If you find that your kids are asking to borrow money from you or begging for a raise in their allowance, it is probably a great time to teach them about the joys of being an entrepreneur. Of course, children who are content with their monetary situation can still benefit from learning about entrepreneurship and the skills that go along with it. In order to teach your kids about being an entrepreneur without overwhelming them — or you — in the process, consider the following tips:
Bone up on your entrepreneurship knowledge
As with most things in life, it is hard to teach kids about what it takes to be a self-motivated entrepreneur if you are not too knowledgeable about the concept. Before you start talking to your children about the values of working for themselves, take a few classes from a reputable company like Amway.
Start by visiting Amway’s YouTube page and watch their educational videos about the company and their entrepreneur training program; older tweens and teens might enjoy watching the instructional videos with you. In addition to leading by example by educating yourself about entrepreneurship, you will learn more about the concept and be a better teacher to your kids.
Come up with ways they can earn money
Encourage your kids to think of ways they can earn money doing something they enjoy. A classic example is a corner lemonade stand; your kiddo can come up with a name for the stand, be given a budget for buying ingredients and supplies and learn about how earning money takes a lot of hard work. Older kids can print out flyers offering their services as a house sitter or dog walker, or if your town’s newspaper offers positions for teens, a daily paper route is also a great idea. If you have a family garden, you could encourage your son or daughter to pick the overflow of zucchini, tomatoes or raspberries and sell them at a stand in front of your home.
Teach about problem solving
Business owners have to solve a number of problems, often on a daily basis. Maybe a few employees called out sick and left everyone short staffed or a grumpy customer showed up to return something she didn’t like. Teaching kids to be smart problem solvers is a great skill they can carry over to an entrepreneurial role. Start by identifying a problem and then talk with your child about ways that he or she can solve it. Depending on how old your kids are and how much risk you want them to take, this problem can be a “real world” issue that you want them to solve, or you can discuss hypothetical situations. Listen as your child comes up with possible solutions for the challenge and then come up with the pros and cons of each approach.
Encourage the notion of self-reliance
Kids who are handed everything they want in life often turn into adults without a lot of drive to do things for themselves. While you are happy to provide the basics for your children, resist the urge to “treat” them more than is necessary. Pretty soon, your kids will learn that if they want something — whether it is a new toy, video game or electronic device — they will have to figure out a way to make it happen. In turn, they may come up with creative ideas to earn the money they need and the hard work that goes along with it, as well as the key lesson that relying on others for what they want is not as satisfying as doing something for themselves.