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Fostering an Entrepreneurial Spirit

You just never know what topics we will cover during our Friday Homeschool Chat. This past Friday we spent a good share of the morning discussing the pros and cons of a plan one member had for fostering her son’s entrepreneurial spirit. The plan involved providing snacks in an office environment, taking over an existing service that had continually lost money. We floated ideas about how to minimize the shrinkage of product and the resultant loss of income, discussed how much financial involvement the parents should have at start up, business licenses, child labor laws, sales tax licenses and much more. Since many members present Friday had experience in some of those areas, the parent in question came away from the chat with some answers and more questions to research. I am sure she will want to discuss the topic again in coming weeks.

Fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in our homeschooled children is a recurring discussion topic on Friday chats. Homeschooling often leads families (parents and children) to question the “worker” model that public schools teach their students. Many of us hope that our children will be able to avoid the “worker bee” mindset and find ways to make their interests and passions also provide their income. The question becomes, how to foster this entrepreneurial growth in our children, especially as they enter the teen years and (hopefully) begin to define their passions and focus turning them into career goals.

It seems as though we have always had a side business in addition to my husband’s main career income, businesses in which one or more of our children could participate. When they were very young, I had a two-acre garden in which I grew vegetables for sale. The children worked side-by-side with me in planting, weeding, harvesting, marketing and sales. Their favorite, by far, was the selling and collecting the money, which was fine with me, as I enjoyed the other aspects more. Unfortunately, after we moved from New York, that sort of business venture was no longer a possibility. But I believe it laid the seeds of an entrepreneurial spirit in at least two of our three children. Today, as teens and young adults, those two children have stated goals of owning their own businesses. The recent purchase and playing of Cashflow 101 (see my January 4th review) has only intensified that goal in the eldest.

I would love to hear how you have fostered entrepreneurial spirits in your children. Leave me a comment.  If I get enough ideas, I will make a future blog post listing all of them!

10 comments to Fostering an Entrepreneurial Spirit

  • […] talks about Fostering an Entrepreneurial Spirit at Leaping From The […]

  • Found you at the Carnival. This is great. I always need the reminder to encourage that spirit in my children. Long term I want them to continue in the way they are starting now. Sometimes it feels like more work for me now and I want to just “do it all myself”. It seems they have all naturally developed a “What can I sell?” bent and so I will continue to work with that desire instead of against it. Thanks for the reminder!

  • I am very interested in this topic, as well. My husband has a side job cleaning at a local church. Our son helps him by taking out the trash. While that is good time with his dad, our son wants to do more. He is always coming up with ideas to sell things to the neighbors. Maybe one day it will pay off.

  • […] at Leaping Out of the Box pontificates on the value of working in a family business as an important part of a child’s growing work ethic. What do you think? How important is it […]

  • Thanks for the reminder to consider encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit in the kids.

    I tend to be fairly ambivalent on this subject. I grew up working long hours in the family’s retail business, and I want to make sure that my children have the freedom to play.

    Still, there is great value in encouraging creativity and perserverance, and heck, the ability to earn money.

    Three things that I have done to encourage E.S.:
    1. Encouraging my daughter to fully engage in the annual Girl Scout cookie sales program.
    2. Giving her the Beyond the Lemonade Stand book when she was looking for get rich schemes.
    3. Let both kids work in my parents’ store for a day.

    I would love to discover more suggestions. Thanks again!

  • I would be very interested to see what others are doing — I hope you will get lots of comments and do that post! We have four girls, and we are not planning on doing the college thing. I would love to give my girls a good foundation in entrepreneurship (is that a word?) but I don’t even have an idea, or know how to get started once we decide on something. Please give us some options that have low start-up costs, that can be done from home without a lot of space, and that will eventually build up to some income. Exciting, fun, easy, and VERY lucrative would also be nice, but not essential. :o)

  • I have several tax clients that are teenagers in business. They mow grass, design websites, play harp at weddings, etc. My dd gives piano lessons, tutors math and does bookkeeping for one of my small business clients. Neat stuff these kids are doing.

    I’m planing on teaching a Entrepreneurship class to high school students at my homeschool co-op in the fall. Right now I’m looking at possible curriculua. There’s not a lot out there…4H has an affordable book called Be the E that looks promising. Maybe someday I’ll write a book myself!

    Until then visit my website and view a powerpoint presentation I did for teen entreps and my article ion teens and taxes. That will get you started!

    Carol Topp, CPA

  • I share Sandra’s ambivalence. My husband and I own a bicycle retail tore, which is, and has always been, our main source of income. Our kids are still fairly young (7 and 11 this month), but we would never deliberately push them into the business. For one thing, I believe that being self-employed is something one has to come to alone and for one’s own reasons. I don’t believe in leaving my kids the “legacy” of running our store.
    Having said this, they do have th opportunity to observe us each and every day. They see that on the one hand, we have the freedom to not go into work at set times every day or to go out of town pretty much whenever we like, and on the other hand to have work days that seem to never end or to have any problem, no matter where it originates, end up in our lap. They experience first hand the feast-or-famine nature of our highly seasonal business. They observe us interacting with our employees and vendors, and witness the complex relationships that unfold every day. They watch us discussing, planning, and occasionally arguing over financial matters. Sometimes they think that we don’t work at all, or at least not very hard. Other times, they see us so focussed, that we growl at the smallest interruption.
    Maybe when they are a little older, and want to try working at our store, we will let them.
    I do, with all my heart, hope to plant entrepreneurial seeds in my children. I want them to pursue their guiding light, for better or for worse, the way my husband and I have pursued ours. They may learn that from us. More likely, though, I think they will have to get there on their own.

  • First of all…. YEAHHHH! It is so cool to find other parents that want to foster the business building/investing lifestyle for their kids. I think that homeschooling is such a great first step – – – as we are able to avoid some of the worker bee pitfalls that come with school. Here are some of the things we do:

    Play Cashflow
    They have started an ATM business
    We welcome failure as a part of the path to success
    We have regular family discussions about what is going on with the economy and various markets and where opportunities might be found.

    GREAT TOPIC!!!! It is so important for our kids to be prepared for what the world will actually look like when they become adults.

  • I couldn’t understand some parts of this article Fostering an Entrepreneurial Spirit, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

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