I first felt the entrepreneur bug when I was 13 years old. My dad gave me Stacia's Dream Cream Ice cream store and game room as a birthday gift. Intrigued with the idea of owning a business and having to be concerned for profit and loss, I soon got into the rhythm of running a business. After the first month of my summer vacation, being spent in my store day in and day out, I soon realized my business was taking up all my time. I got savvy and created a work schedule and a system of operation, then I hired my friends to work for me, so I can go bike riding and go to the park. Sure, I had to share the profits but the payoff for my free time was worth it. I knew right then, I wanted to be an entrepreneur and I also knew that I needed good help for me to continue loving what I was doing.
My father was a well-known respected entrepreneur in our community. He instilled into me the importance of self-development and the value of owning a business. Throughout my life I have built upon the early principles my father taught me to grow my other businesses. I have also continued the entrepreneurial legacy with my own children.
Much like how my father introduced me into business, we gave our daughter Ariana her very own business when she turned 17 years old. She started the Billionheir Girls Club--a blog and fashion brand for young women. Then, At 15, my son Ryan started The Gadget Genius, an online store that provides "tech tools and toys for grown-up girls and boys." He learned how to run an enterprise and make a passive income through his online sales.
Entrepreneurship is a part of our family heritage. It has been ingrained in us from a young age. Helping your children start a business will give them confidence and leadership skills to excel in life. Whether you're a business owner or work a full time job, you too can empower your kids right now with wealth building independence by owning their own business. Even if your children haven't yet been exposed to the business arena, you can still raise them as entrepreneurs.
Here are 11 strategies to instill an entrepreneur spirit In your Kid:
- Teach them how to solve problems.
- Urge them to explore their environment and step out of their comfort zone.
- Help them move in the direction of their "bent".
- Show them what hard work looks like.
- Help build and develop their confidence.
- Teach them how to properly greet new people and make conversation.
- Encourage them to try new things and have diverse work or volunteer experiences.
- Share your own business experiences with your children.
- Teach them how to manage money.
- Have them help you in your business.
- Help them learn from failure.
One of the top traits that any entrepreneur needs to have is the ability to solve problems effectively. Teach your children to think creatively without limits. This is often something that comes naturally to children. As an adult with more life experience, be careful not to convey that to your children in a way that hinders their creative thinking. When you have a problem to resolve, involve them in your thought process so they can learn from it.
Entrepreneurs are often risk-takers. They are comfortable living "on the edge." Encourage your children to explore their world in a safe way. Provide them with cultural outings such as visits to museums, plays and performances, fine restaurants and new travel destinations. These mind-expanding experiences will help them grow into fearless entrepreneurs.
We all have specific skills and talents that we are innately good at. As a parent, it is your responsibility to help your children identify their bent, and encourage them to move in that direction. Usually it will be a subject in school or an activity that your child particularly enjoys. Buy books and other things related to their bent. For example, growing up, my son loved science. To encourage him on this path, we bought him different science experiments that he could try safely at home.
We all know that our children learn and act according to what we do, not what we say. As parents, children pay more attention to our behaviors than our words. What behaviors are you modeling for your children? If you want to raise entrepreneurs, they need to see an example of someone that works hard. Entrepreneurship goes beyond 9-5 and your kids need to see that. At my house, we are often up late and working around the clock. Make sure you also show your kids the rewards of the hard work as well, and do things together to reward yourself and your family.
Confidence is a huge key to success as an entrepreneur. Be your children's biggest cheerleader. Uplift them with encouraging words and be a positive influence in their life. Teach them to be independent and not give in to peer pressure.
This might seem like a basic skill, but it is an important one. As a future entrepreneur, your child will meet many new people on a regular basis. Teach them about divine connections and how to recognize that every person they sit next to or encounter could be a setup for a divine opportunity. Take them with you to events where they will meet new people. Make sure they practice looking others in the eye, smiling and saying hello. At dinner, practice good conversation techniques and questions your children can ask someone they just met.
Although your children likely will have a specific "bent", always encourage them to branch out and try new things. Once they are at an appropriate age, they can start working with you in business, or you can allow them to gain volunteer experience or work experience through another job. They will gain real-world experience and transferable skills that will help them when they are running their own company.
Talk about your business often. Let your children in on what new things you are doing and what projects you're working on. Allow them to sit in on staff meetings or go on client visits with you from time to time. Include them in brainstorming sessions. All of this will give them a glimpse of the day-to-day aspects of running a business.
This is crucial. To succeed in business, your children must know how to manage money. Encourage them to take an accounting class in school and learn basic business economics. Teach them about saving and investing; accounts receivable and payable. Sound money management skills will allow your children to build a strong foundation when they start their own business someday.
There are lots of things kids can do to help you in your business, even at a young age. They can sort and organize files, package products for shipping, or help with inventory. Give them a task that they are responsible for and make sure they follow through. Once they complete it, reward them for their hard work.
Every business owner has to learn to bounce back. The faster you can learn and do this, the better off you will be. When your kids experience setbacks in life, use them as a learning opportunity. Talk through the outcome and what they can do differently next time. If they can learn to brush off failure and move on, they will be well-prepared for the challenges they may face as an entrepreneur.