Children should learn entrepreneurship at an early age so that they have more time to build up experience and better understand how to sustain and expand a startup. They need to learn early on in life how to be their own boss
HOW TO MAKE YOUR KIDS BECOME GREAT ENTREPRENEUR
1. Let children solve their own problems.
Resist the urge to fix all of your children’s problems. I understand that’s not easy, but letting your kids solve their own problems is an entrepreneurial skills that can only be developed through experience.
You could also introduce them the Scientific Method, which can build creativity, curiosity, and confidence in your child.
2. Foster creativity.
Creativity is a key entrepreneurial trait. It can help strengthen emotional intelligence, while also helping us become more flexible and better problem solvers. Another perk, specifically for your kids, is that creativity is essential for subjects like science, math, and writing.
To foster creativity in your children, try out these seven ideas from Christine Carter for the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley:
- Give your children “ unstructured, child-directed, imaginative play –unencumbered by adult direction.”
- Foster a creative atmosphere where children can brainstorm ideas, as well as make mistakes and fail.
- Give your children the autonomy to explore their ideas.
- Encourage them to read and participate in arts.
- Allow them to express “divergent thought” by encouraging them to develop more than one solution.
- Don’t reward them for being creative because they “interfere with the creative process.”
- Emphasize more on the process, as opposed what your children have achieved.
3. Get kids involved in the community.
Successful and happy individuals have one thing common; they give back to their community. There’s several reasons why this is true. For starters, we’re hardwired to help others. In fact, giving activates the part of the brain associated with altruism and happiness.
Additionally, giving can also help you find your passion, strengthen your skills, and develop empathy. Volunteering, for example, can also offer networking opportunities.
However, just simply donating food or money to a charitable organization can be difficult for children to understand where these contributions are going. It’s recommended, then, that you start at home. Begin by encouraging small acts of kindness, like helping a family member, and then work up to something bigger.
After that, sit down with kids and find out which people, organizations, or causes they’re interested in helping. Then, find ways to help these people, organizations, or causes in your local community. For instance, if your children are passionate about animals, volunteer as a family at a local animal shelter.
4. Find “learning lessons” in adversities.
Throughout life, and especially in school, we’re taught that failure is bad and it should be avoided at all cost. As you know, this isn’t the case as an entrepreneur since failure can be beneficial.
Napoleon Hill, author of the classic book Think And Grow Rich, states that, “Every failure carries with it a seed of equal or greater benefit.”
By allowing your children to fail will encourage them to think of various ways to accomplish their goals and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they become more confident and resilient.
To teach this lesson, don’t punish your kids when they a mistake. Instead have a discussion on the factors that lead to the failure. Then, brainstorm ideas that will prevent this from happening again in the future. Once they’ve stated what they’ve learned from this adversity, encourage them to never give-up when they experience a setback.
5. Encourage them to learn how to code.
If you want to give your children a competitive edge in the future, then there’s nothing better than teaching them how to code.
After all, coding can improve academic performance in areas like math, build communication and organizational skills, and makes them feel empowered. What’s more, it can prepare them for career in technology — or least prepare them in innovating technology.
Because STEM jobs have been on the rise, there’s more than resources that can teach kids to code, such as:
- Code.org. This non-profit organization provides numerous tools, resources, and tutorials to help anyone learn how to code.
- Hopscotch. This website is designed for children between the ages of 9 to 11. This helps them learn how to program games.
- Move the Turtle. This site is also built for the ages of 9 to 11 year old. The free iPad app helps children develop critical thinking skills.
- Daisy the Dinosaur. Children as young as four can use this app to discover the basics of coding.
- Kidsruby. This is a fun way for kids to learn how to program Ruby code.
- Sphero. This is an interactive hands-on toy that can help you kids learn some basic programming skills as they expand the existing robotic capabilities of the toy.
6. Brainstorm business idea with your kids.
Your children’s entrepreneurial journey will probably start with receiving an allowance for household chores.
[editor note: I NEVER “gave” my children an allowance. Nothing is free. Certain chores were expected in our household for part of living there. Feed the dog, clear your dishes, have your room clean. Also, you do what I ask and I will do what you ask. Period. We help each other.]
Eventually, they’ll discover that they have their own ideas for making their own money. Have a brainstorming session with your kids so that they can come up with the own business ideas and start a business when they’re young.
Like you, yourself did when developed your business or company. Start with the basics — like what they’re skilled at — and what their talents are. If they’re creative — then maybe start selling their homemade products to neighbors, community events. Assist them in setting-up their own eCommerce site.
