My daughter has a cupcake business.
So far, Mom and Dad are her angel investors.
We buy all the supplies. She uses items from our pantry to make her sweet treats. When she sells an order, she keeps all the profits. (She keeps the tips, too.)
I use profits in the loosest sense of the word; we haven’t calculated the cost of the supplies. My guess is that the cost of the cupcakes is barely covered by her price, if it is covered at all. If you factor in all the free samples we give away, all the cupcakes we eat, and the cost of the flour and powdered sugar she spills on the floor, then this business is certainly in the red.
I’m also in charge of marketing for her business. I hired a designer friend to create a logo for her. I used Klout perks to get her some (nearly free) mini-cards, branded with her logo. (We’re both in love with the work that Moo does.) I set up her Facebook page, and I update it regularly. She’s too young for her own account, but sometimes she updates her page from my account.
I’m not really concerned about my investments of time, money, and supplies.
She’s 10. She loves to bake. I love seeing the excitement in her eyes when someone places an order. I love that she can create delicious cupcakes from scratch, start to finish, without any help. I love to see her generosity in sharing free samples with our friends and neighbors. I love seeing her creativity in inventing new creations. I love that she involves her little sisters (sometimes.)
I don’t care about profit and loss. I don’t even care about all the extra dishes she’s making that I end up washing later. There is great value in the business (beyond money): learning, responsibility, generosity, and kindness.
It’s really not about the money.
I’m starting a business right now, too.
I’ve been working on a product for nearly six months. I’m investing a lot of time and energy. I’m investing money, too.
When you’re a grown up, the stakes on any business are much higher.
Yes, I can do this because I love it, to learn from the process, to be generous to others. I can do it for the joy I find in the creative process and for the sweetness in seeing my projects completed.
At some point, though, money matters.
How do you measure the value of your work?
I wonder… do you count the hours of free work and compare them to the hours of paid work?
Do you consider the cost of all the free information and value you share?
Do you see a return on your investment of time, energy, and information shared?
Does it matter to you?
Do you only see value in what pays? Or do you realize that you offer value even when you’re not making money through your efforts?
Does money equal value?
Or is value found somewhere else?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I am the founder/CEO of the Weaving Influence team, the author of Reach: Creating the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause, and the host of the Book Marketing Action Podcast. I’m a wife and mom of three kids, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, coffee, and dark chocolate.
Becky, another great and thought-provoking post!
I think what you’re doing for your daughter is great!! You see her passions, and you are helping to fuel them. You are teaching her to be confident, creative and business-minded…and let’s not forget the value of work ethic that she is learning! Fabulous!
There are so many “out there” that equate value to profitability. In some cases, they may be right, but I don’t think it’s that simple.
I have a career history of sales success. I have been fortunate to make a good living doing so…but now I’m an entrepreneur, a trainer and coach, a speaker, a writer. I believe fully that I am following my calling by building into leaders and helping to create great workplaces.
Income isn’t as consistent as it once was, and that’s ok. I’m also spending more time at home with our kiddos too. It’s a priority.
There may be times where I’m not making as much, but the value that I am committed to providing to my clients and my family ins’t measured by my income. And, I’m happy. And far less stressed.
It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that money is a measurement of your worth, but truly, money is only a measurement of your bank account, and it has nothing to do with your ability to add value to others; nor does it equate to happiness. Value and happiness, in my opinion, are far more precious!!
Great post… with questions we should all keep in the front of our minds. I just finished a book I’ll recommend on this topic: “Work: The Meaning of Your Life” by DeKoster and Grabill. I’d concur that value and money are not the same. I’d go a step further and encourage us all to explore the concept of “value”. It’s one of those words that can be a verb or a noun. I think ‘values’ may be a little bit over-hyped, because what matters more is ‘virtue’… i.e. voluntary behavior that puts values into action. For example, I can say I value “fitness”, but if I don’t act on that value (voluntarily) it remains empty. By going out for daily exercise and eating right, I can turn my VALUE into VIRTUE. I think virtue is what is truly precious, and virtue in turn, leads to joy. Now, with that said, I’d value one of those cupcakes! They look good!! Congrats to your daughter on turning values (service, joy, etc) into the virtues of service and joy.
Hey Becky – what a lovely article especially in the context of connecting with our childlike passions. I remember too being a child and wanting to start my own business only to have it poo-pood by parents so well done you in your role of Angel investor and parent to encourage your children.
But onto you question about value. Its really a tough one where not even the major corporations that I have worked with can get their heads around the answer. To my thinking its ultimately the market that answers that question although we may not agree with their answer, but that only takes the financial aspect into consideration. If what we do is a labour of love as with your daughter it seems crass to place a price or value on it because how much value can we place on our passion and our love of serving.
Happy to carry on the conversation as it is a most interesting one. I am on twitter @coaching4change and fb on https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001437193052 .
Living our values is one of the continuing goals for our business and family. Giving and stewardship matter, but so does being in integrity with our family, our clients, and our accounts. How long does one continue to pursue a project? That is so based for us in the boundaries of what its potential is, what the actual cost of our time involvement is, how and when the originators plan for the workmen and ladies to receive wages for their services, etc. As one who works with speakers, authors and start ups, there are more aspects involved than simple payment for services. It’s experience, exposure as well as expenses. Great article!
One thing I’m sure of about value is that I should get some joy in the doing or a project just isn’t worth it. If I don’t enjoy the work or the company or the overall situation, I try to make a quick exit to free up time for something else.