A kid’s perspective on being in an entrepreneurial family

You get to hear from us an awful lot, but seeing as this is a blog for entrepreneurial families, it seemed only fitting to get our kids in here as well.

Our lifestyle is different than most families. While Ryan and I know this full well, we were curious how much our children understood that, and also to hear their version of the way our family does things.

Do they enjoy our lifestyle? Do they even notice the difference? What do they like about it and what do they find hard?

I decided to find out. After our kids had finished up their schoolwork the other day, I gathered them together (along with Tatum Oxenreider, a friend and the oldest daughter in an traveling EntreFamily, who happened to be over at our house), and started asking some questions.

Here’s what they had to say…

(A few of their answers were a bit more random, but I left a lot of it in because, hey, that’s just a real conversation with kids.)

Mom (AKA Stephanie): What’s an entrepreneur?

Abby (age 10) – Somebody that has their very own business.

Tate (age 10) – A family that stays at home… basically what Abbie said. (Stephanie’s note: I think she thought I was asking what an entrepreneurial family was.)

Caden (age 7) – Basically whatever they choose, they can change. If they chose to build things, they can change. It’s like a rainbow job, where you get to choose whatever you want, instead of only one color.

Mom: What do you notice that makes your family different from other families?

Abby – The kind of stuff that my family does is health stuff, because of my mom being a health entrepreneur (note: she’s referring to my natural-living blog). At school, lots of people have packaged lunches and I have sandwiches, and we’re much more healthy so that’s kind of different. Also, normally I kind of like it (our lifestyle) because you guys have more time to spend with me. Sometimes you don’t have extra hours, but sometimes you can stop your work.

Tate – My family has a simple living blog, and I love being simple and not all fancy. And I just love being organized and the house being organized.

Caden – Totally different games on the iPod. Some families have only one or two games; some families have almost all games. We play a lot less games than some families. Lots of other kids go to school, but we’re mostly homeschool people.

Johanna (age 5) – Maybe a little bit different, but not very much. Some other people homeschool and some people go to school.

kids at table in gorges

Our kids toast each other with water glasses at a cafe in the Gorges du Verdon (Southern France).

Mom: What do you like best about being in an entrepreneurial family?

Abby – I like that we get to spend more time together than a regular family. Normally people have jobs and certain hours. I’m not saying that entrepreneur’s kids can’t go to school, but we don’t. In a normal family, most kids go to school and the dad or mom or both go to a job, so you don’t get to see each other as much, and I like that we get to see each other quite a bit.

Tate – I like that entrepreneurial families can travel way more often than non-entrepreneurial families. And they can spend more time together, and actually get to know each other better, just to be a family. Like when I was going to school one year, I hardly saw my parents because I had homework and I had mostly all day school, and I just really need more time. Then I started homeschooling again and I feel way more educated and like I’ve learned a lot by doing that.

Caden – I like that we figure out things like a schedule so that we’re learning schoolwork while you’re working (note: he is referring to the 2-day-per-week class they go to for homeschoolers), so then we get all the time together. Basically we always have a schedule to work out everything.

Johanna – I like that I always do school. School is fun. I like that we go on big, nice trips and make new friends. And be really creative. I like that.

Mom: What are some of the hard things about being in an entrepreneurial family?

Abby – Some of the hardest things about being in an EntreFamily are that sometimes being the oldest is also kind of harder. When your parents have to do work, they’re not on specific hours, but they just work when they need to. Sometimes if you’re old enough you have to help watch the other kids or make lunch and you can’t always just do your own thing after you’re done schoolwork. You have to do some work to help your parents with their work.

Caden – I don’t really know what’s hard about being in this family. There’s lots of fun things.

Tate – I think Abbie mostly said it all. But it (the extra work) can be fun sometimes. You get to earn money and spend more time with your siblings. That can be really fun.

Abby – Yeah, I agree.

Johanna – (Shakes head “no”.) All I like is everything that’s nice.

