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Help Your Kids Turn Passions to Profits


Recently, a local news story reported on a student at our high school. This young man won $20,000 award for a video project he did on teens, texting and driving. He also was heavily involved in high school activities, such as being the video editor of the high school online newsletter, and playing the drums in every band the school offered as well as at his church.

The young man is well on his way to a career in media. He knows he loves videography and that he can make a living from it.

What can you do to help your kids realize that their passions and pursuits can be converted into economic gain? That they can find ways to make a living from something they love?

A parent’s job.

As a parent, you are responsible for many things, one of which is introducing your child to a smorgasbord of life experiences. How will your child know if they want to be a videographer if they are never exposed to that art and skill? How will they know they love rock climbing if they never see a rock big enough to climb?

Set a foundation.

Way before high school, you begin, either consciously or unconsciously, setting a foundation of experiences and skills for your child to use later in life. The things that you show and teach your child, the places you take him to, the lessons you enroll her in and the hobbies you share with him all directly impact your child’s interest and ability.

My sister-in-law enrolled her pre-school daughter in gymnastics and ballet and persistently encouraged her in the development of the skills needed to excel. She took the time needed to help her child find and compete in various skill tests and engage in various performances.

Because of that foundation, her daughter was able to successfully compete for the dance squad in high school and using that helped her obtain the status of homecoming queen. Because of her interest in dance (with all of it’s attendant costuming needs) and due to Mom’s sewing hobby, she has made an early decision to become a fashion design marketer.

Knowing what she wants to do gives her a tremendous advantage in college because she can then seek out jobs, experiences, classes, contacts and internships that help her position herself in the field.

Let your child choose.

My own Mom tried to enroll me in tap and ballet lessons, but as a third grader, I just didn’t see the point. Later, when I tried out for the high school cheer squad I wished I had taken the time to develop the skills the other girls (who competed successfully) had. However, because I didn’t spend time cheering, I was able to do other activities (ones I actually had skill in), such as writing for the high school newspaper. Writing has been a lifelong hobby and was definitely helpful in developing business documents needed in my programming and project management career. Of course, it is now a prominent part of my day – writing for this site and my own.

If your child attends public high school, there will be a variety of extra curricular activities they can sample. Some (like the cheer squad) require a skill set to be in place. Others are open to all. Encourage your child to partake of as many as they can handle and still keep their grades up. Let them choose what they want to try, don’t discourage them in their choices. My own sons picked entirely different things than I would have.

Your job as a parent is to make sure they understand the opportunities are out there, what they are all about, how to get involved and to let your kid know what the experience gained can do her.

The activities, leadership experiences and grades matter when college entrance committees consider your application, especially for elite schools such as Stanford or Harvard.

Be interested but not controlling.

As it turns out, the videographer’s mother was also a teacher at his school. She was interested in his video production and made suggestions on content, but did not control what was selected for inclusion.

Know what your child is participating in so that you can research how that experience will help your child earn money, win contests, gain admittance and other beneficial outcomes.

Help your child find ways to monetize their experience.

Search for contests with prizes and make them known to her. Find people earning a living from that profession and arrange for your child to meet them. Suggest books or movies that depict how people make money with that experience. Help your child find and use networks of people to learn more, get broader experience, develop better skills and see results in different areas. Show him how to find seasonal or temporary jobs in his interest area. Help her to learn about possible internship, volunteer or international opportunities available.

Another sister-in-law has four boys who have always all been interested in sports. She put forth great effort to keep them all involved with various sports and competitive teams in the area. Now that they are in middle school and high school, they are starting to use their experience to earn money as umpires for younger teams.

Use resources.

Junior Biz has more success stories of young entrepreneurs and some nice resources for kids and parents to use – including Teen Money Making Ideas.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (believe it or not) has a kind of cool site that starts with pictures of what you like and when you click on one, drills down into the samples of the kinds of careers people who like that kind of stuff have. Then that drills down into text to tell what the job is all about, what the pay is, how to prepare and other jobs that are similar.

My Childs Path is a blog by a Mom wanting to help her kids understand the career choices they have. In it she records interviews by real live people talking about their career.

High school and college career counselors – make sure your child knows about them and how to use them.

Understanding that people can consciously and definitively choose their own career path is important for your child to know. Reading How People Choose Career Paths can be enlightening!

Cool Works lists summer and seasonal jobs in great places.

Did you have a driving interest as a kid?  How did your parents or teachers help you turn your passion to profit?

This post has been written by Marie from Be sure to visit her site if you’ve enjoyed this post!



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. I like the article. The only thing I think readers need to know is competitions are very tough to handle for some people. That has to be explained thoroughly to children getting involved in competing. It’s all fun when you win but heartbreaking for some who lose. And sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to losing.

    • Learning to handle losing is part of growing up for sure. Little kids really don’t handle it well at all, they have to be taught.

  2. I lilke how you put it with helping your kids with their passions. That’s the way that works. Unfortunately some parents expect their children to share their own passions, and there is no guarantee of that.

    • It is true that we all hope our offspring continue with our interests and it is hard for most parents to encourage kids to do things the parents don’t do.

  3. I didn’t realize who wrote this article until I saw “my mom enrolled me in tap & ballet…” and I though “Derek’s mom did this??” Then I scrolled to the top and saw your name 😉 This is a great article. I’m sure it can be a challenge to encourage kids to pursue their passion while being realistic at the same time.

    • Lol!! Honestly though, I did have an interest in tap when I was a kid…. I assume it was just because I liked the noise they made. Thankfully, my mom never enrolled me in tap dance… 😉

  4. It’s definitely difficult to find the balance between encouragement and pushing. However, it’s so true that a child may not know many things he or she is talented in without being exposed first so the more you can introduce to your child the better – and then just watch what he or she naturally takes to and excels at.

    • That is true. I read once in a child raising book that exposing your child to many different life experiences is kin to catching water in a big wide pan vs a little narrow one. The wider the pan of experiences, the more your child will achieve.

  5. I agree you should let them choose the things they like, and if they choose something they should have to stick with it at least through the season. A wide range of experiences makes more well rounded kids who will be better able to handle life as an adult.

  6. I guess the idea is for kids to explore different options to discover which among them is the best path for him. By deeply knowing the child’s talent or capabilities, parents act as the guide to discover where that passion may dwell.

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