Dangerous Children study and practise investing and small business entrepreneurship from the age of 8 or earlier. Doing deals is at the heart of the human enterprise, whenever one human interacts with another. The Dangerous Child Method is all about creating Dangerous Entrepreneurs, as well as other dangerous types of humans.
An entrepreneur is anyone who is independent, creative, inventive, and willing to take risks… Most great entrepreneurs simply love what they do — whether it’s problem-solving, building something from the ground up, or a passion for their product or service. __ Sam Zell in “Am I Being Too Subtle?”
Dangerous Children are inventive risk-takers, independent and contrarian to the core. As such they do not fit in very well at today’s groupthink universities, government agencies, conformist media conglomerates, or the rent-seeking echo choirs of most corporate cultures eager to feast on government contracts.
Today’s societal compulsion to “send every child to college” is cutting the legs out from under future innovation and business skills, not to mention its damaging effects on the crafts and trades. With a college loan debt in excess of $1 trillion, the US is beginning to suffer from this financial (and human) misallocation in a significant way.
College is not necessary for one to become a successful entrepreneur — and in many cases it is an active impediment. Entrepreneurial skills can be best learned by an on-the-job learn as you go approach.
Hard core entrepreneurs tend to come up with their own ways of matching supply with demand, and meeting their customers’ and clients’ needs. But sometimes a would-be entrepreneur needs to borrow an idea to get started. There are a number of franchises with entry fees of less than $4,000.
Dangerous Children master at least three ways of financial independence by the age of 18. Whatever skills or types of expertise they develop, business skills will increase the profitability of those skills.
Once a youth achieves financial independence, he can choose and navigate his own pathway through life — through a wide range of businesses, through the professions, via creative arts, through science and technical occupations — or even in government work if absolutely necessary.
Entrepreneurs are inherently dangerous to top-heavy societies such as one finds in Europe and the Anglosphere. This is why most unprincipled politicians (Obama, Clintons, etc.) seem to reduce overall opportunities in society by diverting massive amounts of funds to parasitic rent-seeking political allies.
Things are even worse in corrupt states of the emerging and third worlds such as Russia, China, India, Brasil, the African dictatorships, etc., entrepreneurs must be prepared to pay large bribes at different levels of government just to get started. Successful entrepreneurs that are not deeply connected to top level government officials walk around with a bulls-eye on their backs. Entrepreneurs in Russia who refuse to pay the mafia are typically shot down as examples to others.
If you can imagine a society mostly composed of independent entrepreneurs and their skilled and resourceful employees, you can imagine a society with fewer problems with unemployment, drugs, crime, and government corruption. Imagine a society where even the least-paid labourer can earn a living income at least three different ways, and you can imagine a society with far less insecurity and anxiety.
For that to happen, changes must take place at both the top and the bottom. At the top, taxes and regulations must be streamlined severely, and tailored to small businesses, entrepreneurs, craftsmen, and tradesmen.
At the bottom, children must be taught to teach themselves, discipline themselves to follow self-developed plans, to understand money and business, and to be independent, creative, contrarian, thinkers and doers.
In the middle are the people who raise the children and who run the businesses, do the work, and invent new ways of doing things.
Such a society is immersed in creative destruction and disruptive innovation. It is, by definition, “dangerous” to the current elites who maintain their wealth and influence via rent-seeking.
11 Micah gets going at 06:30, when most classmates are still sleeping off a late night of video games and social media.
Micah Amezquita is not like most sixth graders.
The 11-year-old recently started his own trash-can-toting business to make money so that he can start saving for college and become an aeronautical engineer.
His fledgling business, Curb Cans, provides the service of taking garbage and recycling bins to the curb and back again on trash day. Every Tuesday morning, Amezquita heads out in his neighborhood between 6:30 and 8 to take care of business before school.
Like most small businesses, Micah’s operation started slowly, and is building gradually. He is hard-working and positive, and is not afraid to set goals and follow through on them. These are qualities that most successful businessmen share.
