH!  We went to a Cub Scout Arrow of Light ceremony for a young boy in our neighborhood today.  It was great to see so many people there to support him and to see that he had worked so hard!

Today take time to compliment the kids in your life!  Tell them  you are proud of them for STRETCHING to reach their goals!

Sunday 11/28 Today I am thankful for people who serve the youth.  Working in youth ministry takes a LOT of time and I am glad there are other people who are willing to help!

Today take time to thank the people who serve your kids in your church or in your community or school system.

Monday 11/29 Today I am grateful for my customers!  Lots of people ordered today!  Yes, they got a great DEAL because it was Cyber Monday but it also blessed my life too!

Today do something nice for your customers!

Tuesday 11/30 Today I am grateful for endings!  The close of each month always brings the beginning of another month!

Today take time to be strategic in how you will make December a month to Remember!

Photo credit to: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1086766

Lisa Wells on Raising CEO Kids

Lisa Wells is one of my favorite mompreneurs to follow!  She is a super smart in business and is teaching her kids to be the same!  In this interview she shares insight on raising her son Brett to be a CEO Kid.  I know you will enjoy it!

Sarah:   When did you notice that Brett was interested in making money and being in business?

Lisa: When Brett was 9 we moved cross country and I left my full-time job and began working from home. He would always see me working on the computer and finally realized that I was making money. Soon after he started asking how he could make money working at home too. He was 10 when he thought of the idea of opening a “Snack Shack” in front of our house.  He would buy candy at the dollar store and then sell at a higher amount, would make cookies and lemonade in batches, and would even collect rocks from the backyard and paint faces on them to sell. He never thought people “wouldn’t” buy things from him, he always saw the possibilities.

Sarah:  That is fabulous Lisa!  Watching me work from home has been very influential in my own children starting their own businesses!  Are both you and your husband in business and do you thing that has given your children and “edge” in being CEO Kids?

Lisa: Not only do I have my own online business, but I also have a degree in business management, which I think enabled him to see that it IS possible to do what you want to do and still make money.

Sarah:  What kind of support have you given Brett along the way?

Lisa: Whatever venture he was working on at the time, we helped him with the details, such as creating fliers for the snack shack, showing him that he had to buy supplies from his earnings, and budgeting for charity. When he was writing a book at age 10 as part of a school project, I helped with formatting and editing the story. He quickly learned how to use the advanced features in Word and how automation can help speed up the process.

Sarah:  So how do you help Brett stay balanced in all the other things he is doing in his life?

Lisa: Brett has MANY interests. He’s an honors student, plays soccer, composes music, plays saxophone and clarinet, likes to write short stories, and of course video games. I know because I have my own business, it can get easy to get caught up and sometimes let the business take over my life.  Because of this, I try to just let Brett do what he enjoys.

Sarah:  I know we talked about this a little already, but what role besides that of parents do you and your husband play in Brett’s business?

Lisa: My husband and I just try to be there to support him, answer questions, and provide guidance when we can. It’s hard NOT to take an idea and want to do everything myself, but it’s important to allow kids to do as much as possible themselves.  His new venture is an online store and it opened this summer. I helped him with the marketing and setup, but he chose the products, the web design and is involved as much as possible in the day-to-day activities.

Sarah:  What were some of the challenges that you all faced in helping him become the success he is today?

Lisa: Brett has a lot of self-motivation!  We have always let him know that we are here to support him and that there are NO obstacles. He knows without a doubt that he can be whatever he wants to be – doctor,  teacher, musician, entrepreneur – and that success isn’t measured by money or fame .  Our goal is for him to be happy in his life.

Sarah:  So true!  Is there anything you would have done differently that you would be willing to share with other parents of CEO Kids?

Lisa:  I don’t think I would have done anything differently. Sometimes my husband and I think that it’s too easy to raise Brett. I do think it’s easy to forget that he’s only 13 and he does still need guidance, limits, and discipline.

Sarah:  Why do you think it is so important to educate our kids about business and being self-reliant?

Lisa:  The working world is changing. My dad worked for the same company for 38 years and rarely enjoyed going to work. My husband has been a Marine for 20+ years and has loved every minute of it. Kids today have so many choices.  I don’t want Brett to ever think that he has to do something to please us or stuck in a job he hates because of the money or health benefits. I learned a long time ago that  all things are possible and I’ve tried to convey that to Brett.

