Just back from Park City, UT for the first-ever Maverick Family Freedom event held over July 4th weekend. It’s the first time ever Maverick families have come together, for a long weekend combining totally unique experiences and activities — including business sessions for the children and development sessions for the parents.
Not only did we have the children (ages 6-19) learn about business; they actually participated in running different ventures. There were two product businesses selling July 4th related products, and one service business selling photos with Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty.
The kids were given blueprints like this:
Then they were provided the cost of inventory and had to figure out how to package and sell their product or service to make a profit. And on July 4th, they hit the streets, selling to the crowds who gathered for Park City’s famous 4th of July Parade, featuring over 70 floats.
It was great seeing how creative and excited the kids were before July 4th as they planned out bonuses and pricing, created their signs, etc. Check out these pictures of some of the young entrepreneur challengers prepping their Big Plans day before the parade:
In this photo, you can see Team #3 (the Noise Maker team) getting their packing together. They were bundling noisemaker sticks with clappers and a tattoo, all for one price. Smart.
I wasn’t sure how Zack would do in this setting. Missy thought he was too little (he was about to turn 6 in August), and I was borderline about it. But I wanted him to sit in the sessions to see. He actually really enjoyed it. In fact, we play a little game each night, when I ask the kids about their three favorite things from the day. (It puts them into a positive state of mind and builds confidence.) Well, the #1 favorite thing Zack shouted was “Learning about business!”
So that was pretty cool. One of the older girls really helped him, and even designed his sign with him, so he was ready to go. Check out his first sale right here:
It was really exciting to see the kids gain confidence as they started to make sales on July 4th… and lots of them were antsy to get back to selling right after the parade and after lunch. It was awesome to see how engaged they were.
Even back in the hotel, when Zoe asked Zack for a glow necklace, he refused. I stepped in and asked if I could buy it. He said sure… for $2. I guess I’m creating a mini-capitalist here. I’m really proud of small ‘ripples’ like this, which might have started from the event — everything from the sparks of entrepreneurship to the new friendships developed between the children there.
One parent of an 8-year old said she her child often felt out of place in her “regular” school, but she instantly bonded with other kids here, because they were all the same in many ways. Even our sole 19-year-old on the trip — “Critter” — said he got along great with the other kids because of the same reason.
Quite frankly, there were a lot of lessons adults could learn from the kids; everything from creating packages to giving customers a choice of two items to buy, instead of just asking for a yes/no sale. Plus, they learned about getting attention (some of the costumes) and advertising (signage). Wouldn’t you want to get a photo taken with this crew?
Now it wasn’t all work here — after all, the Maverick philosophy is about unique experiences. Our families also spent time at Olympic Park, with the Summer Comet Bobsled (pulling nearly 4G’s!), the Alpine slide and zipline. Here are a few of masked Mavericks getting ready to shoot down the bobsled track:
From the incredible feedback we got from parents and kids, we’re going to do it again next July 4th, probably in Park City, UT. So make sure you let us know if you want to be part of it!
Click here to get on the sign-up list, or check out:
BEHIND THE SCENES…
Yanik, what inspired you to create the Family Freedom event… and why?
With July 4th coming up and working with the Maverick children, I’m reminded of freedom and independence. It’s especially timely, because my father recently shared with me that July 3, 1976 is his personal “independence day” — the date our family came to the United States from Russia. (Pretty cool, as it was right before the bi-centennial celebration.)
For me, my independence day was also in July — actually July 1, 1999. That’s the date I left my father’s business to work on my own. It was by far one of the hardest decisions of my life. You see, I’d worked for my dad since I was 12, and he thought I was going to take over the company. I had that same thought as well, until I got “the bug.”
In fact, my wife Missy and I were talking about this recently. She was talking about how when she met me 13 years ago, I had only one thought: “How to grow my father’s business.” I would stay late working on new ads and marketing pieces; I was in early calling my accounts trying to make sales, etc. I had been studying direct marketing and results were really paying off for my dad’s business. (Actually they still use a lot of the ads I wrote in 1998 because they still work today.)
But with every ad I wrote, I was getting more and more aggravated. Not because the ads weren’t producing sales — they were — but because of the grief and politics I had to deal with. Everybody seemed to be an advertising expert, even though they’ve never studied or read anything on the subject. People mistakenly believe that if they wouldn’t “read all that copy” then nobody will. Or if the ad is “ugly” and has no pictures or pretty graphics, it won’t work. Complete and total crap. For every ad I wrote I had to fight to get it out there.
I got sick of it and decided I would create my own product so I could write ads for myself. My first product was to help dermatologists who wanted new cosmetic patients. It was a big kit (manual, tapes, reports, diskette, etc.) based around some marketing consulting I was doing on the side for one of my customers. I ran my first ad in April 1998 in Dermatologic Surgery magazine. I got 10 responses, so I sent them the 20-page sales letter I’d written selling this $900 kit.
Not one order.
Sent out a 2nd notice to those ten respondents…Nothing.
Then I sent a 3rd notice telling them the expiration date to get all the free bonuses was only 10 days away. Finally, on the very last day of the expiration date, I got one order over the fax machine. Yippeee!!
I still remember that doctor’s name in Flushing, NY. What an incredible feeling. That was the start of my independence. I realized I now had the power to chart my course as I wanted. That first sale: That’s one of the greatest feelings in the world — when something you’ve created is sold. It took me a little over a year after that first order to realize I wanted my freedom, and I finally quit on July 1, 1999.
Maybe it’s the new confidence you get when you realize you’ve created something people want and are willing to exchange money for. That first sale is usually the hardest, but also the most rewarding. It’s wonderful when I help turn on that light in people. I’ve seen it first-hand, working with my students and seeing them launch their products. How amazed they are by the money pouring from around the globe. I love it!
If you’ve already achieved it, I bet you can remember it perfectly. Sometimes the bleakest times we believe are terrible actually turn into a perfect opportunity. Take my good friend Jim Edwards, for example. His independence day came because he got fired. To him, that wasn’t a blessing at first, but as he looks back on it… it’s the best thing that ever happened. I remember the conversation we had right after it happened. I was drinking a bourbon and Jim was having a beer. We were talking about different projects he could try and pursue — and do now. We were throwing around some ideas and came up with “33 Days to Online Profits.” It was right there during that call that we outlined each of the days and moved forward from there. And “33 Days” has been a tremendous six-figure income earner for both of us for quite awhile.
So what can you do to help your children or people you care about achieve their independence?
I’ll give you a couple things to take to heart. I can’t remember the author who said this, but he said: “If you show me what a person does in his spare time, I’ll show you the type of person he’ll become.”
What are they doing with their spare time?
… Watching TV, or reading?
… Napping or practicing their copywriting?
…. Texting their friends, or studying up on how to put up a blog?
It all comes down to the choices we make every single day. In fact, if you can help them take just one proactive step each day towards their own independence, they’ll get there. That’s one of my rules and I hope you’ll adopt it.
Learn to be savor being different. The truth is, you need to become extraordinary to achieve extraordinary results. You can’t be like everyone else (and why would you want to?). That means doing things other don’t (or won’t) do. That means not listening to their advice (unless they are doing what you want to do). Frankly, if you simply did the exact opposite of what everyone else is doing, you’d turn out okay. Why? If only 5% of people are truly successful, while 95% are the mediocre majority… so doesn’t that mean the majority is wrong? Don’t engage in their thinking. Don’t follow their lead. Don’t adhere to the same values and standards the “95-percenters” do. In fact, now that I think about it, this sounds very much like a Maverick!