There is one thing all parents that have ever lived share and will forever share – they all want their children to have the best lives possible. As ultimate social animals, we as a species have reached a point in our civilization where we have to work for a living (unless we are lucky enough to inherit a fortune from an aunt or something). That is why teaching our children about money and work is a crucial aspect of raising them. When it comes to working for one’s living, there are two basic options – putting in work as someone’s employee and taking home a check every month, or starting a company and leading a life of an entrepreneur.
I myself would never say a thing against hard work as a 9-to-5er or some modern iteration of it. Still, I believe that children should learn about entrepreneurship as a possible path in life, as a way of being in full control of their own fortune. The majority of children will not really understand the point and the value of entrepreneurship until later in life, but this does not mean you cannot point them in the right direction and encourage them to develop certain skills that will help them if they choose to become entrepreneurs later on.
Let Them Work On Problems
Entrepreneurs’ lives revolve around solving problems. At the core of every business is solving someone’s problem or a need and finding a way to charge money for the solution. This may sound callous, but that’s how it is. Moreover, once a person starts a business, they soon realize that running a company of any kind is basically jumping from problem to problem and trying to solve them as soon as possible. Because of this, one of the first things you should teach your child is to solve his or her problems on their own. Unless it is a problem that definitely requires adult supervision or solution, let them fight their own battles and solve their own problems. I am not saying you shouldn’t offer them advice or some basic guidance, but leave the actual problem-cracking to them.
Encourage Interactions with Other Children
We live in an age where children do not spend as much time around other children as we did when we were kids. For future entrepreneurs, this can be a problem. Every business, no matter how technical or socially-removed it may seem, revolves around people. There has to be an end consumer in every business transaction. If you want your children to be prepared for the world of entrepreneurship, they will have to develop their social skills. They don’t have to turn into smooth-talking, scheming, schmoozing, silver-tongued shysters, do not get me wrong. Still, they need to learn what motivates other children, how they perhaps steer certain social situations in a direction that will be beneficial for them and even how to solve conflicts. A great way to accomplish this is to find a great learning centre where they will be encouraged to interact with other children anyway. Such places usually put a strong emphasis on children’s creative skills, as well as problem-solving ones.
Let Their Imaginations Run Wild
Entrepreneurs’ success often depends on coming up with new products, services or solutions that other people hadn’t thought of. Even in less innovative businesses, true entrepreneurs always strive to make certain ingenious tweaks that allow their companies to thrive. It is, therefore, crucial that your child is allowed to let his or her mind wander in childhood. Childhood is the perfect time for the child to discover what their minds are capable of. For instance, if they are taught a certain way of solving certain (let’s imagine Math) problems and you notice they are trying to solve it in a completely different way, let them. It doesn’t even matter if they get a bad grade. No child’s future was ruined by a single bad grade. Discovering new ways in which their imagination and mind works is worth much more than getting an A.
These are just some of the basics that you can for your little future entrepreneur. As they grow older and the concepts of working or running a business become less esoteric, you can continue their entrepreneurship education. Until then, these will do just fine.
Tracey Clayton is a working mom of three girls, passionate about traveling, marketing and everything tech related. Her motto is: “Live the life you love; love the life you live.”