The following is a part of Yakezie’s blog swap from Marissa. She writes about life after grad school, and personal finance over at Thirty Six Months. You can check out my post on her site.
I was an inventive child. Inventive in a way to ask my parents for a bigger allowance if I did extra chores, asking my siblings for a part of their allowance as a fee for being younger than me etc. Some of those ideas worked and some of them got me grounded for bullying my little sisters. The point is that when your child has the entrepreneurial spirit in them and wants to earn extra income with their creativity, do everything you can to encourage it.
I have a close friend who has her MBA, yet refuses to work for anyone but herself. You ask her what she wants to do and her answer is always: “ I want to be an entrepreneur”. What she wants to be an entrepreneur in changes every few months, but that doesn’t stop her from coming up with brilliant, albeit, over the top plans. The key with her is that she was encouraged from an early age to be creative and find a way to fund her ideas.
That, to me, is key. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but what sets a good idea apart is the execution and motivation behind it. There is also something to be said about encouragement from one’s parents. Children whose entrepreneurial spirit is nurtured from an early age thrive.
Although some people are just born entrepreneurs, the skills you teach your child during their early years will largely influence the mindset they enter the workforce with. This can be as simple as helping them set up their first lemonade stand, which has the potential to open their eyes to more than just squeezing citrus into a cup, to setting up a weekly allowance for helping around the house. If you were the kid that tried to finish your chores as quickly as possible to increase profits, then you definitely know how beneficial something as routine as an allowance can be!
Here are a few tips that will help your child develop a passion for entrepreneurship:
Help them set up an eBay store.
An online shop is by far the easiest way to branch away from the traditional lemonade stand, especially if you aren’t in a good physical location for sales. If your child is crafty and loves putting together art projects, then this is probably one of the best ways to show them that they can make money from something that they’re passionate about.
However, it’s important to remember that they need to do the work, including researching market pricing. Remember, setting a child up with their own online storefront not only teaches them how to barter, sell and present merchandise, but it also instills in them one of the most essential skills they can learn for the future – good customer service. Knowing how to effectively deal with customers will help them in almost any business application.
Get them involved in your home business.
If you have your own business that you run from home, then you can definitely use it to teach your child a few indispensable skills! For instance, give them a chance to do the research for your business, and allow them to help you calculate net profits.
When you give them the opportunity to see a real world exchange of money, it allows them to see all the math skills they probably thought they would never use again in action.
Give them a chance to choose their own business.
If you would rather take a more hands off approach to introducing your child to business, then let them choose something based on their own interests. The classics never die – they can start a neighborhood dog walking service, babysitting for local mothers, or even a weekend lawn mowing business. And of course, there’s always the lemonade stand to fall back on, too!
Regardless of if your child chooses to work a regular brick-and-mortar job, the business skills you teach them now will help them go far in life – even if they don’t end up making a million dollars. Giving them a solid foundation to launch their creative ideas will help them achieve financial freedom that very few people are lucky enough to realize.
After all, a true millionaire entrepreneur knows that they can’t wait for opportunities to find them; instead, they will put themselves directly in the path of the opportunities that they want most.