Archive for market value

Exercise Talent as a Service to Others

This short compilation of aerial videos was taken by my 16 year old son who is on a journey to apply his skills so that can bring value to other people. This latest updated compilation is to show what he can do for businesses that need a view from above of their properties and commercial activities.

In one of those excerpts in the compilation, you can see the first free one that he did for a local engineering firm. Through a fortuitous meeting at lunch in our local pizzeria, a man connected to a big local earth moving project was intrigued by the possibilities of affordable aerial videography. After showing his drone to the man and what it could do, the rest of the engineering team was enthusiastic about letting him fly over so they could have a dramatic capture of the hard work they were doing. My teenage son’s cheerful and diligent turnaround in the following days with behind-the-scene editing and then providing them with links and video copies was what opened the doors for being approached by another engineering team. That team wanted him to document their project in another city – but this time for pay. I’m happy to report that the filming project has now come and gone and was a great success! Another big one is now lined up based on that last success. And on and on, this 10,000 hour talent journey will keep progressing.

What application does this have for your own son or daughter’s situation? Simply that in order to really grow your child’s talent in such a way that it brings value to other people, it is necessary for your son or daughter to gradually and systematically find ways to showcase and deliver to others with some aspect of value. This value for others means that it is not just the product itself that is important, such as the final video in this example, but also that it is served in the location, manner, and timing that is important to those who will benefit from the talent. As a parent, I take this service part of the talent so seriously, that I will halt my son’s normal school work schedule in favor of him being able to quickly agree to an onsite filming schedule that is convenient to the customer. I make the school schedule bend and flex in favor of my son’s talent development. I will make his normal math or English curriculum schoolwork step aside and allow my son to make it up later in the evening or on another day.

No matter where your child is with regards to his long-term talent development, there is most likely some aspect of it that he can use today to bring value to others besides himself. If he gets your creative parental support to find a way to do it at a young age, he will have a huge advantage of not having to wait till he is in his last year of high-school to find that creative application on his own.

Make your child’s education be the slave to your child, not the master. Make it stand up and sit down on your demand. You and your child are the masters.

Cold Calling

cold calling.jpg

Thanks to a family friend who makes a successful living using the techniques of cold-calling, my oldest son, who is now 16 years old, was able to get some mini-mentoring tips on how to write a custom script for calling potential clients. He did well on following the detailed instructions and examples he was given by this sales professional and today he got his first acceptance for agreeing to see a full demonstration of the aerial photography service he is selling. He also followed through on advice he got from his parents on how to set-up an automated feedback form that helps uncover the true needs of his client base.

These mini sales skills are not unimportant, but vitally important in my son’s overall talent pursuit as he needs them to be able to connect with the right people who actually would find great value in his service. We are continuing to pursue talent in our family as a journey of gradually adding the right kind of skill mix that will help make him a real success in his adult life and not a flash-in-the-pan child prodigy. It is not a static pursuit where he is doing 10,000 hours over and over of the exact same skill.

This brings me back to the topic of what kind of talent your child should be pursuing. Talent should be used to bring value to others and should not be seen as a work to please just oneself. This sounds obvious, but it is not always understood that way during childhood. In order for a talent to not turn into a pure consumption activity for private enjoyment, it is important that you cultivate a self-awareness as as to why your child is involved in activities that demand lots of his time. For talent to gradually bring more and more real value to others, you son or daughter must adapt his skills to meet people where their true needs and desires are.

Discovering how exactly to meet those true needs of others takes effort. It also takes emotional courage to put oneself out there to test in small ways if others want your child’s talent in at least some small way. This is where you a parent can really make a big difference at an early age. Sons and daughters will take risks at exposing their work to the scrutiny of outsiders if they can count on you to guide them and support them in the discovery process. There will be failures and disappointing non-responses to your young adult’s work. There will also be some amazing “lucky” opportunities that pop up seemingly out of nowhere and push your child forward in a dramatic way. Your job as a parent is to help guard them from the extremes of despair and the extremes of arrogance.


Another way to promote your child’s talent to the right people is through the use of a blog documenting what he can do for others. Get your guide here below.

