I am going to admit right now, I have no clue how to even approach raising a kid-preneur. When chatting with Laura, homeschooling mom and owner of several businesses told me casually, like it was no big deal, that her son has a business…well I was blown away. Which lead to a million questions, she was generous to share with me and you, how she is raising a kid-preneur!
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Practical Tips for Raising a Kid-preneur
As parents, we do our best to raise our children to one day become well-rounded adults. We want them to embrace life with confidence and the ability to care for themselves, for others, and maybe even to make a difference in the world by their unique contribution.
As homeschooling parents, we take on the additional role of being responsible for our children’s education. We aim to ensure that they have the knowledge and the problem-solving ability to not just survive in the world, but to thrive in it!
We celebrate their strengths and their successes, we appreciate the flexibility that homeschooling allows us to adapt their programs to areas of interest and aptitude for our each of our children.
The ever-changing marketplace and the impact that technology has had on our world around us is a reality that we graciously accept. It seems as though there has never been such a time of opportunity for one, even a very young person, to pursue their goals and their dreams and to see them become a reality.
Homeschooling may be the “competitive edge” that allows budding entrepreneurs the time and flexibility to take the first steps towards being business owners.
Entrepreneurship runs in the family!
Entrepreneurship seems to run in our family. My parents both owned and operated their own successful businesses…and my grandparents, back in the day, had supported their family by means of their own family business.
In decades gone by, starting a business meant a great financial risk, and the advertising and marketing required to get noticed in the world was expensive and not within the reach of many.
However, with the age of the internet, social media, and group funding….it is now easier than ever to take the leap and to launch your own business! Or, if you are like my family…it might mean you start one or two, or three businesses;)
Whether you come from a family of entrepreneurs or not, there are things we can do as parents to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit.
Why would you want to raise a kid-preneur?
For the simple fact that it’s a valuable skill, or mindset, that can benefit them later in life. The skills they learn in creating and caring for a business, no matter how small or how large, will be transferrable skills that they can apply to any career they pursue in the future.
Being a kid-preneur gives them hands-on experience in learning to appreciate the value of hard work and the personal satisfaction of accomplishing goals. It gives them a perspective on money that it might otherwise take years for them to understand the concept of. It gives them opportunities to develop their skills, their talents, and their interpersonal relations with others in a way that will boost their confidence and give them valuable experience for entering the working world.
Some ventures might even surprise you and end up being a business that supports them right on into adulthood! Or, it may just be a skill that they fall back on when economic times get tough, and they face unemployment or lay offs at work.
Starting Training Young With the Little Things:
At a very young age, we tried to instill the value of money and the need to work hard for it (that it didn’t grow on trees) with our son. So he received a modest allowance and if he wanted to earn more money he would have to do additional chores or make the money himself.
So it started with the little things, the typical “first-time business” being the lemonade stand. His business training began.
We talked about customer service, making people feel welcome, greeting them with a smile and always being friendly to everyone who passed by, regardless if they were customers or not, and despite the fact that we might feel disappointment in having someone walk by without purchasing. As the customers came, and the money started rolling in…new opportunities for learning came.
When I noticed him being stingy with the amount he poured (he was trying to make the most of his “investment” and wanted to make the drink go further and sell more cups of lemonade) we talked about giving the customer our best and about being generous so that they would be happy with the service and tell their friends, and come again another day.
On days when his friends came over to help him and joined in the work, he learned about profit sharing and about assigning tasks so that each person had a contributing role to be a valuable member of the team and to make the stand run smoothly.
When children from down the street, who we knew to be from a less fortunate home, came by, we talked about generosity and kindness and the happiness in giving to those to whom could not repay us. We talked about the value of kindness above the value of money. And when generous passersby tipped for the service, we talked about graciously expressing appreciation and paying the kindness forward.
Learning to Adapt to Overcome Challenges
My son worked hard many a summer’s day with his little lemonade stand business. He paid for the product (lemonade and the disposable cups) out of the profit that he earned, and he learned to re-invest in more product to continue his venture.
When the winter season came, and the demand for lemonade wained, he used his creativity and adapted – he set up a hot chocolate stand! There, despite the cold and sometimes undesirable weather conditions, he persevered with his business to help him continue to reach his financial goals (saving for a computer).
In the winter time, he learned quickly that he had to make the most of his time, since the weather would not allow for him to be outside as long. He learned to identify his target market (school aged kids) and to identify when the most profitable business hours would be (immediately after the school bus run when the kids were going to the park).
So, he adapted.
He experimented with different hand-drawn signs to get their attention and special marketing ploys to add on to make extra money (add marshmallows for $0.25 or win a prize on specially marked cups). He started to look at the world in a different way, he took note of what businesses in town were doing to attract attention, and he observed and applied what he learned to his business.
