Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy! Work-life balance goes out the window, your savings are all invested in your company, and your life revolves around building this wonderful thing that you think will be the next unicorn. But it also teaches us many valuable lessons. And somehow, even if our startup fails, we continue on this journey of self-inflicted suffering that many don’t understand.
These lessons of an entrepreneur are gems for children, regardless of the path they choose to follow. Entrepreneurship builds resilience, humility, and provides many tools that are important for life.
Entrepreneur that values that dough
Remember when you made your very own money for the first time? Yes, that feeling of pure happiness and power. We need to get our kids to experience it, too! Give them chores around the house (maybe even things you don’t enjoy too much like folding the laundry or taking out the trash) and reward them with money. Money earned is treated differently than money given to you.
Create a money guru entrepreneur
We all feel happy when we earn money, but then comes that day we want to buy a new phone and surprise surprise our wallets are empty! Not the best feeling.
That’s where the hard part comes in – teaching kids how to manage their money, smartly.
An entrepreneur doesn't have a lot of money lying around (not until he or she raises that huge series A). And even then, they don’t just go around spending it on whatever they like. Get your kids to put their money into a bank account or somewhere they can’t access easily. Set a budget and help them set saving goals so they can learn how to save and spend like the little money gurus you want them to be.
Tickle (don’t kill) their curiosity
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but we forget that cats have nine lives! Being curious has led entrepreneurs to create some of the most innovative and disruptive businesses and solutions – and who wouldn’t want their kid to go down in history as a successful entrepreneur like that?
Unfortunately, because life has become so busy and we are often tired, we end up ignoring our children’s incessant “why” questions.
What we really need to be doing is asking them our own questions to spark that curiosity. Let them be detectives and get them finding answers to their and your questions. This is a great time to be contrarian without being judged. Ask questions that challenge norms or information about daily tasks, products, or services. You never know, that could lead to the next big startup idea!
Find your tribe
Being an entrepreneur is like riding a rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows with no one to share your experience with, or even understand – it can be quite lonely. Get started in helping your child build their kiddo tribe! Encourage playdates and school activities, even if they dig a (hopefully little) hole in your pocket and block some of your schedule. It will help them form lifetime relationships and teaches them to build a support system as entrepreneurs.
The visionary entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs can get so super-focused on their startups that they easily lose themselves and get drained. At the end of the day, it’s not just about the business and ourselves. We are but tiny dots in a large world that belongs to all of us. Give them regular energizer shots by involving them in giving back to others. Volunteer together in activities for things you are both passionate about and show them how that can have a butterfly effect for a better good.
The gooey stuff
Ever hear the expression “I feel you?” Yup, it’s time to dip into that jar of gooey emotions and feel with them. Empathy is a smart and magical skill to have, almost like being able to read minds. It will help them better understand people they work with as well as their customers – a shortcut to achieving their goals. But you need to listen: create that space for them to share about their day and their emotions. Never underestimate how a short talk can have a ripple effect in helping them better understand their own emotions and being able to recognize them later in others.
Let them fall
It’s funny how we let our kids fall when they’re learning how to walk, and even cheer them on. Not much later, our super protective parental instincts get switched on and we try to protect them from failure forever after.
Failure is inevitable, just like mistakes. It’s all part of taking risks, and life in general whether we are comfortable admitting it or not.
Failing gives entrepreneurs feedback in what works and what doesn’t.
Letting go and allowing kids to fail will help them learn so much about themselves, about life, and will teach them humility. What’s important is if they fall eight times, they get up and try for the ninth. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how we raise a resilient future generation of entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship is an exciting adventure, though it’s not for everyone. Developing the entrepreneurial mindset in our children teaches skills and gives them valuable experiences early on. Do they all need to grow up and be entrepreneurs? Absolutely not but whatever career path they choose, having the right mind-set will positively catapult them into the world. Think about the skills that made you successful, chances are they are entrepreneurial skills and experiencing and learning them young will help them grow into well-rounded, determined, humble, and money smart adults.
Written by: Helen Al Uzaizi - CEO BizWorld UAE