Maybe it started when they were six or seven and wanted to set up their own lemonade stand. By the time they hit nine or ten, they were selling pencils, erasers, candy, and gum to their classmates during recess. By twelve or thirteen, they were creating and monetizing a YouTube channel for money; funds that they then invested in their next big scheme.
If your loved one has ever exhibited these moments of kid entrepreneurship, how did you react? Did you respond with a congratulatory hug? An “I’m proud of you,” and a pat on the back?
Did you see the passion in your child and realize that it was something undeniable and worth nurturing?
Whatever the reason may be, these children and teens exist; the ones with a natural entrepreneurial drive that pushes them to recognize problems, parse out viable solutions, and build opportunities to make those solutions happen.
There is much debate on whether entrepreneurial traits are the result of nature or nurture, but research does show that encouraging entrepreneurship in kids will help them as either entrepreneurs or employees down the road.
By encouraging child entrepreneurship at an early age, we essentially assure the future generation of businessmen and pioneers that it’s okay to capitalize on their creativity rather than deny it.
What about the children that don’t seem to be entrepreneurially inclined? There’s no reason you can’t teach them entrepreneurial skills, either! Entrepreneurial skills can benefit your kids no matter where their passion takes them. It’ll also prove to be highly advantageous if they take these skills with them on their respective career paths.
With that said, here are 7 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Become Entrepreneurs:
Teach Them How to Recognize Opportunities
Entrepreneurship has always been about identifying and solving pain points. Entrepreneurs know how to recognize a problem and set about finding a solution. In cases where the problem is present but unacknowledged by society, entrepreneurs find ways to illustrate the concern—and the solution. In cases where the problem is known and the solution already exists, entrepreneurs find ways to make the solution better.
Whatever the case may be, it’s this recognition of the opportunity that leads to entrepreneurs creating (or instigating the creation of) a product or service that people soon become dependent on.
What do a mousetrap and a car have in common? They’re both answers to a problem that society was facing. And now? They’re both inventions that society cannot do without.
As a parent, you may find that there are many opportunities for encouraging problem recognition and solution-oriented creativity.
Let Them Solve Problems
We, as parents, are often guilty of unknowingly holding our kids back. Of course, we want them to reach their full potential, and of course, we want them to advance and mature. But how can they even start to grow when we’re constantly making the big decisions for them?
In today’s age of helicopter parenting, many parents don’t allow their children to think for themselves. They instead insist on taking the reins and making the calls, rushing to fix whatever difficulties they can and shielding their kids from whatever they can’t.
As parents, it’s our duty to protect our children—not suffocate them. Eventually, we have to let them call the shots. We have to let them face adversity head-on and decide, for themselves, what they want to do about it.
Children who aren’t used to deciding for themselves will feel lost at the first sign of adversity, and this can be detrimental to their development. They may bring this same crippling indecision as adults, making it harder for them to face average challenges.
In life, we are always going to meet unstoppable forces and immovable objects—hurricanes and storms that can knock us right off our feet. As parents, we have to accept that kids are, eventually, going to fall. They’re going to fail. They’re going to experience disappointment, frustration, and failure.
Teach them, as early as possible, that it does not matter how many times they fall. What matters is that they get right back up and say, “is that all you got?”
Every successful entrepreneur has gotten knocked down at least a dozen times in their life. And they turned those dozen losses into victories by getting back up and trying again. Inspire courage and strength in your child while they’re still young, and they will grow to be true success stories. They will succeed at everything they try to do because they will choose to never give up.
Because for both adults and children, entrepreneurship entails resilience.
Help Them Start Enterprises Early in Life
Remember those situations we mentioned earlier? The lemonade stand, the lawn mowing, the school supply service? Those are examples of children entrepreneurship that need to be encouraged.
It doesn’t matter if it’s been done a million times before. It doesn’t matter if their ventures don’t earn as much as other ventures. It doesn’t matter how simple, how modest, how easy it seems; these early enterprises are all the encouragement your kids need to learn the value of hard work.
These simple businesses will teach your kids valuable skills that they can bring and apply anywhere:
How to sell themselves
How to handle rejection
How to overcome concerns/anxiety
It will also teach them the true worth of earning money through hard work. This will, in turn, make them value their financial resources even more.
Teach Financial Literacy
Teaching kids about money when they are young will provide them with a solid financial foundation that is often overlooked in school. Currently only a few states require high school students to actually take a personal finance class before they can graduate. And, apparently, one in every five teenagers (aged 15) lacked basic financial literacy knowledge.
Your kids are never too young to learn financial literacy. In the case of children, entrepreneurship is an excellent means to introduce it. Children need to learn how to save their money and invest it in things that matter. They also need to know that they can’t just expect money; they have to earn it.
And when they receive money as gifts (especially from grandparents, and especially around the holidays), teach them that those dollars don’t need to be spent; they can be saved. Illustrate how it’s much better to set aside that $20 from grandma rather than blow it on chips or candy.
Once your kids are old enough, help them set up their own bank account. Show them how they can track their checking and savings accounts. Teach them how interest works. Aside from making them feel like real adults (which a lot of kids love), it will also help improve their sense of accountability for their personal finances.
Teach Goal Setting
Goal Setting is another great entrepreneurial skill that a lot of successful business people like Richard Branson, Warren Buffett, and Elon Musk employ. They are practically obsessed with writing their goals down and tracking them as closely as possible. Digital notes, traditional pen-and-paper, voice memos … whatever method they choose, smart business people insist on setting SMART goals.
And yes; SMART is capitalized for a reason:
S – specific
M – measurable
A – achievable
R – realistic
T – timely or time-based
Studies show that people are 42% more likely to achieve goals that have been written down. And if these goals follow the SMART criteria, the likelihood drastically improves as well.
As a child, entrepreneurship might come off as a big, intimidating concept that they’re not ready for. But goal-setting is something simple, straightforward, and easy to understand. It’s something anyone can learn to do from an early age. To effectively teach your kids to become entrepreneurs, goal setting is a must.
Teach Technology Skills
What do Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates have in common?
They all learned how to code in middle school.
Coding for kids involves a myriad of skills that are undoubtedly useful and, once fully developed, will only prove beneficial to them in the long run. It fosters skills in math, logic, and creativity. It teaches them problem solving and situational analysis. It involves in-depth computation and reasoning—two things that can impact nearly every profession one can choose to get in to, from marketing to medicine, from law to physical labor.
Even children drawn to liberal arts and humanities can benefit from having logic and creativity skills developed through coding.
There are no shortcuts to learning how to code. Certainly, there are guides and platforms that can make it easier to teach coding for kids., but it still presents a challenge in some regards. You need discipline if you want to learn how to code the right way.
Another example? Determination. Coding for kids can be both rewarding and discouraging, especially when there’s a particularly unforgiving problem that they just can’t solve. Coding inspires the kind of determination kids need to foster if they want to rise above the roadblocks and challenges life is going to throw at them later on.