You can teach your kids entrepreneurship, business knowledge is an art, not a science. It’s teachable.
You could argue that they’re born with attributes that make them successful, like an open mind, drive, competitive spirit, or the ability to see the big picture. But what about the skills we develop over time, like creativity, courage, confidence, the ability to handle stress, and subject matter expertise?
To raise the next generation of entrepreneurs, we shouldn’t rely only on genetic traits. We should teach them how to be entrepreneurs—and there’s no better way to learn than by doing.
Help Kids to Start a Business
Encourage your kids to start with a lemonade stand. You’ve probably heard of Lemonade Day. If you haven’t, it’s a program for kids and teens to start a lemonade stand where some or all of the profits are donated to charity. Through this, kids learn business skills, responsibility, financial literacy, goal setting, and teamwork. Go to The Lemonade Day website for a free starter kit.
Kids as young as age five can start learning about business with this Pizza Store simulation from Osmo. It’s hands-on, integrates with technology, and teaches math and entrepreneur skills. Doesn’t it look fun?
Shopify offers a logo maker, guides, videos, and resources for kids ready to start a business.
Help your kids think of products to sell or a service they can offer. Then, help them implement. Consider the classic always needed lawn mowing, snow removal, office help, or babysitting businesses. Or think about your children’s passions. What do they like to create or do? My artsy daughter once spent an afternoon by the community pool selling her artwork and donated the profits to The Salvation Army. Not a full-blown business per say, but a pop-up stand and good experience.
A smart example of what teaching entrepreneurship looks like
This a perfect story of what teaching entrepreneurship may look like.
Dad, I want to make money. Can I work for you?” My 10 year old boy asked me.
“We don’t work for money son. You must come up with a creative idea to make money through a business.”
“Oh, let me think,” he paused for a moment and said, “I have an idea! I could mow the lawn for the neighbors!”
“That’s not a business son!”
“Well, I could wash cars or walk their dogs over the weekends!”
“You’re still exchanging time for money son! That’s NOT a business. I want you to come up with a business idea!”
“I don’t understand dad!”
“I don’t want you to exchange time for money. Think how to solve this!”
Three days later…
“Dad, dad! I have an idea, what if I plant some vegetables in our backyard, grow them and sell them!”
“Now, THAT sounds more like a business son! Can you tell me the difference? How many hours will you invest to keeping up with your plants?” I asked.
“I need to water the plants every day after school.”
“Watch out for bugs eating my veggies?”
“Correct! How much time will you invest doing that?”
“Well, dad… nothing, maybe minutes!”
“So what is the difference between your veggie business and working for me or for the neighbors?”
“I’m going to save time!”
“Good! Now you have a new problem… You need to invest some money on your vegetable garden! How much money will you invest?
We went to Home Depot to buy stuff. He had his cash savings in his pocket.
”Dad, look! If we install this automatic water system I will be making money even while we’re on vacation!” He said excited after identifying a special hose to connect to his new pots.
“I will buy organic soil so my cucumbers and my tomatoes will be organic. I can sell them at a higher price to my neighbors and my friends.”
I smiled proudly as I could see how he was getting his business mind together.
We purchased everything. He negotiated a $50 dollar loan from me. We agreed that he will pay me interest.
Business is an art, not a science.
My boy is developing his entrepreneurial skills. He is learning everything that schools don’t teach him like how to invest, how to sell, how to keep track of money.
He will learn the pains of paying interest of a loan, and after this winter, he’s learning the pains of losing money and having to start over again!
Most importantly, I’m teaching and developing his mindset! Entrepreneurship is an art, an understanding of how to make money, it needs to be learned, not taught.