Find the cherry summer jobs before your friends do

April 23rd, 2014 Submitted by Geof White

Today is April 23rd.  It is my son’s 11th birthday.  He has successfully navigated a decade on this earth.  It is a bright Wednesday morning and the snow just melted. Officially this winter was the coldest on record here. 45 days below zero.  Two 50 degree days and everyone is running around in t-shirts and shorts tossing a frisbee at the park.

I love spring.  Spring is awesome.  It’s warm, it’s all fresh outside and you can almost smell the many opportunities.  Students start to think about summer.  A lot!   Its only a few weeks away.  So what happens if you start looking for summer job opportunities right now?  You know, get a jump start on summer earning.

Every year spring comes around and as the school year starts to wrap up in June, students start looking for summer jobs.  Or maybe they whip out Lemonade Stand Economics and start working for themselves.  I commend those students. Working and earning all summer is how college tuition gets paid. But why not start right now, on April 23rd?

This is why you want to start now:summer job search

  1. Marketing, advertising and networking all take time. Starting now will get the marketing machine moving so it’s in full swing by the time school is over.
  2. If the masses of students start looking for work as soon as school is over…be the student that already found the cherry jobs in April. Take the good jobs before they even think about it.
  3. Would you rather work on your business or find a job now when its cold and crappy outside or would you rather wait and do it in the spring when you are busier with school activities?

NOW is the perfect time to start preparing for summer work. Start educating. Start talking to people. Start applying. Start marketing. Start finding jobs. Beat your friends to the punch. Be ready to kill it this summer and earn some serious cash!  Your summer begins TODAY!

Ignorance. The recipe for success?

March 5th, 2014 Submitted by Geof White

When a bright eyed, energetic student starts a business, there is a certain level of ignorance.  Heck, there is a certain level of ignorance when an adult starts a business too. I always advise new student business owners to, “Embrace your ignorance.” No one can know everything and that’s a good thing. Ignorance is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because no matter what you choose to pursue as your business, you will put a new spin on it. A spin that is unique to you. Who says everyone has to do everything the same way? When you are young and new to something, you don’t know what you “can’t” do…or what you are “supposed” to do. Maybe your way will become the new industry standard. That same ignorance will also breed energy and hope as well as foster confidence. Why would ignorance foster confidence?  Well, if I gave each student the statistics on failure rates among ANY business start up, especially started by a teenager, that confidence may not be so high. Screw the statistics. You aren’t a number. You are going to be a success no matter what the doubter says! Let the ignorance reign!

 

Of course while ignorance can be a good thing it can also be your demise. Stay ignorant too long and it will catch up to you and snuff your business out. Refusing to learn from your mistakes or take other people’s advice isn’t smart. Ignorance naturally dissipates with education and experience. When I started working for myself at age 17, I didn’t have an extensive business background. (Unless, of course, you consider “collecting” on my paper route extensive business experience.)  I did have confidence in myself, tons of energy and a goal of paying for college. By the 4th summer of me working my business, the ignorance was gone. I had learned and seen so much that ignorance at that point would have been detrimental. The confidence that I used to get from ignorance was now confidence from making well informed decisions every day.knowledge-ignorance

Maybe ignorance is the false hope we all need to start. Maybe ignorance is the courage for us to take the leap. Maybe ignorance isn’t as bad as we all thought. Now go home and tell your parents you are going to start a business this summer because some tall bald tall author said you can…and you are going to be ignorant about it.day.


 

Why student loans are like Miley Cyrus

February 11th, 2014 Submitted by Geof White

A guest blog by The Robert Felton, college senior & illustrator of Lemonade Stand Economics

At first you thought she was cute and all nice by helping you pay for college. Then she comes out twerking and blowing up the internet and being in your face every five minutes so you cannot escape.

Then she keeps poking you with a giant foam finger and tries to get your money. Telling you to buy CD’s t-shirts, that stupid lip balm that is an egg shape that when put in your pocket makes it look like you’re excited to see Miley. This is pretty much the same except the government is taking your wages and calling you all the time. FML.

