Let’s raise kids to be entrepreneurs

By TRISOFT team

“Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” — Bob Talbert

We are born gifted and, as times goes by, we develop passions based on those gifts. Each and every one of us. However, with the passing of time, we sometimes become disconnected from our passions, often with the “help” from our well-intentioned, but misguided parents. You know, parents always want the best for their children, but often their vision of what’s best does not match their kid’s. So if we want to raise them to become entrepreneurs, we should trust and give them the space and resources to be as creative as they can be.

Let’s be clear. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily mean starting a business of their own, but it sure means more freedom, more control over their decisions and over their time and money. By raising children with an entrepreneurial spirit, we have the power to increase the odds for becoming tomorrow’s business leaders.

Start early

The earlier you learn something, the better. The brain develops at its fastest during the first six years of life. This is when the brain begins to maximize efficiency by determining which connections to keep and which to eliminate. As a parent, you can inspire entrepreneurship early on by encouraging the emotional skills your child needs throughout his life, such as the ability to handle failure, comfort with risk, effective problem solving, resilience, tenacity and introspection. In order to foster those skills and nurture their spirit, you can teach them a few things about business on a daily basis — for instance, by asking them to tell stories instead of reading stories, not giving them an allowance, but enticing them to work, and teaching them to save money.

Here are some reasons why you should consider raising your children to be entrepreneurs:

  • Entrepreneurship is an essential skill in the 21st century job market;
  • Teaching them self-management, team work, sales and multi-tasking will increase their employability;
  • It will teach them how to handle money properly, from earning and saving, to investing wisely;
  • It’s a great way to have fun, and it turns work into passion;
  • Developing their own passions is rewarding for children and parents as well;
  • Entrepreneurs are the new rockstars, you know? :)

There are several ways parents can support their kids in developing entrepreneurial skills, and here are some of them.

1. Help kids learn from failure

We all want our kids to succeed, because we wish them to have a rich and accomplished life, but let’s be honest, this is also because their success reflects well on us. So that’s why watching them fail can sometimes be kind of excruciating. Some parents need to land the helicopter and let their kids give their own try, make their own mistakes, and ultimately, fail. Otherwise, kids won’t be able to learn a very important life skill, one they’ll need a lot in life, which is: finding the motivation and courage to get back up, shake off the dust and try again. And again.

The best thing one parent could do is not trying to fix it. Just let kids feel the sting of failure and help them learn to overcome it. Even though the parent sometimes has the means to fix it, it’s better to teach kids feel their emotions when failure arise: to be curious about it, to name it, and then to ask for what they need to overcome it. Do not teach them to be victims, or to wait for a hero. Teach them to be the creators of their own story and to be aware of their power to do anything.

2. Let kids make decisions

Teaching kids good decision making and then allowing them to make their own decisions is one of the most powerful ways to encourage them to become successful and happy people.

You can start with very young toddlers, by giving them a few options (kids can get overwhelmed if they have too many choices) when it comes to daily routines — for example, ask them to pick from the red or green T-shirt in the morning, if they want to eat fish or poultry for lunch, if they’d rather go for a bike ride or play ball. As your children are getting older, give them more options from which to choose, and then, increase the importance of the decisions they can make — let them decide when they go to bed, what activities they participate in and so on. By making their own decisions, they learn to recognize and take responsibility for the consequences of their decisions.

You might think children are not always making the best decisions, and you’re right. They lack experience and perspective, and this is why they tend to rush while making a decision, or be egocentric, and also they overlook the consequences and ignore their implications on the long term. But children are actually supposed to do stupid things. By making poor decisions and experiencing their consequences, they learn how to make better future decisions.

3. Model effective problem solving

As adults, we solve problems each day without even realizing. Most times this is an automatic process, we are not aware of the steps we’re taking in solving the problems in our daily life. Kids, however, do not have this skill and they have to learn it. So whenever a problem comes up in your child’s life, involve him and work together on finding a solution. Help her/him identify the problem, talk her through every step, define it, brainstorm on several possible solutions, examine them and choose together the best one, and then evaluate the results. This will really help the child internalize the process of problem solving and do well in life.

The process of problem solving requires practice, so be there for your child in the beginning, guiding him, making adjustments, and as time passes by, she’ll be able to be more and more independent while solving the problems she faces.

