Supporting your kids’ entrepreneurial spirit

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I believe these kids can do anything if they work hard and believe.

In an article by Melody Hahm from Yahoo Finance called “Parents want their teens to be entrepreneurs — but teens don’t want to” a majority of parents are ready to support their kids’ starting their own businesses. With our own kids, my husband and I express the same view. We encouraged our kids’ entrepreneurial spirit at a young age. Our son had interesting ideas and although he didn’t come up with a multi-million dollar start-up or app in high school like we’d hoped so he could buy us a beach house, he did work through high school as a tutor and website developer.

During a recent weekend together, we were brainstorming with him about start-ups. We had an enjoyable time playing “shark-tank” during a drive up to the mountains, coming up with a dozen practical as well as ridiculous ideas. I’m doubtful he’ll be starting a business anytime soon, but we hope someday he might.

We’re also encouraging our daughter to consider starting up a business after she’s gained some work experience. She’s creative and creates handmade gifts for her friends and family like mosaic picture frames, hand-painted gift boxes and wall hangings. 

She reminds me of a friend, who’s a fellow parent and introduced our kids to mosaics during their elementary school years. This friend has a business called Hippy Sister Soap Company, LLC and her gorgeous products can be found in catalogues, on line and in stores across the country.

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Gorgeous soaps from the Happy Sister Soap Company, LLC website.

 

Here are some interesting facts from the Yahoo Finance article with a survey from Junior Achievement:

Eighty-eight percent of parents would be extremely or very likely to support their teens becoming entrepreneurs when they grow up. In contrast, a mere 30% of teens say they want to start a business, according to a new survey by Junior Achievement (JA) and EY.

They surveyed 1,007 parents of children ages 13-17 and 1,005 13- to 17-year-olds. 

“Parents are seeing entrepreneurship as an exciting opportunity, especially because it’s embraced by society. While kids aren’t showing as much interest, this may change as parents encourage them to take risks,” said Ed Grocholski, Senior Vice President, Junior Achievement.

In 2013, startup activity was at its lowest point in the last 20 years. It has gone up for three consecutive years, nearly reaching the peak before the drop during the Great Recession, according to the 2017 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship.

Plus, hit shows like “Silicon Valley” and “Shark Tank” make the idea of starting a company accessible and entertaining, at least for parents. And young founders like Facebook’s (FB) Mark Zuckerberg and Snap’s (SNAP) Evan Spiegel have hatched small ideas into publicly traded companies.

Thirty-one percent of teens said their primary concern is that starting a business is “too risky.” Twenty-one percent said that there’s “not enough money in it.” Only 16 percent of teens indicate they have no concerns about trying.

Conversely, 53% of parents have no concerns about their teen starting a business as an adult.

“I do think there’s something to be said about being a risk taker and trying new things. Employers hire people with entrepreneurial mindsets. It’s not just about starting a business,” said Grocholski.

JA is trying to help young students make smart economic choices and realize the breadth of opportunities they have. The nonprofit reaches nearly 5 million students every year in 109 markets across the US. Grocholski said it’s his mission to support teens and continue to encourage parents to take the road less traveled.

We as parents see the world as wide open and believe that our kids can do anything. However, if we’ve been helicopter parents and made a practice of doing too much for our kids, they may lack the interest or belief in themselves as a consequence of our actions.

Also, there are so many studies and stories out there that the millennial generation is not doing the adventurous and often risk-taking things we did as kids. It will be interesting to see where they end up.

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We’ll support our kids in whatever they decide to do.

Why do you think that kids today aren’t interested in being an entrepreneur?

 

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6 thoughts on “Supporting your kids’ entrepreneurial spirit

  1. My husband and I own a successful start up business. It was a risky and difficult endeavor but rewarding. Out of our 3 kids, only one wants to go into business. The other two are or are planning on being performance majors. My daughter already met students not allowed to do what they want in college as far as college majors because parents are worried there won’t be jobs. We have always told our kids to go for their dreams regardless of what they are. Parents may say they want their kids to be entrepreneurs but probably feel differently when it comes to investing a lot of money in dreams that might not come true. Start up companies require investing in that a dream. How many people do you know that became millionaires with a start up? Or became wildly successful as a performer? The odds are against that. Parents really don’t want to see their kids fail. They don’t want to invest in that. Honestly, they would probably rather have their child go to school for health care or something less risky.

    • What you are saying is so true. We are investing a lot of money in college education for our kids and we want them to be successful, not live paycheck to paycheck or be in poverty. How many kids choose their majors to please their parents, rather than go after their own dreams?

      • We were also guilty of trying to talk our kids into more sensible majors. Realistically we may have 2 music majors living in our basement for years unemployed paying off their college tuition. Neither one of them want to be educators. 😩 But I heard of parents using money as a bargaining chip. I will help pay your tuition if you choose this major. But if you choose this major, you are on your own without family support in any way. I will be happy if my kids get a degree in something they have a passion for. It is up to them where they go from there.

      • I agree with you. Having a music major gives your kids an education in what they are passionate about. It doesn’t exclude them from following another career or path down the road. My son was a theoretical math major and discovered he hated it by his junior year and switched to Literature. It turns out there are opportunities for him to make a living regardless of major.

      • A lot of people end up with successful careers in something they didn’t go to school for. Being entrepreneurs, maybe ours kids are taking the risk because we modeled taking a risk to them by starting a start up business of our dreams. Whatever our kids decide to do, we should support them even if we disagree. I found that most parents seem to have a hard time doing this especially where money is concerned. Imagine paying for college then investing in a start up business. The only people that would be willing to do that are the ones that found success in doing so. Many parents still live paycheck to paycheck. Thanks for discussing this. It is an interesting topic.

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