At what age should I teach my kid entrepreneurship?

I get this question from parents all the time.

My two boys who are 6 and 8 are running their own woodworking business. Let me assure you that I did not push them into it. Every day I catch myself sto

All that I did was that I welcomed their curiosity and I inadvertently nurtured their entrepreneurial drive. They would see me running my own business and they wanted to be part of it – contribute and be useful, you know?

And it got me thinking – Only billionaires come to our minds when we think of the word entrepreneur. What about the smaller businesses in our locality? The kinara stores and the Mom & Pop shops?

We all want our children to have the drive and grit that an entrepreneur is known for. The more I see my boys grow as little entrepreneurs, the further I am convinced that every child has something great to learn out of it.

Here are 13 reasons why you must nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in your kids.

Reason 1 – The Winning Mindset

Children tend to give up too soon. Why won’t they? We have been there to catch them whenever they fell.

“Don’t run too fast or you’ll fall!”

“Put that back or you’ll break it!”

We mean well when we say these things to our children. But the things we say become the voice in their heads as they grow up.

Children have the spirit of curiosity alive in them. They are sufficiently curious. This curiosity and drive to experiment are what keeps an entrepreneur going.

They have the drive to experiment and find a solution for whatever that they are trying to achieve. Children have this curiosity and they need our guidance. To experiment. To fail. To learn from failures and try again.

Reason 2 – Acknowledge, value and respect others’ opinions

Children must realize that they may not be the smartest in a given area of expertise. There could be other smarter people than themselves. When we lack knowledge, we must be open to seek help and learn from others such as subject matter experts. Children must be taught to acknowledge their own strengths and weaknesses and also the strengths of others.

Reason 3 – Financial literacy

Children must be taught to value money and what it can do. The purchasing power of money and how it can be earned aren’t just business lessons but important life lessons.

Some pertinent questions for children to ponder upon are: What is money? Who makes money? When to spend? What is effective spending? How can we save?

While we want our children to understand the value of money, we also must be careful to not let them believe that money is the be-all and end-all of everything.

Reason 4 – Problem-solving attitude

No entrepreneurship journey is free of obstacles and problems. While problems must be treated as just problems, they can be solved if you get the right strategy, resources, or personnel to attend to it. They must not be reasons to give up on an idea. Children should be encouraged to think out of the box and solve their problems. They should also have the confidence to reach out and ask for help when the problem is too big. Sometimes putting a team together can address the problem in a better way.

In short, if you can’t do it, find someone who can!

Reason 5 – Decision Making

There are two aspects to decision making. One is that not all decisions can be made when all relevant information has been gathered. Sometimes we are forces to make decisions with little information on hand. The other aspect is that we must always own up to our decisions. We must not try to shirk the outcome of a bad decision on to someone else. Facing the consequences of the decisions we made is an important learning. Decision making can be as simple of as buying candy or ice cream.

Reason 6 – Goal setting

Sometimes we become bad role models for our children when we set a goal and not follow through with it. We do not want children to emulate that kind of an attitude from us. We want them to learn to set a goal that seems achievable and then set out to work a plan to get there.

They must learn to break the final goal into smaller milestones and set out to achieve them systematically and in order. The target can be a moving target, but we must equip ourselves to work accordingly. Children must be taught mechanisms to identify and define elements of the goal setting, planning, and execution.

Reason 7 – Task Management

When we set a really hard goal to achieve, we are likely to lose motivation when we come across hurdles along the way. Breaking the big goal into smaller, measurable milestones will help achieve targets. That way, we can cover more ground as we go along on the entrepreneurship journey. Any task was undertaken but be done thoroughly until the said goal is attained. Identifying a series of tasks to carry out helps lay a strong plan for the team to follow as well.

Reason 8 – Kindle creativity

To walk the trodden path is easy and unexciting. Being an entrepreneur involves taking the road less travelled and making unique decisions. Entrepreneurs must hone their creative thinking to find unorthodox ways of solving problems. Working outside our comfort zones is important to aid that level of creativity. By giving them formal education, we are teaching children to conform to social norms. We begin expecting them to come up with the same answers as the rest of the children. Formal education in some ways, limits creativity and sets boundaries.

Reason 9 – Boost their self confidence

Confidence is a very broad spectrum of things. Children who are looking to become entrepreneurs must develop confidence in various aspects of life.

They must also show confidence in other aspects of conducting business. They must be confident in handling money and making decisions with limited information. How they carry themselves and respond to unfamiliar situations will also boost their confidence. They must show maturity when they handle new problems. Let us take the example of stage fear. The first step is to accept that it is a shortcoming and the next step is to find out ways to overcome the shortcoming.

Reason 10 – Success and failure management

It is important that children learn to not take success to their heads. Yes, success or victories must be celebrated and rejoiced. But finding a mellowed version of celebration is called for.

One must understand that while it is a cause of celebration for one team, another team is grieving over a loss. Children must not become boastful. Instead, they ought to be taught the fine balance of rejoicing their sweet successes.

Also, failures have a tendency to break the spirit of children. That must be countered with grit and determination to do better and rise taller each time we fall.

Reason 11 – Make them adaptable to adversity

In adverse conditions, children must learn to quickly adapt. The environment is constantly changing and there are new requirements. They must be taught to handle the various challenges that come their way. Sometimes, local or regional laws change in a way that the business is hindered. Sometimes people from different cultures work together and find the environment challenging. Different people work differently in order to be efficient.

Reason 12 – Teaches empathy

Children must be taught by example to be empathetic towards others. They must be conscious of the fact that some of us are more affluent than our colleagues. We may have access to better resources, even better opportunities than others. This maybe because of who we are or being born to our parents or even being born in a certain geography. This must be acknowledged and not be used as an entitlement. They must be made aware of the disparities among different people in our community. This will in turn help them to consciously try to be more inclusive. Being mindful and giving back to the community is integral to an entrepreneur. Setting aside funds for charitable causes is a stepping stone on the road to becoming a more empathetic person.

Reason 13 – You become a better parent

We may not always be role model parents. Sometimes, we may have set wrong examples for our watchful children. By engaging with them on this entrepreneurial teaching, we can set the tone right. This exercise will also help us fine-tune our approach to engaging with children. We will also learn and understand the essential traits of entrepreneur. We will become more matured parents engage in a co-learning journey with our young entrepreneurs.