5 Simple Ways to Instill an Entrepreneurial Mindset in Your Kids
This piece originally appeared on Entrepreneur.
Naturally, most kids are daring, adventurous, eager to learn, willing to take risks, fearless, and decisive. Most of these traits are equally found in most successful entrepreneurs.
But, just like learning to tie their shoes laces, or to ride a bike, when it comes to nurturing your children’s entrepreneurial spirit, they’ll need still need guidance from you.
It is great to teach your kids important life skills generally, but who says you can’t teach them how to become budding entrepreneurs. I mean, this business you are harping on may very well be theirs someday.
Wondering how you can get your five-, ten- or 15-years-old to develop the entrepreneurial mindset?
Let’s get straight to it.
1. Keep the communication lines about your business open with them.
Depending on their age, explain things to them in such a way that they will understand what you do.
For instance, as a blogger, I owe it as a duty to show my kids not just the basics of blogging, but equally talk to them about content creation, web design, and even show them some of the SEO tools I use to stay ahead of my competition.
Similarly, share how and where you find business opportunities. Make a family game of encouraging them to look at situations and imagine what it would take to make improvements.
You should also tell them about the sacrifices you’ve made, why you made them, and what they’re worth to you. This will make them value your business, and start thinking of how to contribute to its success.
For more on entrepreneurship, watch this Fortune video:
2. Let your child see you do smart things.
If your business has anything to do with computers, the internet, or gadgets, then you understand the importance of investing in security. Don’t keep such smart moves away from your kids. This is especially important when you work at home.
Administratively, let them see you manage your emails efficiently. Financially, you should equally show them a glimpse of your tax and income/expense reports. If your job requires you using a system for instance, then let them know why you use a very strong password. Or tell them why you use a VPN to protect your system against hackers.
Similarly, if your kids see you engaged in reading books, writing, making music, doing a sales pitch, or doing other creative things, they will naturally imitate you too.
3. Encourage them to start something of their own.
Warren Buffett sold chewing gum door-to-door at the tender age of six, while Richard Branson founded a magazine at just 16. So, being young doesn’t keep them from being entrepreneurs.
Teach your kids about supply, cost, profit, loss and encourage them to work to earn enough money for that special doll or new guitar. If your kid wants to start a lemonade stand, work with them as a parent, but not necessarily as a power figure.
When they ask questions, challenge them by asking right back, “I think…, but what do you think?” This encourages them to think through problems, builds their own sense of self and develops their voice.
4. Show them the role creativity plays in entrepreneurship.
Encourage your kids to think outside the box. How can they do an item of school work better than just the way it was assigned? How can they turn that class project into a business startup? What have they complained about that’s a problem that they could find a solution for instead of being unhappy about?
Coach them into being creative about ideas. Write lists of solutions together. Map out potential answers together. Make time to create with your child. Creativity is a skill that will always serve them in entrepreneurship; and should they chose not be to entrepreneurs, it would serve them in life.
More from Entrepreneur:
• 8 Entrepreneurial Skills You Should Teach Your Kids (Infographic)
• What You Can Learn From 8 Kids Already Making a Million Dollars
• 4 Key Lessons From a Startup’s Spectacular Failure
5. Don’t gloss over failure.
Allow your kids to fail. They need to know that it’s okay to fail at something even if they tried hard. The important role for you is to help coach them toward solutions for their own recovery after failure.
Don’t solve the problem for them or blame the world or external circumstances. You aren’t doing them a service.
Did their science project fail? Sympathize then ask them how they might have changed the outcome? They didn’t make the soccer team? Allow them to be upset. But the next morning, ask them how they plan to make the team next year.
This doesn’t come from a place of pressure, but from prompts. Prompt them to think how they can approach “problems” differently for success. Encourage them to look for solutions and lessons from failures.
You never know what will resonate with these kids. Even if yours doesn’t become the next Tony Hsieh, Warren, Zuckerberg or Gates, they still will have an appreciation for hard work and independence, thanks to you.