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Posted May 26, 2014
| Updated May 23, 2022

5 Entrepreneurial Lessons My Kids Have Taught Me

While the obvious lessons we learn about entrepreneurship come from our own professional experience, I find that sometimes they pop up in unexpected places. Like my children.

Despite the fact that my four kids haven’t yet had much experience running a business, they have managed to teach me a thing (or five) about running my own company.

1. It’s Okay to Color Outside the Lines

My littlest one loves to color, and she’s rarely concerned about staying in the lines. When I think about how we often feel that there’s a right way and a wrong way to run a business, I realize that’s simply not true. Sure, there are blueprints that can aid in success, but no one way of running a business is a guarantee of that. And so I allow myself to color outside the lines a bit, and run my company the way I see fit, even if it’s not always conventional.

2. It’s Not All About the Money

If you know anything about me, you know that family comes first. Sure, I love my company and want it to thrive, but if it was taken away from me tomorrow, I’d still be okay. Because quality time with my husband and kids is why I became an entrepreneur in the first place. It’s important for me to keep that at the forefront of all I do.

3. Complaining Won’t Get You Anywhere

If you’ve ever heard twin teens whine about their chores, you know where I’m coming from. They never seem to learn that complaining about the task at hand never makes that task go away! Same for me. Some days it’s just hard to get anything done, and I’d rather get back in bed than tackle what’s ahead of me at work. But I go anyway. And I get it done. And it wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.

4. If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

Being a business owner means you have to make decisions about how you want others to perceive you. I know many entrepreneurs — in my own industry and others — who are quick to criticize competitors publicly. Look, if I tell my kids to keep their rude comments to themselves, I certainly can’t spout them out myself. And it only makes people look bad, when their best plan of attack is just that: a verbal attack on the competition.

5. Happiness is a Priority

If you look at kids, you see that most of the time, they’re pretty happy (except when they’re doing those chores). I firmly believe as an entrepreneur that happiness is my right. After all, I started CorpNet with Phil to do something we both loved and believed in. And so we should be happy. Whenever I’m less than 100% happy, I do a quick check to figure out why. Sometimes the fix is as easy as taking a walk to get out of the office, or maybe taking a family vacation to reconnect to what matters.

There are countless other lessons I’ve learned about being an entrepreneur from my kids. What about you? Where do you find inspiration and lessons learned?

<a href="" target="_self">Nellie Akalp</a>

Nellie Akalp

Nellie Akalp is an entrepreneur, small business expert, speaker, and mother of four amazing kids. As CEO of, she has helped more than half a million entrepreneurs launch their businesses. Akalp is nationally recognized as one of the most prominent experts on small business legal matters, contributing frequently to outlets like Entrepreneur, Forbes, Huffington Post, Mashable, and Fox Small Business. A passionate entrepreneur herself, Akalp is committed to helping others take the reigns and dive into small business ownership. Through her public speaking, media appearances, and frequent blogging, she has developed a strong following within the small business community and has been honored as a Small Business Influencer Champion three years in a row.

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