Sarah:  Lisa, would you share your TOP 3 – 5 tips that every parent of a CEO Kid should implement?

Lisa:

  1. Talk about the basics – I love it when Brett and I watch Suze Orman’s TV show together and we talk about common money pitfalls. We especially like the “Can I Afford It?” segment. It’s never too early to learn the basics.
  2. Practice what you preach – Because I always tell Brett to only spend money that he has, I make sure to do the same and not live beyond our means.
  3. Show them the money – when I was growing up, our family never discussed money or finances so I never really understood the value of things. We share our household expenses, bills, and finances with the kids if they ask because these things shouldn’t be taboo or kept private, after all they are part of the family too. I also let Brett know how his actions can influence our finances. For example, I incentivize the kids by offering to share a percentage of money if, say the electric bill, doesn’t go over a certain amount. (This rarely happens but it’s a good thing to start with.)

Why Worry About Nutrition for your CEO Kid?

As parents there are a million things to worry about. There are every day exposures, expectations and goals and long term anxieties, hopes and dreams. In the day to day grind sometimes the basics like what to eat and daily exercise lose out to school work, schedules and time constraints.

According to an article in the April 2010 publication of the New England Journal of Medicine: Almost 1/3 of U.S. children over 2 years of age are already overweight or obese. Overweight is defined as a Body Mass Index between 85th-95th percentiles for age. Obesity is defined by a BMI above 95th percentile. In Florida 25-29.9% of children age 2-5 are at or above the 85th percentile.

Calculating a child’s BMI is different than calculating an adult’s BMI. The BMI calculation in a child includes the age and the gender because a child is still growing and may have more body fat at age 4 than at age 12. A BMI not only determines if a child is overweight, but underweight as well. The BMI should not be the only assessment tool used and it should be kept in mind that it is only used to determine if there is a possibility of a future problem. If you are curious about your child’s BMI go to: http://www.bmicalculator.org/. The BMI is just one tool in the tool box of diagnosing a nutrition related problem. It’s important to know about the different tools and we will talk about them in future articles.

Take home advice:
Nutrition effects growth, either positively or negatively, depending on the type of nutrition. As parents we may worry about if a child is getting the right nutrition and many times not know where to turn to get the right advice. ABCD Eat Right will strive to provide each parent and educator with nutrition tips to better each child, classroom, and community.

My name is Brandi Thompson and I am a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, as well as a proud mother of two young children. My goal is to help parents and educators focus on what living healthy means for our children and to teach our children how to live a healthier life. As a Registered Dietitian I have over nine years experience in menu planning, private consulting, kitchen sanitation and writing policies and procedures for hospitals such as M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, Long term care facilities and mental health care facilities in South Florida. Please email me with questions you may have concerning nutrition. I will post it in upcoming newsletters and have a FAQ section on the website. Brandi@ABCDEatRight.com

A rapidly growing number of young Americans are obese, prone to more food intolerances and diseases affecting the overall learning and nutritive environment of the majority of learning institutions around the country. As a Registered Dietitian and mother of two young children, Brandi Thompson RD, LD/N founded ABCD Eat Right with a mission to educate the community, especially educators and parents, about what it means to live a healthy lifestyle not only for ourselves but also for our children. Brandi holds a degree in biology from The University of Texas at Austin and a Certificate in Public Health from The University of Texas Health Science Center Houston.  Since 2001, Brandi has developed a successful nutrition consulting practice. She began her career as a dietitian at Houston’s world renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center. Since 2005, Brandi has consulted for Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, long term care centers and mental health centers in South Florida. ABCD Eat Right Services include: In-services for educators, staff and parents, Private consultation services, Menu evaluation and recommendations, Food allergy presentations for staff and plan formation for facility school garden start ups. Sign up for her free weekly ABCD Eat Right e-newsletter today and get a weekly recipe, nutrition article, physical activity recommendations and noteworthy websites. http://ABCDEatRight.com

**Photo credit to: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/1876

The Pink Bat Thinking

I just saw this video and fell in love with it!

Michael McMillan teaches us to turn problems into solutions! To do this we must adjust our perception and be open to the real possibilities!

As I watched this video, I thought of all the ways I could start focusing on solutions! I also thought of all the ways that I could teach my kids to focus on turning problems into solutions!

