It used to be that a 9-5 office job in some corporation was a safe and sure way to have a career and obtain financial stability.
Those days are starting to disappear.
More and more people are turning to entrepreneurship full time or starting their own businesses to supplement their day jobs.
This post contains some practical ways to help your child be a successful entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs think differently than the average person. Try to instill these habits of thought so that your kids will have a entrepreneurial mindset that will serve them well in whatever situations they find themselves in.
- Growth Mindset
Do your kids quit when things get tough? At the first sign of trouble, do they pack up their bags? Kids (and adults!) who see failure as a permanent declaration over their abilities will struggle to have the grit necessary to be an entrepreneur.
But all of us can LEARN tenacity and resiliency.
Celebrate failure and how very much can be learned from it! Model this in your own life. Be vulnerable and let your kids know when you’ve messed up and how the world continued to spin.
Help kids learn the power of “yet”. For example instead of “I can’t do this math problem!” reframe it to “I don’t know how to do this math problem YET.”
- Self Motivated
Guide your children in learning to have an internal motivation. None of us like to nag. But often, our kids get used to only doing the things we as parents insist on them doing.
Remind kids that motivation isn’t a feeling but an act of the will. It’s doing something we don’t want to do in the short term because we strongly desire something valuable in the long term.
Help kids think of the “why” behind their business. Maybe they want to save money for a car. Maybe they want to go to an expensive camp. Maybe they want to donate to a charitable work close to their hearts. Keep that motivation front and center so that when the hard stuff inevitably comes, they have the internal motivation to push through.
- Outside-the-Box Thinking
Entrepreneurs are creators. They either have come up with something new, or have combined something old or repurposed it. They aren’t cogs in a machine, but rather step outside the proverbial assembly line and look at things with fresh eyes.
Creativity is messy, and often looks like they’re “doing it wrong”. When your kids use things in unconventional ways, resist the urge to correct. Ask questions of common occurrences, like “How could this be done faster?” “What might make this process more convenient?” “What else could this object do?” etc.
- Putting Yourself Out There
When you start a business, you have to put a bit (or a lot) of yourself into it. It scary and vulnerable.
Try to first ground kids in who they are and things about themselves that never change regardless of circumstances. (I always remind my kids that even if the world falls apart around them, they were made by God, Jesus died to save them, and that He is always with them and for them.)
Then encourage activities that push them beyond their comfort zone. (Examples: Climb a ropes course for the kid afraid of heights. Give a speech for the kid with stage fright. Place the fast food order for the kid nervous around strangers.)
The more they cross into the uncomfortable and find out they survived, the easier it gets.
There are certain skills that are key to nearly all entrepreneurial endeavors. And don’t forget, it’s never too late to learn things. You may graduate with one skill and find that you’ll need to teach yourself another particular skill for your business.
- Persuasive Communication
This is huge no matter what field your kids eventually find themselves in. They may have knowledge, passion, and something vitally important to share with the world. But if they can’t communicate persuasively, it can all be for nothing.
Read widely. Read the classics. Read a TON. Who better than the masters to learn communication skills. Memorize poetry and the great speeches. Narrate constantly. (Learn more about the seemingly simple yet profound tool of narration!) Write in all sorts of genres. Speak in front of others.
It takes practice and time, but it’s worth it.
- Branding, Marketing and Networking
With the internet these days, having basic understanding design and branding will pay off in droves.
Knowing how to utilize advertising, email funnels, and social media can make or break a business.
And the old adage “It’s all about who you know.” certainly still holds true. Encourage your kids to have an elevator pitch and to be evangelistic about their ventures.
- Business Math
Knowing basic math skills will help your kids keep their eyes on the bottom line, not waste their time, and keep them from getting duped.
- Customer Service
One of the things that sets great companies apart is when they go above and beyond in helping meet their customers needs. The occasional disgruntled customer is inevitable, and how your child responds to that can leave a lasting impression.
Kids that notice when others are in need may be the same person that comes up with a marketable solution.
Even as young children, when we are reminding them to put others first, we can tie its value in to being a good business owner.
- Marketable Skills
Often, kids want to start a business but aren’t sure what they can do. As they go through their young lives, keep asking things like “What can you teach?”, “What can you make?”, “What can you automate or make easier for someone else?”.
The answers to these questions will of course change over time. The point is to get them thinking along these lines throughout their life so they can pivot as circumstances and skills change.
Introduce and Model the Entrepreneurial Life
Kids soak up the environment they find themselves in. Help fill their lives with the entrepreneurial spirit!
- Add to Your Own Income Streams
Even if you work a typical 9-5 corporate job, you can still model the life of an entrepreneur by having a side hustle or a passive income stream.
Don’t forget to keep asking yourself what you can offer. As circumstances change, so can your businesses.
For example, I taught swimming lessons all through high school and college. When we got married, we didn’t have easy access to a pool so it didn’t even cross my mind. Now, over a decade later, we’re in a neighborhood with a pool and all my kids can swim and JOIN me in this side hustle. I’m glad I kept the creativity and possibilities open!
- Talk to Entrepreneurs You Know
There are so many people that you interact with that own their own business either full or part time. Give your kids opportunities to converse about being an entrepreneur with their piano teacher, the bakery shop owner, your friend that wrote a book.
- Read Biographies about Entrepreneurs
Hearing the stories of what people have overcome can be truly inspiring. I have an entire list of picture books about inventors that would be a great place to start!