Traits that Parents Should Encourage
1. Early Maturation — Early maturation puts people in the position to socialize with older, more established people. From mentorship to business dealings, a young mature person has more potential of being welcomed by successful people, resulting in exposure to real world dilemmas and an aspirational lifestyle early on.
2. Perseverance — Perseverance. Persistence. Tenacity. Whatever word you want to use, this trait is the most important to have if you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur. It doesn’t matter who you are or what company you started, I can guarantee that you’re going to face some low points and have days when you feel alone. When those days come, it’s the determination to reach a high point again that will get you to achieve your goals.
3. The Ability to Put Things in Perspective — Childhood adversity helps entrepreneurs keep things in perspective. When you think about it, experiencing real-life hardship makes all the other problems in life seem minute in comparison. Well, when running a startup you always need to keep things in perspective. From missing your target sales numbers to having key employees leave, problems will always arise and require you to put them in perspective not only for yourself, but your team as well.
4. Having Self Control — Playing off the ability to put things in perspective, childhood adversity most likely drummed up some extreme internal emotions that may never be provoked again. Although too much childhood adversity has correlation to opposite traits of these, most of the entrepreneurs that I know who faced something early on are able to express an incredible level of self-control. Making sacrifices, having difficult conversations, and locking in on your goal are all aspects that I’ve seen exemplified by successful entrepreneurs first hand. Source
Successful Small Business Ideas Vary With Time and Place
For many years, children could make extra money with a newspaper route, babysitting, a lemonade or cupcake stand, or other such modest and traditional endeavours. Times have changed, governments are more intrusive, and successful childhood entrepreneurs need to learn to work around the obstacles and red tape.
But sometimes it helps to look back at the money-making niches that earlier generations utilised:
To earn money, people:
1. Caught and sold fish, clams, and crabs
2. Made homemade fudge and sold it
3. Sold newspapers on the corner. Kids earned a little extra if they were promoted to “Corner Captain”, a sort of Great Depression multi-level marketing program where a kid brought in other kids to sell papers and earned a bit extra himself.
4. Started a lunch truck/wagon
5. Grew, picked, and sold berries
6. Road work
7. Shoveled snow on roads
8. Multiple part-time jobs, including housecleaning
9. Chopped wood or harvested driftwood
10. Made and sold handwoven baskets
11. Mowed lawns and other kinds of yard work
12. Door to door sales of things like shoes or sewing notions
13. Made deliveries for stores
14. Made and sold quilts
15. Sold homemade baked goods, like bread or pies
16. Sold eggs for 25 cents a dozen
18. Rented out rooms
19. Mended or altered clothes
20. Washed windows
21. Would purchase produce and re-sell door-to-door
22. Sold apples
23. Loaded coal
24. Piecework sewing
25. Sold homegrown produce
In every case it was a simple matter of looking around to see what people needed, what they wanted, what made them feel good about themselves and about life.
If people could coax money out of cash-strapped people in a depression, teaching a child to start and run a business in today’s perpetual Obama recession should be a snap!
Kids Need to Build Skills and Competencies to be Successful Child Entrepreneurs
Learning the skills of business is something that takes place both before and after the business is underway. All kinds of practical skills should be learned and mastered before the child even begins to sort through business ideas. Budgeting and money management come before starting a business. But the more practical skills a child instinctively knows, the more versatile his entrepreneurial ventures can be.
There is no need to re-invent the wheel here. Groups and organisations exist for teaching practical and useful skills to children:
Clothing & Textile Science – Learn basic sewing skills, personalize clothing, make clothing from patterns and more. Projects range from first-time beginners to advanced clothing design and construction masters.
Cooking Projects – Beginner to Advanced levels. Learn about cooking, nutrition, food safety information and get creative with recipes of all kinds, including baking breads, meal planning and grilling.
Gardening & Plant Science – Learn how to grow your own vegetables and preserve your own food through canning and freezing methods.
