My kids have taught me some valuable life lessons that I’ve used as an entrepreneur, and I like to think that a lesson or two has rubbed off on me to them. There’s no guarantee that any of my four children will grow up to become small business owners, though I’d love it if they did.
Still, I’m sure that seeing their parents run their own business will plant the seed for entrepreneurship, the way it did for me watching my grandparents own several restaurants while I was growing up.
If you’d love to pass on your entrepreneurial passion, try the following suggestions.
Get Them Started Now
Even if your kids don’t grow up to be the next generation of Shark Tank participants, being young entrepreneurs now will make them more excited to continue that entrepreneurial streak later in life.
There are all manner of businesses that kids can run, at every age. Here are a few ideas:
- Kids 10 and under: lemonade stand on hot summer days
- Teens: mowing yards, pet sitting and walking
If you’ve got several children like I do, find a way where they can all work together on the business. Maybe your teen manages the social media and website while the younger ones do the selling (who can resist an adorable 5-year-old asking for money?).
Involve Them in Your Business
When you start a business, you might be tempted to separate your personal life from the business, but if you want your kids to understand what it means to be an entrepreneur, it’s important that they learn how to run a business firsthand.
Show them what you do every day. Introduce them to your staff. Explain that Mommy or Daddy gets to call the shots, and how cool is that? If it’s summer, give them jobs to do in your office so that they feel like part of it.
Gauge Their Interest in the Family Business
If yours is a family-run business (or you’d like it to be down the road), see what interest your child has in being a part of it when he’s older. It may be early to determine that he’d be a great asset on your sales team now, but if the inclination is there, you can vet and train him as he gets older.
Encourage Free Thinking
We entrepreneurs are a pretty creative bunch, and kids thrive at creativity. Encourage them to share their wildest ideas for a business with you, then take it seriously. What would they sell? Who would their customers be? Even if you have no plans to actually start this business, it gives them the confidence to know that you believe in their ideas, no matter how wacky they are.
Kids are amazing, passionate creatures, and they’re exactly who we want to take over the next generation of entrepreneurship. Do your part to foster that innovation.