Update: I wrote this post 5 years ago, and my son still has a thriving eBay business. He does arbitrage mostly, buying things wholesale and flipping them for profit. He has completed thousands of auctions.
My 10 year old son, a homeschooler, is an eBay business magnate.
Well, maybe magnate is a bit… ambitious. It’s more like he’s an eBay business… beginner. But even Trump had to start somewhere, eh?
One of the things I love about homeschooling?
Sometimes this requires a bit of trust.
As in, if my son spends 4 hours a day doing LEGO, will that actually serve him later on in life?
But other things that kids choose to pursue have clear, measurable (and immediate!) value.
For instance, my son has completed approximately 50 auctions on eBay. He’s got a full fledged part time business now, and he loves it. I had to move a desk into his room, help him secure some storage room for his inventory, and open a Paypal and eBay account just for him. I also had to help him set “eBay hours” so he didn’t get too sidetracked from chores and school work.
In this process, he’s learning:
- Spelling. Noone is going to buy stuff from someone who can’t spell. Professional looking descriptions are important.
- Grammar/Punctuation. Ditto.
- Copywriting and Salesmanship. Boring or sparse auction descriptions don’t bring in as much cash either.
- Details Matter. If you are lazy and don’t weigh your item with the packing material first (and charge enough shipping), it’s your own dang fault if you lose money on the auction.
- Profits Are Everything. If you lose money, you lose. (No government bailouts here!)
- Profit Margin. Higher profits don’t always mean a higher profit MARGIN. To increase his profit margin, he gets his inventory for free and recycles packaging material.
- The Customer Isn’t Always Right. In business you gotta be smart. Never ship an item when the customer hasn’t paid you yet. (How many times you think he did this before he learned this lesson? Exactly.)
- Geography. I can’t count how many times little man looked on the map to find a state, trying to calculate how long it would take a package to arrive. (This is from his buying activities, but still…)
- The Value of Mentors. He wisely listens to Mom’s advice since she’s more experienced than he is. But he’s not afraid to blaze his own trail a little bit, either.
- Managing Money. He’s not making a killing, but he is earning extra pocket money, which leads to lots of conversations with Mom about what to do with that money.
- And last but not least… Mom will get mad if you accidentally print shipping labels and pay for postage with HER Paypal account, when the buyer’s payment went to YOUR Paypal account.
I don’t know if Julien will end up doing eBay full time when he’s an adult, but wouldn’t it be cool if he did? He comes from a long line of entrepreneurs.
Personally I think it would be uber cool to do eBay for a living. I hope he never has a “job”.
But even if he doesn’t, he’s learning all kinds of valuable stuff NOW.
And that’s enough for me.