If you read my last blog post, I have been having lots of fun exploring all the “hard things” my kids can do! They blew me away in the chore department. My four year old now cleans the bathrooms and takes out the trash, while my six year old does the laundry and sweeps the outside patio. But beyond chores, where else can my kids challenge themselves?
Recently I came across the story of Leanna Archer. At 9 years old she began bottling up some of her great-grandmother’s hair pomade and giving it to friends who asked how she had such amazing hair. By 11 years old, she had turned friends and neighbors into customers, and started her own business — Leanna’s Inc, a line of all-natural hair products. At 17, she’s sitting in the boss’ chair as CEO of her company, which brings in more than $100,000 annually and has customers around the world.
With social media and the simplicity of e-commerce websites and mobile app creation, kids now have many options to become business owners beyond the traditional lemonade stand. Since necessity is the mother of invention, most business owners say they started their companies by identifying and filling a need. We can instill an entrepreneurial spirit in our kids by encouraging them to hold these same values and not be afraid to try hard things.
So how do we get started?
Importance of “Boredom” to Uncover and Nurture Your Child’s Talents
As parents, we face a lot of pressure to get our kids involved in sports or other activities early on, but sometimes we need to step back and let our kids have “unfilled time”. Children need the opportunity to figure out how to amuse themselves and explore the world around them without someone directing their steps. Boredom has a way of giving children a way to figure out and hone interests. What do they do to fill this time? Are they good at building complex structures out of Legos? Are they teaching you how to use your computer or iPad? Is your daughter designing her own accessories or starting a new fashion trend at school?
Give your kids plenty of unstructured time so they can figure out and pursue what they’re good at, even if it means not starting soccer at age 4.
Develop a Problem-Solving Attitude
“MOMMY!!!! I need help!!” If your house is anything like mine, you hear that SEVERAL times a day. We love our kids and so our natural response is to to jump in and fix things for our children, especially when they’re young. But by hanging back and allowing them to solve their own problems, they develop confidence. They also have a chance to see where there’s a need to be filled during some of their daily activities.
When they ask you for assistance, instead of “fixing” ask them how they could tackle the problem. When your child says “If I had a trampoline in my room, I could put my toys away on the top shelf by myself,” encourage him to keep brainstorming more solutions, even if they seem outlandish. Kids can come up with some crazy — but creative — ideas, and you never know when one might actually work. Getting your child in that mindset early sets him up to think innovatively and creatively later on.
Teach Your Child to Manage Money
One of the biggest responsibilities of running a business is understanding where money comes from and where it goes. Every parent has their own philosophy about allowances, but giving your child a way to earn money and helping him figure out ways to save and spend that money teaches valuable lessons. Here on Free Market Mommy we have a great Financial Literacy curriculum you can printout and work through with your kids. It is a great primer with basic money concepts for kids through 6th grade.
So keep looking for opportunities to have your kids to do hard things. With confidence and encouragement, your kids will be on their way to building their own empire.
Are any of your kids budding entrepreneurs? We would love to hear about their ventures! Share them with us and how you encourage their ideas.