Color inside the lines, use your inside voice, always ask for permission, don’t talk to strangers, wait your turn in line. The list goes on and on of what children are told to do while growing up.
Unfortunately, children are consistently hearing messages at a young age that can have huge consequences on their entrepreneurial futures. For one, they are taught that failing isn’t good and subsequently associate pain with failure.
The Truth Behind Childhood Messages
As a result of these messages, many children move from living life by curiosities to responding to life from fears. It’s no wonder many don’t start businesses, especially because the media continues to say that 80% of new businesses fail. That’s really an exaggeration, as 80% don’t fail. Sure many businesses start and close, but closing a business isn’t failure. This language is used so loosely and is not encouraging to future entrepreneurs.
This year, I said enough is enough. As a father of three children, I’ve decided (and am encouraging other entrepreneurs around the country) to help raise more entrepreneurs.
Here’s an inside look at the entrepreneurial training I’ve put my children through over the last few months, and the results have been phenomenal.
Exposing Your Children to Entrepreneurship
I attend typically 1-2 different networking events per week and have started to bring one child to each. I know some may initially be thinking, “That’s not the place to bring kids,” but the response has been overwhelming.
We’ve had the privilege of meeting Chris Guillebeau, entrepreneur and author of $100 Startup. Chris was tremendous and took the time to speak with my daughter afterwards. We also met entrepreneur and author Mike Michalowicz of The Pumpkin Plan. Mike had also brought his son and throughout the entire event he made a point to include my daughter.
In recent months we also met entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary gave an amazing talk and even spoke to my daughter directly during his presentation to share his entrepreneurial gems.
Teaching your Kids Entrepreneurial Lessons
Instead of tossing an old computer recently, my son and I went on a mission. Take it apart until we find a piece not made in China; it was really difficult, but my son didn’t give up.
Next up, a town hall meeting with NJ Governor Christie. Governor Christie spent time sharing his vision to turn around NJ, his views on children’s video games and Hurricane Sandy relief.
Another great entrepreneurial lesson came from using the power of social media. After having experienced terrible customer service at a major big box retailer, we took it as an opportunity to teach our children the power of social media and sharing. Unfortunately this big box retailer didn’t respond, though we complimented a small regional business via Twitter and had a response within an hour.
The Power of Raising Future Entrepreneurs
It’s our duty as entrepreneurs or future entrepreneurs to teach children that they can be whatever they dream to be. I believe that today’s entrepreneurs see the importance and know it’s our obligation to help.
Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner has recently announced that he’s starting My Kids’ Adventures to bring fun back to the family. It’s an amazing project he’s embarking on, and I encourage all to take part.
If you’re an entrepreneur, I encourage you to spend time with your children. Don’t be dependent on our educational system to teach our children the most valuable lessons that you can teach them yourself. I know personally as an entrepreneur that we get busy, but take the time to show your children that they can grow up to be anything they want to be.
Turkish author, Harun Yahya famously quoted: “I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question.” Our children can fly anywhere and you can give them the best wings in the world.
Connect with Mike on Twitter.
Mike Kawula is the Founder of Self Employed King, a comprehensive website to help prospective business owners learn from current entrepreneurs. Users of his site learn what to expect as an entrepreneur and also if a career in the entrepreneurial field is the right choice for them.