Is it safe to say that one of the most valuable skills for a young person transitioning into adulthood in today’s economy is the ability to recognize and take advantage of business opportunities?
Would you agree that whether working for a corporate entity or working for oneself, entrepreneurial ability is a MUST HAVE?
With a lot of both the blue, the white and any other color jobs disappearing in the age of information technology, our children’s ability to spot business opportunities and exploit them with speed will mean the difference between them struggling or thriving as adults.
It therefore becomes imperative for us as parents to start instilling those character traits that build entrepreneurship into our kids early.
In fact a parent’s work to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in a child should start right from the day the child is born.
It’s never too early to start a child into entrepreneurship.
In fact, the earlier the better.
A dead model
The old model of sending a child to school to get a degree or diploma so that he/she can get a job and retire after 40 years is dead.
Today, kids have to be trained to spot opportunities wherever they are because there is a great chance that by the time they finish college, everything they will have been taught will not be applicable in the market.
There are parents who will argue that business ownership is not for everybody.
But the truth of the matter is that an employer values an employee who not only has a knack for identifying business opportunities and has the drive to execute them.
This knack for spotting opportunities and exploiting them is what we should start teaching and training our kids from the day they are born.
Great that you asked. Here are 20 ways you can go about starting your kids into entrepreneurship early.
#1 – Teach them to spot opportunities
There are millions upon millions of kids transitioning into adulthood who have no clue that there are more opportunities for business today than there are people willing or available to exploit those opportunities.
This blindness to opportunities, however, is not a problem that originates with the kids themselves.
The problem has its roots in how the kids were raised.
These blind-to-opportunities kids were not raised to spot opportunities. As a result, they pass opportunities by on the daily while at the same time complaining of lack of the same.
Really though, when it comes down it, spotting opportunities can be as simple as noticing something that can be done better.
Or something that is not right and can be corrected or is not there yet can be made available.
This is true out in the real world and in the home.
For example, a dirty room presents the opportunity to have it clean. An unorganized pantry presents the opportunity to organize it.
These are simple and seemingly routine tasks but when framed properly, a parent has a gold mine in which to train a child to spot opportunities.
The role of training kids to identify opportunities has to be taken seriously by any parent interested in their child’s well-being in adulthood.
#2 – Train your child to be resilient
Resilience simply means the ability to bounce back from setbacks.
Training kids to become resilient means giving them difficult and sometimes painful tasks that we know they are likely to fail the first time around.
According to the Mayo Clinic:
“Resilience is the ability to adapt well to stress, adversity, trauma or tragedy. People who have a resilient disposition are better able to maintain poise and a healthy level of physical and psychological wellness in the face of life’s challenges.”
Help kids develop the outlook towards challenging situations that make them understand that challenges and failure are necessary parts of growth.
The ability to bounce back from setbacks will serve them well at work or in business.
People who who give up or in after setbacks or failure never accomplish much.
It is, therefore, critical that kids grow up learning to take failure in stride as part of the learning process.
Here is a fantastic article on Building Resilience in Children.
#3 – Train them to be realists
Many kids who grow into adults that struggle with getting to grips with the realities of the real world tend to have grown under the shelter of parents who never trained them to see the realities of life.
While it might seem a nice thing to tell kids that life is good, everything is going to be okay and people will like them, this is just plain wrong.
It sets kids up to grow up believing things about the world that are just plain wrong.
Kids need to be raised fully knowing that the world is a dog-eat-dog place.
They need to be taught that if they don’t apply themselves to the very best of their abilities and always seek to improve, life will be a nasty struggle.
The 33 Things That Smart Parents Teach Their Kids That Stupid Parents Don’t is a good place to start for those wishing to bring realism into the way they raise their kids.
#4 – Nurture and feed their curiosity
Curiosity in the way the world and things inside it works is one of the hallmarks of great entrepreneurs and business leaders.
The ability to spot business opportunities is born out of a curiosity that seeks to understand why certain things are the way they are.
Or why they are not the way the should be.
