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How to Raise an Entrepreneur

Do's and don'ts from Steve Mariotti, founder and president of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

Teach the art of business

People are perpetually in business for themselves, allocating their resources. Analyze life's transactions, big and small, with your children: Is it worth it, say, to order the $13 steak at dinner?

Don't compete, create

Teaching a kid to rate himself against others doesn't create an entrepreneur; it creates a company man. It's healthier to trade with someone than defeat him--and easier, too.

Recognize opportunity

Have your kids record their hobbies and interests on the left side of a T-chart. Then have them derive a business idea from each. Repeat for family and friends' interests.

Positive attitude is everything

Too often rejection rules the markets. Teach them to never take rejection personally. Show them that with distance comes perspective and that one can always learn from mistakes.

Don't go overboard

Taking this effort too seriously--making it a chore--is a sure way to turn your kid off business entirely. Too many entrepreneurs try to recreate themselves in their child.

Last updated: Dec 1, 2005

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