Can Street Children Use Your Talent ?


college for charity work.jpg

Is my skepticism of college education nullified if it is going to knowingly be used for serving the poor and the weak? And if it is fully understand that the student will not be able to earn a living from it? In other words, it has no value in the marketplace, but the charity value still makes it worthwhile for the student to invest the time and money.

For example: you and your student hope that in her adult life she will be able to help street children in Sao Paulo, Brazil by using her skills as a master violinist.  Clearly, the street children have nothing of real value to offer in exchange that could possibly pay you back for your student’s time and expense. To add to that, the children may often not even understand the value you bring to them that starts the change in their lives until years later.

I will answer that I still maintain skepticism of expensive college degrees, even for charity work. Here’s why.

Putting aside other considerations for the moment, I would still recommend that if a long-term talent is being developed solely to be given away freely to others, then some of the same principles apply for talent applied to charity as to talent that is being developed to bring market value to others. Specifically, the principle still applies that there should be a continuous effort to discover where and how the talent will be applied to bring added-value. Normally, the marketplace recipient would tell you if your music is adding to their quality of life: if they never buy your violin concert tickets or you can’t get others to play your compositions, then clearly you are not meeting their wants and desires.

But in the case of charitable giving, you still have to have a goal you want to accomplish with your talent. If your goal is to change the lives of street children, will your violin playing change their lives? There is one way to find out for sure BEFORE you commit to four or six years of advanced formal training. You test the value by attempting to apply an aspect of your talent to a charitable group already working with orphans.

You may discover, as you attempt to play your violin, that what really brings in the street children is…warm food…or rap music…or loud speakers playing MP3…or staying up through the night to help with detox from drug addiction. It may even be your violin music that brings them in, after all (pardon my extreme doubt here). But there’s the key. You will know for certain as you attempt to gradually work it out. That is why I encourage students to gradually discover their long term talent. If it is not violin playing that really helps street children, but instead raucous loud story telling with a rap bent to it, then all your years of expensive violin training are really doing nothing to change the lives of those you hoped to impact. If it’s loud story telling, are you ready to have your student stop college and instead invest in practicing that skill on the street and in clubs for four years? If you are not ready to have your child do that, you may be trying to justify a fantasy status education. It will turn out to be an education that will neither help your child to earn a living nor help the needy to climb out of their difficult situations.

What about getting a medical degree to help the poor? – this has not only charity value, but true market value.

What about bringing your business degree and experience to help refugees start businesses of their own? – this has not only charity value, but true market value.

What about an engineering degree to help dig wells and build charity hospitals? – again, this has not only charity value, but true market value.

Clearly, some expensive college degrees have straightforward charity value while also having market value. Others are much more dubious. Of course exceptions can be found. But make sure you choose wisely your college degree even if it is for a lifetime of work in charity.

If you could use an approach that gently guides your child over time to developing a talent that is very valuable and useful to other people, I recommend you fill out the worksheets available in my talent guide.


College Is Not Job Training

random pic from instrument training flights. i...

Find out first if your child’s talent can benefit from a college certificate. It may be that to be an overwhelming success in his field of talent, your child needs to travel swiftly down a very different path.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Guest Post by Levi Heiple:

College is not job training, it’s a certification program.

I went to college with the faulty assumption that many others my age have. Namely, that the path to success was to go to college, pick a major, get a degree, and then a job offer would soon follow.

College is not a direct path to a job.

You have to create your path to a job. The degree shows potential employers that you made a good investment with your time.

Undoubtedly, having a college degree is better than not having one. But the question is, “at what cost?” For some people, college is not a good investment.

Help your kids answer this question: “where will my income be coming from, and will those people care whether or not I have a college degree?”

If you are not sure, look at successful people in your child’s field of interest. Visit their websites. See if they put an emphasis on their educational background. If they don’t, then their credibility obviously doesn’t rest on their educational background.

If successful people in the field are emphasizing their degrees, what were their majors? Is it a bachelor degree? Master? PhD?

By asking these questions before sending your children to college, you can save a lot of grief and wasted time and money.