7. Be an influencer.
As reported in a Fast Company article, research shows that “parents play a huge influence in determining a child’s work ethic and habits. This means that how you talk to your kids about your work and job, including your satisfaction (or lack thereof) with it, directly shapes the ideas about work that your children are likely to adopt.”
Professor Wayne Baker from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business suggests that parents should “be conscious about the messages [they] send.”
Baker, speaking of his own son, adds, “I do want him to know that whatever he does, it’s possible to love what you do, like I do. Because when you love your work, it doesn’t seem like work.”
Furthermore, research from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education found that parental conversation shapes “academic socialization,” establishes kids’ expectations, and helps draw connections between you children’s current behavior and their future goals.
8. Inculcate financial literacy from the get-go.
Financial literacy is something that all children need to have today. Unfortunately, schools often don’t give enough attention to this area in your child’s education. Don’t leave this area to chance. Teach your kids about money from an early age to give them a solid grounding in finance.
Educate your children about saving and investing and show them how money can be used to make more money. If you see them throwing away coins, tell them to pick them up. Kids need to understand that every coin counts. When discussing with your partner or with yourself about how to spend your money, how much to save for a particular thing, say vacation, and things like that, let your kids in on it.
Explain the difference between wants and needs.
Believe it or not, this is even a concept that preschoolers can grasp.
Make sure that your children know that money is finite.
This means if they purchase a toy, then they won’t have enough to buy a second toy.
Allow your children to make money mistakes.
This is one of the most important steps — it’s when they make a disappointing impulse buy. They still have the safety net of living at home.
Helping them delay gratification.
This is having your kids want something really costly. Start it young. Regardless of the fact that you have a lot of money — you will pay only half of the purchase amount — and allow the child to save up the other half.
Teaching them that credit means borrowing money from others at a cost.
Handing out your cash — sometimes to buy love — is not what you want to do with your children. You may not want to charge interest to your kid.
One thing that helps is charging interest and have your child see that interest. When the item is paid off — put the interest amount in a separate savings account.
Stress that money has a time value.
“Now how long did it take you to earn that one pair of “Air Jordans?” You mow three lawns in the summer and shovel five driveways in the winter. Plus to work at this, this, and this.
Provide a realistic figure of how much money it takes to run the household or business.
Lay it out for your kids — plain and simply. I make this much money. Divide your salary up into hours you actually work. I work this many hours to pay for the house. This many hours to pay for the car. This many hours to pay for your school and and yoga class.
9. Inform a keen sense of observation and self-drive.
Help your kids recognize that the world around them is full of business opportunities, and finding them just requires some careful observation, self-drive and creativity. They really don’t have to be employed. So the next time your children ask for money to buy a favorite gadget, ask them to look around and brainstorm ways to create the money through entrepreneurship.
Cameron Herold, in his inspiring TedTalk about how he was raised as an entrepreneur as a child, and does the same for his children, reveals he tells his kids to find things that need to be done around the house and tell him. After which, they negotiate how much doing that chore should cost.
You can also encourage entrepreneurship by asking your kids to start small projects like a lemonade stand or sell their old toys online through sites like Craigslist. That will teach them how to fix prices, market well, spot scammers etc., which will bring your kids in the fray of the real world.
10. Encourage an attitude of exploration and inquisitiveness.
In addition to urging your kids to explore their environment, urge them to develop an inquisitive mind and constantly ask questions. Don’t let them get too comfortable with the same solutions for problems. They should study a lot of things and be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay Inc., agrees that exploration and inquiry are crucial lessons. “Our kids seem to thrive in situations that engage their curiosity and allow them to explore and discover the world around them on their own terms,” Mr. Omidyar says.
In his own childhood, Omidyar was immersed in both Persian and French culture thanks to his parents’ backgrounds. “Being exposed to and learning about these cultures taught me early on that there are different ways to think about any single situation, and that you don’t always have to do things the way they’ve always been done,” he says.
Let your kids walk around their community and engage with people from all walks of life within obvious considerations and safety precautions. You never know what opportunities they might find out there.
11. Teach goal setting and planning.
Goal setting and planning are an integral part to entrepreneurial success. These are positive habits that will come in handy when ingrained in your child’s psychic. The sooner your child learns how to plan, set realistic goals and follow laid down procedures to completion, the better.
Teach kids to set S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals and accomplish those goals. Ask them to define and write down their top five goals or objectives. Studies show that written goals are over 80% more likely to be achieved.
Next ask them to consider carefully and write down five actions necessary to accomplish these goals. Encourage and support them throughout to reach their defined goals. This will enhance your child’s self-worth, self-drive and overall feeling of personal accomplishment.
Thankfully, research has found that you can accomplish this feat by;
- Letting them choose their big goal by asking questions like, “What’s something that you wish you could achieve?”