Make it your mission to nurture your child’s inquisitive nature. Do not get tired answering his questions.
Curiosity fuels the brain to always think of new ideas.
And when the brain is active, it keeps discovering new things. A trait important for entrepreneurs.
#5 – Do not limit their ability
Stop putting labels on your child that he is only good at this or that.
When you confine him to certain abilities, you are curbing his potential to explore other options or opportunities.
Let him try as many things as he want so he may find where he is truly good at.
And when he does find it, make him focus on reaching his dream or target.
#6 – Do not make them settle for an average mindset
I am not a perfectionist but I just hate it when people do a sloppy job and say, “That will do.”
Remarks like this make me want to go berserk and kick people in the ass!
So train your child to do his tasks the right way in the best way he can. Do not be comforted by the fact that he has done his chores.
Check if he did it right.
Often, kids are in a hurry to finish their chores because they want to get back to their mobile games (which is often the case these days).
This reminds me of a struggle I often had with my kids during meal times.
Everyday, I tell them to prepare the table. Yes, they would, sort of that is.
They put plates on the table but no spoons and fork, no water glasses, etc.
I would usually call them back to the table and ask them what is wrong with the setup.
I nagged them every day until their ears bled. And kept telling them to complete the table preparation every time.
It took sometime but they got it!
Why is this important? It’s because children who grow up doing sloppy jobs become employees with low quality outputs, or entrepreneurs who are okay with average products and eventually fail in business.
If you have to do something, do it right and make it stand out!
#7 – Make them value what they do
As I’ve said, when you tell your child to do something, make her do it right!
But doing it right is not enough. Teach her the importance of what she is doing and how doing it to her best ability is building up an important trait.
Make her value it because if she values what she does, she will do her best to make an outstanding job.
Help her understand that cleaning the house is not just a job that needs to be done daily.
It’s preparing her for life as a professional or business person.
#8 – Teach them to plan
When your child faces a new task or school work, guide him.
Ask him what he needs to do and how he plans to do it.
Planning is important when setting up a business. One cannot just say, “I want to start a cleaning business.”
He must know how to go about it. He must prepare and think of ways to fulfill his business plans.
#9 – Teach them to be creative
When an adult seems to have psychological or emotional issues, psychologists would often examine his childhood.
You see, childhood is where all foundations are laid out. So you need to start them young really.
And let them be kids. Let them play.
Do not go berserk when you see toys scattered all over the floor. For goodness sake! They only become children once.
Nah! A second childhood is totally different.
Play is very important in a child’s development because it develops creative thinking which is the foundation of every successful business.
And I am not talking about PC or mobile gaming. Nope! Not unless you want to raise a future idiot!
#10 – Nurture your child’s self-confidence
Anyone can do anything if he believes in himself and his abilities.
Jake Neuberg, co-founder of a tutoring company called Revolution Prep, says:
“Most people are more capable than they think.”
If a child develops self-confidence, it would be easy for him to reach his full potential.
So how do you do this?
Stop doing everything for your child! Don’t make him feel helpless or an idiot! He is not a baby that you need to guide every step of the way.
I say to you parents: “Grow up!”
Allow your child to do things for himself. You know what he is capable of.
#11 – Make them realize their growth potential
Psychology Professor Carol S. Dweck, known for her work on “Growth Mindset”, says, “A growth mindset is a tendency to believe that you can grow.”
A child should be trained to face challenges and use failures “as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.”
#12 – Help kids learn from failure
Who said life is not a bed of roses? Of course it is!
Life may look ‘beautiful’ like roses at times but there will always be ‘thorns’ as you go through it.
Your child will experience disappointments and failures. Teach him to learn from them. And never speak harshly if he makes a mistake or fail.
A lot of successful people have failed numerous times before finally making it.
Lewis Howes, New York Times Bestselling author of the book The School of Greatness, is a very good example of a person who faced so many failures in life.
Lewis had learning disability, he was bullied as a kid, sexually abused when he was five, injured in sports, and ended up in his sister’s couch penniless.