4. Encourage kids to take risks

It is critical to let kids take risks, as they need the freedom to test their limits and face their fears. Risk is inevitable, so this is why teaching our kids the skill of smart risk-taking, rather than allowing them to always act impulsively and taking unnecessary risks, is mandatory for their success and the way they walk through life. A confident, fearless child will have better chances at life and will accomplish more, because she’ll experience life more.

Our job as parents is to support our children’s development and growth, including guiding them toward taking smart risks. We have a fundamental responsibility to realize the importance of taking risks in life, good or bad, small or large. This is part of a person’s development, this is how we grow, change and become self-aware and self-managed people.

It is interesting to observe that children who have their parents’ support, modeling and teaching good risk-taking skills, are more likely to be better prepared to handle all challenges life gives them. They will also be better at coping with failures, because they’ve learned how to tolerate and learn from them. Another reason why you should encourage and support risk-taking is that when children learn how to take thoughtful risks, they also learn how to think and act independently. Who wouldn’t want that for their offspring?

5. Encourage the “Why”

There are some moments in a parent’s life when they become irritated by all the “why”’ and “how” a child asks. Kids want to know everything, they want to learn all about life and its miracles, how things work, where they come from, how they are made and so on and so forth. And this is wonderful, being curious about life. But sometimes we don’t have all the answers. And sometimes, even though we have the answers, it’s better to let kids figure things out on their own and encourage them to do that. Let them get into the thinking mode, use their mental energy, making a habit of thinking on their own. Just give them hints whenever they get stuck, and help them get them back on track.

You can help your kids in this process by giving them different objects, toys, gadgets, tools, and let them discover the way they work. Don’t just show them how to use it, but encourage them to figure it out and enjoy the process. You’ll be amazed to see the way they work, think, discover and get creative.

So let kids discover things on their own, this will help them craft their own ideas about life, not just import others’ points of view automatically as being the only one or the right one.

6. Let them earn the money

A lot of adults have a “dysfunctional” relationship with money. Some spend too much, some save money all their life and they do not enjoy them, some find it hard to earn (more) money, some don’t know how to put a fair price on their work. This relationship with money starts early in life, so parents should tackle the subject with very young children. Do not just buy your kids toys, or give them a regular allowance. This will make them expect things from others and not be autonomous, and it is not actually what an entrepreneur does, right?

What you can do is encourage your children to find ways to earn their own money. For instance, you could teach them to sell some of their toys or other belongings, choosing a price for them, finding a place where to sell them. Also, encourage your kids to be creative and productive at the same time, to produce something both useful and beautiful, something that others could enjoy, and then negotiate a price for their arts and crafts. This will teach them not to wait for others to give them an opportunity to make money, but find their own creative ways. One other important aspect is teaching them to save some of the money they make. You can give them two piggy banks, one for savings and one for whatever they want to spend their money on: toys, clothes, a skateboard and so on, and encourage them to put half of everything they earn in the savings piggy bank. They can decide when to access their saving, for example once a year.

7. Show them the value of teamwork

Participating in group activities early on, whether it’s sports, joining an acting club in school, or something else, it teaches children the lesson of teamwork. Help your children find their interests and passions, and join a group. Being a part of a team will help your children develop social and emotional skills, communication skills and boost their confidence, and will improve all areas of their learning. On top of that, they will feel part of a community, too.

Also, children can learn about teamwork by watching you, so try to set a good example. By practicing team work yourself and showing them how to engage well with others, and also by telling them how important is to be part of something bigger than you, as a parent, you can instill your kids the right attitude when it comes to working together as a team.

Some children are not born to comply with the mainstreams of society, to get good grades in school, to become doctors, accountants or lawyers. Instead, they have other personal features that could lead them to become entrepreneurs. As parents, we should teach our kids entrepreneurial skills, and chances for them to become successful, happy people will be really high. And if they won’t choose this path, it’s still constructive to raise them not to be satisfied with hammering at the same nail forever.

At TRISOFT, we feel that these lessons have helped us to achieve so many good things in life, and, as parents, we know the importance of listening to our children, watching them find their passions and encouraging their every step. We found this attitude to be helpful with our colleagues, as well. Therefore, we support our team members in letting their minds be creative, in exploring their potential, in approaching projects in innovative ways, in expressing themselves freely, while fostering a social climate based on trust and equality.