I never wanted to be the kind of mother that said, "do as I say, not as I do." I tried to teach my daughter to be a thinker by forcing her to debate with me when she wanted to do something special. This started at around age 3. She watched me as a single mother, working several jobs to keep us secure. She watched as I went to work every day and sometimes came home stressed out. She watched as I participated in several small business ventures. We talked operating expenses and profit.
Financial and time management
We opened her bank account when she was 6, and she began managing her own money with my guidance. She learned how to prioritize and save for the things that she wanted. At one point, she was making jewelry and selling it in the restaurant where I worked. Then came the babysitting and fast food jobs. I watched her as she grew into a hard worker, who was reliable, responsible, and caring.
Following a passion
Five years ago, she graduated high school early and while we looked at colleges, she elected to learn a trade instead. She wanted to be a beautician, and eventually have her own chain of salons. I was disappointed that she didn't want to go to college, but I recognized that it was her decision and at first, begrudgingly supported it. Then it dawned on me that she was doing exactly what I had hoped she would do. I realized how proud of her I was. She knew what she wanted and she was going to go after it.
Learning and applying
Through talking to her, I knew she understood that she would have to put in her time, learn her trade, and also learn the nuances of her business in terms of inventory, management and customer service in order to reach her goal. She finished hairdressing school, found a shop owner who was willing to teach her the ropes and she has gradually grown into a knowledgeable, responsible, and professional beautician as well as an Assistant Shop Manager. The skills she has learned can be transferred to many industries if she so chooses.
What 10 steps can you take to set your child up for success as an entrepreneur?
- Challenge them to plan and think things through
- Challenge them to budget their money
- Challenge them to learn how to work with other people
- Help them recognize their passions
- Support their efforts to try new things
- Help them to understand that confidence comes from trying, doing, sometimes failing but eventually succeeding, only when we don't give up
- Challenge them to have goals and dream big
- Teach them by involving them in your own business dealings
- Hold them accountable for mistakes and let them learn early what failure feels like
- Celebrate their success
These are just a few ideas, I am sure there are a ton more.
With college education rising, and the economy inflating, in my opinion, it is best that a child follow their passions and dreams, regardless of hopes of financial success. When you are passionate about something, you can overcome many obstacles that would seem impossible otherwise. If you want to help position your kid for entrepreneurship, help them by sharing your business dealings and lead by example. Engage them in discussions and help them with finances, networking and finding a passion.
Personal experience as a Business Management Consultant, Small Business Owner and Life Coach