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5 Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Start Their Own Business

By Amanda Lee

Published July 17, 2023 • 5 Min Read

A version of this article originally appeared on Mydoh

Even if your child isn’t a natural inventor, many kids possess an entrepreneurial spirit. They have a way of thinking that actively looks for ways to change things, rather than just waiting to see how things change.

It’s that spirit that saw Warren Buffett selling chewing gum door-to-door as a boy and Canadian construction mogul Kelsey Ramsen working as flag girl on the Alaskan highway at 14.

Why encourage your child to be an entrepreneur?

If your career has consisted of a steady 9-to-5 job, the idea of raising an entrepreneur may feel alien to you. However, the reality is the workplace is rapidly evolving. Today, of all employers in Canada, 1.18 million are small businesses, and Canada ranks as one of five countries where women entrepreneurs reported high levels of innovation.

Another perk to becoming an entrepreneur is the potential to earn more than in a traditional job (while changing the world). Hey, just ask Bill Gates or Larry Page. You may not recognize Larry’s name, but you’ll likely recognize the company he helped cofound: Google. These people aren’t just entrepreneurs; they’re also leaders in their industries.

5 tips to encourage your kid to start their own business

Today’s 8-year-old is tomorrow’s leader. Here are 5 ways you can encourage your kids to become future entrepreneurs:

1. Consider what they’re good at

Kids are all born with gifts and talents. What they love to do as kids can hold the key to our future career path — even if those talents seem like nothing more than play at the time. Look at what your kids have a natural affinity for and what they love to do. Often it’s the one and the same thing. A talent for baking, drawing, or technology could all be the basis of a future side business.

2. Introduce them to entrepreneurial people

It’s easier for kids to imagine becoming an entrepreneur if it’s modelled for them. Most people don’t have Bryan and Sarah Baeumler or Oprah on speed dial, but it might be as simple as spending time with a friend who turned their passion for jewelry making into a side-hustle online, or a graphic designer who creates logos for small businesses in their spare time. Let your kids see examples of others who are pursuing their passion. Create opportunities where your kids can ask them questions and have others share their experiences.

3. Teach them how powerful ideas can be

Many businesses began with an idea. eBay started out as a way for a computer programmer to auction off items on his personal website. A trip to Milan spurred an idea to bring the feel of an upscale espresso café to North America — and Starbucks was born. Entrepreneurs often come up with solutions to problems by making connections between seemingly unrelated events or asking, “what if?” Teach your children how powerful ideas can be and encourage them to share theirs. Share examples of business leaders who started with an idea. And it’s not all about making money. There are many examples of entrepreneurs who are taking their ideas to solve real-world problems, like Ishita Anand, who founded BitGiving, which raises money for social issues.

4. Teach them to have courage

Courage is the ability to do something in the face of danger. Any entrepreneur will probably tell you that failure is a step towards success. Like Thomas Edison. When inventing the light bulb, he said, “I haven’t failed — I’ve just found 10,000 that won’t work.” Courage isn’t only key in being a successful entrepreneur; it’s key in life. Being able to accept and embrace failure and learn from mistakes develops grit. And according to psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth, grit may be a predictor of success. Encourage your kids to problem-solve and learn from a failure before picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and trying again.

5. Encourage their creativity

There are a number of traits entrepreneurs share: perseverance, risk-taking, passion, discipline. Another is creativity. Encourage your kids to engage in activities that foster creativity, whether that’s building with LEGO®, drawing, writing stories, building a world in Minecraft, or playing dress-up. As a parent, there’s a lot you can do to create a space for creativity to flourish: provide the raw materials for creativity; allow them the freedom to explore their ideas; expose kids to museums, art galleries, theatre, books, and film; and emphasize the process of creativity, rather than the end product. In short, provide your children with the opportunities to let their imaginations soar — and worry about the mess later!

Looking for more articles for kids on how to start your own business? Read more about how to make money online as a kid.

Give kids the experience of earning and spending their own money

Budding entrepreneurs not only need to know how to earn money but also how to spend it wisely. The bottom line is, you want to encourage your kids to embrace their entrepreneurial spirits from an early age.

To quote Edison, “If we did the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” So why not help them start today? A little independence ─ and entrepreneurship ─ at an early age may go a long way.

Visit Mydoh to learn more about how parents can give kids the real-world experience of earning and spending their own money.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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