The Natural World – Learn how to explore the outdoors by learning about plants, trees and insects that live in the woods, streams and fields. Learn trapping, fishing and beekeeping.
Shooting Sports – Learn safe use of guns and basic archery.
Mechanics – Learn about small engines, tractors and machinery operations.
Woodworking – Learn how to use various woodworking tools along with basic tools to build wood projects.
Here is useful list of helpful life skills for kids from Survival Mom:
create a shopping list
find the best deals
use a microwave
read nutrition labels and know what’s good and what’s not
prepare, serve and store food to avoid spoilage
cook a well-balanced meal
know which kitchen tools and equipment to use for which tasks
make a weekly or monthly budget and stick to it
use an ATM
open, use and balance a checking account
apply for a credit card and use it responsibly
save up to buy a desired item
set aside money for charity
keep track of important papers
how to use a debit card
pay monthly bills, including utilities
complete simple repairs when needed
sew on a button
mend a seam
fold and put away clothing
follow fabric-care labels
do laundry, including treating simple stains
wash and dry items by hand
pack a suitcase
able to clean the house
find the circuit breaker and use it
locate and use water and furnace shutoffs
use a fire extinguisher
perform basic first aid
fix a running toilet
do laundry, including treating simple stains
use all household appliances, like loading the dishwasher the right way
basic auto maintenance
check tire pressure
check oil level and add oil if needed
check washer fluid and add more if necessary
arrange routine maintenance
add air to tires
produce documents if stopped by police
know what to look for in buying their first car
Other Life Skills
change a mailing address
register to vote
how to vote
who to call and what to do in emergency situations
basic first aid or CPR
how to apply for a job
how to select proper clothing for an interview
what to look for in a first apartment
who to contact to turn on utilities
where to have a document notarized
how to use public transportation
A large number of quasi-functioning adults have not mastered these skills. And many others may be able to do the tasks, but cannot be bothered for the most part. This natural ignorance or laziness on the part of much of the population opens up huge niches for child entrepreneurs to meet unmet needs and desires.
The lists above barely scrape the surface, but parents can begin to get the idea. Humans have an infinite number of unmet needs and wishes. The person who can supply those things economically in a timely fashion is apt to get more business than they can handle. At that point, the child entrepreneur will learn to delegate, utilise independent contractors, or learn to deal with “employees.”
Sure, parents and child-entrepreneurs will need to learn to jump any governmental hoops that they cannot avoid altogether. But there is no need to dump the bodies of over-zealous government functionaries in abandoned coal mines in order to co-exist with absurd government rules and regulations. A bit of forethought and cooperation between child entrepreneurs, their parents, and sympathetic businesspersons should provide the working space needed to survive in an age of government over-reach.
Dangerous Children Master at Least 3 Ways to Support Themselves Financially by Age 18
Most of the niche business ideas mentioned above will not provide reliable and consistent financial support for an independent adult over time. But they will provide invaluable experience in budgeting, handling money, devising business plans, dealing with people, and developing resilience in business.
At the same time as they are building their business skills-experiences-reputations, they are also learning needed academic lessons, developing Dangerous Skills and Competencies, acquiring helpful credentials, developing emotional resilience, and making a range of plans on different time scales for their futures.
After age 18 Dangerous Children will use their financial independence to build their base of operations, to further their education in the professions and other highly skilled sectors, to travel and learn new cultures – languages – ways of life, to raise families and new generations of Dangerous Children, to liaise with other Dangerous Children to form Dangerous Communities, and to otherwise work toward an abundant and expansive human future.
We are living in an age of impractical and perpetually incompetent adolescents of all ages. Children typically go through school and graduate from high school or college with no practical skills or experiences. Whatever parents may be thinking when they send their children off to be abused by institutions, the results are turning out very badly.
Here at the Dangerous Child Institute, we are merely seeking to provide an alternative approach to education and child-raising that provides children and youth with a lifetime confidence based upon stacked competencies — beginning very early in childhood. Most people are not ready for us. All the more reason to get started.
