HOW TO NURTURE AN ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT IN YOUR KIDS

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By Lu Fitoussi-Findlay

By the time our children grow up there will be very few straight forward jobs, I’m certain of it. 

Robots will be doing everything that’s process driven. Job success will all be based around people that are creative, adaptable thinkers and multi-skilled.

Another option will be to come up with an ingenious invention - the likes of which I’m sure we can scarcely imagine! For future success in the job market, your child will need to be able to adapt; they will no doubt have a number of jobs throughout their adult life and with computers and AI still moving at a fast pace they will probably need to change what they do a number of times throughout their working career.

The landscape is no doubt going to be wholly different from what we know now, so how can we help our children navigate this futuristic workspace whilst making some pocket money along the way? It’s all about nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit while they are still young.

I’m all for jobs for kids. Not the bad kind where they are underpaid and overworked, but the good kind where they learn the meaning of a strong work ethic, the value of money and time and where, above all, they learn that work can be enjoyable.

If we can help our kids down a path where their future jobs (where they’ll spend an estimated 90,000 hours over their lifetime!) are enjoyable, we’ll have done ourselves some darn good parenting.

If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll have Googled ‘how to earn money for kids’ and I’d rather I teach them how to earn some extra cash lest they fall down the rabbit hole of despair that is the dark corners of the internet.

I’m all for kids getting involved in chores around the house, but if that’s the only way they are learning to make money, what you’re essentially teaching them is ‘do this thing you really don’t want to and you’ll be rewarded for it’. I’m not sure that sits well with me.

When it comes to thinking about how to make money as a child I think balancing this traditional form of getting pocket money with something a little more modern and business centered is better. Part chores, part something they love and are good at that can also reap rewards. It’s how you will build your little entrepreneur of the future.

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So where do you start? The aim is to empower your children to not only realise they can make money (get rewarded) for doing something they love but also for being entrepreneurial which, in a nutshell is thinking out of the box, connecting dots and being able to see the world a little differently. These are all hugely positive things for anyone to learn at any stage of life as future Apple CEO or not, your general day to day will be improved regardless.

An emphasis on creative problem solving is a good start. If your older kids are wondering how they can make money as a teenager, why not give them some of your real life problems to solve. Offer them the deal that if they can work out how you can save money or time on the problem then you will split the saved pennies (time is also money) with them.

This should get them thinking about new solutions to your old problems and encourage them not to look at challenges as things that can’t be thought around, improved or solved. All of these are life skills that will pay dividends in the future.

Be ready to spend some time planning and supporting your child as they embark on this money making adventure. Be prepared with some suggestions if this is a new way of thinking for your child; you don’t want him or her to be put off it they find this new way of thinking initially frustrating. It could be useful to work on your business ideas for kids with your partner or a friend before you work it through with your child. A business can be any commercial activity, it doesn’t have to be ongoing. If it’s easier, why not start with something finite, perhaps a scheme that works just over the summer holidays.

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To give you an example of how simple money making ideas for kids can be, take the example of a very successful entrepreneurial friend of mine. Some years back, he noticed there was a need for ‘extras’ at the petrol stations near where he lived. All they sold was petrol and he was sure drivers would be interested in some extra car related purchase options. He started with his nearest petrol station and got them to agree to let him place a little stand in their kiosk that he would keep stocked with car related items - shammy leathers, oil, de-icer etc.

He would provide the product and after costs he would split the profit with the shop owner. By the end of the year he had kiosks in 10 different stations and would was replenish them every Saturday whilst picking up his money. His little stands were a huge success.

The easiest way to make money is to be receptive to problems, work out how to solve them and work with people to help you do that as cheaply as possible in order to maximise profit.

Now it’s time to go through a process with your child to help them nurture their entrepreneurism and increase their pocket money margins.

Start by asking them what they enjoy and why they enjoy it - this is a great way to bond, especially with a teenager who doesn’t seem to want to talk much - that may be shutting up talking about emotions and inner feelings through the promise of making money will surely bring out the chat.

Use what your child is already are good at, ask them why they enjoy it and see if you can help them come up with an idea.

If they love art, why not start at Etsy shop or partner for a one off event with a local ‘real-life’ shop? Can they speak to the local gallery about doing an exhibition to sell their creations in the holidays? Be creative with your offer - maybe they will do the exhibition for free if your teen offers some hours of work. You’d be teaching your teen the skills of sales and marketing, promotions, deal making and events and hopefully there will be some money at the end of it!

Do they love video gaming? Why not start a local video game night and charge friends to come over or start a game hire in a local shop?

Do they love sport? Organise a tournament and get people to pay to enter and/or pay to watch.

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Hopefully you get the idea:

  • Start with their interests

  • How you could expand it to the public?

  • Could you partner with other people?

  • How can you monetise it?

Once you help your child to think in this way I am sure you’ll be astonished at the things they come up with. Children have a very different world view to our own and it’s a joy to see the world through their eyes.