As entrepreneurs we recognise that working for ourselves means independence and financial freedom. And because we know it makes sense to live and work in this way many of us want to instil entrepreneurial values in our kids.
What’s great for children of entrepreneurs is that they get to observe their parents working and supporting the family and as the child gets older they can also get involved in small ways.
That’s why I love school holidays. It’s a chance to have my children be around our work environment and get a sense of the focus and the energy of the business and it gives them a few little chores to do that teach them a little about what working means.
Even a young child can place a stamp on an envelope or add a sticky label. It doesn’t take much training to fold a letter, to bring the working team drinks or to file and before you know it they can be filling in a spread-sheet with marketing data or dropping off the mail.
My son began posting articles on the internet for our business when he was 11 years old. Today, he’s 19 and in the last year we’ve invested £1000’s in his training in Social Media. He now works for one of our companies, managing a small portfolio of our clients Social Media.
An entrepreneurial parent can also use what happens outside of the home to help their kids develop entrepreneurial values…
Quite accidently, at lunchtime, a friend offered to buy my daughters cake. She said the friend could have it for 20p, but the friend said she only had £1 and that was what she was willing to pay.
When my daughter told me this I could have done what the school would most probably have liked me to do and told her this was wrong, but the entrepreneur in me spotted the opportunity.
Because that’s what we entrepreneurs do, don’t we? We tune our intuition in to spot opportunities others don’t see or don’t dare capitalise on.
From there on, for almost a year, my daughter sold cake to her classmates for a £1 per slice. She could sell 10 slices from the whole cake, which cost just £1. With £9 profit per week at aged 10, my daughter felt like a millionaire.
Another teachable entrepreneurial skill is one you will use often – how to set and achieve goals.
When my daughter wanted a new Nintendo, I said she could have it, but needed to earn the money to get it and plot her progress on her white board.
And while that might sound harsh to some, it taught my daughter a whole lot about saving, overcoming challenges, denying herself small things on the way to a bigger goal and working independently as an entrepreneur. And of course she now understands that a Nintendo (or the money to buy one with) doesn’t grow on trees.
There are many ways to teach our kids. One way I like to teach my kids is through movies. They like movies and so do I. As I watch the movies I use the characters to show them the values I want to instil in them – and the ones I want them to avoid. When the movies has finished I ask some very deliberate questions to draw out of the kids what I want them to find in themselves.
It’s effective use of our time together. Why not give it a go?
Neil Fellowes, is an entrepreneur and a father of two. One of his business is www.hotchocolateclub.com which he runs with his wife, daughter and son – helping parents to get the most from their time with their children. If you want his free resource on using movies to inspire your kids go to www.inspiringmoviesforkidsreview.com