When you ask a child what would they like to be when they grow up, you often hear repetitive answers such as a doctor, teacher, astronaut, athlete, lawyer, and actor. But how often do you hear a child say they would like to be an entrepreneur.
Why is this? Does the term entrepreneur sound unexciting or lacking prestige?
Is it as appealing as broccoli or squash to a child? Is the visual promotion of entrepreneurship to children scarce?
It is typical and popular to see parents grooming their children to become actors and athletes starting at the age of two but how popular is it for a parent to groom their child to become an entrepreneur? They want their child to become the next Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Angelina Joile or Jake Gyllenhaal. However, rarely will you find parents who want their child to become the next Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Earvin Magic Johnson, or Sara Blakely. And even more so rarely to find parents grooming their child to become an entrepreneur at the age of two.
I am a mother of three, who is currently navigating through the forest of entrepreneurship. My six-year-old son, often asks me, “Mom, how come you are not a teacher?” I tell him it is because I am an entrepreneur. I receive a blank stare followed by being asked the same question again with eyes hopeful of a different response.
Because of this question accompanied with a blank stare, I have decided to let my children accompany me on my journey to entrepreneurship. Although most of my work is currently non-tangible, I will try to create a visual in which they can comprehend. I have created a tentative child entrepreneur grooming plan in which I will practice with my children. The primary goal of my plan is to encourage them to establish analyzation, communication, creativity and leadership skills. While my children are not required to choose entrepreneurship as a career, I do feel that developing and practicing analyzation, communication, creativity and leadership skills will serve helpful in any profession they may choose.
How to groom an entrepreneur:
- Consult with them regarding decisions that need to be made. The next time you make a business decision, present the situation to your child and ask them what would they do. Also, they may provide a new insight to the situation at hand.
- Share unsuccessful moments. By sharing unsuccessful moments, children can understand that every profession is not always glamorous. Also, this would be an excellent opportunity to brainstorm possible solutions. In addition to brainstorming options, allow them to brainstorm how they can help or contribute.
- Discuss daily events. Just as we ask our children ‘how was your day,’ parents should share the events of their day as well. Addressing both the high and low points of entrepreneurship while practicing communication skills.
- Bring, or include, your children to work as often as possible. Let them see what being an entrepreneur is like first hand. The more they are exposed to such an environment they better they will be able to understand it.
- Identify entrepreneurship opportunities in things they already have an interest.
- Allow them to ‘be the boss’ for a day. Placing a child in an opportunity to lead reinforces confidence and creativity.
While entrepreneurship may not be for everyone, being exposed to and practicing analyzation, communication, creativity, and leadership skills are essential and useful tools which may be transferred and implemented in any career path.
Tanisha C. Smoot is an entrepreneur undergoing the grooming process. She is currently enrolled in the Master of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Tanisha C. Smoot