Finally, an idea for a new business that doesn’t stink. (Well — you know what I mean.)
Canby 13-year-old Keaton Hunt is the Turd Herder (TLC reality show probably coming soon), a local “kidtrepreneur” who’s in the business of taking care of Fido’s business.
For a nominal fee (5 bucks a week, after a $30 startup fee), Hunt and his 10-year-old sister, Kiera Huff, will clean up dog waste from your yard.
It’s not an unheard-of business venture for enterprising youngsters, but Keaton’s has an unusually slick brand and social media presence, thanks largely to his mother, Annie Wardle, who owns a digital marketing agency.
Wardle said the kids started the business three years ago, when the family was living in Colorado.
“My kids kept asking me to buy them stuff and told me I owed them money for chores,” she recalls. “I do not pay for chores because I believe in order to run a smooth household, we all have to contribute.”
After this happened multiple times, Wardle finally unloaded on them.
“I told them I don’t owe you, because you get to live here for free,” she said. “And it is NOT your birthday and it is not Christmas, so no, I will not buy you these things just because you want them. If you want something, you have to work for it, just like I do.”
It was a real turning point for the family, Wardle explained.
“I felt like I had some realization that my kids were spoiled as shit, and I was done with it,” she remembered. “I wasn’t about to raise a bunch of spoiled, ‘give-me-everything’ type of kids.”
Wardle said she would help with the marketing, but the kids would be responsible for all the details: the work, the clients, budgeting and managing their expenses.
They each have their own checking and savings accounts. The first 15% of their earnings goes into savings, and they have to pay for their bags and gloves. Outside of that, they “keep every penny,” Wardle says.
“Keep” being a relative term, of course.
“Keaton has bought himself a $130 electric scooter, a camera for his PlayStation, $100 Bluetooth wands for his VR,” Wardle said. “They now know that if they want something and it’s not their birthday or Christmas, they ask, ‘How much money is in my account? I really want XYZ.’ I tell them how much they have and how much they still need, and they’re able to save up for what they want.”
Keaton and Kiera scooped up clients in Colorado Springs and later, Castle Rock, and the profits piled up. They even made the morning news.
Wardle says the experience helped them learn a lot about budgeting and the real value of a dollar. Since moving to Canby, they’ve even broached subjects like sales tax (the kids are big fans of the no-sales-tax system).
“It’s opened up conversations about having to pay sales tax in Colorado, and why they need to save money,” Wardle said. “But also about saving and budgeting. So, it’s been a great teaching/learning experience for all of us.”
Now, that he’s settled down after the big move, the Turd Herder wants to pick up where he left off in his new hometown of Canby, and is actively seeking new clients. Kiera still helps, Wardle says, but is looking to launch her own line of bath bombs and lip balms (we can only hope her brother is not a supplier).