Thursday, 7 May 2015
Think back to your childhood—what did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor, lawyer, teacher, or maybe even an astronaut?
These days, many kids are striving for a different goal altogether: owning their own businesses. Statistics back up this shift in thinking; according to a recent poll conducted by Harris Poll and CreativeLive, around 67 percent of young adults from ages 18 to 34 are expressing an interest in going out on their own, compared with just 45 percent of workers ages 35 and older.
But it isn't just young adults writing up business plans. There are several noteworthy examples of pint-sized entrepreneurs who are doing quite well for themselves in their pre-voting ages. One is Evan (who doesn't like to use his last name), an 8-year-old boy who works with his dad making fun stop-motion videos with Angry Birds figurines. His revenue numbers aren't public knowledge, but views on his YouTube channel EvanTubeHD can give you an indication—at press time topping out at well over 1 billion views — more than the pages of pop superstars Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Beyonce combined.
Ryan Kelly is another example. At the age of 10, he made homemade treats for his dog and then starting selling his creations. After racking up $800 in sales, he scored a $25,000 investment on Shark Tank and named his business Ry's Ruffery. Today, the eighth-grade student brings in revenues in the six figures.
If your children are interested in starting a business, take note of the following tips on how to encourage them along the way.
Generating ideas come when our minds are clear and we feel empowered to be creative. Nurture this spirit in your children by allowing them unstructured free time to create, test, fail, and create again.
Entrepreneurs are required to think quickly and handle situations on their own. If you see your child struggling with a creative problem, encourage them to figure it out alone without any help. This can be difficult sometimes, but it can prepare them for a future in business ownership.
Duane Spires, CEO of Extreme Youth Sports in Tampa, Florida, wrote for Inc. on how to help children become entrepreneurs. He suggests parents ask kids to write down 10 goals, and choose the one that would make the biggest impact on their lives. Spires recommends helping kids formulate the steps required to accomplish this goal from there.
Bill Gates once said, "It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure." He was right. Entrepreneurs try and fail many times, but get back up and then try again. Instead of punishing your child when he or she fails at a business idea, sit down with them and learn from what went wrong. Then teach them to move on.
Many successful businesses solve a specific problem, so have your child think about what problem their business will tackle. Spires recommends teaching your children to recognize problems in their own lives that need a solution. He offers examples like dealing with wet sandwiches in lunch boxes, and struggling to reach items in the top kitchen cabinets. Spend time brainstorming with your children and writing down possible solutions.
Financial literacy is of utmost importance, even for young kids. Emphasize the value of a dollar by paying your child an allowance for chores done around the house. Then help take their earnings to a bank and set up an account in their name. As they grow older, convey the importance of keeping a budget and giving back a portion of business revenues when their balance sheets are in the black.
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