As I mentioned in my post regarding my review for Mark Victor Hansen's book Richest Kids in America, I also had the opportunity to have an interview with Mark and hear his thoughts on business, children and universal laws. Here's the interview. Enjoy. I know I did!
The theme of this blog is spiritually aware of parenting, which uses universal, spiritual themes such as positive thought and the law of attraction in parenting scenarios. How do you feel these themes effect entrepreneurship?
Hansen: I think the law of attraction is amazing. I’m a great student of it. I listen to audios in the car every week, from Abraham and Esther, who is a friend of mine. So, I am tuned in to all this stuff. The only issue I see happening sometimes is that some people think that it is all mind, and you don’t have to do and I think you’ve got to add a magical elixir of taking action, bring results. You have to be it before you can do it. But you’ve got to do it so you can have it. That’s the principle.
As the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, what inspired you to make this your GoRichKids.com?
Hansen: America is in the most desperate times, thanks to the crash of our economy, starting in 2008. Our government, may not be bringing in the results we all need right now. Case in point, the Federal Reserve is printing money, carelessly, as far as I’m concerned – giving it without stipends.
I decided that we as individuals can be the solution and we all have to do our part. So, I decided that I would take a visionary leadership role and be a thought leader on this and create a monumental momentum. The future and the present belongs to our young people and if we can get a million kids creating a million dollars, that’s a trillion dollars. That causes our GDP – our Gross Domestic Product to go up eight percent.
I want to be the inspirational gadfly to inspire everyone to their highest best creation, innovation and invention. And the most important people right now who can really take the lead in changing our nation, changing our world are young people.
From spiritual moving stories to kid entrepreneurs, is there a connection, or was there sort of a logical progression?
Hansen: I’ve been a little entrepreneur since I was nine years old, so I’ve always, always, always loved the success stories – Horatio Alger started writing “rags to riches” stories and ended up building a whole enterprise doing so. Andrew Carnegie who made a fortune with steel, with almost no education, started the library system, as we know it. And I think the number is 2,586 libraries he gave to America. People like those two gentleman inspired me to achieve greatness and I want to do the same for the next generation.
When anyone takes on a business idea, I feel it is vital that it comes from everything that they are; that they really believe in, and all of themselves. How do you suggest people find that hidden passion within themselves and how do you suggest that they find the confidence and courage to go forth with the idea?
Hansen: Those two questions have the same answer, whatever your dream is, has to become a magnificent obsession, so much so that it’s the last thing you think about before you go to sleep at night and the first thing you think about in the morning. And then what you’ve got to put together is a T.E.A.M. I’ve re-acronymed this to mean Together Everyone Accomplishes Miracles. And each of us is here to create and deliver miracles.
And that’s what I think I’m doing with GoRichKids.com. We have hundreds of daily users right now, and that number is going to grow into a million. They, and their parents are all saying,“I never thought of this” or “I never believed that before and now I do”. And they start seeing models, that they say, “Holy smokes, I can turn this part of my life around” or “I can do this!”
How would you describe the difference between an idea and a great business idea for a child? How do you suggest they know which ideas to go for?
Hansen: First of all, you’ve got to write down too many ideas and then there’s gonna be one idea that just looms out and you say, “That’s it.” That is a game changer. Now game changers are like iTunes – Steve Jobs himself was a game changer.
Pixar was an animation game changer, Jobs ended up owning ten percent of Disney. Apple computers was a game changer because he made it aesthetic and user-friendly. He decided he wanted to be in the game changing business. I’m gonna say, if a kid writes down a hundred ideas, there’s gonna be one that’s a game changer and if he or she pulls it off,. it’s gonna be really worthy.
GoRichKids.com is intended to be a game changer.
If a child has a great idea for a business, how would you suggest parents encourage it?
Hansen: Help the child think it through, write it out, create a business plan and partner with the people that could deliver the goods, and take it from dream by putting a foundation under it and then build it into its own reality.
