Even if your child isn’t a natural inventor, many kids possess an entrepreneurial spirit.
What is entrepreneurial spirit? Forbes Magazine describes entrepreneurial spirit as “an attitude and approach to thinking that actively seeks out change, rather than waiting to adapt to change.” It’s that spirit that saw Warren Buffett selling chewing gum door-to-door as a boy and Canadian construction mogul Kelsey Ramsen working as flag girl on the Alaskan highway at 14.
Why encourage your child to be an entrepreneur?
If your career has consisted of a steady 9-to-5 job, the idea of raising an entrepreneur may feel alien to you. However, the reality is the workplace is rapidly evolving. Today, of all employers in Canada, 1.18 million are small businesses, and Canada ranks as one of five countries where women entrepreneurs reported high levels of innovation.
Another perk to becoming an entrepreneur is the potential to earn more than in a traditional job (while changing the world). Hey, just ask Bill Gates or Larry Page. You may not recognize Larry’s name, but you’ll likely recognize the company he helped cofound: Google. These people aren’t just entrepreneurs; they’re also leaders in their industry.
How can I help my kid start a business?
Today’s eight-year-old is tomorrow’s leader. Here are five ways you can encourage your kids to become a future entrepreneur:
1. Consider what they’re good at
We’re all born with gifts and talents. What we love to do as kids can hold the key to our future career path – even if those talents seem like nothing more than play at the time. Look at what your kids have a natural affinity for and what they love to do. Often it’s the one and the same thing. A talent for baking, drawing, or technology could all be the basis of a future side business.
2. Introduce them to entrepreneurial people
It’s easier for kids to imagine becoming an entrepreneur if it’s modelled for them. Most of us don’t have Richard Branson on speed dial, but it could be as simple as spending time with a friend who turned their passion for jewelry making into a side-hustle online or a graphic designer who creates logos for small businesses in their spare time. Let your kids see examples of others who are pursuing their passion. Create opportunities where your kids can ask them questions and have others share their experiences.
3. Teach them how powerful ideas are
Many businesses began with an idea. eBay started out as a way for a computer programmer to auction off items on his personal website. A trip to Milan spurred an idea to bring the feel of an upscale espresso cafe to North America, and Starbucks was born. Entrepreneurs often come up with solutions to problems by making connections between seemingly unrelated events or asking, “what if?” Teach your children how powerful ideas can be and encourage them to share theirs. Share examples of business leaders who started with an idea. And it’s not all about making money. There are many examples of entrepreneurs who are taking their ideas to solve real-world problems, like Ishita Anand, who founded BitGiving, which raises money for social issues.
4. Teach them to have courage
Courage is the ability to do something in the face of danger. Any entrepreneur will probably tell you that failure is a step towards success. Just ask Thomas Edison. When inventing the light bulb, he said, “I haven’t failed – I’ve just found 10,000 that won’t work.” Courage isn’t only key in being a successful entrepreneur; it’s key in life. Being able to accept and embrace failure and learn from our mistakes develops grit. And according to psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth, grit is a predictor of success. If your child fails – and they will – talk to them about their experience. Encourage them to problem-solve and learn from their failure before picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and trying again.
5. Encourage their creativity
There are a number of traits entrepreneurs share: perseverance; risk-taking; passion; discipline. Another is creativity. Encourage your kids to engage in activities that foster creativity, whether that’s building with LEGO, drawing, writing stories, building a world in Minecraft, or playing dress-up. As a parent, there’s a lot you can do to create a space for creativity to flourish: provide the raw materials for creativity; allow them the freedom to explore their ideas; expose kids to museums, art galleries, theatre, books, and film; and emphasize the process of creativity, rather than the end product. In short, provide your children with the opportunity to let their imagination run wild (and worry about the mess later!).
Looking for more articles on how to start your own business for kids? Read more about how to make money online as a kid.
Give your teens and kids the experience of earning and spending their own money
Budding entrepreneurs not only need to know how to earn money, but how to spend it wisely too.
Mydoh is a money management app for parents of tweens and teens that provides real-world experience to help them make their own money, and determine how to spend it based on money-conversations that take place at home. Parents can create weekly tasks for their kids to tick off and set up a weekly allowance to their kids’ Mydoh Smart Cash Card.
The bottom line is, you want to encourage your kids to embrace their entrepreneurial spirit from an early age. While they may not be the next Steve Jobs, to quote Edison again: “If we did the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” So why not start today? A little independence – and entrepreneurship – at an early age goes a long way. Sign up for Mydoh today and give your kids a real-world experience of earning and spending their own money today.
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.