About Levi Heiple

Levi Heiple is a writer/entrepreneur who specializes in electronic training and support systems. He connected with Jonathan Harris after being asked tutor his son, Caleb. You can sign up for Levi’s free weekly tip on “reading for innovation” at You can find his professional website at  You can find his web design service at


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Daughters Who Have a Skill for Business

girls business startup

A key skill for even the Christian Stay-At-Home-Mom is an ability to trade something of value in the marketplace. Check out this reminder article by (the top 10 things girls should study but rarely do) on the art of business worth being developed in daughters who want to be spiritual and who want to know how to efficiently run a household. A great quote from this article is: “In Proverbs 31, even the virtuous woman’s wisdom and kindness are not praised as frequently as her business acumen, industry, and economic profitability, which is why we believe these are some of the most feminine things a Christian woman can study”. This means that a well developed talent in a future homemaker would not be amiss to included some entrepreneurial skills – because a good talent would include not just one household skill, but a combination of several well-chosen skills, with one of them having a value that can be traded in the marketplace.

Danger: Hard Work Not the Same as Value


Talent caveat: everyone enjoys listening to a choir at least once in a while, but very few will want to pay for what they have already heard many times. Lesson: your talent must be more than just repeat to bring real added value to others (Photo credit: Family Photo Archives)

Teach your hard working and diligent child how not to confuse quantity of hard work to be the same as the amount of value he is bringing to others through his talent. It is the recipients of his talent who will determine how much of a difference it makes to their lives and not the amount of sheer effort that he has to put into it. This explains why often in the arts, it is original content that is rewarded more highly, even if the performers are less technically proficient than more hard working, school-trained artists. It is also true in other fields like business or mystery-book writing. Talent focused children and their parents must not forget that because people have already seen or heard the same type of Country-Western song so many times, fans would rather now pay for a much more different take on that genre, than to simply add another very accomplished repeat to their collection.

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Children Bond Through Exercising Talents

brothers reading

Your child will find joy with his family by using his beginning skill and talent in a way that brings value, even a small value, to one of his siblings. Do you remember how much bonding and admiration power there was, for example, when your oldest child used to read to his younger brother in order to soothe him? You can repeat that same strategy between teenage children as they use their serious talents to learn how to serve the needs of their brothers and sisters who are respectively growing in their own talents. An older sibling who has a core baking skill of a couple thousand of hours behind him, for example as part of a larger developing talent, can also use it to boost the silversmithing club activities of the status his brother through amazing food and hospitality. Another sibling who has developing computer skills can work on upgrading his sister’s online art portfolio and said sister can in turn work on digital logos and ad graphics for all the other sibling blog postings.

Build a New Glory with Your Child’s Talent

Courtyard of the Museum of Louvre, and its pyr...

The talent in your child should not rebuild what has already been built. It must bring new value so as to not become redundant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remain flexible as to which sub-skills you encourage your child to accumulate for his developing talent. This flexibility is to make sure your child is creating a talent that brings enough value to others that they would want to pay him to perform his talent. Your child will most likely need a set of skills that is different than what made a previous generation very successful in that same field of human activity. However as parents we can became fixated on a now defunct past glory and inadvertently encourage them to become uselessly excellent in a field that has since become over-abundant with the same ability. Don’t let over-subscribed talent schools in search of students and don’t let the glory of a previous generation blind you to the new and better possibilities for your child.

Head Down, Pencil Up

“Head down, pencil up” will get you into trouble as a parent planning for the future of your child if you don’t periodically look up to reassess how the market and culture is changing. Dan Miller, author of “48 Days to the Work You Love“,  in one of his recent podcasts, describes a situation where a high level executive was suddenly let go after 26 years of employment in the same field. What was sad, is that even though the changes in the market place were obvious, he had not taken the time to lift his head up from the day to day of his work to see how changes would affect his career. He had made no plans of his own to deal with the change and now he is really out of time. Don’t do the same to your child – lift up your head today and start implementing those curriculum changes ASAP.

