In many ways, entrepreneurship is awesome! Being your own boss and working for yourself appeals to many for the freedom and flexibility it offers. This is especially true for parents and caregivers of disabled or aging loved ones who often need more time off than traditional employment allows. So why wouldn’t everyone take that path?
Successful entrepreneurship usually coincides with a certain set of characteristics that help entrepreneurs weather the storms that come with being your own boss and developing your own ideas. These characteristics are much more developed when instilled from childhood. However, our schools don’t generally teach children about the traits and concepts needed to be an entrepreneur.
What are these characteristics and how can you inspire your child to be an entrepreneur? Let’s take a closer look.
1. Practice Goal Setting
Entrepreneurs have to set goals for themselves; there is no way around this. Not only is goal-setting going to keep you on task, but also studies have shown that goals written down are 80 percent more likely to be accomplished.
Prompt your children to think about goals that they want to accomplish. It is good to start with short-term goals, and gradually move toward longer-term ones. Have the child write down their goals, track progress toward them, and celebrate when they reach them.
2. Encourage Opportunity Recognition
Teach children to become aware of potential opportunities. Many people these days are not looking at the opportunities that are right in front of them. Instead, they focus on the negatives and the problems. Help your child to develop a mindset that looks for solutions instead of getting stopped cold by problems. Teach them that a problem is just an opportunity for them to come up with an exciting and useful solution. For example, if the child observes that a playground is a mess, they could think about how to raise money and recruit help to get the playground fixed up. Begin by demonstrating this thinking yourself by voicing opportunistic ideas aloud to them.
3. Teach Money Matters
Especially for entrepreneurs, money matters are very important to understand thoroughly. Everyone must first understand how money works in order to make money work for them. Teach children the value of money, let them earn it, and help them to budget it. Explain to them how different concepts work such as loans, financing, credit, and the stock market. You can get creative and create age-appropriate activities that demonstrate the concepts.
4. Show How Failure Is a Teacher, not a Destination
Failure does not mean that you have reached the end. It is a chance to learn from your mistakes and win next time. Or the time after that. This is something that must be talked about with our kids since because the grading systems at schools usually view failure as actually failing, which can result in low self-esteem and other issues.
Being an entrepreneur allows you to get very familiar with failing, and finding new, alternate solutions. Often failure is part of the learning process and is not a dead end. Teach your kids about the pivot. Think of the initial failure as feedback that they should take into consideration while coming up with a new solution, or tackling a new and different problem. If children realize this early, it will be much easier to test their business ideas and develop one that will actually work.
5. Practice Communication Skills
With all the social media and technology that is around, many people are becoming awful at face-to-face or telephone communications. This is even more the case for children growing up in a tech-filled world. It is important that kids learn how to properly convey their ideas and show respect to others.
This can be done by taking time each day to talk with your child about different topics and turn off the electronics. Set up gatherings of friends and facilitate communication. While it is important for children to be savvy communicating online, offline communication should also be purposely developed.
6. Instill Independence
It is important for an entrepreneur to have the confidence to come up with an idea, try it, and stick with it in the face of adversity. In order to do so, a child needs to be an independent thinker. Encourage your child’s individuality and creative thinking. Allow them to try things on their own and learn lessons the hard way. There is no better teacher than personal experience, in a controlled environment for children.
7. Introduce Sales Situations
Introduce situations in which sales are involved. That can be anything, from having your child think about the way a certain toy is being marketed to the money she wants for an ice cream. The more kids think about sales, the more their entrepreneurial skills are going to develop.
8. Check Out Apps That Introduce Entrepreneurial Concepts
With the number of devices children have these days, these apps could be great for teaching your child more about entrepreneurs.
- Savings Spree: This app is for those 5 years of age and older. It is all about money and time concepts.
- Kids Money: This is a free app which is more like a calculator that you can use to meet your goals.
- P2K Money: This is a budgeting app that is free.
- The Game of Life: This is the board game of Life for a mobile device. Kids love it and it does give lessons on finances and life.
9. Start Early
The earlier you start developing these characteristics, the more likely they are to stick as the child ages. Most of these characteristics should be well developed by the age of 13.
10. Make It Fun
Make these lessons into something that is like a game for children. That way they are learning, but having fun, and it does not feel as though they are being taught a lesson. Plus, it helps them remember concepts even more.
For those who want to inspire a child to entrepreneurship, start teaching these lessons now. Through this process, your child will develop the independence, business smarts, and other characteristics needed to pioneer a new entrepreneurial path for themselves.
Jennifer Turrell is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.