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10 Effective Ways To Teach Your Kids About Entrepreneurship

10 Effective Ways To Teach Your Kids About Entrepreneurship

Who doesn’t want their children to be independent and successful?

The truth is that the traditional model of getting a university degree followed by a stable job and a steady progression up the career ladder doesn’t always happen these days. Population increase, economic crises, globalization, decreased earning power, dynamic employment markets mean today’s generation really has a daunting task in the job market and the future doesn’t seem too rosy as well.

Students are graduating from top universities and struggling for months (or even years) to find a decent job. Unpaid internships are common worldwide and often yield nothing even after the six-month sacrifice. How can we help young people cope in this harsh environment? The answer is to teach kids about entrepreneurship early on so that they can create their own opportunities when the time comes.

Entrepreneurship turns children into leaders. It transforms them into employers rather than employees and helps them create successful, independent lives through purposeful enterprise. It gives children viable options to earn a decent living in a crowded, harsh world.

There are crucial attributes every entrepreneur needs to succeed, and it is your responsibility as a parent to help your kids develop them. Here’re some of those attributes—and how you can foster them in your kids.

1. Inculcate financial literacy from the get-go.

Financial literacy is something that all children need to have today. Unfortunately, schools often don’t give enough attention to this area in your child’s education. Don’t leave this area to chance. Teach your kids about money from an early age to give them a solid grounding in finance.

Educate your children about saving and investing and show them how money can be used to make more money. If you see them throwing away coins, tell them to pick them up. Kids need to understand that every coin counts. When discussing with your partner or with yourself about how to spend your money, how much to save for a particular thing, say vacation, and things like that, let your kids in on it.

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For example, ask your kids for advice on what you should save for. Giving them this level of trust and responsibility helps them develop good money sense and nurtures their entrepreneurial mind.

2. Inform a keen sense of observation and self-drive.

Help your kids recognize that the world around them is full of business opportunities, and finding them just requires some careful observation, self-drive and creativity. They really don’t have to be employed. So the next time your children ask for money to buy a favorite gadget, ask them to look around and brainstorm ways to create the money through entrepreneurship.

Cameron Herold, in his inspiring TedTalk about how he was raised as an entrepreneur as a child, and does the same for his children, reveals he tells his kids to find things that need to be done around the house and tell him. After which, they negotiate how much doing that chore should cost.

You can also encourage entrepreneurship by asking your kids to start small projects like a lemonade stand or sell their old toys online through sites like Craigslist. That will teach them how to fix prices, market well, spot scammers etc., which will bring your kids in the fray of the real world.

3. Encourage an attitude of exploration and inquisitiveness.

In addition to urging your kids to explore their environment, urge them to develop an inquisitive mind and constantly ask questions. Don’t let them get too comfortable with the same solutions for problems. They should study a lot of things and be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay Inc., agrees that exploration and inquiry are crucial lessons. “Our kids seem to thrive in situations that engage their curiosity and allow them to explore and discover the world around them on their own terms,” Mr. Omidyar says.

In his own childhood, Omidyar was immersed in both Persian and French culture thanks to his parents’ backgrounds. “Being exposed to and learning about these cultures taught me early on that there are different ways to think about any single situation, and that you don’t always have to do things the way they’ve always been done,” he says.

Let your kids walk around their community and engage with people from all walks of life within obvious considerations and safety precautions. You never know what opportunities they might find out there.

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4. Teach goal setting and planning.

Goal setting and planning are an integral part to entrepreneurial success. These are positive habits that will come in handy when ingrained in your child’s psychic. The sooner your child learns how to plan, set realistic goals and follow laid down procedures to completion, the better.

Teach kids to set S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals and accomplish those goals. Ask them to define and write down their top five goals or objectives. Studies show that written goals are over 80% more likely to be achieved.

Next ask them to consider carefully and write down five actions necessary to accomplish these goals. Encourage and support them throughout to reach their defined goals. This will enhance your child’s self-worth, self-drive and overall feeling of personal accomplishment.

5. Urge team work.

No one is completely self-sufficient. We all need help sometimes to reach our goals. The most successful entrepreneurs outsource heavy workloads and team up with others whose opinions they value to stay on track and succeed. Your child also needs to learn how to play well with others in order to reach common goals.

