Homer youth values the education of life experience
Since he was very young, Randall Anderson has been helping his father with his business ventures. Today, he is preparing to set out on his own, armed with an education from homeschooling and life experience.
Five years, ago, he began helping his dad build houses for family, friends and neighbors.
"My dad came to me and my brother and said that if we helped him build the houses, he'd give us 10 percent of what they sold for," Anderson shared. "He treated us like his employees, not his sons, and I learned that working isn't always easy and sometimes dealing with a client is as important as the actual job itself."
When the houses sold and Anderson received his percentage, he was inspired to build and sell a house on his own. He originally planned to build a cabin on a piece of property, but was discouraged by the amount of money required up front and decided to build a tiny house instead.
"Tiny houses are great starter homes and good for investments," he said. "I like that I can build a house and that someone can buy it and just tow it away."
Armed with the skills he learned while building houses alongside his dad and working on remodel projects with others, he started building his house two years ago and completed it this past summer.
Anderson's house is 200 square feet, has white walls with rustic, dark stained tongue and groove pine ceilings and trim, has a 8 foot by 8 foot sleeping loft, full size shower and toilet, kitchen with a double sink and cupboards, a small living space with seating for a group and benches that pull out into beds and an extra storage loft above the entry deck.
He considers his strengths to be his ability to ensure that what he builds is structurally sound and he is learning the intricacies of finishing work from his father, YouTube videos and learning as he builds.
Besides building houses together, Anderson's father, Charles, has included his son in other business ventures. Four years ago, he invested in his dad's idea of a water taxi business and today, the family operates Sea Homer Water Taxi.
When the family lived in Missouri, where Anderson was born and lived until he was 9 years old and the family moved to Alaska, his dad ran a business, converting diesel to waste vegetable oil. He also started a mechanic shop, taking his sons on the install tours.
"We'd hand him tools and we learned to do some portion of the installs," Anderson said. "He treated us like adults and said that since we were working like adults, he should pay us like we were adults."
Grateful to have been raised with his father's entrepreneurial spirit, Anderson shared that, from a young age, he could see that it was unusual for a parent to include their children in their business ventures the way his father has.
"I think my dad did this because all the training and experience he received when he was younger was from his father and grandfathers," Anderson said. "He recognized that hands-on learning from experts can be just as valuable, if not more valuable, than trying to learn the same thing in a classroom, and that in many cases, those skills are not taught in the classroom."
Anderson's tiny house is for sale and once it sells, he is planning to build another and use some of the funds to go on a two-year mission trip after he graduates high school this spring, hoping to follow in his father's footsteps and be sent to Japan.
While he is eager to share what he believes with others, he is also hoping the experience of stepping out on his own for the first time will help him grow.
"I want to help better myself and to be more selfless," he shared. "I'm excited for the experience and for what's in store for me."
After his mission trip, he would like to return home, invest in a piece of property and build a vacation rental community of cabins and get his own construction business going.
Currently focusing on graduating high school, Anderson shared that he is grateful for his mother, Dawnette who has homeschooled him and his siblings, and encouraged and motivated him.
"Whenever I had an idea to make money or a new hobby I wanted to try out or set out with a new goal, she never tried to persuade me to not do it," he shared.
He is also grateful for the work ethic and environment his father nurtured in him.
"My dad always says that we live in a time when we have the sum total of the world's knowledge in our pockets, that it used to be that universities and colleges were where the books and knowledge were stored, but now, with smart phones and the internet, we can learn and study anything and everything," Anderson shared. "I believe that one of the most key things in living is to have a good education, but I also believe that a college education isn't the only path to knowledge and success. We can learn a lot from our own life experiences."