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Update on My 16 Year Old Son’s Talent Journey


Watch my son’s latest video produced to bring specific value through the use of his aerial videography talent. Also, below is an update on my oldest son’s 10,000 hour journey to amazing talent:

This past week, my son Jonathan Jr. was able to take his talent development into a slightly new direction. This is consistent with our family strategy of remaining flexible to opportunities while building on the skills already acquired. This talent journey started a few years ago when our son was enlisted to help us in our family business by taking product photos for our website. He also interested himself in some of the business mechanics of the home business. We encouraged it wherever he was capable of contributing or understanding.

From simple photo taking projects, he grew into learning how to do small videos of my wife doing her product explanations and editing them for brevity. This again was part of a strategy of understanding that our own family environment had advantages he could learn to use for his own benefit. Keep in mind that my son’s original personal interests only played one part in this successful talent building strategy. The other parts are found in the family’s environment and are identified and released by his parents.

The next phase of his talent discovery and development process came when he met a family friend of mine who let him fly his new quadcopter drone with a small camera mounted under its belly. That’s when he realized that he could marry his burgeoning videography with the new affordable flying drones. The feedback he was getting was that there was room for him to bring value to a market that was not yet crowded. When he compared that opportunity to that of becoming a wedding photographer (a typical destination for those with digital cameras and aspirations of going professional), he realized that the wedding market was already very well served. There were would be little room for him in that venue long-term and he would have to beg and scrape for a living. But with the appearance of drones, he realized that this was an opportunity that he should not pass up. It was the classic case of “luck” coming to those who are prepared.

As he started approaching real estate agents to do some basic aerial shots of houses they had for sell or rent, he realized that he enjoyed to talking to grown adult men in the context of business. This in turn caused me to suggest he tap into the expertise of another family friend who was quite the successful salesperson in the insurance industry. That he did. With a few hours of advice and consulting (such as “don’t charge by the hour, but by the project”), Jonathan picked up some better techniques for pitching his service to interested parties. Soon he was engaged in weekly paying “gigs” that involved filming not only housing property, but also undeveloped commercial property. Each time he finished his project and handed off the finished video to the customer, he would also add it to his website. This built up his website as a living portfolio of his work. That public documentation in turn opened up more deals for him. From real estate aerial filming, it now seems to be jumping into some new opportunities involving documenting engineering projects from the air. This, at least, so far seems to leading him into a possible niche. We don’t know for sure, but opportunities and the dollar value that his customers are willing to pay him will be signposts to which way he should grow his talent.

What did we do right and should you do? As his parents, we did not panic ourselves into forcing a career name onto a growing and emerging talent. This allowed us to actively encourage him to pursue opportunities that we previously had never heard about. Because of this parental flexibility, our son is able to explore a growing field involving the application of new technology. And yet, I still don’t think that my son is yet ready to define himself with a career name, because his opportunities are still growing. For now, I’m okay if he says “aerial videographer”, but I doubt that is his end destination. This should be the same with your young person: have a focus, but expect that this focus is simply a building block to hoist him up to get to new and more exciting opportunities, as of yet unknown.

What are some of the discussions I’m having with him now? We have recently been talking about how he probably needs to get himself declared into a C-corporation, so he can position himself with tax advantages and flexibility in future partnering deals. He’s not making enough money yet that it matters, but we want to position him in the best spot possible for future growth. I picked up the phone and talked to an entrepreneur friend who is recommending we look at incorporating in the state of Wyoming because (among other reasons) it is only $50 filing per year vs. the $800 filing fee per year in California. Maybe Wyoming incorporation is an affordable option for him.

We are also talking about how much pleasure and success he is getting at pitching his service to others. This means he might want to think about how he can concentrate on getting new business. To do so he would have to job out the editing of the raw footage he is now doing by himself through the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription service.  This in turn would mean he would have to start documenting the “recipe” he would want a contractor to follow so that it meets his customers’ needs. These are all conversations now, but our conversations will often lead to meaningful action in the months to come. I take all these conversations as serious, or more seriously, than his ability to memorize the history dates of a Western Civilization course. (By the way, we love and highly recommend the Western Civilization course by Tom Woods of the RonPaulCurriculum.com). We know that no one will hire Jonathan to give his opinions on history any time soon, but we are fairly certain that he will be amply rewarded as a young man if he delivers faithfully on his service to others through his talent.

Would you like to read the guide on how to create opportunities like that for your own student? Check out my e-course “How to Discover and Develop Your Child’s First 100 Hours of Talent.”

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Comments

  1. What a wonderful story. i love how flexible you have been with your son and what a great opportunity you have brought to his life by being flexible and open minded about his passions and talents.

    Our family lives in a city with lots of pressure to succeed and that expects kids to attend Ivy League schools which I find rotten and lacking lots of ethics. Our son is talented and bright however, we are having trouble guiding him as he doesn’t enjoy typical school or subjects. No matter what, the sad part is that the school system is not prepared to deal with gifted and talented kids who don’t march like robots.

    Thank you for sharing this story.

    • Hi Maria. Thank you for your kind words. You are right about the school system – it is only designed to help you fit into an average, unless you decide to forge your own path for your son’s future. What might take the pressure off the social interaction, is if you are able to label your son’s path with a term that people understand. So, for example, if your son is more business oriented, it helps to say he’s on a “entrepreunerial” path and you want to make sure that if and when he chooses to go to college, that it doesn’t slow him down and get him distracted from his success. Really, you can say the same about any other field where college work is not really needed for doing the actual work. I remember one professional author saying that when he went to a famous university’s English program that it was those years that he spent there that distracted him from actually writing productive work. He was too busy spending time learning how to analyze classic work after classic – it’s a completely different skill set, good for those who plan to teach about the work of others, but useless for those with professional writing ambitions. He got caught up in the glamour of university life for bright students, but realized that it did nothing for him to excel in his service to the world. So keep the eye on the prize! You can protect your son from getting sidetracked by helping him identify his goals. Then it is easy to accept or discard college ambitions based on whether it would slow him down or accelerate his success in the area of his talent.