Market Niche for Your Child’s Talent

FORTIS Flieger Chronograph

Looking for an amazing 30-day crash course online that happens to be free? Find a money making niche for your child’s talent (Photo credit: gus27 on Wikipedia)

For the last seven years, “the 30 Day Challenge” has been a free yearly online course that walks you through discovering your business niche that allows you to sell from home over the Internet. The lead host, Ed Dale, is an amazing presenter and the materials are presented in such way that high-school aged students can easily follow along. Why do I recommend that you as a parent sign-up? It will open up your eyes to the amazing opportunities that appear when you have a method for uncovering niches for your child’s talent. This information is online, up-to-date, free and cannot be found even in University classes.

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Old Fashioned Hobby With New Application

bug of the day

Can your child create a brand new talent by combining an old hobby with a modern application of that hobby? The Pinterest founder did. (Photo credit: urtica)

Did you know that Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest, spent his childhood years catching, collecting, and categorizing hundreds of insects, spiders, and beetles? He would pin them on boards and label them. This childhood habit would later become the idea of Pinterest. What does your child spend his time doing now that could turn into a start-up later? Think about how you can combine an old-fashioned hobby with a new cutting edge application, and your child may well be on an exciting path where talent will support him in his adult life.

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How to Have a Job, Career, or Talent

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Are you preparing your child for a career or a talent? The strategy for each is different and the rewards are not the same (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After graduation, do you want your son to have a job, a career, or a talent?

Here’s how to do it:

For a job – don’t plan for anything and hope he figures it all out after he’s 18.

For a career – suppress his uniqueness, load up on student loans, and have him study real hard following a traditional school curriculum or certified training program. Hope he gets hired by the corporate world so he can fit into the top of the predetermined pay band.

For a talent – start him young and have him keep combining skills in a way that is unusually effective, different, and pleasing to other people. Watch his passion carry through him into old age.

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Same Experience Repeated Over and Over is Not Talent

English: Kimberley and Babette Nederlands: Kim...

10,000 hours of talent development is not the same thing as applying the first few hours of instruction thousands of hours over and over (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The same small experience repeated over and over is what keeps an entry level job at the status of an entry level job. After a full year of work standing on her feet at a typical teenage job at McDonalds, there are probably only eight hours of added skill to the child’s life. The same principle applies when guiding your child into accumulating her 10,000 hours of talent development in household management: a daughter who is enthusiastically cooking, teaching, and helping her mom with home organization is not enough to build world-class talent. To be recognized as a future mother and wife who has taken the world of household management by storm, she would have to daily push the boundaries of her abilities with new tools and new ideas of management…until her performance appears magical to others, like that of the fictional Mary Poppins.

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True Talent Jumps Outside Career Labels


Don’t let your 13 your old child say “I want to develop my veterinary skills.” Instead, for example, have your child say “I want to use my microscope to be able to identify all the most common pathogens as found in the cat and dog droppings in our neighborhood and community. I want to recommend to the pet owners the right off-the-shelf pet prescriptions for the specific problems that I find.”

Here’s why you want to avoid traditional career names in discovering your first talent focus:

  • First, you need to stay flexible about what long term career your child might enter into in the future so he can take advantage of a changing market. Your child’s career is most likely not going to be traditional and true talent will tend to jump outside the boundaries of popular career labels.
  • Second, your child will most likely be legally or culturally blocked in trying to do anything really resembling the work description of a traditional career. But if you focus on a specific skill to develop, your child can often get around limitations and start developing right away a a skill that can lay the groundwork for the next level of skills.

Being Short-Changed by a Hobby?

English: Caleb Mendez, youth soccer talent

Be careful of popular cultural hobbies that will rob your child of the time needed to build a real talent of his own (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is your child’s future being short-changed by a hobby?

Are you not expecting that your son’s future will be supported by his current soccer-meets?

Then your child is developing a soccer hobby, not a talent.

Are you not expecting that your son will make a living by swimming for endorsements?

Then your child is developing a swim hobby, not a talent.

Are you not expecting that your daughter’s future will be spent doing gymnastics on bars?

Then your child is developing a gymnastics hobby, not a talent.



