Embrace Your Teen’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

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As a parent you want what’s best for your children. For decades, parents have taught their kids that to have a successful life they need to study hard, go to post-secondary school and get a good paying job. But today’s teens are challenging that notion with thoughts of innovation and entrepreneurship. So much so, in fact, that many of the top entrepreneurs began their businesses in their teenage years. If your teen has begun showing a strong entrepreneurial spirit, help him or her embrace this ambition and thrive as a young entrepreneur.

Notice the Signs

If your child is struggling in some subjects, balking at the pressure to conform to peers, and acting out at times, this might not be a sign of trouble, as you would typically suspect. Perhaps your child is struggling because he or she is bored and not being challenged enough. Oftentimes entrepreneurs think differently and come up with solutions that don’t necessarily fall in line with standard high school classes. Similarly, your child may feel a bit on the outside when his or her friends have different hobbies and interests. Sit down and discuss your child’s struggle with him or her, and you may find ways to customize your child’s learning to help him or her thrive instead of have perceived failure. Cameron Herold’s recent TEDx presentation looks further into this topic.

Encourage Your Child’s Spirit

Raising a young entrepreneur is a great responsibility. You may be moulding and shaping the future CEO of the next up-and-coming Fortune 500 company. Help your child harness his or her creative energy and learn to think as an entrepreneur through small shifts in reasoning, such as how he or she approaches a problem or considers monetary value. Next time your teen wants money for a trip or extracurricular activity, offer up a challenge rather than a list of tasks to earn money. Have your child identify a problem within the home and come up with a creative solution to earn the desired income. Once he or she has achieved the goal, the important conversation of financial literacy should quickly follow. Discuss the value of the dollar, earning a salary and investing money to generate more money. Basically teach your teen that successful entrepreneurs make money work for them instead of them working for money.

Help Your Teen Gain Experience

Ideas and desire are strong parts of being an entrepreneur, but experience is also valuable. Help your teen establish his or her work ethic through freelance and contractual work. Many companies offer opportunities to gain experience in the business world while essentially managing your own business. Some companies to consider include Amway, the 26th largest private company in the U.S.; TaskRabbit, a mobile marketplace that allows people to outsource jobs to a pool of contractors; Scentsy, a candle warmer company that was founded in Salt Lake City in 2003; and Care.com, which helps families find child care. Tutoring, special needs care, senior care, pet care and housekeeping are other options.


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