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The Youngest Entrepreneurs: Setting Kids up to Win
Published on Sep 9, 2010
Read 'The Youngest Entrepreneurs: Setting Kids up to Win' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
It goes without saying that all parents love their children and want what's best for them. We try to feed them nutritious foods, teach them right from wrong, hold their hands while crossing the street, and instill the importance of politeness and good character, all in hopes that they will grow up happy, healthy, and prosperous. There is one area many parents don't consider though, and it's an area that can contribute more to your child's long-term happiness and well-being than many other life lessons. Teaching our children from an early age how to be successful as an entrepreneur can shape their lives in more meaningful ways than most would imagine.
First let's be clear that we're talking about much more than money here. Anyone who thinks money equals happiness needs to look at the headlines detailing the woes and dramas of wealthy celebrities and executives with drug problems, failed marriages and criminal records. Being truly successful really boils down to being happy, and as happiness is defined individually, success is also a personal definition. What entrepreneurial skills provide is the ability to achieve success, however you define it. Think that's a bold claim?
What can entrepreneurship teach kids?
Think about the skills that are necessary to be successful as an entrepreneur. Let's say that success to you is being able to devote your time and energy to a charitable cause. If you have learned what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, you've learned how to effectively communicate with people, which will be useful in any endeavor. You've also learned how to lead people, so you can be a more useful part of your chosen charitable organization, perhaps managing volunteers or logistics.
Maybe to you success equates to having the very best of everything, being able to send your kids to the best schools and never worrying about your finances. Not only will entrepreneurial abilities allow you to accumulate wealth, being an effective business owner is also about managing your money well and preparing for unforeseen circumstances. So, you'll be able to gain and protect your wealth with the skills you have.
For many, success includes raising a family and spending plenty of quality time with loved ones. While a common perception of an entrepreneur is that of a workaholic, the truth is, truly effective entrepreneurs have learned to balance their lives so that they can spend time doing what's most important to them. In fact, as an entrepreneur, chances are very good that you'll be able to spend a lot more time with family and friends than someone who is working for someone else, especially in a management position.
So you see, from being able to properly manage your time and money, to knowing how to effectively communicate and get along with people, strong entrepreneurial skills equate to a more successful life, whatever your goals.
The bottom line
While your children are young, you won't know how they are going to define success for themselves as they get older. In fact, that definition is likely to change at least once as they grow in maturity and knowledge. But one thing is clear: If you teach kids about entrepreneurship from an early age, they will be better equipped to handle many of life's challenges and attain their version of success.
About the authorMatthew Toren, along with his brother Adam Toren, is co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com and co-author of Kidpreneurs, a book aimed at providing children with tools and strategies they can use to gain valuable experience in starting, managing and growing a successful business venture.