Somewhere along the line entrepreneurs caught the bug. They developed a passion to create, a belief they could accomplish their goals, a desire to work hard to achieve them and continued to get up after being knocked down. Obviously, you don’t need to be an entrepreneur to develop these traits, but you sure can’t be one without them.
My entrepreneurial journey started around the same age as my kids with “Like Father Like Son General Contracting”. We never became a household name but I certainly learned a lot from the experience (and had a sweet business card to show for it!)
Today our kids are exposed to more learning opportunities than ever. Information and education is right at their fingertips (a mouse is turning into a historic artifact!). Yet, surprisingly enough, there is very little out there designed to help kids learn how to be an entrepreneur. I want to see if this adventure can change that in some small way.
I am beginning a journey with my children (Brooklyn age 9 and Cooper age 6) to see if I can help them catch the bug and at a minimum develop some of the traits above that will serve them well in their lives and careers. As we progress I will try to document every step along the way and share learnings, resources and anything else that might help other parents venture down this same path.
All of this got started with a few books. The first was A Smart Girl’s Guide: Money: How to Make It, Save It, and Spend It. Brooklyn and I read through the whole book in two nights and completed all the exercises, which really got her wheels turning. Then I picked up The Making Of A Young Entrepreneur: A Kid’s Guide To Developing The Mind-Set For Success. Brooklyn and Cooper were floored when I told them it was written by a 9 year old. They never considered that writing a book at age 9 was a possibility. While they don’t have a passion for writing, they are starting to see a world of possibilities.
There is one more book I have to recommend. This is for the adults though. Clayton Christensen’s, How Will You Measure Your Life, offers a life philosophy that is unlike any I’ve ever read. Not only will it get you thinking about your life and career, but you can apply the same principles to your child’s future. How will you want them to measure their lives? What steps can you take today, to see that future payoff?
Gary Chau’s work at Orbital is also inspiring. Orbital is a unique space/program run out of New York City. This blog post is a great summary of what their students experience. As you will see, one of the key parts of the program is a month long challenge to build an online business that generates $1,000 (check out this video to learn more). While this program is geared to adults, I think the concept is great for kids as well. We are going to set a goal of making $100 (in profit). This will also give us a chance to discuss forecasting, but more on that later. By setting a challenging, yet achievable goal, children will be forced to work through the entrepreneurial process, bring a product to market, and build confidence in their achievements and ability to learn new things.
For all you parents and entrepreneurs out there, I would love to hear about books or other resources you’ve found that might help. I will do my best to compile everything to make it easier for others to follow in our path. Just leave your comments below.