It’s 2020, and now, more than ever, people can have any career or be anything they want to be. Gone are the days of only having run-of-the-mill, corporate, 9-5 jobs. The days of working outside the proverbial box (cubicle?) are here with flexible hours, remote, self-driven, and entrepreneur opportunities.
Who knows what the work world will look like for our children in 15-20 years?
So it’s important to teach them the lessons that will carry them into a world where they understand how business and finances are organized and executed.
In the past couple years, our family has taken on the fun “hobby” of raising chickens, and, with the plethora of eggs we can’t eat, we began giving them away.
That is- we gave them away until my ten year old daughter, McKenna, decided she wanted to make some money.
Since she is the “chicken whisperer” in our home (meaning she is the main caregiver of our backyard flock), we told her we’d help her start her own egg business if that’s what she wanted. And like that, our little entrepreneur was born!
Within a few days of that decision, my daughter had sat down with my husband, worked out budgets, costs/benefit analysis, and she and I had her website, Fun Farm Fresh Eggs, up and running.
It’s been a fun adventure for her, and we’ve all learned a lot about running a mini-suburban chicken farm.
If you have a budding entrepreneur in your family, or simply want to encourage a fiscal mindset, use these tips to nurture your child’s developing creative and business mind.
4 Ways to Nurture Your Kids’ Inner Entrepreneur
1. Don’t overlook their interests and encourage their curiosity.
We’ve always known our daughter loved animals, so, when we said yes to purchasing baby chicks, we knew she’d have a good time with them. I honestly thought it’d be a short-term adventure for our family.
When they were little chicks, she’d ask me a question about the chicken breeds, how they grow and lay eggs, and other relevant chicken questions. I could honestly answer her, I don’t know. I didn’t want her to settle with that answer. We encouraged her to Google about her new chickens and how to care for them. Her initial question and answer search led to more questions about her hobby of raising chickens, which led to more research and more opportunities to learn and see what and how other people with her interests were living and working.
Allow your children to explore, ask questions, use the internet (with supervision, of course), and learn how to learn. And even if their interests seem silly to you (I mean, really? Chickens? I still don’t get it.), allow them to ask questions and explore their interests, because that’s what will keep them engaged.
2. Take them seriously.
The whole chicken thing with our family started out as a joke, really. I mean, a vegan family who owns chickens? What in the world? But the more McKenna persisted about owning chickens, the more we realized this was an opportunity to foster her interests.
So we said yes. It started out as a fun thing for us, and, quite frankly, I just love baby animals.
And when she decided to become an entrepreneur and sell her eggs, we made sure that McKenna understood that exchanging money for goods is business, and business needs to be taken seriously. So we told her we’d take her seriously. And she has loved it.
We have dubbed her the “flock boss” of our family, and it’s her j-o-b to care for these pets and their eggs. We don’t let her stop taking her job seriously.
3. Teach them the value of money.
I think the biggest eye opener for my daughter was when my husband sat down with her and created a spreadsheet that listed all her costs (chicken food, the materials for fencing, etc.), then showed her how to calculate how long it would take her to make back the money we’ve spent. Then, we showed her how to forecast potential earnings. (This is all easily done through spreadsheets that can do that math for you, just in case your kiddos’ haven’t mastered math yet.)
Teaching children the value of money and how to spend wisely, are lessons that will prepare them for the future, whether they end up being a small business owner or not.
Since this eye opener, she is much more careful about how she spends her hard-earned money. (She currently uses it to help pay for tumbling lessons).
4. Make it fun and NOT fail-proof.
Running your own business is work, yes… but it can also be FUN. Childhood is supposed to be carefree, and children don’t necessarily need to have a huge weight of responsibility on their shoulders. So making sure that FUN is the primary goal of any endeavor they take on is important.
This is also why our kids need to learn that it’s okay to fail. Creative, entrepreneurial endeavors will last longest and be the most fun when our children know how to fail well. Mistakes are not only okay, they are necessary to life.
There’s something to be said for the person who can fail at something and then pick up the pieces and move on.