Raising A Designer: A Mother's Insight

Raising A Designer: A Mother's Insight

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Baby feet and hands

If you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world. If you have any money in the bank, your wallet and some spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. [full quote]

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Although I can not confirm the integrity of these figures, I still think it makes a valid point; we are extremely fortunate and it’s something we shouldn’t take for granted.

I’ve come to realise this even more after reading through an interview that was conducted with my mother for an upcoming book titled ‘Raising CEO Kids’ being compiled by Sarah Cook of the website Raising CEO Kids.

Sarah sent my mother along ten questions that delved into my past; how I was raised. Although the interview was positioned to give advice to other parents, I found it extremely insightful and thought it was worth sharing here.

The interview reveals some unpublished facts about myself such as the jobs I had before I was a designer, my pitfalls of growing up along with various other insights.

It just goes to show, no one has got to where they are just by themselves.

1. When did you notice that Jacob was interested in making money/being in business?

Jacob’s light bulb moment: A realisation if you want to have extra things in life, you need to work for money to pay for them.

In primary school Jacob delivered newspapers and at the beginning of high school he worked part-time at a local butcher. Not liking this too much he started “buying and selling” on E-bay importing products from China. This was very successful and he quit working at the butcher shop. This was when he was about 15-16 years old.

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At the same time he was designing cards, invitations and websites for friends for free. Referral work started rolling in. He charged small amounts and his business started to grow.

2. How did you go about introducing him to mentors?

I involved him in playing sport. From an early age (5 years old) Jacob started with T-ball, then to baseball. He was a natural sportsman, he played soccer for 14 years, as well as rugby league for 2 years and later represented Australia in the Under 21’s European Handball team. His mentors were his sports coaches, managers, physiotherapist and high school deputy principal. A bad injury took him out of sport for a year, which allowed him to focus on other areas, such as design.

Rugby League

My rugby league team in action; the Brisbane Broncos (in maroon).

3. Are you or Jacob’s father in business and if so, do you think this has given you an edge in raising a CEO Kid?

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Having parents involved in business, I think definitely gives an edge. Jacob’s Dad and I run our own separate businesses, working from home. Jacob has seen firsthand the benefits and the flexibility of this work/lifestyle balance, although I hear he absolutely loves his new job in New York. [You can read why here.]

4. What did you to do support him along the way?

His Dad & I made time to attend his school activities, take and watch him play sport, asked him “How was his day?” “What’s he been doing?” Encouraged him to be himself, be proactive, and achieve his very best… Always! Plus disciplined when and where necessary.

5. How do you/did you help Jacob stay balanced in all the other things he was doing in life?

I put on my “mother hat” and give him a lecture… too much socialising/drinking, skipping meals, not doing chores, spending too much time on the computer, etc.

6. What role besides that of parent do you / did you play in Jacob’s business?

As a business owner, I encouraged him to speak to a financial adviser, taxation expert, get an accountant, research investment portfolios to ensure his business foundation is solid. When in Australia (he left for New York on Jan 10) I offered feedback on his creative designs, proofed, edited, talked about business strategies, etc.

Dumbo NYC

Where I work: Dumbo, Brooklyn, New York City, USA. © Photo by Pablo Marques

7. What were some of the challenges that you all faced in helping him become the success he is today?

To be honest I can’t say there were any major challenges we all faced. There was a time in early high school but we worked through it. Naturally Jacob did have challenges setting up a business but he got through them, learning from his mistakes.

8. Is there anything you would have done differently that you would be willing to share with other parents of CEO Kids?

Stricter discipline pulling his weight in doing household chores.

9. Share your TOP 5 tips that every parent of a CEO Kid should implement.

  1. Being open-minded to your CEO Kid’s needs and opinions – we’re all very different.
  2. Encourage commitment to excellence – do things well and do not take short cuts.
  3. Allow them to experiment, take risks and learn from their mistakes.
  4. Teach them the importance of values – integrity, ethics, and honesty – giving back.
  5. Problem-solve by “Thinking Inside the Box” – work with what you’ve got and ask, “How can it be done differently?”

Jacob: My mother is an event + wedding planner based in Sydney, Australia. I’ve recently set up a blog and Twitter account for my Mum so if you’re into anything related to weddings or events, feel free to follow.

Baby feet photo by krm728.

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25 thoughts on “Raising A Designer: A Mother's Insight”

  1. Very nice post! Thanks for sharing. I will show this to my Mum 🙂 It’s too late talking about how I was raised though. My parents never really understood me, hence why I had no help with developing my skills and interests when I was a young teenager, and only a year ago, being 20 years old, I made it on my own and finally proved to my Mum that my intentions and goals was not childish crap. Sad, but my Dad is still ignoring that part of my life and not understanding my interests and the opportunities that are there for me.. No matter what, I’ll be doing my best and make my dream come true 🙂

  2. Hey Jacob,
    Thanks for the link, REALLY inspiring quotes! I’m going to translate them into my language to show to some people around too!

  3. Thanks for sharing this Jacob! What an amazing feeling it is to guide one’s child and guide him well so he can bravely take up the path of his choosing. There is a lot to learn from your mum’s interview and I can see where she is coming from even though my older son is only 6 :). Thanks once again for sharing!

  4. Hey Jacob, awesome post… One of the most unique I have seen… and just in time for mothers day as well, perfect…

  5. This is such a beautiful post Jacob! I love it! You are very fortunate to have a mother at your side – I think it does wonders when you do. I am hoping to also be that guidance for my 8 year old son.

  6. Jacob:
    1. Welcome to New York
    2. Your mother must be so proud of you
    3. The answer to #5 was probably my favorite

    Congrats again!

  7. A really sweet post. It’s nice to hear of someone’s past and how it shaped what they’ve achieved since. I would imagine having parents running their own businesses would have been very inspirational to you growing up, giving you an understanding of business early on in life.
    Paul Galbraith’s first ever blog post.. Are there too many Design Blogs?

  8. Thank you very much for your kind comments everyone. I am extremely fortunate to have such a kind and caring mother.

    I also find it fascinating to read about about how people’s upbringings shape who they are. As for having parents with their own businesses, I never really thought about it at the time however looking back on it, it certainly has helped.

  9. Wow! I really needed to heart that today. I love your Mom. I’ve been quite the stickler for my kids pitching in with chores & personal responsibility. I feel like such a nag sometimes but deep down I know I’m teaching them some valuable lessons that I’ll hopefully see the fruits of when their older. I keep telling my son that his future wife is going to love me for this.

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