Beyond Lemonade Stands—Entrepreneurship for Kids
It is easier than ever to start your own business. Even a child can do it.
And why not? Embarking on an entrepreneurial adventure with your little one at the helm is a fun and productive way to instill creativity, empathy, confidence, and resilience in them. It may be short-lived or may turn out to be a catalyst to a big future for them, but that is not the point.
Simply starting something, connecting with people, serving in some way, dealing with setbacks, and adapting to change, are experiences that will serve the child for a lifetime, regardless what he or she decides to be when grown up.
If you think you’ve got a budding CEO or sole proprietor in your midst, perhaps the time to launch is now. The learning opportunities inherent in launching and growing a business are many. Here are 5 lessons you child will learn through entrepreneurship:
Center a venture around that thing that lights your child up the most. When they’ve got an abundance of free time, what do they always seem to do or play with? What aspect of that play really excites them?
For example, if they go straight for the Legos every time, and could literally play with Legos all day, every day if given the option, what is it about that they love? Dig deep. Is it following the instructions and seeing something get built? Is it the shapes and colors? Is it tossing the instructions and creating unique structures? Is it character play with the sets?
So many adults spend their adulthood trying to get back to that place in childhood when they were most in touch with their truth. Help your child understand what that is and center the business on that. Even if the business doesn’t carry on into their adulthood, their understanding of themselves will.
Think like a tortoise, not a hare.
Slowly and steadily, help your child develop a plan to bring a product or service to market. There could not be less of a hurry, right? Take advantage of this abundance of time to develop a brand, connect with a targeted audience, get out into your community, and fill a need.
Celebrate every tiny victory whether a new email list subscriber, a write-up in your local newspaper, or a sale; enjoy the process.
Take on no debt. Maintain no overhead. Keep the pressure light and set very small and gradual goals.
As you and your child put one foot in front of the other, making gradual progress toward your business goals, the market will give you feedback and, like any good entrepreneur, you’ll need to adjust.
The ability to be flexible, to see things from different angles, to listen, and to adjust are key entrepreneurial skills and life skills at that.
Not every idea is going to pan out. While your kids rooms may be packed with fifth-place medals and accolades for mere participation, a business will provide an opportunity for them to fail. This is a good thing.
Teach your kids to expect failure, love the learning opportunity it presents, and forge ahead in the face of it.
Value of Hard Work
Toiling away on a project they love, bringing to bear something that benefits someone else, and being compensated for doing it can be an eye-opening experience for anyone. Allow your child to enjoy the understanding that hard work pays off, helping others is fun, and more work leads to more gain.
While not every child will grow up to be an entrepreneur, many will need to summon entrepreneurial skills to navigate an ever-changing economy. These are skills that can be applied to many aspects of life, including their own future parenting.
The barriers to entry have been broken down and the sky’s the limit. Kids have the option to create any kind of business today—not just a lemonade stand. So, why not?