Parents effectively support their entrepreneurial children through empowerment, aiding in skill development, and by using their parenting skills to provide guidance. Young entrepreneurs aren’t looking for their parents to do the job for them, but your belief, partnership, and support in helping guide their experience directly impacts their ability to succeed. Your support of youth entrepreneurship benefits the entrepreneur, your family and society.
Whether they are in grammar school, pursuing entrepreneurship in college or if they moved on from school, your entrepreneurial thinker needs your support to start a business.
Helping them become a successful entrepreneur doesn’t mean you create or recreate the vision. It’s not paying for it or doing the job for them. It’s not driving their sales by being their best and only customer.
Budding entrepreneurs do need support to develop the idea and develop as a business owner.
- Empower them
- Aid in skill development
- Provide guidance
What if you don’t have an entrepreneurial mindset?
What if you aren’t an entrepreneurial thinker yourself? How do you teach your child or help your child develop the skills they’ll need?
What if all you know is how to go the traditional route and work for someone else and earn an hourly wage?
What if you are worried about their stability or think this entrepreneurship thing is what old timers referred to as a cockamamie idea?
Parents can support a business idea and support aspiring entrepreneurs no matter what background they have. Support includes learning to think outside the box and try new things. Support is being a positive role model who demonstrates continuous improvement or demonstrating fiscal responsibility. It’s mental and emotional support. It’s connecting them to a network of like-minded people. It’s being there as they experience each steppingstone to success. You DO totally got this.
Even if you don’t share the entrepreneurial vision or never had the desire to become an entrepreneur yourself, consider where young entrepreneurs are coming from. Consider what our children have seen growing up and what they hear about working and building a future. They do learn positives, but there are a lot of negatives that totally support being idealistic. The desire to use their brain to design a business allowing them to serve others while taking care of themselves comes from that place.
- They see the unhappy 9-5’ers who squashed their own dreams for not-so-golden handcuffs.
- They also see 9-5 going away, replaced by 2 (and sometimes 3) jobs with no stability.
- They see little loyalty for a job well done.
- They hear hard-working adults panic over not being able to save enough to ever retire.
- They feel the coldness of the corporate world.
A desire to chart their own course is admirable. It’s no wonder statistics continue to show the following approximated feedback.
- 77% of kids want to be their own boss.
- 40% want to create their own business.
- 42% intend to invent a product or service that changes the world.
- 91% of budding entrepreneurs are not afraid to take risks.
Ready yourself to help your child entrepreneur.
- You do NOT jump in and take over.
- You do Not force them to follow a trajectory you determine is best for them.
- You acknowledge the positives young entrepreneurs create for themselves and others.
- You use that parental magic and INSPIRE them.
- You sincerely ask, “how can I best support you” and determine your answer after listening to them and actually hearing them.
Empower your young entrepreneur
1.) Talk. Ask open-ended questions.
Without having an answer already in mind, allow your young entrepreneur to vocalize ideas. Let them think through their plan.
- Back them up. Share what works in their favor and where can they go for assistance now and that there is support for small businesses as their business grows.
- Help them define success.
- Understand what failure looks like in their eyes.
- Talk through a basic business plan.
- Ask what they need and expect from you. Discuss your limits as far as monetary support and time.
2.) Allow them to make decisions.
Allow them to see the consequences of their actions without experiencing disaster.
- Help consider their options, and weigh out the pros and cons.
- Talk openly about help and hurdles.
- Create a backup plan.
For example, allow them to buy supplies. Then have them look at sale or bulk pricing they didn’t consider, price matching, the helpfulness of planning in advance, buying in bulk, and decide if pursuing a price adjustment outweighs the time and cost of gas if the product goes on sale after.
Aid in skill development and instilling a growth mindset
1.) List the habits and skills of successful people and compare them to skills your entrepreneur needs to run their successful business.
- Strong leadership skills
- Strong sense of self-awareness
- Getting out of your comfort zone
- Setting goals
- Taking responsibility
- Embracing change
- Having a growth mindset
2.) Use life skills to help them become responsible adults and to gain skills.
Use what “only” seems like chores and homelife experiences to build skills.
3.) What do they want to learn? What skills will empower them further?
- Help them recognize a risk and minimize it.
- Demonstrate how to work well with others, and how to partner.
- Practice pitching their idea.
- Talk through what’s negotiable and what’s not.
- Allow them to make decisions and stand by them to build confidence and resilience.
- Walk through how to prioritize on a busy day and still achieve balance.
Provide guidance helpful for entrepreneurship and kidpreneurs
What’s most important is that you take them seriously. Take their business seriously. They need to treat their business like a business, and so do you, but you are their parent.
1.) Be their parent. It’s your job.
- Be a family first, while supporting their entrepreneurial journey.
- Talk with them about working and balancing personal time and time for their family. Share how you balance.
- Have age appropriate conversations about boundaries and being a kid. They still have a curfew. They still need to get through school. You are a parent, not their pal or business partner. Rules are appropriate.
2.) If all of this is overwhelming and not your bailiwick, start with money.
They are never too young to understand the value of money.
Teach them about financial literacy and the value of money
As soon as they accept a payment, they need to understand finances.
Introduce how to build credit. Understand how it works and how a penny saved in fees is basically a penny earned.
Unless they are financially set and supporting themselves, their future family and business is not an issue, they need to understand the value of money and their success requires financial literacy.
- Make it a project.
- Use life skills practice and coaching and open a bank account. They will learn how to use the site, the app, how to make a deposit, about the float, the fees, how to play, and how to maximize every dollar.
- Use the business planning process.
Parents’ support takes on many forms, and it’s all helpful!
Even if you are not an entrepreneur yourself or do not run a business, you have skills and hold an ultimate stake in your children’s future.
They literally need all you can show them. Kids learn when their budding business goes according to plan, and when things don’t go well. They’re going to stumble and need to bounce back. A thriving business and entrepreneurial success do not come without risk-taking.
Learning opportunities and new situations help them develop a sense of purpose. It’s part of the journey. Your support in that process will go a long way in helping them invent something that changes the world. The parent-child relationship is incredibly meaningful to kids who want to become entrepreneurs.
As the adult, guide your child. Help them balance. Help them remove the emotion and use a level head to approach the opportunity, while supporting their excitement. You are a lead character in their life and will always be an important supporting actor in one of the greatest shows on earth, so be involved. Just don’t take over unless they ask. You got this.
You can encourage and support their quest for business ownership, without minimizing the fact that as your young entrepreneur’s parent, you also have the honor and responsibility to parent and guide them. Have confidence in yourself and help them navigate this exciting time.