Commitment & Discipline
Self-employment experience helps kids develop the ability to commit to a project and see it through to completion -- even when it isn't all fun, says Brad Kaufmann, vice president of marketing for Junior Achievement, Inc.
When Jacob and Alex launched their Flubberr business, their mother impressed on them the importance of sticking to production deadlines -- even if it meant making a sacrifice. "We missed a couple of play dates and parties. You've got to stick to the schedule," says Jacob.
When New Jersey teen Michelle Czajkowski was struggling to meet deadlines with her first comic book, Amilie, Warrior of Dolls, she remembers pushing herself to get it done. With 54 pages and 108 drawings, the project involved a lot of time and energy over a year.
"I had to do it but I didn't always want to. I kept motivating myself by thinking that it would be great when it was done," Michelle says. One thing that her mother, Beth Katz, encouraged her to do was to set work hours and stick to them. Michelle made the commitment to spend three hours every other day -- whether she felt like it or not -- working on the book. The commitment paid off in the form of a finished manuscript that her mother and a teacher encouraged her to publish and eventually sell through a local comic shop. And Michelle learned that she could meet her self-imposed schedule and deadlines and still have free time.
Now hard at work on her next project -- Spade, a comic book set in outer space -- Michelle has experienced firsthand the business concept of "continuous improvement," especially in promoting the comic, when her efforts attracted the interest of the local media. While it got a little easier to talk to strangers as time went on, if Michelle made mistakes during interviews or presentations, "I'd remind myself not to repeat them. That way, I'd get better at it," she says.
Michelle is also continuing to develop her artistic skills. "When I do another book, I look at the old book to see what can be fixed or improved," she says.