A child cannot be forced or coerced to become an entrepreneur—they have to desire it and feel passionate about it. However, you can guide your kids toward an entrepreneurial future, and the earlier you start the better!
Let them solve their own problems
Yes, it’s hard to see them struggle and even harder to see them fail or get discouraged. The temptation to rescue them from their problem is real, but this will only serve to delay their progress. If your child comes to you with a toy truck that the wheel has come off, ask them how they are going to fix it. Resist the urge to do it for them. If your teen is upset because they got a failing grade, show compassion and then ask them what they will do differently the next time to keep them from failing again.
Solving their own problems stretches them and teaches them to keep trying. Just like a baby needs to fall time after time in order to understand the intricacies of walking and eventually becoming capable of running and climbing, your child needs to learn the art of problem solving. This trial and error helps them develop other necessary skills that will aid them as they grow.
Just like that baby who just keeps getting back up, resilience means they will develop the capacity to recover quickly and not stay down, even if they feel discouraged. They will be able to withstand difficulties when they come, and let’s face it—they always do. They will develop confidence and discover how competent they are. This in turn will increase their self-esteem and enable them to bounce back faster the next time they run into a problem.
Help your child set some goals
It doesn’t need to be anything big or life-changing at the start. Maybe they have a hard time getting up in the morning. They could set a goal to get up with the first alarm instead of hitting the snooze over and over and having to miss breakfast and maybe the bus. Reminding them of their goals is fine, but nagging them if they don’t follow through only creates tension. Again, let them own their problems and come up with their own solutions. Eventually, they will work it out.
As kids achieve their small goals, they become more confident in setting bigger, more important goals and make bigger decisions—like whether to go to university or trade school. Their goals need to be their own. They should motivate them and mean something to them personally. It would help them to write their goals down and even make an action plan to help them succeed.
Goal setting triggers new behavior and gives your child a sense of self-mastery, which will help them throughout their life.
Don’t neglect technical skills
These days, your child cannot get by without a working understanding of technology and how to use it. Whatever their interest, you can be confident that it ties into tech, somehow. When it’s age-appropriate, sign them up for a free coding class, or encourage them to learn about digital marketing.
Financial literacy is King
It’s important for your child to understand financial literacy—to possess skill and knowledge that allows them to make informed financial decisions. This can begin at a very early age and continue throughout their life.
Most children have no concept of what money is or how it works. (Check out this great book on the history of money!) By the time your child is entering their young teen years, they should be able to make and keep a budget, track their spending, and know how to stay out of debt or pay it off quickly. A budget is more than keeping track of where they spent their money. It is planning where their money will go and sticking to their plan. Controlling their money allows them financial freedom and opens the door to become an entrepreneur.
Even a young child can start an enterprise early in life. If you give an allowance, it should be earned. As adults, we rarely get money without working for it, so prepare your kids by teaching them the importance of earning and the good feelings that go along with it.
Neighbors are a good source for first time job opportunities such as pet-sitting, weed pulling, watering plants. As your child gets older, their jobs should reflect that. They could start their own power washing business, grocery store runs, babysitting, pet walking, the options are nearly unlimited!
When they are ready, they should hold down a steady job and learn all they can about the company they work for, and the roles of people above them in the company structure. Every business has something they can learn that will benefit them in their goal of becoming an entrepreneur. As a parent, you can encourage them throughout these stages. Remember, it isn’t just about making money. Volunteering and gratis work are important in character building, a key trait for becoming successful. As your child progresses and has successful job opportunities, they will become skilled in recognizing other opportunities.
Be their biggest cheerleader
Continue to nurture your child’s skills and interests to keep them motivated—especially when they struggle. With each roadblock they navigate or problem they solve, your child will become more and more confident in their decision making and in their ability to manage their finances and earnings, and potentially start their own successful enterprise.
When your child hits slumps in their entrepreneurial journey, encourage them with stories of other people who overcame hardship to build their dream empire. The Tuttle Twins Guide to Inspiring Entrepreneurs tells the stories of men and women who put it all on the line to follow their dreams and made it big!
Who knows, maybe we’ll be writing about your entrepreneur someday.