Learning the Online World of Entrepreneurship
Over the years, our son tried his hand at many different business ideas. He funded all of them himself, either by saving his allowance and gift money or by selling off toys and games that he no longer wanted, in order to pursue his ideas.
Along the way he had some bumps and disappointments, but he learned to get back up, dust himself off, and try again.
For a while, he sold crafts that he had made at the local craft show. He found a niche market and had many returning customers. After seeing the success, he decided to open his own Etsy shop. To do this, he had to learn how to design shop headers and profile pics. He had to come up with a business name that reflected what products he offered. He had to establish shop policies and establish shipping rates.
He later went on to sell on eBay, and then began to buy and sell products which he observed were in demand on our community sell swap page.
As he continued in his knowledge and his skills, he began to branch out and to try yet more new things. He watched YouTube videos and learned how to replace and fix broken parts on products. He then began buying, fixing, and selling for profit.
Did he have some unexpected challenges along the way? Absolutely! But he owned it. He was the CEO of his “company” and he knew he had full responsibility for whatever happened to it. He learned about financial risks and potential for problems. He learned about the need to be adaptable and to turn to plan B, or C, or D. He learned when to continue, and when to cut his losses.
All of this he learned by his early teens.How to teach YOUR child to be a kid-preneur! #ihsnet #kid-preneur #homeschool Click To Tweet
The Rewards of Raising a Kid-preneur
One of the most unexpected rewards of raising an entrepreneur came within the last year. The tables turned a bit, and I began to learn from my son, after years of coaching him.
Yup, you heard that, he was teaching me a thing or two!
He had achieved so many of his financial goals by not giving up and by being determined to find whatever worked to make things happen. When he expressed interest in writing, he contacted a blog that he was a regular follower of. He emailed the owner a sample of his work, and expressed a desire to be a guest writer on the blog. The owner appreciated his work and accepted. After several months and many articles later, he was no longer considered a guest blogger but a regular contributor!
His example has taught me many things….
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t assume the answer will be no, simply because you don’t have the experience or confidence you would like to have. There is no harm in asking.
- Age is just a number. One of the wonderful things about the internet is that some personal information can remain private. If you work hard, educate yourself, and walk the walk and talk the talk, you can have opportunities opened to you based solely on your abilities and not on your age. Look at some of the most successful online companies that were all started in high school or college. Don’t let anyone look down on your youth, just work hard to keep up and prove your abilities.
- It’s ok to be shy. And it’s good to be modest. Although my son has had great success with his online ventures, it’s not often he mentions it to others. He prefers for people to stumble across his work accidentally, rather than drawing attention to it himself. He likes his work to be accepted and appreciated based on the content and its value, rather than on the novelty that it came from a young entrepreneur. (That’s why you won’t find a link to his work included here-lol)The success he has had has been all of his own, because of the quality of his work, and not because of “plugs” from family and friends. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from having done it oneself.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Yup, I’m repeating that. I can’t tell you how much his example has proven this to me. Don’t be afraid of rejection, don’t take it personally. Just continue to ask. Continue to look for opportunities. And don’t miss out simply because you were afraid to try. The restrictions that hold us back are all too often self-imposed.
Bonus Rewards of a Working Homeschool Mom Raising a Kid-preneur
As an entrepreneur myself, I can’t tell you how special it is be able to share these times with my son. I love that we have a “work day” together.
He works on his writing, or his repairs and sales, and I work on my blog ( I recently had the courage to launch my first blog: abovethetreeline.ca, directly as a result of seeing my son’s success and being inspired by him !).
We now have a special connection, an extra topic to talk about while others might be scrambling to connect with their teens. We enjoy “talking shop” and sharing blog post ideas, marketing strategies, and discussing local market trends.
I love seeing his work, I’ve even hired him to do some work for me on one of my business ventures, and I love seeing him set his mind to something and accomplish it with his personal style.
Will this be the career he pursues in the future? I don’t know. But I do know that he has the confidence, experience, and skills to do it, if he so chooses. And to think, it all started with a simple cup of lemonade 🙂
Special thanks to Laura for breaking it all down for us. One book that Laura highly recommends to aid in raising a Kid-preneur is: Kidpreneurs: Young Entrepreneurs With Big Ideas! Grab your personal copy here! (Canadian? Try here!)
If you have any questions for her please leave them in the comments! If you found this post interesting, please share it so others, too, can learn practical tips for raising a kid-preneur!
Laura is a wife, mother, homeschooler, and blogger living in Canada’s far north. Her recently launched blog, abovethetreeline.ca is a frugal living blog designed for Canadians, with a special focus on those living in the north. It contains ideas and proven success for ways to save money and make money as well as information on frugal healthy living. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram @ AbovetheTreeline.ca.