“Entrepreneurs are people who have ideas and passions and see needs in the world—and they decide to stand up and put everything on the line to make that happen.” – Cameron Herold
It seems like kids are constantly being pushed to become engineers, accountants, lawyers, scientists, and doctors. There’s nothing wrong with that…but why not raise kids to be entrepreneurs? They could change the world. Here are 12 surefire ways to raise kid entrepreneurs:
- Cultivate creativity. Think about the first time you created something, the pride you felt welling up inside of you. That’s what you want for your kids. If you cultivate creativity in them, they will be empowered to approach life with the entrepreneurial mindset of always looking to create something out of nothing.
- Demonstrate learning from mistakes. We’re all guilty of occasionally trying to hide our mistakes from our kids, but that’s not going to prepare them well to own up to their own mistakes in the future. When you forget to pick them up from soccer practice, let them know you’re sorry. When you give your phone more attention than you give your kids, offer to make up for it by taking them to the park or playing their favorite board game. Mistakes are growing opportunities. Your kids will understand that if they see you live it out.
- Seek opportunities for public speaking. Does your kids’ school have a debate team? Encourage them to join. If that’s not an option, find other ways. Arrange for your daughter to give a neighborhood presentation about something she’s been excited about learning. Help your son prepare a town hall speech for a cause he’s passionate about. Public speaking is a skill few have and many long for—don’t miss the chance to instill it in your kids early on.
- Always support asking questions. Kids have natural curiosity inside them. Don’t ever extinguish it! Whenever they ask you a question, even if it’s their 500th question that day, patiently give them an answer. This will heighten their curiosity even more and equip them with a lifelong love for learning that can’t be developed through textbooks and lectures.
- Encourage asking for help. Lots of kids want to be independent. But kid entrepreneurs know they can’t go it alone. When you see your child struggling with something, tell them it’s okay to ask for help. Keep your eyes out for people in your community that are eager to pour into your kids. When your child is ready to take that step of asking for help, you’ll know exactly where to send them.
- Teach how to sell. Whether or not your child becomes a career entrepreneur someday, the skill of marketing is what prepares them for the real world. When they’re applying to college, they need to be able to market themselves. When they’re seeking a promotion, they have to advocate for themselves. There’s no better way for a kid to develop this invaluable skill than learning firsthand through starting their own business with MyFirstSale.
- Inspire a desire to make money. This is a desire that’s often smothered in our society. It’s what drives entrepreneurs to succeed, though. When your child comes to you with an idea to sell the basement couch or the backyard tomatoes you’ve been growing, affirm that. Find an outlet for that. Maybe they can’t sell the couch, but they can sell their old toys. Maybe you don’t have enough tomatoes to supply a farmstand, but they can pick wild blackberries and sell those. This desire won’t make your kids greedy; it will show them the value of their time and creativity.
- Model never giving up. Your children will either learn tenacity from you or they won’t. It’s your choice. And it’s not just overcoming the huge obstacles. It’s refusing to give up in the face of daily irritants. It’s being kind even when you’re treated badly. It’s mustering up grit to handle another tedious day at work. That’s what your kids will remember when they face their own challenges.
- Don’t give them an allowance. Your kids need to know they’re responsible for finding creative ways to get what they want. If they see a shiny new bicycle, let them know you need some weeding done. If they want to go on a trip with friends, tell them they can earn the necessary money by selling things they don’t need. Let them figure out business ideas for kids. Not having an allowance compels kids to earn enough to cover their wants and not expect to simply be handed everything.
- Show how to save money. Nothing could be more detrimental to your kids’ financial future than watching you spend your money recklessly. If you want them to be savers, be a saver. You’ve already had to master budgeting for kids. Show them where your money’s going. Let them know you’re generous and considerate with your finances. Foster delayed gratification in your kids. Don’t miss your chance to instill in them the priceless habit of saving money.
- Foster leadership skills. Entrepreneurs are natural leaders. For your kids to adopt the entrepreneurial mindset, they need to be ready to lead in any situation. Your role is to find opportunities that build their confidence. Put them on a sports team or in a choir or band. Create a vision board or brainstorm kid focused business ideas together. Send them to a summer camp. Whether your child leads in a big, exuberant way or in a quiet, peacemaking way, they will be ready to take on the world.
- Believe in their ability to see solutions. Kids aren’t blind to the problems in our world. In fact, they have what it takes to develop solutions in ways adults haven’t dreamed of. Kids are more likely to take risks and remain optimistic because most of them have never failed. All they need is for you to believe in them. Look for and encourage that ability to see solutions—and make sure your kids know you have their back, no matter what. There’s nothing stopping the rising generation of kid entrepreneurs.
For several of these ideas, I’m indebted to Cameron Herold’s TEDx Talk. Watch it here.