This is a guest post about cultivating an interest in entrepreneurship in kids.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question that is asked of children over and over and over. Do you remember the answers that you gave to adults? Did you become one of the things you thought you would, or did you veer off the path to something else entirely?
How far from those days we are now. Looking back to your own experience, what was the purpose of this question, do you think? Do we really want or expect our kids to decide what they want to be ten years from now? If they don’t become this, does that then mean they failed? To me, that sounds like way too much pressure to put on children before they even understand what a career is, or that their choice may change over time.
As parents, we cannot help but worry about what’s going to happen to our kids when we are no longer a part of their daily lives. So, we try to ‘arm’ them as best we can by imparting as much knowledge as possible in ways that they will understand. For example, by playing Monopoly we teach our kids the value of money and using what we have wisely. By leaving the game when we catch a child cheating, we teach them the value of honesty and ethical behavior. By stirring up batches of lemonade to be sold at the end of the driveway by enterprising children, we teach our kids the value of bringing their own product to market and the joys of earning their very own money. Of all these lessons, it’s the last that I would like to focus on today.
If you were to search the internet, you would find thousands of articles discussing how entrepreneurship is an opportunity for people who want to create their own success. You will probably find just as many articles telling you how to go about trying to achieve this success.
Success in entrepreneurship is heavily reliant on the person who starts a business and how they navigate the problems they encounter. This drive and flexibility is exactly the kind of skill set people need to learn when they are young for this is when the brain is the most open to curiosity and learning. Young people have a natural urge to explore to learn and understand the world around them. This is what we need to tap into to introduce the entrepreneurial spirit and mindset.
So how do you, as a parent, help lead your child(ren) to developing the mindset and skills needed for entrepreneurship, and for life?
Cultivating an Interest in Entrepreneurship
Lead by curiosity:
The first step is to engage them and get their attention. The best way to do this would be by turning a question or problem into an opportunity for exploration. For example, return their question with a leading question that will encourage them to work out the answer. Kids love to stretch their brains looking for clues and feel incredible accomplishment when they’ve completed the task.
The best way for youth to learn about entrepreneurship is by experiencing this world firsthand. This means they need encouragement from a very young age to think of themselves as entrepreneurs rather than employees. This is a subtle shift in mindset that will be made possible, in part, by what is learned by watching adults. Teaching our kids how to find or create value in any situation
. will help train their brains to stay focused on growth throughout life.
Allow them to make mistakes:
There is no better way to learn than by making mistakes. Mistakes make us stronger and smarter because they teach us perseverance. They teach us that we are brave to try and that we have the courage to try again.
Unfortunately, society at large has come round to the notion that to be successful, everything must be done perfectly, and done this way the first time. Nothing could be further than the truth. One of the most important lessons I teach my kids is that failure is simply an opportunity to try again – which they see me do all the time. It’s an opportunity to learn from what didn’t work the first time and to apply a new solution. And sometimes, just sometimes, the most amazing discoveries are found by mistake! Without mistakes, for example, we would not have penicillin, chocolate chip cookies, silly putty, or the microwave oven – to name but a few.
Youth who make mistakes are not failures, rather they are explorers and entrepreneurs trying to find the right way. We need to encourage them to ask questions and explore their ideas with those who can help open up their minds about what is possible in this world. Imagination is a key ingredient for entrepreneurial success. The more time we spend fostering that growth the more ingrained it will become.
Make risk-taking a habit:
When we create a culture of entrepreneurial risk-taking, innovation follows suit as people are willing to explore new ideas rather than doing the same old thing. In the case of youth, we can help them see that the status quo is not always the best option by asking them leading questions as to what they would do to solve a problem that they see. Then together, try out their solutions until finding one that works.
When we nurture and encourage young people this way, we are setting into their subconscious a practice that they will carry through life. They will grow up feeling empowered by their own imagination and spirit rather than limited by what society tells them is possible.
We have the opportunity to create life-long entrepreneurs when we show youth how their curiosity and willingness to try can lead to innumerable opportunities to learn in the quest for success. To aid my own young daughter with her online business I have finally put a personal life-long dream into action by creating URLYstart – a youth entrepreneurship program.
How URLYstart can help youth create their own success story:
I have always been convinced of the importance and value of entrepreneurship as a way to enjoy more freedom. My goal is to help as many people as possible experience the positive effects that an entrepreneurial lifestyle brings both to individuals and to families.
Starting your own business is a daunting prospect with challenges along the way that you don’t even realize exist – never mind the sheer amount of time and money it can take. At URLYstart, my team and I have simplified the process by reducing start-up risks with our proven business-building methods and our ‘copy us to success’ click-by-click format.
To ensure that the entrepreneurial spirit is passed onto the next generation, we want everyone, especially youth, to have the chance to create something new and to experience results firsthand.
URLYstart is an innovative program where students, with the help of their teachers, parents, or peers, will start their own online business. We have Gamified virtually every aspect to help keep students engaged while they learn new concepts that otherwise may have had them bored to tears. Students will be able to win awards, gain certifications, compete with and mentor each other and, at the end of it all, have an online business that is purely theirs.
Consider how valuable and magical it would be to have ideas come to life. This is what URLYstart is offering – the opportunity to make this happen. Since my daughter first spoke of wanting to start her own business, we have drawn closer than ever by going through this process together. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! And that right here…that is what I want for you and your family too.
Author Bio: Chris Vermeulen has 24 years of experience in entrepreneurship. He’s built multiple six, seven, and even an 8-figure business with his strategy that allows anyone to become an expert and generate endless web traffic and recurring income. Chris is a dad of two kids and the founder of URLYstart.com, which helps turns kids into successful and confident digital entrepreneurs with is unique gamification method.