A four year college education is only appropriate for about 15% to 20% of America’s youth. Most youth need to focus on developing skills and competencies in business, entrepreneurship, and the crucial practical areas of modern life.
But if one does go to college in America, where might he get his best “return on investment?”
The calculations are for more than 1,300 schools.
The best ROI are at public colleges and universities. “They dominate because of their relatively lower costs,” Bardaro said.
Schools that offer education in science, technology, engineering and math — known as STEM studies — also cluster at the top of the ROI list. Their graduates tend to land jobs that pay a lot more than the costs of school.
“Skills that you get in STEM studies are in heavy demand by employers,” Bardaro said.
The top five schools on this year’s list are the State University of New York’s Maritime College, Georgia Tech, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Brigham Young University and Missouri University of Science and Technology.
In percentage terms, their ROIs are 13.2% for SUNY-Maritime, 12.4% for Georgia Tech, Mass. Maritime and BYU, then 12.2% for Missouri University of Science and Technology.
College degrees can be obtained via distance learning, online. One may obtain an education in any number of areas of knowledge, at any age, at any time, from any location — meeting any work or family schedule. There are fewer reasons for wasting one’s time at a bricks and mortar campus, every year that goes by.
The best curriculum for Dangerous Children — and most children in general — is a curriculum that utilises self-directed, self-disciplined teaching. It must include immersion in finance and business, practical hands-on skills from cooking to heavy equipment operations to mechanical skills to the operation of transportation vehicles made for travel on air, sea, ice, snow, and ground.
By the time a Dangerous Child is 16, he already has the equivalent of a liberal arts college degree and multiple certificates of mastery for several practical skills. By the time he is 18, he is fully capable of supporting himself financially at least three different ways. If he wants to go to university for advanced training, he will have a large number of choices to pursue.
Based on the massive amount of remedial training taking place on college campuses today, it is clear that modern society does not take the education of its children seriously — at least not until they are too old to learn at critical depth, effectively. Hence the large crops of academically lobotomised, perpetually adolescent incompetents who naively march forth from college graduations every year, to almost certain disillusionment.
The best education is a Dangerous Education, and that begins before the child is born — and continues until he dies.
How Can Dangerous Children Master Financial Skills by Age 18?
Humans learn best by trying — by going out on the limb for something. Early tries are likely to meet with failure, and it is the response to early failures that determine whether the child or youth will learn from failure and go on to more difficult trials — or whether he will choose to “play it safe” and not risk spectacular failures (or successes).
Children and Youth Would do Well to Learn How to Start Businesses Early in Life
To avoid wage slavery and corporate/government dependency, a Dangerous Child learns to deal with problems of finance, customer handling, and cash flow balancing, at early ages. The earlier the better. The type of business, product, or service is not nearly as important as the thought and planning that goes into the startup and operations. And if it fails — as is often the case — the Dangerous Child has plenty of other ideas to work out and try out.
Here is another blogger’s thinking on the subject of avoiding wage slavery:
In the age of automation, what’s scarce are problem-solving skills.
Software and robotics are good with set situations and routines, but not so good at responding to unique situations. If someone wants a high-wage job in a profitable sector, one avenue is to become a better problem-solver.
The best way to become a better problem solver is to start a small enterprise yourself, because the entrepreneur–even the smallest scale entrepreneur selling on Etsy or perfominng some service in the community–must solve a wide range of problems on a daily basis. ___ Charles Hugh Smith
Problem-solving is indeed a scarce and valuable resource in the modern age. Dangerous Children learn to problem-solve by taking calculated risks — by throwing themselves into the fray and dealing with the inevitable issues and challenges that will confront him and try to prevent him from reaching his goal.
That is another reason why very early childhood training must instill the love of solving “puzzles” and overcoming challenges. Such instincts are natural to infants and early toddlers, but can be easily blunted by both neglectful and over-protective parenting — and by government schooling. The love of a difficult challenge and the willingness to see a tough goal through to the end is of great value to the child’s future prospects.
