5 Things to Know About Raising Your Kid to be an Entrepreneur

5 Things to Know About Raising Your Kid to be an Entrepreneur

Does your son love to sell lemonade on the corner of your street? Is your daughter always making duct-tape wallets and decorating her own jeans? If your child demonstrates an entrepreneurial spirit, you should encourage him to pursue that. Here are five ways you can teach your child to be an entrepreneur, even as a kid, with help from Mark Cuban owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of the hit TV show Shark Tank, Shaan Patel, M.D., M.B.A., founder of Prep Expert, an SAT and ACT prep company that was pitched on Shark Tank in 2016, and Ian McCue, a rising senior majoring in economics at UNLV and the founder of Spark Skill, a technology summer camp provider. All three co-authored Kid Start-Up: How You Can Be an Entrepreneur.

Be supportive of your child’s ideas.

While everyone’s path is different, the first step to starting a business is to get feedback from as many people around you as possible before spending any money, according to Patel. So, if your kid comes up to you with an idea she wants to kickstart, encourage her, give her honest feedback and advice, and make her excited about it! Entrepreneurs often have the fear that someone will ‘steal’ their idea, however chances are, even if someone wanted to ‘steal’ the idea, they won’t put in the time, effort, and passion that you would. “Ideas are cheap, execution is the hard part,” Cuban says.

Instill perseverance.

When running a business, you are very rarely going to do everything right the first time, McCue says. Unfortunately, school-age kids are often programmed to think you have to. Teaching your child it is okay to fail can him them all the more successful. “You have to be willing to try a bunch of things and accept that only a few will work out. Be persistent,” McCue says. In teaching perseverance, you will also help your child know it may take time to get traction in a business. Patel suggests committing to an idea for six months to a year before deciding it may not be the best option to stick with. He also suggests being aware that some businesses are simply seasonal and will not take off until they are ‘in season.’ “I launched Prep Expert in December, but because SAT and ACT prep doesn’t start until around May, it took about five months to get my first customer,” Patel says. 

Teach self-control.

This is important because, when starting and running your own business, you regulate your own hours, no one is forcing you to work 9am-5pm at a desk, Patel says. By teaching your child self-control, even when she is a toddler being told to only eat one cookie from the jar that is filled, you are increasing the odds that your child will one day have higher income, better relationships, higher SAT scores, and fewer issues involving drugs and alcohol.

Encourage him to pursue his hobbies.

It may seem unlikely that a kid can really be an expert in anything. However, kids become infatuated with things they like, learning every facet of a game, a toy, a sport, an accessory trend, without even knowing they are. “My advice to all entrepreneurs is to start a business that you’re an expert in,” Patel says. “It’s pretty easy to narrow your ideas down to the things that you actually know and are good at. If you pick one of those things, this gives you a leg up.”

Teach her to be a problem-solver.

In a world where so many ideas have been thought of and so many inventions have been created, one might ask, where do you even begin brainstorming creative ideas? The co-authors of Kid Start-Up suggest looking at everyday problems, no matter how small, and find a way to solve them. These challenges are familiar to us, making it easier to think of ways to fix them. Does your son’s phone constantly die before after-school activities? Does your daughter complain her backpack is the same as everyone else in the class? Encourage your kids to look to these seemingly small inconveniences for inspiration.    

Image: Co-authors of Kid Start-Up: How You Can Be an Entrepreneur, from left, Shaan Patel Mark Cuban, and Ian McCue.
Courtesy Mark Cuban, Shaan Patel, and Ian McCue