Here’s something I’m passionate about: Helping families start their own business. Or at least start pursuing the idea. We’ve been building our family business since 2004, and we love it!
I’ve engaged in niche markets over the years and supply a decent living for my family of 16 children. Several years ago, I felt I should get my MBA, so I accomplished it. I did it to become a “master of business administration.” I needed to learn the skills of the trade.
I’m not trying to pat myself on the back here. I say these things to make a point: This is a fanstastic way to live! I desire other families the same joy as I have with our family business.
You know the status quo: Both Dad and Mom work, kids learn good employee skills at school, and life is lived to get a raise and spend the money on family vacations. So much of our family life is at odds with this standard. We’re swimming against the current in several ways, and you know what? It is a great swim.
1. Dad & Mom work…on the family business.
There are several models in how a family business works, but the best models plug Dad and Mom into specific roles. This doesn’t look the same for every family, but for ideas, here’s how Wendy and I manage the family business.
I take care of product and content management, which is the crux of our publishing company. I’m also the debate coach, which is the cash cow of our business (the products that make the most money). We have an office of which I spend about 50-55 hours per week. Wendy is content creator and social marketer for our family products. She maintains our Jeub Family Facebook page and writes content for products we develop and sell (cookbooks, diet book).
We’ve divvied up responsibilities based on our family responsibilities. Wendy manages the home and focuses mainly on the little children. I manage the office and focus on the older children. The business moves in sync with our homeschool. As the teens get older, they come into the office more and more to get their school work finished. Wendy, likewise, comes into the office once a week to get stuff done.
Together our family business produces products that we prepare for the market. It’s all hands on deck to help build a living.
2. Kids learn at…the family business.
The children are in on this, too. Cynthia and Lydia get paid hourly for their duties. If you were to call our office, there’s a good chance that Cynthia would answer the phone. Lydia is Product Development Manager, a project manager of sorts who makes sure the materials get put into stock. Littler teens and pre-teens (i.e. Isaiah on down) come in on an as-needed basis.
While their peers are learning “new math” and taught how to conform to the status quo, my children learn skills that took me a $35K MBA program. Working in the trenches of a family business cultivates work ethic, camaraderie, ingenuity, critical thinking, fiscal responsibility…the pedagogy is the absolute best. I learned most of these things–like most businessmen–after graduation, some after I became a business owner.
My point is simply this: My children are learning great things that are difficult to find in a formal school setting.
3. Life is lived…at the family business.
As mentioned, the typical family is expected to save up money all year long, then they take a vacation in the summer. This template works for some families, and you may think we’re deprived: We haven’t saved up for a family vacation in nearly a decade.
But that doesn’t mean we haven’t “vacationed.” We’ve traveled the country, much more than I ever did as a child. Since we’ve lived in Colorado, we’ve taken 10 trips to Minnesota, been to both ocean coasts, flown all over the country meeting and befriending people of all backgrounds–we haven’t been deprived of anything. How do we do this? Because wherever business calls us, we roll it into a family trip. Traveling is part of doing business.
Do you know what we do? We publish curriculum for homeschool speakers and debaters who compete in academic forensics leagues. My children, naturally, compete in the same events. I serve as president to its sister nonprofit organization that hosts debate camps and underwrites tournaments. We participate in the events we love, events that our homeschool is build upon.
This is a good life. We’re not monetarily rich, but we are living life to the fullest. To tell you the truth, if I were offered a 6-figure income to return to the status quo most families live, I’d turn it down.
Question: Have you built a family business? Even if your business doesn’t provide for the family full time, use the comment fields below to share your story. We’d love to hear from you!
- Read more about Monument Publishing, our curriculum publishing company.
- Read more about Training Minds Ministry, the organization that hosts debate camps and tournaments.
Note: Tournament season suck up the Jeubs time, so we republish some older posts for you to enjoy. This blog post was republished from October 2010.