Thank you Michael for all work that you put into create this book!

Choose TODAY to Encourage Kids to Follow Their Passions!

It is true that there needs to be changes made in our global education system.  I believe that as parents we don’t need to WAIT for those changes to occur!  We can CHOOSE TODAY to start those changes in our own home.  We can give life to our children’s dreams!  We can see them for who they are and the magnificence they have inside of them!  We can encourage them to follow their passions RIGHT NOW – not after high school or after college! NOW!  I would love to hear your comments below!  Enjoy the video of Sir Ken Robinson at TED May 2010.

Take It To the Bank Tuesday – You Could Be a VA

As I was thinking about what type of business to spotlight this week, I kept thinking about how tech-savvy kids are these days and how my own kids do more and more for me in my businesses each week.  If your CEO Kid is tech-savvy or likes administrative work and prefers to work behind the scenes rather than being in the spotlight then being a VA (Virtual Assistant) may be the perfect fit for a job that can grow and be moved anywhere in the world!

Here is the definition of a VA according to the Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce.

(Be sure to read to the bottom to see why and how I see CEO Kids being able to be VAs!!!)

A Virtual Assistant (or VA) is a solopreneur who specializes in providing ongoing, one-on-one, collaborative-style administrative support.

Like other professional service providers, Virtual Assistants operate remotely from their own places of business and utilize today’s technology to deliver their services and communicate with clients.

Virtual Assistants are first and foremost administrative experts. Virtual Assistants sometimes offer additional, separate specialties that fall under creative and/or technical services.

Virtual Assistants come from a variety of business backgrounds, but the single-most important qualification the industry expects of its peers is at least five (5) years administrative experience earned in the real (non-virtual) business world working in upper-level capacities such as administrative assistant, executive assistant, secretary, legal assistant, paralegal, legal secretary, real estate assistant, office manager/supervisor, etc.

From this level of experience, a Virtual Assistant is expected to possess the skill sets, training and business knowledge which are the hallmark of a truly qualified Virtual Assistant.

Now that you have read the official definition, you might be thinking, why would Sarah say that a kid could be a VA?

Here are over 30 things I have paid a VA to do that now my kids do for me as well as for others (Note the ages are approximate):

Ages 7-9

  1. Get customer service campaigns ready: birthday and anniversary cards
  2. Send pre-written e-mails and filter through email inbox
  3. Send card campaigns through Send Out Cards
  4. Look up address and MapQuest appointments if you do not have a GPS
  5. Social bookmarking
  6. Read books and take notes for you on them
  7. Making goal posters and other visuals to keep you on track
  8. Enter clients into databases

Ages 13 -16

  1. Research for articles, webinars, presentations
  2. Video editing
  3. Audio editing
  4. Uploading files to your web hosting account
  5. Website testing of links and pages
  6. Social media set up & maintenance
  7. Schedule tweets/Facebook posts/LinkedIn and other such social media updates
  8. Transcribe audio recordings
  9. Approving comments on blogs
  10. Downloading, installing and activating plugins on blogs
  11. Graphic Design (My son designed all of my backgrounds and even some of my graphics)
  12. Web design
  13. Set up Squidoo lenses
  14. Add products to eBay and take care of the sale of items
  15. Manage your Google calendar and or enter dates into http://tungle.me
  16. Setting up playlists in iTunes
  17. Computer virus removal
  18. Computer disk optimization and defragmentation
  19. T ech  shopping
  20. Researching, purchasing and adding domains to your webhosting.
  21. Installing WordPress or another blogging platform
  22. Researching the best deals in flights, hotels and rental cars
  23. Editing photos

AND SO MUCH MORE!!

YES – Kids can be Virtual Assistants!  As they grow in their skills then they can take on higher and higher level tasks and be paid more and more per client. They could even set up their own VA team where they contract out the work that they don’t personally want to do or don’t know how to do so that they can take on clients with many needs!

Home & Office Organization for YOU & Your Kids in Business

So many people ask me, “How do you get it all done?” The truth is – I don’t get it all done! I strive to get the most important things done. I delegate like crazy and the rest goes unfinished. In this video I share with you tips that help me stay organized and accomplish things that are of highest priority to me! Be sure to comment below! ;-)