#1 Lesson My Parents Taught Me That Has Helped Me Thrive In Business and In Life

Growing Up When I was growing up, my family struggled financially. I watched my father as he worked three jobs while my mother stayed home to care for me and my five siblings. Looking back, I can’t remember a single day when either one of them complained. They were focused on working hard and creating a better future for their children.

As kids, we would rake leaves, deliver papers, shovel driveways or whatever it took to earn money for our family. We gave every penny to our parents, no questions asked. At this very young age, I quickly learned the difference between needs and wants.

Even though times were difficult, my mother would always find a way to set aside money and help those who were even less fortunate. She instilled the importance of giving back by setting an amazing example for our family. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was learning invaluable lessons that would help guide me through my career and my life.

In Business Over the years we started several family businesses and when I was in college, my brother and I founded Edible Arrangements. In the early days, we instilled the same money management values that we learned from our parents into our brand.

We were always conscious of every penny we spent. By having strong cost controls in place from the very beginning of Edible Arrangements, it became a natural part of our business model. We carefully negotiated every purchase and continuously looked at ways we could create an amazing product in the most cost efficient manner. During the early years, we didn’t take salaries so we could stay afloat. We remembered the actions of our parents: work hard, focus on your needs and take care of others.

Once we were profitable, we reinvested in the business to continue to help it grow. Even more important, along the way, we were sure to give back to those in need in our communities, just as our mother had taught us many years before.

In Life I’ve recognized that one of the most important things for every child to learn is money management. The earlier it’s instilled the better. I just took my eight year old daughter to open her first bank account. She is now responsible for depositing money, deciding what to buy and recording what she spends. It’s such an important lesson to learn in life, especially when many people overspend on wants and get themselves into trouble.

If you’re fortunate enough to be able to buy things that you want (rather than just need) then I’ll share one piece of advice: If you’re going to buy clothing that sits in your closet or a car that sits in your garage, it’s simply not worth it. Only buy something if you love it, will use it often and fully enjoy it.

Kamran Farid is the Co-Founder and Former Chief Operating Officer of Edible Arrangements International, a company that he and his brother created in 1999. The Kamran Farid Foundation, inspired by his mother, helps identify and support unmet and often unrecognized needs in communities around the world. The foundation is focused on creating a sustainable, brighter future for the people it supports. Follow Kamran on Twitter @kamranf.