How to Encourage Entrepreneurship in Your Child

I know I was born with an entrepreneurial spirit.  From a very early age, I can remember thinking of all kinds of businesses I could start.  I was also born to be in sales.  Not to sell just anything, but things I felt passionate about. 

As a child, these qualities were not nurtured in me by my parents.  Not due to any fault of their own; there simply wasn't anyone in our family or extended family that owned their own business.  The idea was foreign to them.  But that didn't stop me from dreaming. 

I believe I passed this trait on to my three daughters.  Eighty percent of our time was probably spent planning the future, and putting together business plans and ideas.  Road trips were my favorite time for this.  All three of us brainstormed, and of course we would carry some ideas too far and they would become ludicrous at points.  However, it brought on extreme bouts of laughter, which was and is essential to our day.  I am proud to say my (now eleven year-old) daughter, who grew up with her toys scattered in our office floor playing at our feet, has demonstrated that same desire.  For over half of her life she has been coming up with several business ideas per week.

I love seeing this spirit in her, watching her mind working and spinning and the excitement it brings. If you, too, recognize this in your child (or children), here are some ways to encourage the great gift they posses!

1. Allow kids space to brainstorm.  Get involved, show your interest and approval.

2. Coach them on goal-setting when the time is appropriate.

3. Support their successes, but more importantly, redirect their failures into seeing new opportunities. Teach them not to be afraid to fail - they should be afraid not to try.  After all, everything is a learning process and when things don't work out, we learn from this and try different things. It is all a process and a wonderful journey.

4. Introduce them to an age-appropriate business plan.

5. Invest in them, show that you believe in them and their ideas.