Work and Practical Problem-Solving Experience More Valuable than Credentials
College degrees are a dime a dozen. Getting a four year college degree is often the quickest route to a minimum wage job — and the creation of an impossible dilemma when it comes to paying off student loans.
Not every four year degree is a dead-end of course. Engineering and IT degrees can be immensely valuable in finding a reasonable job if a person is energetic and willing to work hard. But four year degrees in history, psychology, sociology, literature, philosophy, and other liberal arts and social sciences will give a minimal advantage, if any, for even the lowest job on the rung.
Problem-solvers with work and business experience, are different. A proven track record of successful innovation, business creation, and management, opens the door to a wide array of opportunities. The best way to create such a track record is to create your own job, rather than waiting for someone else to give it to you. And the best way to create a successful business is to start early, fail often, and learn hard, valuable lessons from each trial.
The “Everybody Must Go to College” Meme is for Losers
Only between 15% and 20% of young people are suited for a rigorous four year college degree — such as the type that opens the door to mid-level and higher level careers. Among African youth, only around 5% are qualified for such degrees. Clearly they need viable and profitable alternatives — and getting work and business experience at an early age is probably the best bet for most.
Few things are more discouraging to a young adult than to be a recent college dropout with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt — and no experience at working, solving practical problems, or managing a business.
Failure is a Normal Part of Life
Dangerous Children learn to bounce back from failure, with a hat-full of possibilities to try next. Remember: Dangerous Children master at least three means to financial and personal independence by the age of 18 years. When they try something and fail, they are not going to be desperately broke or deeply in debt. They are likely to build appreciable savings by the age of 14 or 16, and be able to pay for a college education outright — either online or via bricks and mortar campus — by age 18, if that is their wish.
Credentials can, after all, be useful to someone who has experience, savings, and an independent spirit. Such persons will be best equipped to make the most use of the credential.
The fear of failure is just another variety of fear. Dangerous Children must learn to confront and neutralise their fears as early as possible. It should become habitual to face down fear so as not to become stuck.
Kids need to learn about money while they are young, so that they can develop good habits of spending, saving, and investing. Although not as useful as the Dangerous Child curriculum discussed more below, here is an overview of a useful mainstream curriculum for kids from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of the US government:
Here are 10 highlights per educational level from the CFPB guidelines.
In grade school
In elementary school, kids should be learning about the financial world beyond their own piggy bank. Yes, the basics of saving, spending, investing and borrowing, but also more advanced concepts like compound interest, budgets and insurance against financial risk.
Saving and investing:
1. The difference between saving and investing.
2. The concept of compound interest.
3. Possible sources of income (not including mom and dad), like salaries, benefits and interest rates.
4. Why more education can lead to more income.
5. You can’t buy everything you want. What goes into deciding to buy something?
6. How to count and use money.
7. What is a budget? And what goes into making one?
Borrowing and financial risk:
8. Borrowing allows you to buy things now and pay for them in the future.
9. Credit is when you use someone else’s money for a fee, and interest is the fee you pay to borrow money through credit.
10. Financial risk is an unavoidable part of life, and you can choose to protect yourself by avoiding risks or taking out insurance.
In middle school:
Now for the stock market. In middle school, kids should be learning that there’s a thing called Wall Street, and why it matters to them. Also, false advertising, and taxes.
Saving and investing:
1. How time, interest rates and inflation all affect the value of savings.
2. How to calculate interest, i.e. multiply the principal amount, the interest rate and the time of the loan or investment.
3. Financial assets you might want to invest in include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate and commodities.
4. When buying things, look for information beyond advertising claims to make a decision.
5. A good budget should account for expenses, income, savings and taxes.
Borrowing and financial risk:
6. The benefits to using credit to finance long-term purchases last a long time, but the benefits to using credit to make daily purchases are short-lived and don’t add up over time.