- Discussing the purpose of their goals by asking, “What’s the benefit of doing well in class?”
- Breaking the big goal into smaller steps.
- Brainstorming potential obstacles so that they have a plan to overcome them.
12. Urge team work.
No one is completely self-sufficient. We all need help sometimes to reach our goals. The most successful entrepreneurs outsource heavy workloads and team up with others whose opinions they value to stay on track and succeed. Your child also needs to learn how to play well with others in order to reach common goals.
One of the best ways to promote team work from an early age is to urge your kids to participate in sports. Sports can be a great classroom for entrepreneurial principles and values. Arthur Blank, co-founder of Home Depot Inc. and owner of the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons, agrees and says, “Sports teach how important teamwork is.”
Arthur’s six children, who have all played a variety of sports, have had to learn how to deal with setbacks and how to move past losses. One of his sons, Joshua, is captain of his eighth-grade soccer team—a role Blank says will help the boy learn about leadership and inspiring others, as well as playing his own position. “Not winning every game and teamwork—these are all good lessons for entrepreneurship,” he explains.
13. Reward personal initiative and high quality work.
Insist that your kids take personal initiative and deliver high quality work each time, whether it is on homework, house chores or extracurricular activities. Giving their best in everything they do means kids are responsible and dependable and it contributes to their overall success.
Even exemplary solitary pursuits or passions like hiking for older kids can help them become self-driven and dependable without needing supervision. Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Co., says he found climbing mountains a good building block in becoming an entrepreneur.
“Climbers are a lot like entrepreneurs,” he says. “They are willing to put themselves in a risky situation then once there they become careful and cautious and try to reduce and eliminate the risk.” Reward your kids with monetary incentives or small treats for taking initiative to encourage good work.
14. Impress on kids to learn when failing.
In school, children learn that failure is bad. But, in the entrepreneurial arena, failure can be good if a positive lesson is learned. It was Napoleon Hill, author of Think And Grow Rich who said that, “Every failure carries with it a seed of equal or greater benefit.”
Instead of scolding or punishing your kids for failing at something, try discussing with them the factors that lead to the failure and brainstorm ways to prevent it from happening again in the future. Tell them failure is not entirely bad because it provides an opportunity to learn from mistakes and create new ways to accomplish goals.
Insist that they NEVER just give up, but to always find a lesson in every adverse situation. This way they will not dread failure or wallowing in self-pity and defeat when things don’t work out. People who have achieved have also failed at something. Patience and persistence is key for success.
15. Bolster effective communication skills.
This is a very important skill that every young person needs to learn. Communicating effectively allows kids to articulate their ideas and speak their mind in a way that what they say is clearly understood. This gives them a winning edge in their personal and professional lives.
Instruct your kids to be polite and respectful always. Tell them to speak boldly and support their points convincingly. Most importantly, show them how to maintain eye contact when speaking in person. And when speaking on the telephone, teach them to speak slowly, clearly and confidently.
When it comes to written communication, encourage your kids to write grammatically correct sentences that flow logically, and to avoid abbreviated words and phrases that might cause misunderstandings. These will be extremely useful in the future as adults and business owners.
16. Support giving back to society.
The most successful and happy people on earth give back to society. Why start a business if it doesn’t support a greater cause? Teach your kids the value of helping others. Life is not always about you, your needs and your comfort. Life is also about leaving the world a better place than you found it.
Remind your kids constantly that successful businesses provide benefits to more than just their owners. Tell them people who contribute to the success of others contribute to their own success and live a happy, more fulfilled life.
Ask them to choose a charity or special cause to support with a portion of the income they generate. And support them wholeheartedly when they find volunteer activities to participate in society. This way your kids will lead a contented life—full of meaning and service to humanity.
17. Lead by example.
In the end, many entrepreneurs say the most important thing that inspired and motivated them to achieve entrepreneurial success is the influence they had from their parents. They learned most of what they know from their parents who led by example. For Mr. Blank, for example, his parents were his biggest influence on his becoming an entrepreneur.
“I saw living examples of entrepreneurs,” he says. “My dad was 39 years old when he started a pharmacy wholesale business. He passed away at 44 when I was 15. My mother, who was 37 at the time, had no business experience but was a risk taker in her own way. She grew the business and later sold it to a larger pharmaceutical firm.”
Lead by example and always practice what you preach. Your kids are looking up to you. When you tell your kids to work hard and learn from their mistakes, show them that you also work hard and learn from your mistakes. When you tell them to be patient and respectful, be patient and respectful yourself. You are your children’s biggest role model and will likely remain so their whole lives.