At first student loans are all hidden and quiet. Waiting for you to graduate. Then all of a sudden bam!!! Like Miley naked all exposed, student debt comes into your life like a wrecking ball! Showing its full naked self, student loans screw with your life and embarrass you like that Liam guy who is a bad actor on the Hunger games. 1523681_649379925101025_1306261827_o

Then student debt is the hottest talk of the internet just like Miley and your friends who don’t have student debt due to having rich parents, good jobs or bought Lemonade Stand Economics start making dumb parody videos of her. And you just sit there crying and drowning in debt.

When you thought figuring out how to set up a payment plan couldn’t get any weirder Miley bleaches your eyebrows, WTF. What is a FAFSA and what is this world coming to?

Then finally you manage to start paying off your loans and life is getting better (aka you download the Google Chrome No Cyrus App). You think it is all over until your kids walk out of the house on the way to college with bleached eyebrows, bad boob tattoos, and a shit load of student debt.

Stop the madness. Now!!     It’s this easy:  Buy Lemonade Stand Economics –on sale at Amazon

Textbooks are good… but mentors are GREAT!

February 6th, 2014 Submitted by Geof White

A guest blog from THE Heather Mason

I was never the outgoing kid. I was the one who stayed in the background. I played sports, but I was also the nerdy one. And for that reason I would have probably been successful in some way. I was good at the things that school wants you to do well at ­- testing and reports. If I was headed into a career of testing and reports (is there one?), then I would have been well on my way. But that’s not reality. Real jobs and real careers are not multiple choice or six pages of double-spaced Times New Roman.

Fortunately for me, I had five people intervene in my life to teach me the other skills I so desperately needed without even knowing it.

Leadership
My history teacher Mr. Francis told me when I was 15 that I was a leader. I actually laughed when he said that. It was the silliest thing I’d ever heard. I was the furthest thing from a leader, with my slouched posture, bitten nails, and well-worn clothes. He appointed me president of the Outdoor Club, and because he believed in me I was able to succeed. Attendance went from 7 to 75 in a year and I experienced the pride of leadership. Mr. Francis gave me that chance.

Presence and Poise
At the same time, I had the good fortune to run into a woman (Ms. Chris Nelson) who ran a modeling school in my hometown. When my parents found out what she was teaching, they figured out a way to send me to her classes. Her husband had spotted me while I was an office aid at junior high and said I had good cheekbones. I told my parents laughingly what he had said, and they jumped at the chance to help me. They had been worried about my tendency to look down, and in their words “look like a victim” — this was a chance to change that. I thought it would be interesting but so worried I wouldn’t fit in. From Ms. Nelson, I learned how to walk with confidence, style my hair, apply make-up, make eye contact, how to handle difficult questions in an interview and how to shake someone’s hand in a business setting. Things that really mattered to success, but school hadn’t taught me.

Confidence
There was also the walking coach and dance instructor who both showed me how to walk head held high ­and with grace – skills which many teens (or adults!) never master. I know that it’s nothing more than that confidence (or the illusion of confidence) alone that has carried me into many a second job interview.

Bravery (or Public Speaking)heather blog pic
And I cannot forget the debate coach Ms. Robison, who wouldn’t let me drop the class even though on the first day, I couldn’t even stand up and say my name in front of everyone. Later, she told me I would be one of the best speakers she ever taught ­despite initial evidence to the contrary. And I was – winning a large share of trophies to prove it.

Without these individuals I would have likely been successful as a “smart” girl. But would I have reached my potential? Become well rounded? I don’t think so. Not everything is taught by teachers. Real life lessons are taught by the people in your life. Parents, debate coaches and club advisers. Without these mentors and the time they gave me, I am sure that I would not be where I am today.

I did grow up to be successful and with that success I have had the opportunity to meet many people – some of whom have changed the world. And when I met them, I was able to walk up confidently and shake hands the right way. That’s a win

Heather Mason
President of a Caspian Production http://acaspianproduction.com/
Founder of Surefire Girls http://www.surefiregirls.com/

I majored in Netflix in college

January 29th, 2014 Submitted by Geof White

College students are usually (okay, always) broke. Even splitting up bills, no one sees value in paying for cable tv any more. Just too expensive. Best solution? Netflix! Everyone throws in $2 a month and voila!  All the tv you can watch on your Xbox or computer. Movies, tv shows, tv series marathons. Everything is on demand so you don’t have to worry about your class schedule or even waste your time with commercials which means you can study more. The perfect cost effective alternative. College students are so smart!  Netflix-Watching-TV

Until….you realize that Netflix is electronic crack!

