How to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in our children? This is the question most parents ask themselves. According to Business 2 Community, there are five reasons why people want to become entrepreneurs: they admire other entrepreneurs, they don’t want to have a boss, can’t handle a 9-to-5 job, they like risks and they just have no other choice. Taking all those and many more reasons into account, we want to raise our child to think like an entrepreneur.
Think like an entrepreneur
Interestingly, Robert Reich, who is a Barkley economist and former U.S. Labor Secretary, predicted that by 2020 more than 40% of the American workforce will be freelance, contract, self-employed or engaged in some other contingent work arrangement. This tells us that the best choice we can make for our children is to raise them with an entrepreneurial mind.
It is important to note, that raising entrepreneurial kids does not mean trying to grow them to be like Steve Jobs, even if that is what you want. Raising them to think like an entrepreneur is more about fostering and developing their entrepreneurial mindset. And they can apply that mindset to whatever they end up doing in the future.
According to a research done by Amy Wilkinson, who is an entrepreneur, Stanford lecturer and author, The Creators Code: The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, these all behaviors can be learned, practiced and passed on. One very important advice that Ms. Wilkinson gives to parents is to encourage their children to ask “how” and “why” something works.
“Successful entrepreneurs ask more questions than the rest of us. They are alert to their surroundings and find and fill gaps that the rest of us don’t see. Parents can cultivate the traits of successful entrepreneurs by taking the sting out of failure.” – Amy Wilkinson
Here are some tips on how to raise your children to think like an entrepreneur.
#1. “I don’t know” is not an answer
One very important part of entrepreneur’s mind is his/her willingness to learn and the courage to try. That is how they differ from the rest of the people. And when faced with challenges they think outside the box. Offering your children to self-teach and to find their way is the first thing you should do. You can start by making them tie their own shoelaces, continue by solving puzzles and work yourself to harder tasks. When you offer your children a rich learning environment you make them start using their brain muscles.
#2. Curiosity should always be alive
If you can go down by your memory lane you will remember how curious you were: always asking too many questions. And some people still have their curiosity. And what makes children special is their curious nature. The same characteristic is what makes an entrepreneur. A mistake would be scaring them of the unknown, hindering their growth or limiting their enthusiasm for learning. Allow them to follow their passion. And you will see how your child grows to think like an entrepreneur.
#3. Facing failure is fine. Giving up is not
We all remember the feeling of walking home from school with a low score test grade. A lot of our parents practiced tough love. They sometimes even punished us for failing tests and getting bad grades. But no one can blame them: they had to discipline us somehow. However, teaching children that failing is bad can discourage them from trying again. So you should rather teach them resilience and encourage a positive attitude. Try not to focus on the part where failure is a bad thing. Show them that true failure is giving up. And persistence is the key to success. That way they will never stop trying.
#4. Independence is awesome
Some of the most important tools that any entrepreneur could be armed with are decision-making and autonomy. Have you ever heard your parents say, “I am your parent, I know what is best?” Most parents are inclined to decide on what is better for their children because they know “best.” And while this can be true in some situations, taking decisions on your children’s behalf can make them be defenseless when they face difficulties. That is why you should encourage their independence. Allow your children to make choices from a young age. Start by letting them choose what vegetable they want for dinner, continue on by letting them decide on what book they want you to read for them. This is a great tool for helping your children learn evaluating situations. They will also feel like you have faith in them, which is always great.
#5. Accepting their rebellion
Do you remember when you were 15 and wanted to get a crazy hairstyle? And when you were 18 you wanted a giant tattoo on your shoulder? And your parents tried to tie you down and could not embrace your rebellion? That was the case at least for some of us. Children can be very challenging to manage as teenagers or young adults, especially when that inner rebel starts to show its face. And it might be hard to handle. But you have to accept the changes they undergo. Instead of overpowering their individuality and their desire to stand out in the crowd, embrace them and teach how to challenge the norms constructively.
Parenting is hard enough on its own. And on top of that, you are thinking about raising your child to think like an entrepreneur. If you are already on that way, don’t stop for a second and raise your kid to be independent and useful for the world. With that in mind, you should get some life advice from Elon Musk