These days, the traditional path of getting a good education and going to work in the corporate world isn't always the best way to find success. Although it's still a great choice, many young people prefer instead to take a path of entrepreneurship, and there's a lot that parents can do to help them follow that path.
Lemonade stands, family learning adventures, and smart financial lessons are just a few of the ways that parents can instill an entrepreneurial attitude of success in their children from a very early age. Read on to find out how you can help your child become a great entrepreneur from the very start.
Encourage them to follow their ideas:
Whether your kids want to start a blog, sell vegetables from your garden, or set up a classic lemonade stand, give them your time and encouragement. Let them learn by doing, and find opportunities for lessons along the way. Ask them to consider how they'll fund their startup, where to get supplies, how much to charge, how to find their customers, and of course, what to do with the money they earn. You should of course set some limitations for time, legality, and safety, but be open to let your kids explore their own ideas. Allow them to fail, and turn failures into learning moments.
Teach good teamwork:
Rarely do entrepreneurs succeed completely independently. Even if they're in business alone, they're networking, getting others interested, and meeting with people that can help get their business off the ground. Learning how to work with others is essential for success, so be sure to encourage group work in school, in your home, and beyond.
Encourage team sports:
Team sports are a great way to teach kids to work with others, and they're also great for learning business lessons. Chances are, they won't win every game, but the setbacks and hard work that are a part of playing sports can teach kids how to work toward success.
Every great entrepreneur needs a mentor, and for your kids, you are that person. Although you should encourage your child to operate independently, always be there to answer questions or offer helpful suggestions. If you don't know how to solve a problem, learn how to do it together.
Teach your kids to be self-starters:
Doing what they're told is easy for most kids. Asking them to complete certain chores is simple and straightforward. But if you want them to start thinking creatively, encourage their initiative. Ask them to come up with ideas for chores that need to be done, or encourage them to plan a meal and cook for the family once a week.
Encourage adventure and observational skills:
Some of the best entrepreneurs found success simply by filling a need that no one else even knew existed. The world is full of business opportunities, if only we could notice them. Parents can help their children learn to recognize these types of opportunities by developing observation and creativity. Walk around your neighborhood with your kids and consider which needs are not being met. Do you have neighbors that need lawn care? Businesses that need a website? Teach kids to recognize and anticipate the needs of others.
Entrepreneurship can be a bumpy road full of obstacles and challenges to overcome, even for the best-laid plans. Show your children that problems are just solutions that have not been solved yet. Give them small challenges to overcome, and nudge them in the right direction to find a solution.
Show your own entrepreneurial spirit:
Kids can learn about entrepreneurship by watching you in your own venture. Even if you're working a 9-to-5 office job, you can take on a small entrepreneurial experience on the side. Selling crafts on Etsy, walking dogs, and doing handyman (or woman) work is a great way to set an example. Be sure to openly share your experiences with your kids.
Tell them about great entrepreneurs:
In addition to setting your own example in entrepreneurship, encourage your kids to learn from the greats. Tell them the stories of young, successful entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, who started Facebook in his dorm room. Give them examples and role models to look up to and be inspired by. Show them that others are making it big as entrepreneurs, even other teens and young adults.
Point them in the direction of Junior Achievement:
Many schools have chapters of Junior Achievement, an organization that brings business owners into schools to teach and mentor students as they create entrepreneurial opportunities. This is a great way for your child to learn about leadership, teamwork, and real world entrepreneurship in a team setting.
Play business games:
Many games exist to teach kids the basics of business. Make learning about entrepreneurship fun by engaging your children in these games. In one such game, Disney's Hot Shot Business, children decide what to do when a comic book company leaves town and leaves the opportunity to utilize resources.