7. What is an interest rate on a loan, an annual percentage rate, and why do rates fluctuate based on changes in the market?
8. How to avoid getting charged interest on credit card purchases.
9. What is a credit score, and why does it matter?
10. What is an insurance premium, and why do they vary?
In high school:
Preparing for the huge financial decision of college is paramount in high school, but kids should also be learning the basics needed to navigate life as an adult after college. High schoolers should also be learning about the economy, financial regulatory agencies and policies, and should be taught the value of developing a personal financial plan.
Saving and investing:
1. The possible benefits — and risks — of starting a business of your own.
2. Going to college is an important financial decision. Consider tuition and fees, and the future economic opportunities of a degree.
3. How taxes affect income.
4. Some adult things you’ll soon need to worry about saving for: a car, higher education and retirement.
5. The factors that go into calculating an investment’s end value: investment amount, time, rate of return, and frequency of compounding.
6. What do the government agencies (like the SEC, FDIC and CFPB) do, and why does it matter for your finances?
Borrowing and financial risk:
7. The important factors in financial aid for college: grants vs. loans, amount of loans necessary, loan forgiveness and repayment schedules, and expected future income.
8. How to compare the cost of credit from different financial institutions, how to use credit wisely, and the risks of excessive debt — including declaring bankruptcy.
While the above curriculum falls far short of the Dangerous Child curriculum on money handling and entrepreneurship, it is far better than what most children and youth receive on their journey through the dumbed down educational system.
One of the biggest mistakes of the above curriculum is the high school curriculum — which is based upon the flawed assumption that all youth should go to college. For the majority who would do better following a shorter route to financial independence, the assumption of universal college attendance is a huge mistake and disservice to the students who are shortchanged and wastefully diverted away from a more productive future.
Dangerous Children are taught how to start businesses based upon entrepreneurial skills and personal competence. They will master at least 3 pathways to financial independence by their 18th birthdays. This is in addition to the mastering of the financial and legal skills necessary to buy and sell automobiles, homes, and other relatively high value items.
From before the Dangerous Child’s birth, parents focus on assisting the child to developing multiple crucial competencies. As the child develops, skill-building that contributes to personal independence is emphasised.
Emotional independence is likewise stressed, although it is well understood that self-esteem generally arises from personal competence — not from touchy-feely self-love affirmations or indoctrination. The social component of emotional independence is not neglected, but is rather developed to a fine art — in a style fitted to the individual child and youth.
Early training on money: earning, saving, spending, and simple investing, is carried out in the form of games and practise markets. Play-acting is one of the most utilised and useful forms of early childhood instruction along with experiential self-discovery.
As for the dumbed down government school system, we can only hope that most school districts will choose to eliminate a good deal of current dysfunctional indoctrination, and substitute useful training such as basic money skills in its place.
Bonus Information from “Survival Mom” on Self- Employed Kids:
My own daughter was just six when she began her own business, “Jog Your Memory”. Her motto? “I remember so you don’t have to!” I had told her she had a great memory since she was constantly reminding me of things I had forgotten! So, we printed out a few business cards, I gave her a Day-Timer I wasn’t using, and off she went to see if Grandma might need some help remembering her appointments! A couple of years later we created a business plan for a neighborhood garbage can retrieval service! Lesson learned? There are no limits to the ways a person can earn money.
Encourage your children to think of their own natural gifts and interests. Seek out family friends and relatives with skills that could be taught to a young apprentice. If your child is a computer nerd, help them discover a money-making niche in the vast world of technology. If your kid is an artistic dreamer, as mine is, take their creations and help them develop a business plan for earning money. Don’t overlook volunteerism as a way to learn skills and establish important contacts as a route to self-employment. Combining a young person’s natural skills with a marketable skill or product may open up a whole new way for them to earn money other than working for the nearest fast-food joint.
Self-employment breeds self-confidence, independence and important business and people skills. Take any skill, any interest, put your creativity to work and develop an idea for a new business!