I am an entrepreneur and small business owner, am married to an entrepreneur and small business owner, and am the daughter of an entrepreneur and small business owner, so it's no wonder I was a kid entrepreneur myself.
Raising an entrepreneur is second nature to me, and by incorporating some simple habits into your routine, you can raise an entrepreneur, too.
I am a firm believer that entrepreneurship is our best path to customize our lives and fulfill our own dreams. So, it's critically important to me that I help foster this thinking in my own boys. Below are three things you can do this week to encourage your kids to have an entrepreneurial mindset.
Plan a trip somewhere totally different from your hometown.
The best way to encourage open-mindedness? Show your kids the variety of products, services, people, and cultures that exist on this planet. It's so much more effective than just telling them.
Last year, we took our kids to Tokyo, where conveyor belt sushi is popular. Since then, my kids have been talking about how fun it would be to open up restaurants where the food goes rotating around you, and you get to pick and choose.
In Wellington, New Zealand, we found that old refrigerators were custom-fitted as mini book exchange stations. Our little guys couldn't believe we didn't have that in our city back home.
We watched the little wheels turn in their brains, thinking about how many different ways there are to solve the same problems, like delivering food or borrowing books.
Let your kids be inspired by the world, and they will crave the opportunity to put their mark on it.
Sit down and explain investing to them -- but make it fun.
My kids were interested in investing at the ages of five and seven. Planting a seed early on helps their sense of wonder.
Our kids save their allowance to be able to buy the stocks they've been following. It took our six-year-old almost a year to save to buy a share of Apple, and in the meantime, he's been watching, learning, and getting excited about different companies.
These conversations can spark their curiosity and help them focus on what's possible when investing rather than what's currently available.
The more investment is discussed, the more comfortable kids become with the ideas of risk and failure. Risk is inherent to a business's success, and equipping kids with the chance to take calculated risks will help build confidence. Plus, the more they encounter failure and learn from it, the more resilient they will be as entrepreneurs.
Share stories about other entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs and business founders often have the most fascinating stories! While many kids might have heroes who definitely deserve that admiration, be they firefighters or doctors, you can teach your kids to admire the journeys of those who have started and run businesses, too.
The "Who Was/Is" book series have several books about famous entrepreneurs, like Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, and Henry Ford, all written in a style that is engaging for kids.
Don't feel like you need to only stick with kid-centric media, though I recommend pre-vetting content not specifically geared toward kids and tune in with them. Our sons listen to podcasts with their dad frequently and then talk about the businesses featured on the shows. TED talks are another great way to help open up their worlds to broader possibilities, which essentially is what entrepreneurship is all about.
You can raise the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Many parents, myself included, find the idea of teaching entrepreneurship intimidating or complicated. However, the ultimate way that you can teach kids to love entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation is through showing them how much you love it and sharing your stories with them.
So, if you're short on bedtime stories, tuck them in with an anecdote about your first forays into starting a business, and make sure to share as many failures as successes. Teach them it's okay to take risks! Before you know it, you will have a little entrepreneur on your hands.