Some money rolls in… A little bit anyway.

Posted by Ryans Dad on 23rd October 2009

Today was a good day for Ryan and his building block business. Today he received real payments and more than one! I had been concerned that over time his enthusiasm would fade since up until now he had not received any actual payments for his delivered Easy Builder building blocks. His till of funds from the Lemonade Stand earlier this year was dry and closing the financial end of his dealings wasn’t happening for reasons previously mentioned here.

Finally, Ryan has seen some money come in and he was delighted! He received a check in the mail from an out of town order, some cash from two local sales and even an online order through his WorkBuilders.com Web site. His face lit up when he got home and learned of these developments through the day.

What I found interesting though, was that after he took some time to do the math and add up the cash received, his next move was to go straight to his cash box and deposit it there. Once again as earlier, he isn’t saying a thing about how he might want to use the money. No requests to buy toys, or candy or games. Maybe he is a money “saver” and that’s the way it is. Time will tell I suppose.

Today’s receipts are not enough to pull us out of the red numbers if you are looking at the books, but they do at least demonstrate for Ryan that this is not a one sided deal. I have not decided yet if or when I might talk with him more about the two sides of the ledger and where we stand in that regard. I think he does have a feeling for the reality of that, but this is no time to dampen his spirits. It was a good day for Work Builders (Ryan’s company name).

Categories: Easy Builders
23Oct

When is a sale really a sale?

Posted by Ryans Dad on 19th October 2009
Ryan with Easy Builders ready for delivery!

Ryan with Easy Builders ready for delivery!

To date, we have been using the term “sales” somewhat loosely when discussing Ryan’s business deals. I say this because truth be told Ryan is yet to actually be paid for any of his filled orders. I guess you might say that there is a flaw in the business model.

It has been an interesting dynamic to watch actually and one not lost on Ryan either. You see, the process so far has been one of Ryan making sales orders with his friends at school and after-school (4-8yr olds inĀ  most cases). As Ryan will tell you the problem with this is, “The kids don’t have money, so I can’t get paid from them.” This is not to suggest that this has been troublesome for him however. He is clearly aware of the lack of any closure on his sales, but what to do?

Today brought with it some degree of hope though since Ryan was to deliver on an order of four sets of his blocks, to an adult! There is promise here. He made it a priority over the weekend to get this order (his largest to date) ready for a Monday morning delivery.

Getting his Easy Builder sets ready for delivery

Getting his Easy Builder sets ready for delivery

He even got up a bit early this morning to put the final touches on it slipping the sets into their carrying bags.

The delivery went well this morning with his buyer quite surprised at the speed of his production and delivery. Caught off guard not expecting the delivery so quickly his customer did not have the money available for him this morning, but there is a promised date coming soon which seemed enough for him. I have to say I was pleased with his reaction since I am sure he was looking forward to getting payment for this order, but he really took it in stride.

I’ve been waiting to see how long Ryan will go before his interest in this project/business fades. So far he has surprised me here too. I’ve been concerned that with every delivered “order” that lacks any reciprocal payment his interest would eventually vanish. But it doesn’t really seem to be about the money. At least that doesn’t seem to be his priority anyway. As evidence, this weekend while we worked together on this latest order Ryan turned to me at one point and said, “Daddy, this business is really fun!”

I get the feeling that for Ryan this is really not about the money. It is about the next project that the money can make possible. And that sort of scares me a little, sort of…

Categories: Easy Builders
19Oct

Ryan’s 15 minutes of fame starts today

Posted by Ryans Dad on 14th October 2009

Ryan delivers more blocksToday was another delivery day for Ryan, bringing two full sets of Easy Builder building blocks to friends in his after-school program. This delivery had a bit of a twist to it though. This delivery would have media coverage!

Earlier in the week our local Fox network station (FOX 40 News WICZ-TV) contacted me having heard about Ryan’s project. They wanted to tell his story. After some discussion with Dawnie (Ryan’s mom) and with Ryan himself, we decided that it sounded like fun.

I made a point of being at Ryan’s after-school to see how it all went. Right from the start all of the kids were excited. Yesterday they had heard that this would be happening so when they arrived and saw the Fox News van in front of the building they were anxious to get on with things. Once all of the kids were assembled in their room, with the camera rolling Ryan gathered the two sets of building blocks and delivered them to his two “buyers”. There was a bit of camera shyness but I think all of the kids really got a kick out of having the news camera there and especially with the idea that they might all be on TV sometime soon!

They took just a bit of footage of Ryan making his deliveries today. My understanding is that they are planning to come to the house this weekend to get some more video and more of an interview with Ryan and either his mother or I. We are yet to have those details firmed up, but Ryan is looking forward to that just the same.

Here comes at least part of Ryan’s “15 minutes of fame”.

Categories: Easy Builders
14Oct

Waiting… waiting… waiting… they are here!

Posted by Ryans Dad on 13th October 2009
Ryan receives his FedEx package, finally.

Ryan receives his FedEx package, finally.

Sometimes it seems like an eternity when you are waiting for something you are excited about. Even more so for a six year old! Ryan has been waiting for a week now for this delivery. This would be the cloth (muslin) bags that we ordered to use for packaging his Easy Builder building blocks. The same bags Ryan insisted on paying for with his lemonade stand money from earlier this summer.

As luck would have it, the FedEx delivery man arrived this morning at the very moment we were going outside to wait for Ryan’s school bus to arrive. Ryan’s face lit up when he realized that the package was for him and that the long awaited bags were finally here. Oh happy day! I grabbed a quick photo (I always have a camera somewhere nearby).

