I recently bought this amazing book for a friend called Kidpreneurs - Young Entrepreneurs with Big Ideas, written by brothers Adam & Matthew Toren. Just an amazing read, not to mention it's free - you just pay shipping. I loved it! Kids and parents alike love this book, and why? It shows a child a different world, a world where they can do anything. It's full of quizzes, examples of what entrepreneurs do, the steps it takes for them to think like one and even has a plan for them to fill out to start a business!
I wish I had a book like this when I was young. From the time I could, I always wanted to work but I was always limited by a boundary; and that boundary was my parents simply thinking I was too young to work. My parents were hard workers, Dad at IBM for 35 years, yup a corporate dude. Mom was a hospital nurse, so she was a caring corporate chick. In their eyes success meant working for a big company and climbing the corporate ladder, but only before I hit a certain age. So my view of success was very different than how an entrepreneur would see it. If I would have read this awesome Kidpreneurs book who knows what I could have done sooner!
So, I'm always amazed when I hear about these child entrepreneurs being fostered by their awesome parents to be as successful as they can be, at such early ages. Here are a few reasons why kids make amazing entrepreneurs!
Kids Don't Know Boundaries
Setting too many boundaries can be horrible for fostering entrepreneurship. Children need to know from right and wrong but they also need to know that they can push these boundaries as far out as possible and they need help and support to do it.
An 11-year old entrepreneur named Kia'i who lives in Hawai'i knits amazing hats and makes jewelry out of surfboards. Her parents encouraged her to do what she loves to do and even introduced her to Etsy where she now sells her wares on PixseaHandmade.
From the Huffington Post article, "Kia'i's family encourages her entrepreneurial and self-sufficient spirit. Kia'i has learned how to price her products, how to ship them to her customers on a time schedule..." Way to go Kia'i!
Kids Fear Nothing
More often than not a child is going to make something happen. They may not do it well, but they're not going to let the fear of doing wrong or fear of the word NO stop them. They don't really know failure and aren't going to be embarrassed by doing something that's not right. And if they do something wrong they're going to learn at a very early stage in their lives of what not to do again.
Removing that stool from the kitchen will stop them from climbing on the stove but maybe a little burn on a finger might save them in the future!
Super Business Girl Asia Newson is the poster child entrepreneur in Detroit! She has been so successful selling candles she learned to make from her dad, she has appeared on shows like The Ellen Degeneres Show, America's Got Talent and 20/20. She was even asked to be a keynote speaker for TEDxDetroit. The girl is fearless!
From her site: "Super Business Girl is the name of my company that I started when I was 5 years old. My parents help me make the candles I sell, but I have a larger vision of helping other kids become entrepreneurs like myself!"
Kids Are Determined
A kid will push every button to get what they want. They'll try and try again at every different angle and they won't take NO for an answer. Determination is one of the best traits an entrepreneur can have.
At my last company (the first company I started) VerticalResponse, we launched a contest for The Next Teen Tycoon, where contestants were asked to make a video of their company (or idea) and submit it for a prize. Then we asked the public to vote online. The winner was a young kid named Jason Li, his company iReTron bought used iPhones and tablets to find new owners for them; a brilliant idea and at just 15 years old.
At that ripe age Jason's grown up advice to other young people was "...to keep humble but never git up." One of the prizes we handed him was a ticket to the Ted Teen conference. This past year Jason was invited to speak at TEDxUChicago conference where he now attends college. Now that's determination.
So if you've got a child sitting at the dinner table pushing all of the limits they can, just sit back and think you might just have the next Richard Branson or Barbara Cocoran on your hands, so foster it! And if you need an awesome holiday gift for some pretty cool kids, check out Kidpreneur.