I think I'm hip, but my antics on skateboards and scooters really embarrass my kids. "Mommy, please don't ride the scooter to school," they politely plead. So now my agenda includes X-treme lessons -- financial lessons --from Ryan Sheckler, a 16-year-old millionaire skateboarding champ.
How lucrative is his business? During the second weekend of October alone, he made $75,000 over a two-day period.
Here are the money-making tips that I've pulled out of the sports pages: (a Miami Herald profile of Sheckler)
1) Keep the profit centers in the family or with trustworthy business ties.
Sheckler's father: handles Sheckler's website, which gets over 20 million hits a year. It's a very slick site.
His mom: his manager.
His grandmother: takes care of fan mail.
(He also has a hard-working agent)
My personal application: Carefully vet every business opportunity. Operate with people you trust. Keep the family in the loop.
2. Cover your trails with documentation
A personal camerman documents Skeckler's life, thereby creating a video trail that will be used for a reality TV show.
Application: Track finances. Stay up to date with paperwork, receipts, invoices and other documents (my main area of slacking). Take lots of pictures of the kids!
3. Cultivate sponsors; create your own brand
Sheckler represents several corporate sponsors and has his own line of jeans, sneakers and eyewear.
Application: There's nothing wrong with selling out as long as you're getting paid to have extreme fun.
4. Start your business plan early and stay committed
at 18 months: Sheckler tried skateboarding
age 4: acquired his own skateboard
age 7: began competing
age 13: turned pro
"I'm always training, always thinking about skateboarding."
--Ryan Heckler in the Miami Herald.
Application: Get up early. Stay up late and keep current on industry trends. But have fun. Work is an X-treme sport!
5. Network with other professionals: Reach out and reach high for mentors.
As a 6-year-old, Sheckler was successful in getting X-Games sports legend Tony Hawk to come to his birthday party.
Application: Constantly network with other bloggers and financial experts. Contact industry superstars and high-profile names. Hello Oprah! Hello Dave! Hello Ben Stein!
6. Apply good manners
At a recent X-treme sports event, one athlete used foul language, one athlete was missing and another had trouble speaking at all.
Sheckler, however, stood out according to a published report in the Herald:
"He answered questions the way he so obviously knows how: politely, smiling and showing humility," according to the article.
Application: Send out overdue thank you notes. Answer emails promptly and leave thoughtful comments on other blogs. Learn how to trackback (someone please tutor me on that art) and don't forget to link and roll.