Entrepreneurship requires a different mindset and way of thinking than the standard line of thinking that is instilled in us to get good grades in school, go to college, get a good job, and save for retirement. Entrepreneurs have different opportunities and challenges from employees and need a different level of support from family and friends on their journey.
Kids rely on their parents to teach them lessons and to support them in pursuing their life goals. If your child has caught the entrepreneurship bug and is passionate about starting a business, the best gift that you can give them is to guide and support them in making great decisions. Let’s discuss how to do that!
Why Entrepreneurship Exploration At a Young Age Is Exciting and Important
Learning about entrepreneurship at a young age will teach important life skills that can be used in adulthood. Communication, networking, identifying their strengths and passions, time management, creatively finding resources, and goal setting are transferable skills young entrepreneurs learn.
Kids love to learn new things in fun and interactive ways! My passion in my teens was clothing, so I started to create tie-dyed products to sell in my hometown. Those lessons were invaluable, and the support of my siblings pushed me to figure out how to be successful.
How to Support Your Kids Entrepreneurial Passion
As a young person, exploring different passions allows us to discover what type of person we want to be, skills we are naturally gifted at, and possible careers we are interested in.
Trying out different businesses as a kid allows a safe space to explore without the pressing need to pay the mortgage or provide for a family. Making mistakes as a kid teaches valuable lessons! In a traditional school environment, we are often taught that making mistakes or failing is bad, but that line of thinking stunts personal growth and impacts mental health. In our family, we encourage kids to make mistakes and fail, then identify what lessons were learned in the process.
Teach your kids the following skills to set them up for success in their entrepreneurial journey!
#1: Goal Setting
Setting goals and achieving milestones allows kids to feel responsible for their own actions while developing a “can do” attitude.
Teach your kids about setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based).
Have open conversations about possible obstacles that could pop up during the journey and different ways to work through challenges.
Ask questions about why they want to start a business and what they will use the money for that is made from the business. What materials will be needed and how will they be paid for?
#2: Financial Literacy
We don’t have to be financial experts to teach our kids about smart financial habits, and it’s a great start to teach them the basics. Discuss the difference between wants and needs and how to decide what to spend money on.
Give kids ideas of how to have things in life that they want by getting creative. Use coupons, buy used, barter, or trade.
Allow kids to make their own money and choose how to spend it, so they learn that money is a finite resource they no longer have once it has been spent.
Help them set short and long-term spending goals, so they learn about delayed gratification or offer to help them make big purchases by paying half if they save half of the money.
#3: Problem Solving
We want to protect our kids and solve all their problems for them, but that isn’t realistic because they will never learn to solve problems on their own if we do that. Working through various problems as an entrepreneur teaches confidence, curiosity, and creativity.
Start slowly by offering a few choices and allowing them to choose from that list of choices.
#4: Inspiring Creativity
Emotional intelligence is often higher in entrepreneurs because of the flexibility and ability to problem-solve that they have learned through experience. Creativity helps in school subjects such as math, science, and creative writing projects.
Allow your kids to have play time or business planning time that is not structured or supervised by adults. Free play and planning allow kids to think and brainstorm ideas. Encourage them to think about multiple options and solutions, so they get used to brainstorming.
Creativity is not just about achieving the goal so be careful not to reward for every step of the goal-setting process. Reward should be inspired by the achievement of the goal, not by the promise of reward when a milestone is reached.
#5: Socializing and Community Involvement
Well-adjusted kids feel a sense of involvement in their community and feel supported by a loving support network. Humans have a deep-seated need to feel connected to others and a desire to help. Altruistic feelings in kids promote happiness and volunteering helps kids learn how to network with like-minded people. Helping out in the community can promote skill-building and exploring passions. Examples of volunteer opportunities can include playing with animals at the shelter or making food for the community center dinners.
How does community involvement teach entrepreneurship?
Networking with community members allows kids to talk to adults that may help them brainstorm about what businesses are needed in the community, such as landscaping or pet sitting.
#6: Learning Lessons From Life Experiences
We are often told in school that making mistakes is bad and are encouraged to play by the rules, so we don’t “fail.” The awesome thing about being an entrepreneur is that we have the opportunity to fail early and often, which teaches us to find solutions that we may not have thought of before, and we learn to be resilient to work through challenges.
#7: Brainstorming Business Ideas
Have a conversation about your kids’ passions and what you feel they’re skilled at. When volunteering in the community, talk to friends you meet to find out what products or services they feel are missing locally or those that could offer something different. This is how you find your niche and identify your target market or customers.
Once your kids are used to brainstorming ideas with you and other adults, they can come up with ideas on their own to discuss with friends or potential business partners down the road.
#8: Set the Example
Kids learn through example so let them see you working or conducting adult business such as running errands. When I was a kid, I used to run around town with my grandparents as they worked on their home renovation company. I went to the lumber yard and hardware store with them to pick up supplies, then went to bid on jobs with them to see how they interacted with their customers.
I learned to shake hands and look people in the eye when doing business with them. I learned about business expense accounts and how to write up a bid for a project. And I learned how to make home repairs like laying new flooring or cleaning out filters. These lessons have helped me in my real estate investing business now as an adult, and we are teaching the next generation what we have learned from those that came before us.
#9: Start a Business Together
What better way to learn than to learn with and from your parents as you learn together? Create amazing memories even if you’ve never started a business before on your own. Business is about learning, personal growth, and treating customers or suppliers well.
You don’t have to try to come up with the next amazing invention together to learn about business and entrepreneurship. And business doesn’t require you to know everything before you can get started. You don’t have to quit your job and go full-time when you first get started. You don’t have to buy courses or pay for fancy coaching.
Some of the best business owners I know have started businesses like landscaping companies or home cleaning firms that started their company slowly at night and on weekends while working a full-time job. Their kids worked right alongside them even from a young age and now they work together full time in the family business that started out as an idea for some extra income.
The best thing that we can do for the kids in our lives believes in the power of their passions, desires, dreams, and goals. Even if you don’t have all of the answers for them or the necessary experience to guide them, your support is oftentimes enough to push them forward on their journey.
My grandparents believed in me no matter how outlandish my ideas were, even when my parents couldn’t bring themselves to support my goals. Everything that I am now and the things that I have accomplished are because I had a support network. Be that for your kids because they need it and they deserve the best version of us.