Kids are often asked what they want to be when they grow up, and adults generally smile and chuckle to themselves when the child responds with something like, “an astronaut” or “famous musician.” Among the top ten most popular jobs for kids of varying ages are a doctor, scientist, musician, athlete, teacher, and veterinarian. While it is possible for children to become anything they may want to be, children often change their minds and are easily influenced. A survey found that YouTube has some of the largest influence on what kids want to be when they grow up—or they may not always have the means or resources they need to pursue that career, so the likelihood that they’ll become what they plan to be at a young age is not extremely high. But that doesn’t mean that parents and other supporting and caring adults can’t encourage children to pursue their dreams or help children become interested in additional industries and job opportunities as well.
Why Get Kids Involved in Entrepreneurship
Although kids may not always become what they plan to be when they’re little, many get their first taste, letting them see and experience different options will open up opportunities for them later down the road. For example, Tom Zaccagnino is a successful entrepreneur and investor who graduated from college with a degree in American Studies, History, and Film Studies; however, he has diverse experience in areas other than what he studied, all that helped him become the success he is today.
Getting kids interested and involved in various activities and industries at a young age will help them get a better idea of the different opportunities that are out there and can help better steer them towards their own version of success. And getting them interested in entrepreneurship is one of the best ways that you can do that. Entrepreneurship can give kids the tools and resources they need to start their own business in the industry they’ve always dreamed of or help them spot new opportunities along the way. Either way, getting kids interested in entrepreneurship at a young age can be beneficial and below are just a few ways you can start getting them involved now.
Ways to Get Kids Involved in Entrepreneurship
Let/Help Them Run a Lemonade Stand
What kid doesn’t ask to run a lemonade stand outside their house at one point or another? If you’re concerned about them sitting out there on their own, you can always join them to keep an eye on things but let them run the show themselves. It doesn’t even have to be a lemonade stand. Letting them sell anything from baked goods to fresh-picked apples is a great way to get kids involved and interested in entrepreneurship.
Recent crackdowns on the rules of running lemonade stands may seem like a deterrent, but they can also be played into the whole lesson of entrepreneurship. And if you’re having a hard time wanting to pay the fee for a permit when your kid will earn maybe half of what the permit costs, Country Time Lemonade may be willing to help you out through their recent initiative.
Encourage them to Look for Solutions to Problems
There are problems everywhere that need to be solved, and many times, those solutions can be turned into a business. Teaching kids how to problem solve and helping them look for solutions to problems is a great way to get them interested in and focused on entrepreneurship. If there’s no Band-Aid big enough to cover their cut, encourage them to come up with another solution to the problem. As they develop a problem-solving mindset, they’ll be closer to becoming a successful entrepreneur in whatever industry they’re most interested in.
Challenge Their Ideas (in a Positive Way)
Telling a kid their idea is stupid or flat out telling them it won’t work can be crushing, but challenging their ideas isn’t always a bad thing. Instead of telling them that a house made out of pizza is impossible, ask them how they’ll make the walls stand up or how they plan to make the floor strong enough not to break. You don’t have to tear them down, but challenging their ideas in a positive way and getting them thinking is a great way to steer them further into entrepreneurship.
Teach Them About Money and Financial Literacy
Financial literacy is an important life skill that all children should be learning, but it’s especially important for them to learn and understand if they want to become entrepreneurs—poor accounting and bookkeeping is among the top reasons businesses fail. Although you may not be able to help kids understand all of the complexities of money, giving them a good foundation and understanding of how it works, how you can earn more, smart ways to invest, etc. will help better prepare and interest them in becoming entrepreneurs.
Let Them Fail
It’s hard to watch kids fail, but failure is one of the keys to success. Although stepping back and letting kids make mistakes can be difficult, if they’re allowed to fail they will have opportunities to learn from and correct their mistakes, helping them gain valuable skills. Those skills will be key to helping them become successful entrepreneurs down the road, and the opportunity to fail will make them less afraid of failure, opening up even more opportunities as they develop and grow their ideas.
Letting kids fail, teaching them financial literacy, challenging their ideas, etc. are all great ways to give kids the tools they need to become successful entrepreneurs, no matter what industry they want to be involved in. What’s more, giving them the chance to get involved in entrepreneurial activities, such as running a lemonade stand, will give them a taste of what it can be like to start and run your own business, and can ignite that fire under them, fueling them forward as they grow and really decide what they want to be.
What other things can you do to help teach kids about and get them involved in entrepreneurship?