Talented Minds of Kid Entrepreneurs
If you’re like one of the millions of families that tune into Shark Tank each week, you’ve seen business owner after business owner pitch ideas in front of those very wealthy, very savvy sharks. What’s even more impressive is that some of those business owners are kids, kids and teens who have even gotten deals from the likes of Kevin O’Leary and Daymond John.
With minds ready to answer the calls and urges of creativity and optimism, the spirit of entrepreneurship can flourish more easily sometimes in kids versus adults. While their inexperience can be an inhibition, it can also be a catalyst for them to learn, explore, create, make those mistakes, and try again. In trying again and again, some create products or services that will change people’s lives for the better.
Are you one of those lucky parents raising a kid entrepreneur? It’s no easy feat. How are you as parents supposed to foster and support their endeavors when you yourself are maybe inexperienced with business, or financially strapped yourself? The entrepreneur spirit is something to encourage and not squelch in kids, as it is what ultimately drives our country forward. But how is it even possible to help your kids chase their dreams, when debt is chasing you?
It is possible, because there are mutually inclusive lessons to be learned in both challenges. As a family, you can learn together and tackle problems as a team.
Help Them Be a Problem Solver, Not a Victim
“Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.” – Ben Carson
Trying to pay off debt can feel like trying to scale a mountain that continually grows. Your kid may feel the same way as he or she face obstacles in trying to make their products and services move from dream to reality.
Facing a challenge (like your kid trying to invent a new product or offer a new service) or a roadblock (like you trying to pay off debt) presents everyone with a choice: will I be a problem-solver or will I be a victim? These challenges can present your family with the perfect learning opportunity to get creative, use roadblocks as bridges to different opportunity, and to not fall into the trap of a victim mentality.
If you view yourself as a victim of your circumstances, chances are those circumstance will never change. But if you take an active role in your circumstances, you’ll be more likely to overcome whatever challenges are in your way: paying off debt, saving for a down payment, or helping your kid launch a new business.
Help Them Ask the Right Questions
“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” – Voltaire
If your kids or teens do come up with an idea that has the potential to be successful, do your due diligence by researching business licenses, distributors, LLC’s and tax requirements. Find out the best way to track expenses and income, always asking yourself, “How can we do this better?” Continually ask questions to target key influencers who can advise and help grow your business. Teach your kids to ask, ask, ask, and include them in the process so they understand as much as possible the inner workings of their businesses.
Maybe what you need to tackle your debt is to also ask the right questions. Have you talked to your lenders, your banks, or your credit card companies and asked them about different ways to pay off your debt faster? Or have you stayed content with the status quo, convinced your situation will only ever slowly change?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, because you never know how those questions will unlock unexpected solutions.
On the same token, while the idea your kid is working on may not take off initially, you never know what the creative process may lead to on down the road for your child. In his book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell makes this observation.
“We look at the young Bill Gates and marvel that our world allowed that thirteen-year-old to become a fabulously successful entrepreneur. But that’s the wrong lesson. Our world only allowed one thirteen-year-old unlimited access to a time sharing terminal in 1968. If a million teenagers had been given the same opportunity, how many more Microsoft’s would we have today?”