Mandy Moore, a passionate entrepreneur, has one foot in the business world and the other in the parenting world.
As a child, I was always told I had "get rich quick" schemes. In elementary school, I sold flower necklaces that I made at recess to my classmates. In junior high, I made beaded jewelry that I sold at recess. As an adolescent, I was often called a "hustler." In high school and college, I bought candy bars from Costco and started selling them on campus. All the clubs were selling candy bars, so I thought, why not get in on the action and fundraise for my college? Today, I would likely be called a serial entrepreneur.
This entrepreneurship mindset, though partially genetic, was mostly instilled by my parents at a young age. My parents struggled financially and wanted an easier life for us. They taught us to invest young, take charge, and run with good ideas. Not surprisingly, my siblings and I all have all started businesses at some point. Thinking like an entrepreneur comes naturally.
Here's the bottom line: It's never too early to teach your kids about entrepreneurship!
With the increasing success of self-made millionaires like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, it is important for children to learn how to think creatively. Here, we will discuss how you can help your child become an entrepreneur and what qualities they should have in order to be successful.
An entrepreneur is a person who starts up, manages, and assumes the risk for an enterprise. Being successful in entrepreneurship requires creativity, leadership skills, and problem-solving abilities. These traits can be nurtured at home with some simple tips to get you started!
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
— Walt Disney
1. Encourage your child to make their own decisions.
One of the easiest ways to help your child learn to make decisions is through one of the most common questions we hear children ask: "what are we having for dinner?" To help your child think like an entrepreneur and make their own decisions, turn the question back on them and ask them "what would you like for dinner?" Giving your child a chance to make their own decisions will help them learn how to take risks and think creatively.
Other ways you can encourage your child to make their own decisions are:
- Allow your child to help plan weekend activities.
- Give them freedom in setting rules for the house, as long as they are reasonable (ex: having a friend over until 9 pm).
- Let your child make their own choices when it comes to clothes and toys.
- During grocery shopping trips, let your child choose a fruit or vegetable that they would like for the week.
2. Let your child make their own mistakes.
Entrepreneurship is all about taking risks—including mistakes. In fact, a lot of entrepreneurs today say that their biggest failures were the most important lessons in entrepreneurship and helped them to learn how to succeed.
Some examples may be:
- If your child has made a mistake (breaking a bowl when putting away dishes), encourage them to think about what they could do differently next time.
- If your child has not finished their homework in school, ask them what went wrong and how they can be more efficient with their time.
So allow your child some time for making mistakes—it's an invaluable lesson!
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3. Encourage your child to be persistent when solving problems.
Entrepreneurs need perseverance; no matter what they're doing, entrepreneurs never give up. The more persistence your child has in solving problems--no matter how difficult--the better for their future success!
Here are two examples:
- When a child is building with blocks and they can't find the right block to make their design work out, encourage them to spend some time trying new ways of solving the problem.
- If your child is trying to convince their friend to play a game with them, but the friend does not want to, encourage them to keep asking even if they don't get it right the first time.
4. Encourage your child to try new things and take risks.
Asking your child to do something they're not used to can help them learn a great deal about entrepreneurship, as well as problem-solving skills.
As an example:
- If you know that your child is afraid of bugs, but they want to be an entomologist, encourage them to touch a bug. If they try it and find out that the bugs are actually fascinating, they will have learned how to take risks and face challenges in order to achieve their goals!
5. Encourage your children to explore entrepreneurship.
One of the best ways to help your child think like an entrepreneur is by exposing them to it! It might seem challenging at first, but you can always start with great resources and books.
Here are some ways to explore entrepreneurship:
- Tell your kids about what entrepreneurs do—who they are, how they get started in their own businesses, etc.
- Watch a video on entrepreneurship
- Reading about a young entrepreneur, or even interviewing an entrepreneur, are all great ways to give your child an introduction to the world of entrepreneurship.
6. Encourage your child to ask questions.
Encouraging your child to ask questions, and then answering them, is a great way for your child to learn about entrepreneurship. Questions about the world are some of the most important tools in an entrepreneur's toolbox!
Here are some ways you can do that:
- When your child asks why the sky is blue, do not just answer that question with "the sky is blue because it's a color." Instead, give them more information about how light works and explain to them the scientific process of how we see color.
- If your child wants to know where honey comes from, take them on a trip to your local apiary and explain to them the biology and behavior of honeybees.
- If your child asks you where the garbage ends up, don't just tell them that it gets put in a landfill. Encourage them to find out more information on recycling and how our planet can benefit from the Earth's resources.
Asking questions will help children identify problems they want to solve or causes they want to support--the entrepreneurial skills that will put them ahead of the pack.
7. Provide opportunities for them to make their own money.
This is a great way to help your child learn about entrepreneurship while also giving them the opportunity to make their own money.
Some ways this can be accomplished is by:
- Having your children sell items, like lemonade or cookies.
- Involving them in more creative projects that require payment upfront and then give them a percentage of the profits afterward.
- Let them create an online business such as an Etsy shop.
8. Encourage and inspire them to have hobbies.
Hobbies are a great way for kids to learn about entrepreneurship—whether they're running a small business on the side or just trying new things and learning through trial-and-error. Encourage your child to take on a new hobby, and then help them manage it—whether that's by asking lots of questions or providing guidance.
Some good hobbies are:
- Dance or music lessons
9. Encourage your child to be a part of the solution (rather than complaining about problems).
Being a part of the solution is a highly important skill. Finding solutions, rather than complaining, will help them identify with more entrepreneurial qualities such as leadership skills or developing creative solutions for common issues in their lives.
Here are some examples:
- If your child complains about not having money to buy a toy, rather than telling them to stop complaining and be thankful for what they have, encourage them to look up ways that kids can make money.
- If your child complains that their friend does not want to play with them anymore, rather than telling them that it is no big deal and the other child will come around eventually, encourage them to think about how they can improve their relationship with the other child.
- If your child doesn't like their sandwich, instead of using traditional sandwich ingredients such as peanut butter and jelly, ask your child how they would like to make their lunch different this week and try it out.
The Entrepreneurship Mindset Starts With Parents
It is a parent's responsibility to teach their children about the importance of entrepreneurship. It is never too early to start teaching them how they can be successful in this field and with these tips, your child will have an excellent head start!