5 Life Lessons Your Kid Will Learn as a Young Entrepreneur
Experience is the best teacher. Early business ventures build children's capacity to balance risks, overcome challenges as they work toward goals and cope with the disappointment of failure.
Parents, it’s time to push your kids to think beyond the lemonade stand. In today’s fast-paced global workforce, you're never too young to hone your entrepreneurial skills or start thinking like a business owner. Mashable reports 72 percent of Gen Z-ers want to start their own businesses.
Brothers Adam Toren and Matthew Toren are the founders of Kidpreneurs, a movement to empower young entrepreneurs. Their productions so far include an award-winning book for 7- to 12-year-olds that's already shipped more than 100,000 copies, an interactive parent-teacher guide and digital video kids' academy and Young Entrepreneur (acquired by Entrepreneur.com).
According to the Toren brothers, embracing an entrepreneurial state of mind opens the door to many valuable, lifelong lessons. These include learning how to make strategic decisions, communicate your ideas effectively and hold yourself accountable. Read on to learn what these dynamic brothers have to say about encouraging your kids to explore the power of entrepreneurship.
1. Managing risk.
“As a father, I can tell you that the earlier children learn the ins and outs of managing risk, the better they will understand the importance of solid decision-making and thinking strategically about risk,” Adam says.
Any exercise in running a child- or teen-friendly venture will involve risk management. How much time and effort will this require? How much money does it take to start up?
“Learning to manage risk is also about establishing habits that will give you the knowledge to make sound business decisions,” Matthew explains. The best business decisions involve acknowledging the risk and actively deciding what you will accept and what you won’t.
It's also important to accept that you will fail at times. In fact, learning to fail and understanding the lessons within those mistakes will play a pivotal role in your child’s ultimate success.
2. Learning how to learn.
Being receptive to new ways of thinking or perceiving a problem is crucial to becoming entrepreneurially minded. The Toren brothers have seen entrepreneurs of all ages learn how to flip a crisis on its head and examine it from a new angle.
“When you are engaging in any new enterprise or venture, you have to be well-informed and be open to learning new things,” the brothers write. If your knowledge lags or you discount valid information, the results will show in your product, your service or how you're able to engage consumers.
Entrepreneurship helps children develop inquisitive minds. They see firsthand the importance of learning. Warren Buffett, who started off as a child entrepreneur, encourages youth to launch their own business endeavors early. That's in part because it teaches critical lessons about being creative and building good habits.
In a very real way, entrepreneurship teaches children how to monetize their talents. Buffett advises young entrepreneurs: “The more you learn, the more you’ll earn.”
3. Gaining literacy skills.
The skills you gain through entrepreneurship translate to life at-large. “Teaching children entrepreneurship will naturally include engaging them in math, reading, writing and communication skills,” Matthew says.
It will give them a basic understanding of how accounting works, too. “By encouraging students to get involved in a market economy, they will also learn firsthand the importance of budgeting, managing finances and coming up with a viable business plan,” Adam adds.
Programs such as Kidpreneurs have garnered positive feedback from teachers who say the experience helped their students engage in sometimes challenging subject areas. For example, algebra concepts become more interesting to students when they see these equations have real-life applications and tangible benefits.
4. Embracing challenges and making your own opportunities.
The Toren brothers explain that too often, new university graduates are unable to find decent employment for months or even years. A college degree doesn't necessarily impart the skills that will set them apart from the competition and secure a good job.
“Gaining skills in entrepreneurship helps transform children into purposeful employees and leaders who will pave their own way,” the brothers write. “It’s important to keep in mind that being a child entrepreneur is not necessarily about having them pick a career they plan to stick with forever. But entrepreneurs are in every field, whether it be science, technology, music, art or engineering.”
Entrepreneurship teaches children and adolescents they can create opportunities when faced with roadblocks. No matter what field they ultimately choose, they'll benefit from developing a determined mindset.
5. Discovering yourself and your leadership skills.
Being an entrepreneur encourages children to discover their passions. It pushes them to take leadership roles, practice accountability for their decisions and become comfortable both in voicing their ideas and in listening to others. Imagine entering college already having made those important realizations about yourself.
As the Toren brothers explain, being an entrepreneur teaches children to look at the world in an inquisitive way. Often it’s the entrepreneurially minded and enterprising leaders among us who come up with new and exciting ways to solve big problems. And this world has no lack of big problems needing solutions.
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