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Kepler self-entertains with “educational” apps on the iPad in the living room of our rental house in Cadenet, France.

Mom: How does your parent’s work schedule affect you?

Abby – Can I just say same as above?

Mom: Well, what about when they’re in a busy season with a big project?

Abby – Same as above. I mean, I have to do lots of work during those times.

Caden – This is a boring interview. Are we going to get paid???

Tate – Sometimes it’s so busy I hardly see them, like when my mom is super busy working, my dad has to watch us and most of the time, he’s really busy, too.

Abby – It’s the same in our family.

Mom: What do you think are the perks or benefits of your family’s lifestyle?

Abby – I don’t know. Travel?

Tate – We get to hang out with our family and travel lot, meet new friends, try new foods, a lot of things.

Caden – We get to travel basically so much. We did a year trip and now we’re traveling for a month

Abby – It’s three months!

Caden – Oh, whatever.

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Abby and Tate finger-knit and make their “Flimsy” dolls, a business idea they have making and selling handmade dolls. 🙂

Mom: Are you interested in being an entrepreneur when you’re older? Why or why not?

Caden – I do not, because instead I want to be somebody that is an inventor.

Abby – That’s an entrepreneur.

Tate – Well, it can be.

Caden – I don’t want to be an entrepreneur. I want to be somebody that invents things.

Mom – Do you mean you don’t want to run a business?

Caden – I don’t want to write things, but I want to build things. (Stephanie’s note: An “aha!” moment for me — my kids equate writing or being on the computer with being an entrepreneur… a myth we need to dispel!)

Abby – An entrepreneur is somebody that works for yourself.

Caden – Oh, well, I want to work for myself, sure.

Tate – I do, because if I do have kids, I want my kids to see how I grew up, and I just want them to be educated wisely and I just want their kids (I mean, it’s their choice), but it would be neat if their kids were entrepreneurs as well. I just really want more entrepreneurs in the world.

Mom: What do you think is good about there being more entrepreneurs, Tate?

Tate – I think it’s good because it makes life a lot more easier. You can hang out with your kids, and not be so tired all the time.

Mom – Do you mean that you can have more freedom?

Tate – Yeah, freedom!

Abby – Yes, I do (want to be an entrepreneur). Because, well, I don’t really know why, but I just kind of like our lifestyle.

Mom – You seem to really enjoy coming up with business ideas…

Abby – Yeah. So does Daddy. I guess I want to be like my parents, maybe?

Johanna – What is it (an entrepreneur)? Someone that’s a writer? Someone that chooses whatever they want to do?

Abby & Caden – Yes.

Johanna – I want to be a writer, so yeah, I do.

Mom: What advice would you give to other kids in EntreFamilies?

Abby – If they were already in an EntreFamily, why would I need to give them advice?

Mom – What if their parents were just changing things in their life and starting a new business? What would you tell them?

Tate – Welcome to the new freedom.

Abby – You’ll spend a lot of your time with your family, so it’s important to try to have some time by yourself, too.

Caden – Be really creative. That’s my advice. Try to always be creative.

Epilogue:

Kepler (age 3) – Crying…

Mom – Do you want to be in the interview?

Kepler – nods head.

Mom – Do you want to be an entrepreneur?

Kepler – No, I want to be a business.

Mom – Do you like our family?

Kepler – Yes. (hops off lap, interview is done.)

*****

There you have it. A glimpse into life as a kid in an entrepreneurial family.

What surprised me? How much they don’t recognize this lifestyle of ours as particularly different or noteworthy, but simply the way we do things. And how they really get that spending more time together as a family is one of the primary reasons we work so hard for this.

What didn’t surprise me? That they don’t love the times when it comes with extra responsibility (who would?). That sometimes they crave extra time by themselves. That traveling and meeting new people is one of the parts they like best.

What do you think your kids would say if asked these questions? And how does this conversation affect you as you consider the impact of your lifestyle on your family?

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