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Wouldn’t it Be Better to Be the Leader?

Miner Spreads His Lunch Out on a Bench in the ...

You can choose to build talent now in your child’s life or you can let society force him to work for others at low wages (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

Working for someone else and being micro-managed by another person can and will pay the basic bills, but wouldn’t it be better to be the leader in a particular field of talent? Get your son or daughter started today on building a unique talent. They can be the ones who rule in a particular sphere of life instead of being forced to work for others at low wages.

Proverbs 12:24

“The hand of the diligent will rule,
But the slack hand will be put to forced labor”

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Fall Back Plan for Too Much Hobby Time

Girl on horse

Is your child 17 years old and has spent too much of her teenage years developing a hobby, such as softball or horse-riding, that has no apparent market value to others? Consider a last minute fall-back plan: use the experience in her hobby as a core strand around which you can wrap some other very different skills. If it’s softball, could she use her understanding of the needs of fans and players to come up with an app or service that she knows would be wanted? If it’s horse-riding, are there some short tutorial videos your daughter could put together for YouTube and a website reviewing horse-saddles with an e-book for beginners? Build on what your 17 year old child already has or, if not, starting from scratch will set your daughter back another decade.

If Your Talent Already Has a Name, It Will Have Been Claimed

Yesterday’s Talent

+ New Skills

= New Talent

Don’t fixate on a traditional career label, such as “writer” or “accountant” as the goal of your child’s talent development. If the name of your child’s talent already has a clearly defined and popular name now, it will have already been claimed by too many others and there will little additional reward for your child to be a “me-too.”  During the 10,000 hours of talent development, you will want many other skills to wrap around a core talent such as writing or accounting until it is so different that a traditional label will no longer fit. It is the growing uniqueness and usefulness of your child’s talent that will secure him a place in the sun – cherish true talent.

What Were You Actually Doing?

Unwrapping a Gift

What is your child actually doing with the small beginning talent he was given? Is he multiplying it yet?

A talent parable.

A father noticed his son’s natural doodling abilities and his appreciation of comic art, so, based on a homeschool blog site recommendation, he purchased a set of 25 silky water color pencils and a heavy pack of some of the best textured art paper on the market. He gave it to his son Matthew along with a beginner’s tutorial book as a gift for him to expand his talent.

After being gone for a couple of weeks on a business trip, the father caught up with the accomplishments of his children and it came time for Matthew to report on all the wonderful things he had been learning to do. That’s when Matthew brought to the kitchen table and put in front of his father, the entire pastel set and paper stack still in their  pristine shrink-wrap state.

“Dad, see: I kept everything nice and clean. I even locked it away so that little Billy didn’t play with the good stuff. I know you don’t like it when I don’t do my best and I’m not a very good drawer yet. And you get mad if I break expensive tools like these pencils, so I made sure they stayed beautiful and unbroken just like you got them from the store.”

“Matthew,” said the father, “what were you actually doing in your room every day during your art hour for the entire time I was gone?”

“Oh, I was reading my comic books.”

Parents, what do you think should be the right and fair response of the father in this story? For a similar situation, read what the master said to his servant in Matthew chapter 25 in the parable of the talents.

Think Outside Standard Career Labels for Child’s Talent

Three-strand twisted natural fibre rope

Combine different skills into developing a unique talent  (Photo credit: Wikipedia; Author= HiveHarbingerCOM)

You are beginning to think outside of standard career labels for developing your child’s talent if you can report something similar to  fictional ‘Not-Afraid-to-Get-My-Hands-Dirty-Mom:

Five months after taking a talent discovery workshop and discussing our concerns with our son about being in a market with too many painters, we have dramatically re-apportioned the type of time he is spending in the family business.We now have our son spending half his work time with a local tool rental company that needs detailing and small repair help on new cutting-edge sand blasting equipment that gets returned. He connects well with the customers and his employer is recognizing his value as a budding salesman in the painting industry. Combining another new skill with his already extensive painting skills is really getting all of us excited about what other skills could be merged so he can be amazingly productive and desirable in the marketplace.

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