For the last few days he had been anxious to deliver his two most recent orders to friends at school but we didn’t have anything to package them in. ryan-fills-bagsProblem solved. The only down side was that he now had to wait till he got back home to put everything together. His bus arrived just a few minutes after the package.

As soon as Ryan got home from school he couldn’t get that package open fast enough and begin putting the building blocks inside for his friends. So now there are two packages of new Easy Builder building blocks ready and waiting for him to take them to school with him and make his deliveries. He’ll have fun doing that for sure.

Oh, and while he worked his school day away, he accumulated three more sales.

Categories: Easy Builders
13Oct

Our first business expenses, Ryan steps up!

Posted by Ryans Dad on 29th September 2009

At some point things start to cost money. This is that point. Today Ryan has come up with an idea to make these building blocks even better. We should paint them. Again my thought, is there any reason we cannot make this happen? Not really.

This does create a good learning opportunity, and would be worth it even with some small cost for paint. So we move forward with the idea. We discuss questions like what colors will we use, how many colors should be used, how should we paint (spray or by brush) and most importantly, how much will this cost? We also talked about what other materials we will be needing such as sand paper for smoothing the wood’s cut edges and more lumber since the supply of scrap wood from the garage is dwindling.

Ryan & Collin's lemonade stand, summer 2009

Ryan & Collin's lemonade stand, summer 2009

Seeing that the door is open to painting the blocks he is making, Ryan is anxious to get to the store to buy materials right now! But before we go he surprises me. No, check that, he shocks me. Ryan said to me, “I’ll go get my money Daddy. I think I have enough.” Wow! He didn’t bat an eye. Didn’t even seem to entertain any thought that Dad or Mom would cover the costs. Where did that come from?

As I mentioned in an previous post, earlier in the summer Ryan and his brother Collin had done a lemonade stand at our house. They had a great time and worked together as a team on it. Collin was the greeter and took orders. Ryan handled filling the cups, serving the orders and managed the money. It was a good math lesson and practice at working together. In the end they actually did pretty well considering that our home is a bit off the beaten path. Ryan saved all of the money he got from that experience in a box in his room, the same box he was raiding today for the sake of his paint.

So off to the store we went right away as Ryan wanted to so badly. Before we left we prepared a list of the things we needed and established the spending limit we had to work within. Ryan and I would share the costs 50/50.

This dad is blown away to see his 6 yr old son stepping up with his very own hard earned money to foot the bill. On top of that, it is obvious that Ryan is really serious about this project/idea. I can get behind that.

Categories: Easy Builders
29Sep

Let’s make more building blocks and make it a business!

Posted by Ryans Dad on 27th September 2009

After seeing how much his brother Collin was enjoying the wood blocks he had given him, Ryan decided that lots of kids would have fun playing with these blocks. Plus, we still have some more of that scrap wood in the garage. So…

Collin enjoying the blocks Ryan gave him.

Collin enjoying the blocks Ryan gave him.

What started as a present for his brother has now become a project for more kids. Over the course of maybe 24 hours Ryan decided that it would be fun to make more sets of blocks for other kids. Along with that he has decided he wants to sell them and start a business.

I honestly believe that his motivation for creating a business for himself isn’t really tied to making money. He has said more than once that the best part of this will be helping other kids have fun. He’s excited about making these blocks and seeing others play with them and have fun.

I think his interest in creating a business for himself stems from an experience from earlier this summer where he and Collin set up a lemonade stand at our house. They had a great time with that. We made and posted signs, set up the lemonade stand and took good care of customers. I think he really enjoyed that and sees this as another chance to have that kind of fun.

When new ideas such as this come flowing from either of our boys I try very hard to keep an open mind. Is this idea in any way unreasonable or even dangerous? If not, can we actually make it happen and could we learn from it? This one seems manageable, could be fun and could be a learning experience. So why not?

So with an affirmative response from Dad, Ryan could not get me to cut more wood blocks fast enough! Looks like it is back to the circular saw for me.

Categories: Easy Builders
27Sep

From scrap wood comes an idea

Posted by Ryans Dad on 26th September 2009

It was some scrap wood and another project that brought the idea for Ryan. Let’s make some building blocks for kids to play with!

Ryan's inspiration project

Ryan with his "bed for stuffed animals" in progress.

The project of the day was one of building a bed for Ryan’s stuffed animals. I had some scrap wood in the garage from a previous home improvement project and Ryan thought it was perfect to use to build a bed.

As I was cutting the pieces of wood to size with an old circular saw, Ryan noticed the pieces that were dropping to the floor. After pondering them a bit he picked up a few and said, “These would be good for building blocks Dad! Can I make some?” That was simple enough to do so why not?

He gathered together a group of 8 or 10 wood blocks of different sizes and called them a set. With a little sanding on the edges to take off some frayed sliver edges, he had some new toys.

It was at this point that he surprised me by saying he wanted to give this set of blocks to his little brother Collin as a present. Once again, why not? So off he went to find some wrapping paper, scissors and tape to “make the present”. Getting all of this pulled together with barely a minute to spare, he was able to give Collin his present just before bedtime.

Collin was delighted in receiving a present from his big brother and a hand-made one to boot! The smile on his face beamed and he set out to play at once (in spite of the looming bedtime routine). I must say that this father had a pretty good smile on his face as well, enjoying one son giving so happily to his brother and the younger enjoying the gift so enthusiastically.

This is a great way to end your day!

Categories: Easy Builders
26Sep