by Elizabeth Robbins
What is the true definition of an entrepreneur? Usually, they are people that want to make a difference, solve a problem, and make a profit. Ask any child what an entrepreneur is, and they might have many different answers – or likely no answer at all. However, every child has had some sort of success: success learning to walk, talk, or learning any new skill.
So, what does success really mean? Ask an adult what success means and the answer will likely focus around finances. If you have all the money but bad health, what good is the money? On the other hand, if you have no money but good health, eventually, without proper nourishment your health will decline. It seems that maybe success is really about having a well-balanced life.
Whether your child is destined to be the next Bill Gates or whether the nine to five routine will be more their style, it is never too early to start teaching your children the value of money and entrepreneurship. We all know someone who has started their own business, whether going out on a limb for the sake of a dream or being forced into an entrepreneurial role due to downsizing. Teaching them how to earn money with the skills they possess will prove to be an invaluable resource.
Teaching your child about entrepreneurship is all about helping them find something they enjoy, something they are passionate about, and helping them channel that energy. Perhaps your child loves dogs; dog walking or pet sitting might be an option to earn extra cash. Maybe they love helping you in the garden and could earn money setting up a small lawn servicing business. Do your older kids have a natural mothering or fathering instinct with their siblings? Babysitting might be the choice for them. There are so many options for young entrepreneurs. The key is finding something that interests them and helping them find a way to monetize that.
To help create the best future for your kids, encourage them to think outside the box. Try to keep a positive and open mind in helping them with their ideas. Too often parents think that because we could not do it that our children can’t either, but that is far from the truth in today’s hi-tech society. Let’s show them that they can do anything they set their minds to.
Now that the ideas are flowing, we can help them create a plan in the form of goals. Goals are the road maps to success. Time management, work values, organization, and staying focused are just a few key areas to work on to help make their dreams come true. Goals are simple to set and powerful when actually applied and used.
Since we can’t live without it, it’s important to educate older children on the following financial basics. First, the two main types of money one can make: earned income, where you trade time for money, such as a job, and residual income, such as owning real estate or a business. Next is the difference between an asset, which will go up in value, such as a house, and a liability, which will do down in value, such as a car. Lastly, it’s important to explain that expenses should never exceed income.
Whether they are bringing in $50 a month with a dog walking route, or $10 from selling lemonade at the local market, teaching your child how to manage their money, budget, and invest wisely is a skill that will carry into their adult lives. The truth is that what money does bring, if used the right way, is freedom; financial freedom to make positive choices, and it is these choices that can make the world a better place.
Every parent wants the best for their children. The best schools, friends, opportunities and ultimately the best life. To achieve that it all begins with the guidance taught to our little ones from a young age. Becoming a kidtrepreneur may not be on every child’s list and that’s OK! But these fundamental lessons will help any child to create a better and brighter future, and isn’t that what we as parents dream of having for our children? Encourage innovation and exploration, and let their imagination do the rest.