Starting a business helps hone our entrepreneurial spirit. It allows us to be our own boss, grow our confidence, and expand our comfort zone.
Imagine if you could inspire that same spirit in your kids, helping them gain confidence, develop a better understanding of business, and realize their own potential.
I’d love for each of my kids to have a business up and running by the time they graduate high school. They’d have a reliable source of income to help pay for college, a car, or any other need that comes along.
Even if they ultimately decide that being their own boss isn’t the best fit, and they shut down their business, the experience will give them a great head start among their peers.
Here are the steps I’m taking now to help foster my children’s entrepreneurial side.
Talk About My Business
Many people seem to clam up around their kids when it comes to finances, business, and similar topics. But, I see the value in discussing these things.
The kids know we’re working on paying off debt with my income. They know that I write for some clients, do bookkeeping for others, and am busy writing lessons for a fourth grade English-Language Arts curriculum.
We talk about my workload daily, during our morning meeting. I freely share values with them as well, letting them know how much I’m earning.
As we talk, they’re learning several things:
- You can earn money working from home in a variety of ways
- Time can be exchanged for a dollar amount
- Deadlines are important, and need to be honored
Care About Their Interests
My kids don’t all love to write, so I know that a freelance writing business isn’t for all of them. Everyone has a different skill set, and different interests. As a parent, part of my job is to encourage my children to discover what they’re good at, and what they enjoy.
Here are some talents and interests I’ve discovered so far:
As my kids continue to grow, I know I’ll discover more. And there’s a good probability that some of these interests will change.
But, for now, I find ways to encourage my kids in things they enjoy. I help them see the value in what they can do.
We talk about potential business opportunities, such as:
- Freelance graphic design
- Selling stock photography
- Becoming a portrait photographer
- Creating a local cooking class
- Organizing files and folders for others as a virtual assistant
- Building things to sell
There are so many options for a business, so I don’t want my kids to think they’re limited to the business that I’ve chosen.
It’s so important to take an interest in what interests your kids. Let them talk to you about them. Share what you know. Help them connect with resources to learn more.
Help Find Resources
There are plenty of kids cook books. I’ve found many blog posts on design. Resources abound for almost every interest.
When I’m at the library, I see what I can find to share with one of the children. I’ve forwarded posts to my oldest (the only one with email so far).
We’ve read LEGO idea books, watched a YouTube video on a different type of cookie, and checked out a book full of tree house building plan ideas.
I want my kids to know how to find resources that interest them, and how to use those resources.
Invest As Your Kids Get Older
While I might hesitate to spend money on a fleeting interest my six-year old develops, I’m much more willing to spend on my teen.
She’s had a plan to become a graphic designer for years, and we’ve worked through many free resources together. Now, it’s time to start investing.
I want her to see that I believe in her. That I know she CAN do it.
So I’ve purchased two Pinterest courses this past month. One on learning the basics, and one on becoming a Pinterest Virtual Assistant (aff. link.)
Is Pinterest the only way for her to earn money as a graphic designer?
Nope! Not by a long shot.
But, it is a skill that will help her get started. She’ll learn:
- More about the social media platform
- Why marketing is essential
- Ways to help others solve a problem (the heart of any business!)
- Tips for creating shareable designs
She’ll also get insight on where to look for clients.
As we go through the courses together, we can talk about what we’ve learned. I can let her implement some of the strategies for me, and become her first paying client.
I’m looking forward to it!
It’s so easy to squash dreams when our kids share them. Whether it’s telling them that they can’t set up a lemonade stand because we live in the middle of nowhere and no one would come, or telling them that they can’t build a tree house.
It’s especially easy when those dreams don’t align with ours. I have no clue how to build a tree house, and so it’s really easy to just so no. It doesn’t require me to do anything. Or to learn anything.
What if instead of squishing those dreams, I’d encouraged them. They’d have learned a lot more actually going through the process of designing and setting up a lemonade stand than from me telling them no.
As they realized that no cars were coming, it’d be the perfect time to talk about supply and demand. To talk about the importance of location.
So many lessons, but instead I said no.
I’m learning to embrace the ideas my kids have. Unless it’s super dangerous or something, they’ll likely learn a lot trying.
Give Them Time
Just investing in my kids and encouraging them isn’t enough if I’ve scheduled their time so much that they can never try anything.
We keep free time in the schedule for this very reason. I want my kids to have time to develop their own talents and interests.
I want them to have time to read the book from the library, or watch a lesson on how to draw a favorite character.
Teach Basic Economics
Kids need to know that there is no “free lunch.” I want them to know they have to work for their money.
So I offer opportunities for paid work in addition to their regular chores. In addition to household chores, I frequently pay my kids to do business tasks for me.
As they earn,we talk about responsibilities with money and how to use it wisely.
My eight-year old has started vacuuming my mom’s house twice a week for $5. He’s earned enough to buy some cool LEGO sets. He’ll find a set he wants, and we’ll look at the price together. Then he can figure out how many weeks he’ll have to vacuum before he can buy the set.
The goal keeps him motivated. He remembers he needs to go vacuum, because he has a plan for the money he’s earning.
As another example, we frequently play a budget games. We’ll set a dollar amount, and flip through grocery store ads to create the best meal for our money. The kids are learning that things cost money, and they’re gaining a better understanding of money skills.
When my kids are ready to start their own business, I can offer assistance in many ways. For instance, I can:
- Help them setup a website
- Connect them with a mentor
- Share their business online
- Help them get a business license and learn the legal requirements for their business
I can also offer encouragement for them, and offer words of wisdom when things start slowly.
Pray for Them
Prayer for our kids is essential, especially when it comes to their future. I want all of my kids to be serving the Lord, and living life in accordance to his perfect plan. All of those skills and talents they have? Those came from God,and it’s a joy to help them hone them.
What Would You Add?
If you’re helping your kids develop an entrepreneurial spirit, what else would you add to my list? I know I haven’t covered it all, so I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!
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