I mean, the littlest kid was sitting out at the Swap Meet here in Riverside with his mother, who was selling nothing, and he comes up with pencil bugs. And the little guy created pencil bugs; ends up selling pencil bugs and $3.6 million dollars in his first year.
And his mother dropped what she was doing and started helping him, full-time, and together, they kept creating greater dreams. This kid is going to be phenomenally rich. He said he wants to be financially free by the time he's 16. He’s only 12 years old and I believe he's well on his way to achieving that goal.
It's just so exciting to watch these kids really get on fire about an idea they've created and then let the idea flourish.
Would you talk a little bit about the role of imagination in business?
Hansen: I’m looking at a picture of my hero, Walt Disney, in my office, who used imagination when he got fired and had his business stolen from him. He watched a little rat run across the floor and he said, “I could draw up that rat. I’ll call him a mouse and I’m going to call him Mickey,” and because he had no resources, he just started doing all the cartoons himself – he was a cartoonist animator.
He said, “I don’t have any money to hire a V.O. (a voice over), so I’ll be Minnie and I’ll also be Mickey.”
So, when I think about imagination, two things come to mind: imagination creates your reality. And imagination is God in human form, as far as I’m concerned. God imagined this whole world, this whole universe, and then you and I, are made in the image and likeness of God, so we can imagine it a slightly less level.
And then the smartest man in the last century, by most people, is Albert Einstein. And doctor Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than facts.”
So, you can go out and use your imagination in a creative way. I mean, we used our imagination to create Chicken Soup for the Soul– stories which people said, “Oh, poo-poo, we don’t want Chicken Soup stories”. We ignored all of that and created an empire that did nearly a billion dollars. So, it’s amazing what you can do with your imagination. I'm living proof that with imagination, anything is possible.
I read a statistic a few days ago that said that sixty percent of jobs are children’s generational hold, haven’t even been invented yet. How do you feel this affects children entrepreneurs and how could we prepare children for that new future?
Hansen: First of all, I’m convinced I’m going to be in businesses that I don’t even know yet because I plan on living to be 127 years old, so I’m less than half-way through my life.
What is so exquisitely exciting is that 25 years ago, if somebody said you that we would being using the Internet, you’d say, “Excuse me? What are you talking about?”
The more kids of today know the past, the farther they can go into the future. Steve Jobs watched the Star Trek that helped generate ideas and with that magical ingredient, imagination, he created what would become the iPhone and the iPad and other devices and platforms.
You simply must watch the future because that’s where these kids are going to spend the rest of their lives. The best jobs haven’t been created yet; they haven’t been titled yet; they don’t have names yet – and no one is thinking about them or are they? Perhaps your kids are the future Steve Jobs' of the world.
Can you tell us about GoRichKids.com that you created and who it’s aimed for. Is it only for kids?
Hansen: It started out being only for kids 17 to 20-something years old and what has happened is that their parents have become just as passionate about the online course as they have. GoRichKids.com comprehensively covers business models that can fit almost any body in any condition and we’ll only keep adding more as time goes on.
We want GoRichKids.com to teach models that will guide people in knowing what true north is, realizing their full potential as a profitable success.
What is the most inspiring story you’ve heard from the GoRichKids.com experience?
Hansen: We have so many but one that comes to mind is a kid who says I’m his mentor, named Cameron Johnson. He says that he has read all my business books, like One Minute Millionaire. He’s now only 22-years-old and running the biggest Ford Dealership in America. But he started out back when beanie-babies were at their height and ended up making, somewhere north of $10 million. He went on to buy and create ten other businesses.
He teaches kids on GoRichKids.com about the value of stocks and what it really takes to become a young entrepreneur. Anything is possible if you just believe, if you're willing to do the work and if you find the right mentor.
We hope with this course, it will give kids no matter what your background, or where you are in the world, access to online mentors you normally may not have privy to. We can can eradicate “have not-ness” and cause fundamental abundance and create a shift to “have-ness” in the world so that every kid who dreams of the possibilites can become a true entrepreneur.