One of the best ways to promote team work from an early age is to urge your kids to participate in sports. Sports can be a great classroom for entrepreneurial principles and values. Arthur Blank, co-founder of Home Depot Inc. and owner of the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons, agrees and says, “Sports teach how important teamwork is.”

Arthur’s six children, who have all played a variety of sports, have had to learn how to deal with setbacks and how to move past losses. One of his sons, Joshua, is captain of his eighth-grade soccer team—a role Blank says will help the boy learn about leadership and inspiring others, as well as playing his own position. “Not winning every game and teamwork—these are all good lessons for entrepreneurship,” he explains.

6. Reward personal initiative and high quality work.

Insist that your kids take personal initiative and deliver high quality work each time, whether it is on homework, house chores or extracurricular activities. Giving their best in everything they do means kids are responsible and dependable and it contributes to their overall success.

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Even exemplary solitary pursuits or passions like hiking for older kids can help them become self-driven and dependable without needing supervision. Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Co., says he found climbing mountains a good building block in becoming an entrepreneur.

“Climbers are a lot like entrepreneurs,” he says. “They are willing to put themselves in a risky situation then once there they become careful and cautious and try to reduce and eliminate the risk.” Reward your kids with monetary incentives or small treats for taking initiative to encourage good work.

7. Impress on kids to learn when failing.

In school, children learn that failure is bad. But, in the entrepreneurial arena, failure can be good if a positive lesson is learned. It was Napoleon Hill, author of Think And Grow Rich who said that, “Every failure carries with it a seed of equal or greater benefit.”

Instead of scolding or punishing your kids for failing at something, try discussing with them the factors that lead to the failure and brainstorm ways to prevent it from happening again in the future. Tell them failure is not entirely bad because it provides an opportunity to learn from mistakes and create new ways to accomplish goals.

Insist that they NEVER just give up, but to always find a lesson in every adverse situation. This way they will not dread failure or wallowing in self-pity and defeat when things don’t work out. People who have achieved have also failed at something. Patience and persistence is key for success.

8. Bolster effective communication skills.

This is a very important skill that every young person needs to learn. Communicating effectively allows kids to articulate their ideas and speak their mind in a way that what they say is clearly understood. This gives them a winning edge in their personal and professional lives.

Instruct your kids to be polite and respectful always. Tell them to speak boldly and support their points convincingly. Most importantly, show them how to maintain eye contact when speaking in person. And when speaking on the telephone, teach them to speak slowly, clearly and confidently.

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When it comes to written communication, encourage your kids to write grammatically correct sentences that flow logically, and to avoid abbreviated words and phrases that might cause misunderstandings. These will be extremely useful in the future as adults and business owners.

9. Support giving back to society.

The most successful and happy people on earth give back to society. Why start a business if it doesn’t support a greater cause? Teach your kids the value of helping others. Life is not always about you, your needs and your comfort. Life is also about leaving the world a better place than you found it.

Remind your kids constantly that successful businesses provide benefits to more than just their owners. Tell them people who contribute to the success of others contribute to their own success and live a happy, more fulfilled life.

Ask them to choose a charity or special cause to support with a portion of the income they generate. And support them wholeheartedly when they find volunteer activities to participate in society. This way your kids will lead a contented life—full of meaning and service to humanity.

10. Lead by example.

In the end, many entrepreneurs say the most important thing that inspired and motivated them to achieve entrepreneurial success is the influence they had from their parents. They learned most of what they know from their parents who led by example. For Mr. Blank, for example, his parents were his biggest influence on his becoming an entrepreneur.

“I saw living examples of entrepreneurs,” he says. “My dad was 39 years old when he started a pharmacy wholesale business. He passed away at 44 when I was 15. My mother, who was 37 at the time, had no business experience but was a risk taker in her own way. She grew the business and later sold it to a larger pharmaceutical firm.”

Lead by example and always practice what you preach. Your kids are looking up to you. When you tell your kids to work hard and learn from their mistakes, show them that you also work hard and learn from your mistakes. When you tell them to be patient and respectful, be patient and respectful yourself. You are your children’s biggest role model and will likely remain so their whole lives.

Featured photo credit: Brad Flickinger via flickr.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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