The following is part of a post swap with Hank Coleman who writes about personal finance on Money Q&A.
Have your children been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug? Do they ever ask you about having yard sales or selling things on eBay? The entrepreneurial spirit is in all of us, and it is every easy to see that spark in our children’s eyes. There are so many entrepreneurial teaching points that parents have available every day, and you can turn their questions into an opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship and how businesses operate. Now is the time when they are young and inquisitive to plant entrepreneurial seeds in your children. Here are several ways that you can spur your children on with their endeavors and raise entrepreneurial kids.
Show It In Your Actions – Do you own your own business? Do you have a side hustle that helps you earn extra money? More families than ever before have been hard at work trying to earn a little extra income in addition to their salaries. If you are already an entrepreneur, do not hide it from your children. Embrace them and introduce your children to your business. Show them how you earn money online, how you blog and have ads on your website, how your freelancing, or any of your other entrepreneurial efforts. The more that you include them in your endeavors will help you spur some of their own small business ideas.
Share In The Profits – I can remember when I was a little kid that my mother would have a yard sale every month or so. She would put me to work putting prices on all of the merchandise, lugging it out onto the front yard on the day of the sale, and then selling our wares to the masses. But, the great part about all of my hard work, or slave labor depending on how you look at it, was that my mother graciously shared with me some of the profits from the yard sale. I saw firsthand how I could turn a profit from selling toys or baseball cards to our neighbors.
Let Your Kids In On The Planning – Are your kids anxious to have their own lemonade stand or lawn mowing business? Let them plan how they will run their little business. How will they pay for gas for the lawnmower? What amount of sales will they take for a salary and how much will they reinvest in the business? Ask them to write out their plan in a mini business plan type of document. It doesn’t have to be a full blown financial plan that you would take to the bank for a loan, but they will learn so much more about being a true entrepreneur by writing down their plans, expenses, how many supplies they’ll need, and a forecast of their potential profit.
Help Stoke Their Fires – Do you have a friend that is a successful small business person? Maybe your kids would love to pick his or her brain a little bit about what it is like to own their own business. My best friend’s dad was a serial entrepreneur who started businesses left and right. He owned several different businesses around our hometown. I used to love to ask him a million questions about anything and everything that was related to his businesses, and he was kind enough to answer them all. He was definitely an inspiration to look up to when I was really young.
Teach Them About Ownership – One of the best parts about entrepreneurship isn’t just the potential money that you can make by owning your own business, it is about actually owning something that you built, developed, or started from the ground up. You can help your children realize that entrepreneurship can mean building a company or a business that has the potential to add value to society, give back to the community, and possibly even outlive you. When you show your children that being an entrepreneur can have a great purpose more than making a potential profit, you may find a great point to help you spur on the entrepreneurial spirit in your children.
Did I miss any great tips that you have on enticing your children to become little entrepreneurs? I’d love to hear your tips or any that I missed in the comment section below. How do you inspire your children to find that entrepreneurial spirit that is buried somewhere deep inside all of us?
Hank Coleman is a financial planner who has written extensively for many financial websites and publications such as Fool.com, Five Cent Nickel, Fox Business, and others in addition to his own blog, Money Q&A. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and is currently studying to take the Certified Financial Planner exam.
Thanks Marissa for lending me your readers for the day!
Great post Hank. With three children and a Background in financial planning, this is something I really struggle with. My kids spend everything they earn from us. They’re very young, but I hate to watch them waste money.
I think that every parent struggles with very same issue.
Great article, I love the suggestions. This is something that is really close to me at the moment given I have a young family, I want to do everything I can to help nurture this in my children.
I really like your point about ownership. There is nothing quite like the feeling of doing something yourself. Until a child experiences that for himself, he really doesn’t quite understand what you mean. I would also add that it is good to help your child understand what they are good at or what they are interested in. Then, build upon that. For example, a child who is good at cooking could sell cookies or a teen who is good at a musical instrument could teach beginning lessons. Find their passion and help them build a business around it!
That is a great point, Pam. I have two little boys, and I am constantly blown away how they are both so radically different from each other and even have other interests than my wife and me. It is a constant struggle to spur them on in things that they love but I might not necessarily enjoy doing.
I really like the ownership theme! There is a big difference between working at a job and taking full ownership for something. You can always find a way to hide at a job (not saying everyone does that, I just know from personal experience that it is certainly possible). But when you own something and you are the idea generator, the motivator, the marketer, the salesperson, the inspiration, well, if things are not working you know that it is up to you to fix it. And if you do fix it or if even if you just learn a whole lot while trying, it is an amazing “rush” to see your efforts and your creativity have an impact. And that is empowering and this sets you on a course of “confidence” to take calculated risks and trust yourself to deal with anything that comes your way.
I completely agree. Nothing lights a fire under you like owning something.