Despite all of these, he never gave up on his dream of learning about business and marketing.
Now, he runs a successful business earning seven figures.
To quote Lewis: “I know there are times that are challenging, and it may seem like you can’t get out of it. I’m living proof that you can.”
So use failures as lessons for your child to think of ways to avoid them next time by teaching him to do things differently or better.
Failures should encourage a child to try again because that is what entrepreneurs do! They keep trying until they succeed.
As the famous Vince Lombardi quote said: “Winners never quit and quitters never win!”
#13 – Nurture a child’s grit
Grit is described as a person’s ability to persevere or to keep going despite obstacles in life. It goes alongside passion to achieve goals.
Experts say if one is passionate about something, he will do everything in his power to get it.
It keeps you committed to pursue what you want no matter what!
Which reminds me of Supplement giant Andy Frisella.
Andy knew what he wanted in life. He said: “You have to own what you want to do, and know what you don’t want to do.”
It may have taken him 10 years to achieve what he wanted, but he got it! Thanks to his grit.
#14 – Allow your child to make decisions
When your child fails as mentioned above, let him think of ways to do things better next time.
Allow him to decide what’s next. Let him make a plan of action and execute it.
Explain to him the possible consequences of his plan, or its pros and cons. But never tell him what to do.
He needs to learn to be confident that he is making the right decision.
An entrepreneur needs to make confident decisions.
#15 – Allow them to socialize and communicate
Speaking in front of people is another way of building your child’s self-confidence.
No, not the way you communicate with your neighbor about what your other neighbor is doing with his/her life. That’s gossip!
Effective communication is an important life skill because an entrepreneur needs to make people understand his business plans. He needs to make people understand what his idea or product is about.
Start by encouraging your child to join debates or public speaking contests.
The ability to speak with confidence will be your child’s key to effectively persuade customers, make him make sales, etc.
#16 – Teach them about hard work
No successful entrepreneur became a millionaire by being lazy!
If laziness is the key to making millions, millions of people would be millionaires by now!
Hard work is your child’s key to becoming successful.
Take it from Dan Fleyshman of the famous “Who’s your daddy” brand.
Dan honed his entrepreneurship skills at four years of age.
While Dan’s parents sold jeans in Long Beach, he put up a stand selling and trading baseball cards.
Dan narrates that during his high school days, he worked three jobs – a hosting gig, selling candies and nuts, and working for a stock broker.
#17 – Make them value money
Do not be an ATM machine to your child.
Do not give him money every time he asks for it. Make him work for it.
Set aside house chores he could earn from like taking the dog for a walk or watering the garden.
Doing this also nurtures his skill to recognize opportunity in certain situations.
It is a proven fact that a person who has worked hard to earn money will not waste it on things he doesn’t really need.
A child who values money will be very prudent and will save any amount he could.
#18 – Teach them empathy
Why is empathy important?
It’s because you don’t want a boss who only wants you to work without regard for your needs or situation.
When one understands what someone is going through, he is able to establish a connection that would make the other person appreciate and trust him.
The same goes for certain services or products one may want to provide.
Many thriving businesses were conceptualized from bad experiences people had with certain products or services.
These people wanted to provide better value for people who may have had the same bad experience so they offer something better.
#19 – Teach them the value of giving back
Many entrepreneurs know that a business is not just about making money.
They feel responsible about the community they belong to.
They know they have the capability to make things better for people.
This is why most companies have corporate social responsibility.
Raise your child to have this value by taking him to community activities you are involved in.
Make him aware that he is a part of something bigger; that the world is not confined to the four walls of his room or home.
#20 – Educate them about business through stories
If you are a successful business person, do you tell your kids how you achieved your current status?
Experts say it is important that kids know achieving success takes a lot of effort and hard work.
Tell them stories of your struggles when you were starting out; how you failed and how you got back up.
Talk about plans that worked and those that did not.
Teach them these important points because the children of today will be taking over the economy in the near future.
If they are ill-equipped, then the future is bleak, because a country’s economic progress lies in the success of its businesses.