Hi, we’re new! Lily and Lydia is an online publication for Christian women that was launched in July 2023. While we’re regularly adding new articles, please be patient with us as we build the site!

Hi, we’re new! Lily and Lydia is an online publication for Christian women that was launched in July 2023. While we’re regularly adding new articles, please be patient with us as we build the site!

How to Encourage an Entrepreneurial Spirit In Your Kids (Whether You’re an Entrepreneur or Not)

Aug 12, 2023 | Parenting and Children, Featured, Life

Our family is known for various entrepreneurial tendencies. Since my husband Jonathan and I have been married we have started a total of seven businesses (two of which are still going strong, five of which we closed shop on for various reasons coinciding with stages of life). While my husband has held a traditional job for more years of our marriage than not, a huge focus of our life has been in creating and sustaining unique endeavors. Currently we are supporting our family on home businesses and contract work exclusively. 

Jonathan and I have five children who are well-versed in what it means to run and own your own home business and who have since developed some of their own. From time to time we’ll be asked how to encourage entrepreneurship in children. It can be a hard question for us to answer because in many ways this lifestyle is just like breathing. You just do it. That’s not a very practical answer though and so we have chatted out some basic tips for how you can encourage your own children and grandchildren to be willing to think outside the box and create a business that suits themselves and their personalities. This list is not exhaustive by any means, but just a means of getting you thinking in this direction.

#1 – As you work, explain your work.

Kids mimic their parents and influential adults in their lives. If they are exposed to your work, they will mimic it. If you have a 9-5 job, explain it to them. Explain what you do, how you go about doing it, and talk about the fact that one day they, too, will have the opportunity to grow up and work. This should be a fun fact, not a message full of dread.

Do you like your job? Great! If you’re excited, they will be too.

Do you not like your job? We would encourage you not to share specifics with your kids but instead find ways to be grateful for the position that you hold in the workforce as well as the privilege of being able to earn a living through hard work. You can come up with solutions to problems being experienced at work and share your creative ideas with your kids and family. Who knows? Maybe your ideas will bring about changes at your company and/or maybe you’ll come up with a solution that you can market to business owners. The main thing you’ll want to be expressing to your kids all along the way though is gratefulness that you have a job and that God has given you the ability to work hard for His glory. 

Remember that they will mimic you in your grief, your gratefulness, and your interest in problem solving!

#2 – Encourage them to read books and imagine themselves in a story of their own. 

The choices they make and the things they decide to do will have direct consequences on their own life. Get them thinking about the role that God has given them to play on this Earth and ask them lots of questions such as, “If you could be anything you wanted to be, what would it be?”

Fill their minds with great books in all genres. Ask questions about their favorite stories and help them to make connections between why they like a certain character and how that character might relate to them. 

a child holds a product from their business

#3 – Give them time to play. 

In play they work out ideas and come up with grand schemes relating to who they are and how they perceive themselves. It’s easy as busy adults to want to look at play as being “childish” and/or a time waster, but that is the very means by which they begin to think outside the proverbial workbox. What if you COULD build a boat that could sail around the world with just a few pieces of wood? What if you COULD serve a king a feast with a handful of plastic play food? These are the questions they are asking themselves as they play. Telling them to “stick to reality” can have its own set of consequences. 

On this note, we have severely limited the use of video games. When our children were younger we had a video game console but the rule was that you could only use it for one hour a week and then only if you were playing a game with dad and the rest of the family. As time has gone on, we gradually ditched the video games all together. Our position now is that video games do nothing to foster good relationships within the household or a healthy development of creative thinking. Ditch the screen and send the kids off to play!

#4 – Listen to their ideas. 

When your kids tell you one of their ideas for an activity or a job or a project they’d like to tackle, don’t immediately shut it down. If you want your kids to have an entrepreneurial spirit about them, encourage them to share their ideas with you and resist the urge to shut them down with practicalities. Instead, ask them questions. Help them flesh their thoughts out and see where it takes them. Perhaps their first idea isn’t practical, but through conversation you might hit on something that has legs. 

PXL 20230809 225357054.PORTRAIT.ORIGINAL _From time to time we'll be asked how to encourage entrepreneurship in children. It can be a hard question for us to answer because in many ways this lifestyle is just like breathing. You just do it. That's not a very practical answer though and so we have chatted out some basic tips for how you can encourage your own children and grandchildren to be willing to think outside the box and create a business that suits themselves and their personalities.

#5 – Failure is just as important as success.

A quick look at social media platforms will convince you that people are obsessed with the idea of looking or seeming successful, even if they aren’t. We think it is better to approach opportunities in the day-to-day with the mindset that you can work hard and give something a try with the understanding that it might not be successful and that’s okay. You have to be willing to put yourself out there and try and fail at something in order to see anything succeed. Trying is part of succeeding. You can’t have the second without the first. Parents and adults need to fight back against the idea that there are “quick wins” and instead focus on the fact that there is a lot of hard work involved in order to develop an idea and see a dream fulfilled. 

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, but problem solving is!

Just as they need to understand the need to try something and work hard at it, so do you. Following this 5-step plan isn’t a guarantee for success as an entrepreneur. Not all people are suited for this sort of lifestyle. And at the same time, all people were created to create in their own uniquely individual ways and so practicing any of the above is useful to some extent or another. Mostly, you can boil down all of this advice to a simple concept: make room for fun and then see where the fun takes you.

Carrie Brownell _From time to time we'll be asked how to encourage entrepreneurship in children. It can be a hard question for us to answer because in many ways this lifestyle is just like breathing. You just do it. That's not a very practical answer though and so we have chatted out some basic tips for how you can encourage your own children and grandchildren to be willing to think outside the box and create a business that suits themselves and their personalities.

Carrie Brownell and her family live in Northern Idaho. They are the creative team behind A Fine Quotation, a book loving art shop. You can find them at @afinequotation on Instagram or on their website at www.afinequotation.com. Jonathan is also a musician and you can find him at https://jonathanbrownell.com/

All photos courtesy of Carrie and Jonathan Brownell.

1 Comment

  1. Hannah

    I really appreciate your thoughts on this. As a new mom I am looking for good advice on how to raise my boys. I particularly love this because while I’ve always had a more typical job, my husband is a contract worker and creative and I would love to instill that same creativity in my children as they grow.

    Reply

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