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10 Effective Ways To Teach Your Kids About Entrepreneurship

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Brad Flickinger via flickr.com

More by this author

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 July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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