Developing new skills
Measuring the sweetness of success
Brainstorming the business
Once their curiosity had been piqued, we had an initial brainstorming of the book promotion business, emphasizing the autonomy they’d have. By the end of the discussion, Gus and Milo were mesmerized and anxious to get started. We scheduled weekly update calls for us all to learn new skills, build the business and measure our progress.
Gus and Milo began their work using a multiple-choice format. In their first campaign, they had existing ad copy from which they picked their preferred ad. They set initial budgets of $2 a day to figure out what works.
And they planned to use the principle of trial and error to optimize results: Try a promotional strategy; if it succeeds, build on it; and if it doesn’t, kill it quickly.
After their initial learning curve and continuing progress on four campaigns, two new projects are now under way. Each president is developing an ad campaign for the book as a gift — one for Mother’s Day, one for Father’s Day.
While they are bringing these gift campaign to launch stage, Milo and Gus are already looking ahead to a campaign promoting an upcoming audiobook.
How it’s been going
So, how are they (and I) doing in the third month of this operation?
Both boys have already generated over $200 for their share of the profits, exceeding all our expectations. Measures of sales, advertising cost of sales and profits to the participants have set new records in the latest month.
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For me, the project has been a delight. The renewed connection to my grandsons is the highlight.
And here’s my grandsons’ view on the collaboration:
President Milo: “I feel like it’s pretty mind-blowing as I got a Christmas gift to create a mini startup company. If something doesn’t work, then you fix it, using problem-solving steps.”
President Gus: “I think it’s cool because I feel like this is the future of how things are going to work. Everything is going to go online, and it’s important to know how to do this now instead of learning later.”
So far, I’d say the experiment is a huge success: Each generation has brought their own skills to the business, learning from each other to build impressive results. But the biggest payoff has been the building of the generational bridge between Gen Z grandsons and this boomer grandparent.
Richard Haiduck is author of “Shifting Gears: 50 Baby Boomers Share Their Journeys in Retirement.”
This article is part of “ ,” a Next Avenue initiative made possible by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and , the Entrepreneur and Innovation Exchange. This article is reprinted by permission from , © 2021 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.