We all want our children to reach their full potential as they grow. For many savvy parents, that might come with the understanding that, as valuable as hard work may be, it’s not always the best way to get ahead in life. The ability to run your own career, run your own career, and make your own success is one of the strongest virtues you can have when you enter working age. And even though instilling the entrepreneurial spirit into our kids can only benefit them in the long run, too many of us wait for kids to grow into that spirit themselves.
You can instill the entrepreneurial spirit in your kid. Here, we’re going to look at a few ways you can do just that.
Teach them the value of work
Entrepreneurs don’t get too far if they think they can rely on the labors of others, alone. Running a business is considerable work, and before your kids understand success and the skills that lead to it, they do have to understand the grind. Whether it’s through chores, finding them a part-time job, or offering them a position at your own business, make sure they see the working relationship from all angles.
Help them understand and appreciate risk
The comfort zone is hard to step out of. It’s too damn comfortable. Entrepreneurs are risk takers, however. They have to themselves, their reputation, and their ideas out there under the harsh light of day. Helping your child explore outside of their comfort zones and expanding their minds by encouraging new hobbies, challenges, and experiences, from travel to sports to academics, can help them get over that fear of the unknown.
But understand what they’re good at
Going outside your comfort zone is all well and good, even essential, for an entrepreneur, but that doesn’t mean you abandon your innate talents and interests. Instead, help them go even further in the direction they seem already inclined to. If they like a particular subject in school, give them extra materials to encourage that interest outside of school. If they seem to love history, start taking them to museums and buying them books that are a little less academic in nature. Expand their learning without making it overly educational.
Get them solving problems
Entrepreneurs can’t rely on others to answer the biggest questions they have to deal with. They can seek advice from those they work with, but the buck stops with them, so they need problem-solving skills. Finding ways to teach your children creative thought, such as with escape room scenarios, for instance, can help expand that problem-solving ability. Giving them too regimented a life, with problems that have a set “correct” solution and a set “correct” way of finding it can limit their creative thinking as they grow.
Help them become a people person
Getting them “socialized” sounds a little clinical or like you’re raising a dog rather than a person, but it cannot be over-emphasized how important it is to be able to talk to people and create conversations and encounters as an entrepreneur. Don’t give them the red flag of “entrepreneurial exceptionalism” you see too often when networking as an adult. Help them understand that everyone they meet could potentially be the help they need down the line and the importance of being generous and welcoming. Practicing standard etiquette such as smiling, maintaining eye contact, and greeting people properly can help them make a much better impact, socially, too.
Teach the value of confidence and self-belief
Kids naturally want to be liked and to be accepted by their peer groups. As such, it’s easy to fall into groupthink and peer pressure, both of which can help with social cohesion in the moment but make it harder for them to be confident and find their own direction later in life. Be their support, offer your support, and give them space and opportunity to explore their own ideas and opportunities while cheerleading them from behind. Aside from teaching them the value of being independent and self-reliant, this is the best way to instill the self-confidence they need to lead the pack rather than follow the herd.
Teach financial literacy
No entrepreneur is going to succeed without knowing how to handle money. That’s a simple truth. Teaching your kids financial literacy isn’t about sitting them down and talking about credit immediately. Teach them about saving by giving them a goal to save up for. Teach them about borrowing and interest by lending them money (with generous terms, of course). As they grow, then you can turn that working knowledge of money into a general knowledge of business economics.
The entrepreneurial spirit isn’t something that’s innate. It’s something that can be grown and nurtured. Hopefully, with the tips above, you can see how grow it in your own children, too.