It starts like this…your roommate is watching a tv series marathon. One show after another.  Watching the whole series in one night. (Best way to watch a series in my mind.)  Your roomie can watch her series while you go study in your room. Such a studious student you are. Then an hour later you get hungry. You go to the kitchen and grab a bite to eat and sit down with your warmed pizza and relax while your roommate is on Hour 3 of the marathon. You deserve a little break after all that studying. You start to watch while you eat. You start to ask questions because you missed the first 6 episodes. You are completely mesmerized. The next thing you know its 4am and you haven’t moved…and neither have the pages you were studying in your poli sci book. Your apartment is now the electronic version of a crack house. Tired, unshowered people laying around at all hours. A constant stream of Arrested Development, Mad Men, Pretty Little Liars, Sherlock or Breaking Bad hangs in the air. Day is night, night is day, Netflix is on and the rest of the world be damned!

 Don’t let this happen to you. (Thanks to our LemonHead intern Alyssa for the inspiration!)

Student loan debt and your brain

January 23rd, 2014 Submitted by Geof White

Before you take out student loans to finance your education you should know what that debt at such an early age will do to your brain. For many young adults a student loan is their first experience with debt. Since you are a teenager and your brain is literally still growing at the time you sign the loan papers, there will be effects…and not positive ones.

  1. Loan Stress – The stress of owing thousands of dollars may not affect you at first. Most students just sign the papers and head off to class. Most students barely understand debt let alone the stress of it. Student loan stress is a slow burn. It’s not like the stress of a car accident which is very sudden, in your face and you have to deal with it right that second. Student loan stress comes slow. Sign the papers, go to class and then years later when you graduate you will start getting student loan bills every month. At that point the stress will increase significantly. Then it’s a car accident every month.  
  2. Rationalizing debt   To mentally deal with your increasing student loan debt load your brain will start to rationalize your debt. After all, it is for a good cause, higher education. It’s an investment in your future. Which is true! It is also true that you are now training your brain to numb itself when you have debt so as not to feel the pain. Some days you will purposefully ignore the debt, some days you will keep saying this debt is worth it, other days you will just be too busy to even think of it. Your brain is training itself to rationalize debt – which is not beneficial when you start to acquire credit cards, car loans and a mortgage.
  3. Taking the easy way out   Face it, by taking out student loans you took the easy way out paying for school.  Sign the papers, head off to class and worry about it later. That’s the easiest way to do it…for now.  It’s painful to hear, but when you stand side by side with a student that worked his ass off in high school to earn enough to pay for college it sure looks like you took the easy way out. Guess what happens to people (teenagers) that take the easy way out?  Yep, they continue to take the easy way out because their brain starts to associate, “the easy way out” as a valid option, often the preferred option.brain

Maybe you are okay with taking the easy way out. Maybe you can put your stress in a little box and put it away in your mind. Maybe rationalizing debt doesn’t faze you now…but what about later? What about when you graduate? You know, when you start to pay back that student loan balance (average is $28,000) that will require a payment every month for 17 years… on top of your credit card payments, car loan payments, house payments and all the other bills associated with living life.

Give your brain a break. A financial plan now avoids financial brain pain later.

Why parents shout financial advice at their kids

November 3rd, 2013 Submitted by Geof White

In 2013 there are blogs, books, forums, social media threads and parents that just won’t shut up about how to handle your personal finances. Yet, as a young adult you probably don’t even have any money to handle. So what’s the point? Why are all of these adults using a full court press and shouting personal finance advice at you when, again, you don’t have any money…yet.

I am one of those adults and I will tell you why we use a megaphone to shout about personal finance the way we do. megaphoneAll these shouting adults made mistakes. BIG, HUGE, financial mistakes. We bought cars we couldn’t afford. We bought houses we couldn’t afford. We maxed our credit cards. We took out loans. We bought everything with credit. We paid huge interest payments. We didn’t save nearly enough. We spent like drunken sailors in port for the weekend. We exchanged our financial freedom for the newest shiniest thing sitting on the store shelf. When I was your age, I received no financial advice. None. No one said take 10% of your earnings and put it away as an emergency fund. No one explained compound interest or annual percentage rates. No one said those credit card bills will eat you alive. Not one person ever told me that financial freedom is as easy as spending less than you earn. At college graduation (and high school graduation, too) I got a pat on the back and a hug. “I’m so proud of you! Good luck!” That was it. That was my financial advice.   

