Guest post from Miranda of The Reluctant Cowgirl:
Shaping an entrepreneurial spirit can be natural when kids are young — eager to learn and explore new ideas.
When parents model a creative way of thinking and offer plenty of opportunities to explore their interest, kids connect to an entrepreneurial attitude, develop their talents, and learn positive ways to make income.
If you would like to inspire entrepreneurship in your children, here are 6 tips to help you do just that!
1. Teach Kids to Work Hard
In order to thrive out in the world, kids need to be able to work hard. Find a balance between allowing your kids to just be children and treating them like adults.
Too often parents have no expectations for their kids other than to be outwardly successful. But we want our children to be able to mentally and physically endure. That kind of inner strength only comes when pressure is applied. So as tough as it can be, we have to allow our kids to struggle through learning a new skill or balancing homework, chores and activities.
Do you have a side or family business? Have them help out. Do you have lots of neighbors? Find a neighbor that needs help and allow them to “hire” your tween. Volunteer in the community or your local church.
When a child has to push through their natural desire to quit they will discover they can do more than they thought possible.
2. Teach Kids to Set Goals
Everyone has dreams and ideas. People talk about them all the time.
But we don’t want our kids to just be talkers. We want them to see and realize their dreams.
Teaching our kids to set and accomplish goals is a simple way to inspire entrepreneurship for a lifetime. Goal setting helps your child to see how to break a big job into several small tasks. It allows kids to see that they can accomplish huge dreams if they are willing to work at it a little bit each day.
Kids typically think more short term so allow them to think of a goal they would like to accomplish in the next few weeks. Give them the opportunity to pick a few ideas. Then walk through the steps of turning their dream into a goal by creating small action steps that they can do a little each day or each week.
Stay away from vague goals such as,”I would like become a reader.” Instead write, “I would like to become a better reader by going to the library once a week, picking out books I enjoy, and reading 15 minutes every day.”
3. Teach Kids that Failure is OK
If we want to teach our children to take risks and try new things, then we need to teach them that failure is OK. Otherwise, we are heaping a lot of stressful expectations on their back.
One way we can teach that failure is OK is by stepping out of the way when they want to “go for it”.
Don’t let your fear of them failing get in the way.
Once before a talent show my son (8 yrs old at the time) kept insisting that he needed to borrow a bigger drum set to play for the performance. I kept insisting that he just use his small set not wanting to see him flounder around on a big set. He finally persuaded me. No one else was more surprised than me when he rocked the house that night on the big set!!
When they do fail, focus your encouragement on how hard they tried or the fact that they were willing to take a risk. Talk to them about past failures you have had, and what you learned from them.
4. Give Kids Learning Opportunities
As time allows, give your children chances to try different sports and activities when they are young. But also think outside the box.
Is there a job they would enjoy doing at church, helping a relative, or an organization in the community?
Our children have done everything from helping out at a family deer processing business to creating greeter gift bags at church to running sound for a local non-profit organization.
As kids interact and learn they will see the variety of jobs out there, learn to handle themselves around adults, and begin to think outside structured activities and jobs.
5. Help Kids Start a Small Business
Some kids have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and will come up with lots of ideas. Encourage them to put one of their ideas into motion.
There is a wonderful book called Starting a Teen Micro Business by Carol Topp, that will guide you and your teen through the creative and practical steps necessary to develop their own business!
6. Allow Kids to See Parents Grow
When I teach groups, we include an exercise asking parents to make one small improvement to their life that week. I am always surprised when parents say, “We are fine like we are,” or “I can’t think of anything we need to improve.” What?
As parents, we should continue to challenge ourselves to grow and try new things.
What excited you recently? Did you learn something new at work? Or while reading a book?
Share your learning experiences with your children. Children want to be where life is happening!
Some examples of things our children have seen us try: a recipe contest, farming, building a pond, making maple syrup, running for public office, selling herbs, starting a blog, running an excavating business, building a house, remodeling a house and starting a freezer beef business.
Life should be happening in your home!
Encourage your kids today with these 6 Simple Secrets to Inspire Entrepreneurship!
I’m Miranda, The Reluctant Cowgirl. Vibrant Life Mentor. A city girl married to a country boy! The Reluctant Cowgirl encourages and equips moms of tweens & teens to care for their emotional health and the well-being of their family. Find practical advice to develop a EMOTIONALLY VIBRANT family life!
Thanks Crystal and the Money Saving Mom team for allowing me to guest post!! Appreciate the opportunity to share.
Crystal Paine says
You’re so welcome! Thank you for the guest post!
Really great post Miranda. Some great real examples here. I think #3 is so important. Failure is often our best teacher, even though it can sting a little bit. I agree with you that it’s important to let them fail, painful as that may be!
Hi Deneen, yes helping our kids see that failure is just all part of the journey is pivotal! Thanks:)
Heather Bee says
What an encouraging article, Miranda! I love these ideas to encourage growth in our kids while also inspiring them to seek the entrepreneurial spirit! Thanks for sharing and giving me some new ideas:)
What a great post!
I personally think #1 is critical. It looks like many things come too easy for so many kids in our society. Therefore, they are not ready to cope with anything that requires more effort on their side when they turn adults.
Li Tian says
This is great, kids don’t get encouraged enough to take risks these days!
Micah | Home Faith Family says
I love the idea of helping your teen to start their own business. If done right, there is so much good that will come from this, including mentoring from community members and financial knowledge they can gain in no other way.
It is so fun to see the creative ideas our kids will come up with when we give a little encouragement or connect them to the right mentor!
Kat G says
This is a perfect list as we all head into the summer vacation! Lots of time to try some of these ideas. Thank you for the inspiration!
Fantastic post! Now that I have a teenager, I can put these tips to use! The first may be the most difficult…
Yes, that first step is hard for most of us! Glad you enjoyed post.
Victoria with One Sharp Mama says
Fantastic ideas!!!! I’ll definitely be keeping these in mind as my daughters get older. I’m very excited for them to learn to work hard, develop a strong work ethic and to take gratification in a job done well and right!! Great tips. Thanks
Aww..thanks! Glad you liked post!
These are all great ideas, but I particularly love #5! I can’t wait to check out that book and encouraging my kiddos more. I am bad about expressing skepticism when the want to sell things/experiences I don’t think people would pay money for ?
Hi Sarah! So glad you found some helpful ideas. I love the micro business book. I’ve taken several classes of teens through the book.
Yes, it can be hard as a parent to not want to protect our kids from disappointments. But that can prevent them from taking risks:) Yes, the micro business book is so helpful!
Misty | Simple Organized Lifestyle says
These are great ideas! Sometimes I step in too soon when my child needs to learn that struggle can be productive and necessary to learn and grow.
I hear ya! Misty I have to “sit on my hands” sometimes so I don’t step in too soon and rescue. It does pay off huge in the long run!
Love this post Miranda. Such great ideas. I need to be more encouraging to my boys to let them try things whether they succeed or fail.
Hi Julia! Yes, it can be hard to see our kid’s fail at something. But it’s so awesome when they succeed knowing they put in the hard work:)