A super human, doing everything from marriage to parenting, intrapreneurship…
There’s this sweet, sweet moment where your child comes to you and says, “Mom, I want to be an entrepreneur!” Except, that moment doesn’t really exist. In actuality, they likely have a passion for problem solving and/or expensive things. Either way, your child may exhibit signs of a good business owner or you may want them to explore a business at an early age.
Before we get into the how, let’s start with why being a kidpreneur is a great option for your youth.
Why you Should encourage Your Youth to Explore Entrepreneurship
In the life of the wealthy, there are three pinnacle pillars:
- Real Estate
- Business Ownership
Two of these three either have a high to mid barrier of entry or a long timeline before success is realized. However, a business can start over the course of a weekend or a few months — with little to nothing standing in your way. As black women, we know this:
“Nineteen percent of all employer-based businesses were female-led—but 36.1% of all Black-owned businesses were headed by women. When comparing women-owned businesses of all racial categories, Black (non-Hispanic) women have the highest percentage of ownership compared with men in their racial category.” – USA Facts
Our power to influence the economy, media, entertainment, fashion and politics is unparalleled and we must instill it in our children.
There’s a constant buzz around generational wealth and the lack thereof within black communities. But there is oversight on where to start. We start with our mindset. Much of our affinity lies with our experiences as youth, and while we are quick to highlight the bad things. The good things shape us just as much — for some even moreso.
For me, I grew up watching my mom strive for the best as a business owner, student, mother and many other things. She’s my mom always, but it was her entrepreneurial spirit that sparked my growth mindset. Beyond the age old phenomenon, ‘black people want their kids to be doctors and lawyers,’ from watching my mom my thoughts were “I’d much rather own the building that these Black doctors and lawyers work in.” So, it’s no surprise that I started my first business in elementary school throwing parties, selling handmade hats and scarves and 2nd hand clothing and braiding hair. My early encounter with ownership and finance helped to shape me into the Mothapreneur™ I am today!
Buddha was right in saying, “The mind is everything, what you think, you become.” Are you instilling a growth and abundance mindset in your youth or are your laying the foundation for scarcity? Your mindset plays a critical role in everything touched from business, to sports and school — it can even influence how long you live.
In developing a growth mindset in your child you’re giving them the free will to view challenges, obstacles, criticism and mistakes as learning experiences. They don’t strive for excellence for the sake of looking excellent, but excel because they have an actual desire to learn. According to Carol Dweck’s mindset research “people with performance goals [fixed mindset] think intelligence is fixed from birth. People with learning goals have a growth mindset about intelligence, believing it can be developed.”
And if you’re wondering why this matters in entrepreneurship and how having a growth mindset can help develop the business owner in your youth, here’s why:
- Having a growth mindset makes you open to change and improvement, which is imperative in building a business.
- You don’t avoid risk out of fear of failure, you approach it head on with a willingness to learn from whatever happens.
- You detest stagnation and complacency. Where you start in business isn’t always where you end. The world is constantly evolving and technology is a catalyst for change in nearly every industry. A business owner can’t fixate, it’ll stunt their growth.
That’s more than enough on the why, let’s get into the why.
6 Tips to Raising a Successful Kidpreneur
1. Start with a Brainstorm
All good businesses and brands start with an idea. Take a moment and explore with your youth. Children are full of great ideas and have the potential to be great problem solvers. They haven’t been tainted with the woes of the world and their ability to grasp at the unknown still exists. Let them get as crazy as it takes! Then help them narrow the options with what matches their current ability, resources and time. Developing technology that allows your phone to find you if it’s lost is a great idea, but something that your child can grow towards. A good starting point would be coding, web development or something similar.
2. Agree on vision, mission and goals
Each year, you may get together with your girlfriends and have a vision board party. Keep that same energy when it comes to your youth’s business. Help them build its vision and mission. Take these a step further and layer in accountability by setting SMART goals for their business ideas. If they want to own a fruit stand, what are the necessary steps to have one — be as specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely with each step.
3. Create a Culture of Practice
It’s not just sports where practice makes perfect. This also applies to your child’s entrepreneurial venture. So they want to make bracelets, but the first few seem to fall apart after being worn only once or twice. Instead of feeding their frustration and allowing them to quit, encourage them to practice until they have a sellable product and reach a point where they’re satisfied with the final product.
My 7 year old attends a charter school and in every class they use the design thinking methodology. With every piece of work, they try it once and continue creating drafts until they develop a final product that solves a problem for the end user:
This way of thinking instills integrity in youth and allows them to truly respect hard work and that practice has its rewards.
4. Shift your Vocabulary
For your kidpreneur, who’s likely between the age of 5 and 17. This sounds like, “I noticed you kept trying and never gave up. I’m really proud that you stayed with it,” instead of “Yay! Look at you – you got it right finally!”
A simple tweak in vocabulary has shifted the focus to the process of improvement and growth and away from achieving for the sake of achieving. In doing so you encourage your child to grow and continuously strive for better.
This can start in infancy, in my household baby talk is limited. We do our best to use real words with our children. As tempting and cute as it is, you have to talk up to your children. Instead of ba-ba, goo-goo and ga-ga, we call things what they are each time and with time they begin to understand and associate the real words with things. In this early stage, we’ve eliminated the need to re-learn.
5. Embrace the Power of Yet
So they can’t do something, so what! That’s where ‘yet’ comes in and allows for room to grow and gives your youth something to strive towards. The power of yet boosts self confidence and accepts the vulnerability that accompanies learning something new. For youth, this way of thinking can help in every facet of their young life.
- I can’t tie my shoes yet, but I will practice until I can.
- Division is difficult, I haven’t quite figured it out yet. But I won’t stop until I get it.
- I don’t know how to start a YouTube channel yet, and I want to find out as much as I can to change that.
On the other side of yet, are endless possibilities that will allow your child to develop a business that creates value for themselves and solves problems for others.
6. Invest in Their Potential
This includes time and money. No matter how ambitious or growth oriented they are, they will need your support. Just as you budget for normal expenses and allocate time to your ventures, you’ll need to do the same with your budding kidpreneur. Their success depends on it! We all know that feeling of hoping, wishing, needing and wanting support and being overlooked or met with delay. Work your youth’s entrepreneurial aspirations into your schedule and accept your new position as mom-manager or Mothapreneur™.
Of course the want to start a business should be theirs, but as their mom, you’re their biggest supporter and encourager. With your help and guidance they can join the ranks of some great business owners and have the foundation that breeds success as an adult.
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A super human, doing everything from marriage to parenting, intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship, and sisterhood, at once.