As parents, we shout financial advice at you because we care about you. It’s cliche’, but I will say it anyway. “We don’t want you to make the same mistakes we made.” Do we overdo it with the message? Yes. Do we care if we overdo it? No. We as adults, as parents, are not naive. We know most of you will also make financial mistakes. It’s called being human. If only some of the advice sticks we are happy with that. We just want you to have the basic knowledge to make good financial decisions because many of us didn’t and we paid the price…literally. Someday you will appreciate us shouting at you about personal finance. That advice can change your life. It can keep you from the pain of debt and maybe even make you rich. And we, the shouting adults, are not asking for thanks or recognition. We just ask that when the time comes, you pick up the megaphone and shout personal finance advice at your kids too.

Whatever you do…Don’t be an entrepreneur in college!

October 22nd, 2013 Submitted by Geof White

 

REALLY? You want to be an entrepreneur? And you’re in college? Doesn’t the world have enough entrepreneurs? There are just too many college students that have a “great idea” and the next thing you know they are running around making it happen. Talking to everyone about it…getting all excited…learning how the world works. Geesh! Don’t be that person. Nobody likes that person. Nobody likes the person that works happily as their great idea makes them money. It’s just annoying. Please take my advice…

 

How NOT to become a college entrepreneur

  1. Don’t come up with a great idea. Just let the minutia of the day snuff out that great idea. Don’t worry, you will forget 72351_503204349718584_833805474_nabout it before you know it. We all have great ideas, just push yours to the back of your mind.
  2. Don’t make money with your great idea. Okay, so you ignored #1? And now you want to profit from your idea? You think people will actually pay for it?!? That would be “capitalism” and we all know that is a bad word like “work” and “effort.”
  3. Don’t be unique. Just be like everyone else. Nobody likes someone who is different and does things differently. There are enough unique people in the world, trust me.
  4. Don’t be independent. Don’t do it your way. There is absolutely no reason to do it any other way than the way it’s always been done.
  5. Don’t have a good attitude. Don’t you dare be optimistic or excited either. Those qualities are of no benefit to you.
  6. Don’t educate yourself. Learning as much as you can about how your great idea can impact others and make you money is a total waste of time. Just go to class, take notes, play video games and drink beer. That’s what college students are supposed to do.
  7. Don’t believe in yourself. You can’t do it. You can’t be an entrepreneur. Everyone else knows it – just ask them. You’re too young to have a good idea, you don’t have enough experience.

The best thing you can do as a college student is to just tow the line, apply for the fast food job or work in the campus bookstore. Take out the student loans and be like the rest of the clones in your dorm. Being an entrepreneur never works and it surely won’t work for you. Now get back to blowing off class, do a keg stand and enjoy your ramen noodles while you watch late night TV. If you got this far and you are irritated right now – good! If you are standing there with your middle finger up at me saying “This is B*****it!” then I say, “Welcome to the entrepreneurial side, my friend!”  We welcome you, even if everyone else says you are crazy.

 

My true advice is this…Never let anyone tell you that your dream is a bad one. Don’t believe them when they say you can’t do it. Because if your idea is good and you put forth the effort…you certainly can do it.

Wanting to quit is normal

October 9th, 2013 Submitted by Geof White

I was helping my son with his math homework last night. He was doing exponents and while it wasn’t the hardest material, 1380056428707it was monotonous and the number of questions he had to do was quite long. Especially after football practice. He was doing a good job with it, but a little past halfway he started to get upset. Not at the math itself, but at how long it was taking him. He thought it would go quickly and it just wasn’t. He was frustrated and wanted to quit.

If I had to count how many times I wanted to quit because it was taking me too long to finish something (a home repair project, project at work, A BOOK!) the number would have too many zeros for this page. Wanting to quit is normal. Normal for kids, normal for adults, normal for everyone. When it gets too hard or takes too long, many people just stop, move on and do something else, something easier, more pleasant or fun. But quitting is rarely the answer.  

