Teaching Kids to be Entrepreneurs

Remember when you were a kid and the world was within your reach? All your dreams seemed possible and the success was always within you shining bright!
Today, you might have reached an amazing level of success, but I bet your dreams were altered along the way. Many factors within a child’s life can force them to change and reevaluate the dreams they have. This is especially true for children who dream of being entrepreneurs. Cameron Harold in a TED talks video illustrates how parents and public school systems today encourage children to seek jobs that make them employees, such as medical professionals, service and trade workers, and office staff, when we should be teaching them to be business owners.

Children have big dreams and their strengths should be encouraged and fostered to help them became successful entrepreneurs. It’s okay to help your child strive for success in subjects they fail at, but we also need to nurture their strengths. Encourage your precocious preschooler who is negotiating bedtime, by a delayed bedtime after completion of an extra chore. When your grade-schooler wants to string noodle necklaces and sell them to neighbors, let him have a go. See what happens. He may just surprise you and come home with a pocketful of cash. Permit your high school student to do hard labor like mow lawns and weed gardens for others as a job. It just might light the spark to have them seek a career in which they get paid well and avoid hard labor – maybe even hiring others to do the work for them.

The ideas and passions behind an entrepreneurial spirit can engage others, bring about change, introduce innovative new ideas and concepts, and foster independence and economic growth. Instead of crushing the spirited energy of the restless kid who has trouble focusing and paying attention, the answer just might be to play upon her strengths. Encourage her fashion forward ideas or her thoughts on improvements to soccer cleats. As a young child, we have the answers to every single problem. It is time to encourage these answers and stop grooming children to think inside the box. No longer should we keep telling kids what they can’t and shouldn’t do, but start channeling those behaviors and attitudes into entrepreneurial skills.

Allowing children of all ages the opportunity to practice entrepreneurial skills can be nothing but advantageous. Besides building a larger savings account, children who practice entrepreneurial skills learn how to interact with others, negotiate, appreciate the value of a dollar, and develop a better sense of how money works. We need to encourage creativity and forward thinking in our children. Business owners are not your typical MBA graduate. Most are students who struggled through school, might have a learning disorder or behavioral problem. Entrepreneurial thinking for children would embrace these quirks and capitalize on their strengths. After all, who better to work for than yourself? The payoff all goes to you!