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Can Your Bored 9 Year Old Help You Run Your Business?

Ahhh, summertime...

9 year old son: “Dad, I’m bored. Do you have any jobs for me?”
Dad: “Ummm, not unless you’ve got some Internet marketing skills I don’t know about.”
9 year old son: “What’s Internet marketing?”
Dad: “Nevermind...”

Hey, wait a minute. My son can read, he’s savvy on the computer, and he’s pretty darn smart (if I don’t say so myself). Maybe I actually can use him on some of my Internet marketing tasks if I factor the work properly.

For example, one of my more routine tasks is to scan a daily automated Google alert for decent articles related to teaching kids good money habits. I add the good hits to our library of bookmarks and leave comments if I think I have some value to add to the article. Finding the good ones means sifting through the alert and filtering out hits that aren’t truly relevant or ones that are just blatant instances of nonsensical keyword stuffing. My 9 year old is certainly capable of making those judgement calls.

All I have to do is devise a simple system for him to identify the good matches and relay them to me. So here’s what we’ve come up with:

  • I copy the contents of each Google alert I receive into a Google Docs document.
  • My son reads the title and summary for each hit and, if necessary, drills down to the full article to determine whether it’s a good hit.
  • If it’s a good hit, he highlights it in yellow for me.
  • He let’s me know when he’s done, and then I just concentrate on the handful of highlighted entries for further curation.

Here's what it looks like when he’s done:
How I Put My Nine Year Old To Work

It’s been a win-win-win-win-win:

  • He isn’t bugging because he’s bored
  • He’s saving me time
  • He’s exercising his mind
  • He’s earning some dough (so he can blow it on Crowns for Wizard 101)
  • He does quality work for a very low wage

Maybe summer isn’t so bad for FamZoo after all.

How about you? Can you find a clever way to put your kid to work on something you’re trying to accomplish this summer?

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