It’s how we deal with the “wanting to quit” that makes us all stronger, and to be frank…enables us to finish the “math homework” in our lives. The perseverance and concentration to finish doesn’t always come easy. Here are some tricks I’ve used to help me finish without quitting.  

 

  1. Quitting is NOT an option – If quitting is not an option, you will never quit. Just keep telling yourself you will not quit and trudge on.  
  2. Reward yourself – Sometimes you just need a little  incentive – whether it’s a round of disc golf, watching a TV show or piece of cake. Say to yourself, “I will treat myself when I’m done,” but only once I am done and not a second sooner.  
  3. Take a break – That’s what we did during homework. Often taking a break is just the ticket, especially if it’s a long project. Take a little time off from it and walk away. Grab a snack. Talk to someone. Break up the monotony. But then get back to it.
  4. The light at the end of the tunnel – People use the phrase, “Keep your eye on the prize.”  That sense of accomplishment is a huge motivator (it is for me anyway). I want to say, “I did it.”

While writing Lemonade Stand Economics I used all of the above. I would sit down and write for hours, thinking I’d created a masterpiece only to have my editor hand it back at me covered in red ink. I would sit and write for hours knowing that I still had 5 chapters to go…then 4…then 3 and so on. I took breaks. I ate peanut butter cups after chapters. I went for walks and played board games with my sons – then I’d get back to it – all the while knowing that the finished product was going to change the lives of some readers. It took longer than I thought, was way more work than I ever dreamed, but not once was quitting an option.

Do yourself a favor. Don’t quit.

dont quit 2

My problem with authority – Just shut up and read!

September 13th, 2013 Submitted by Geof White

Call me a trouble maker, call me a pain in the ass, call me what you want… (and many people have), but I don’t want to punch in every morning and I sure as hell don’t want to be told what to do. I would make the perfect employee, right?  Of course not!  Most regard the rebellious employee as a “bad” employee. I can hear the supervisor now, “If you can’t follow the rules then you don’t belong here.” To which I say, “You’re right!”   

I have had an issue with authority as long as I can remember. Parents, teachers, bosses, you name it. I towed the line in school. I sat when I was supposed to. I read what they told me to read and did well on the requisite test that followed. I walked through the regimented school day like the students on the conveyor belt in Pink Floyd’s movie The Wall. I did it and I hated it. Throughout my life, I’ve had jobs where I did what the boss told me to…and hated it, but I never let the boss know that. Again, I towed the line knowing the time wasn’t right to unleash my rage against authority.  

Some of you might be sitting there saying, “Suck it up buttercup! That’s the way life is!”  If so, to you I say, “Look and listen carefully, maybe you can hear my middle finger shouting back at you.” (Did you already forget you are dealing with someone that has an authority issue?)

Many people with an authority issue let that same issue ruin their lives. They end up in bag groceriestrouble at school, lose their job, and too often they end up in trouble with the law. The rebellion toward authority eventually gets them labeled as a troublemaker and once you are labeled it’s hard to shake that label – in high school and in life. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way…

I will be the first to say that my authority issue is a huge contributor to my success. My authority issue contributes to my confidence, passion and a determination to prove others wrong…on a scale that is off the charts some days. I hate being told what to do, so I do it my way.  My way consists of taking what I have learned from others, improving all aspects and then adding a big dose of Geof and making that new way mine.  Is it hard to break out of the archaic social and economic systems surrounding us and sucking us in? Absolutely.Does it take enormous effort to live your life on your own terms? Absolutely. Is it rewarding when you finally live life without a boss? Hell freaking yeah!

If you are a student or have a job with a boss (or both!) and relate to what I just said, here is my advice. Be smart. Learn as much as you can now. Stay out of trouble. Trouble now can devastate your opportunities later. Tow the line until the time is right. Then unleash the power of your authority issue. The resentment against authority and rage of towing the line for so long can serve as some serious jet fuel for being an entrepreneur. That’s how it was for me.  NOW is my time to cash in on my authority issue. You will get your chance, just be patient and when the time is right…don’t punch in.