Who doesn’t want their children to be independent and successful? With the creation of the internet there are more opportunities than ever before to start your own business, but ultimately we all need encouragement in some shape or form.
The truth is that the traditional model of getting a university degree followed by a stable job and a steady progression up the career ladder doesn’t always happen these days. Gone are the days when a college degree is a guaranteed ticket to a great career. The key to tomorrow’s job stability may just be raising savvy entrepreneurs who can confidently think and act in a rapidly changing and uncertain world economy.
Students are graduating from top universities and struggling for months (or even years) to find a decent job. Unpaid internships are common worldwide and often yield nothing even after the six-month sacrifice. How can we help young people cope in this harsh environment? The answer is to teach kids about entrepreneurship early on so that they can create their own opportunities when the time comes.
Entrepreneurship turns children into leaders. It transforms them into employers rather than employees and helps them create successful, independent lives through purposeful enterprise. It gives children viable options to earn a decent living in a crowded, harsh world.
It is your responsibility as a parent to help your kids develop them. Here’re some of those attributes—and how you can foster them in your kids.
1. Start ‘em young
Peter Williams, founder of British clothing brand Jack Wills, says children should have mastered certain key elements of business by the time they reach their teens.
“The skills children should have by 13 are the confidence to put forward ideas, the enthusiasm to try their hardest to make things work and the maturity to learn why sometimes ideas are rejected and why sometimes they are accepted,”
What parents can do is encourage their children to think outside of the box; this doesn’t have to be business related. It’s just about making them use their initiative to find solutions. This is what an entrepreneur does: find answers to a problem within the market.
2. Financial literacy is a must
Financial literacy is something that all children need to have today. Unfortunately, schools often don’t give enough attention to this area in your child’s education. Don’t leave this area to chance. Teach your kids about money from an early age to give them a solid grounding in finance.
Educate your children about saving and investing and show them how money can be used to make more money. If you see them throwing away coins, tell them to pick them up. Kids need to understand that every coin counts.
For example, ask your kids for advice on what you should save for. Giving them this level of trust and responsibility helps them develop good money sense and nurtures their entrepreneurial mind.
3. Promote the arts
The famous Spanish painter, Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”. Being creative is incredibly important when it comes to being enterprising. Remember that making change requires thinking of things that are new and different – this requires creativity, just like English, art & design as well as music and drama.
4. Kids must learn how to recognise opportunities
Many people never meet their full potential because they fail to recognise opportunity. Teaching your children to seek out opportunities and seize them will directly contribute to their level of future success.
How: Praise your children for pointing out small problems or setbacks in their lives that cause them distress: from losing unsaved essays to not being able to reach items on a high shelf. Brainstorm solutions on how to resolve what’s troubling them. Turning crisis into opportunity teaches children to focus on creating positive solutions rather than the problem itself. Every problem has a solution so rather than accepting life as fact, teach children that they can always have an impact. This habit will allow them to develop profitable ideas in their future businesses.
5. Bolster effective communication skills
Communication is so important and picking up the phone to speak to a client or a supplier is something that we are all probably really familiar with. Despite the fact that it’s so convenient and easy to tap away on a phone to send a quick text or email, it’s so much more important to encourage the younger generation to communicate with a human being, rather than just using text on a screen and hiding behind a mobile device.
6. Don’t pay pocket money weekly
Paying children a set amount every single week conditions them into expecting a flat income. If you want to inspire enterprising behavior in your child, stop doing this now! Very few entrepreneurs have a steady income and earning money should be seen as just that – earning it rather than just a guaranteed income.
7. Teach goal setting and planning
Goal setting and planning are an integral part to entrepreneurial success. These are positive habits that will come in handy when ingrained in your child’s psychic. The sooner your child learns how to plan, set realistic goals and follow laid down procedures to completion, the better.
Teach kids to set S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals and accomplish those goals. Ask them to define and write down their top five goals or objectives. Studies show that written goals are over 80% more likely to be achieved.
Next ask them to consider carefully and write down five actions necessary to accomplish these goals. Encourage and support them throughout to reach their defined goals. This will enhance your child’s self-worth, self-drive and overall feeling of personal accomplishment.
8. Urge team work
No one is completely self-sufficient. We all need help sometimes to reach our goals. The most successful entrepreneurs outsource heavy workloads and team up with others whose opinions they value to stay on track and succeed. Your child also needs to learn how to play well with others in order to reach common goals.
One of the best ways to promote team work from an early age is to urge your kids to participate in sports. Sports can be a great classroom for entrepreneurial principles and values.
9. Celebrate mistakes
Mistakes are a great way to learn important lessons and they really help children develop enterprising mindsets. Making mistakes means we’re trying new things and not afraid of getting things wrong. The more mistakes we make, the more we learn about ourselves and how best to do things.
Instead of scolding or punishing your kids for failing at something, try discussing with them the factors that lead to the failure and brainstorm ways to prevent it from happening again in the future. Tell them failure is not entirely bad because it provides an opportunity to learn from mistakes and create new ways to accomplish goals.
10. Lead by example.
In the end, many entrepreneurs say the most important thing that inspired and motivated them to achieve entrepreneurial success is the influence they had from their parents. They learned most of what they know from their parents who led by example.
Lead by example and always practice what you preach. Your kids are looking up to you. When you tell your kids to work hard and learn from their mistakes, show them that you also work hard and learn from your mistakes. When you tell them to be patient and respectful, be patient and respectful yourself. You are your children’s biggest role model and will likely remain so their whole lives.