At age 5, I used to wrap my mom's stuff up in tissue paper. I'd happily sell it back to her as a "mystery package" to make a few cents. She went along with it for years.
At age 10, I started a lucrative (not really, but it was to me at the time) greeting card business. It featured art made in Paint Shop Pro and pictures of my cats.
A father at my church tried to convince me to partner with his daughter, but my parents advised against it, much to my chagrin. They wanted me to keep my ideas for myself.
It was patience and advice like this that has led me to start a business at 18-years-old, allowed me to have the skills and wherewithal to invent a <$20 dollar robot for kids, and is leading toward my dream career in technology startups.
Kids are brilliant. Giving your child the resources to create freely will open them up to many new possibilities, and now with new technology and resources this is easier than ever before.
An entrepreneur is more than someone who starts a business, they're also a person who sees a problem and devises a solution. They think outside of the box, organize people, and create a system to deliver their solution.
Here are a 10 suggestions I have to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in your young child:
Sell their product. Sell something that your child made on Etsy. Involve them in the process of how to document, advertise, and actually sell their product. It can be anything! I've found Goldfish cracker earrings for sale on the platform before. You can also sell downloads if you don't want to ship anything. Materialize their ideas. Has your child drawn a concept for a toy that they want? Let them model is on an app, such as the SOLIDWORKS App for Kids, and your kid can see their toy become 3D and potentially even a 3D print! Look into a MakerBot 3D printer if you want a good bang for your buck. It encourages kids to keep creating and problem-solving when they see their ideas come to life. Tail a professional. Friends with a local business owner? Go visit them one day and learn more about what they do! Even if you don't know a local business owner, many are welcoming to new and creative minds who want to learn more about what they do. Real life skills. Teach them real life skills that will help them create independently, such as coding. CodaKid is a great site that teaches kids computer programming with real coding languages. They teach about drone programming, video game development, app building, and more. I suggest visual coding programs for lower elementary aged kids, such as Blue-Bot or ScratchJr. Volunteer. Volunteer for your community with your child. Encourage them to see local problems and to think of solutions. I encourage everyone at some point to volunteer for a local FIRST robotics competition! Start bookkeeping. At age 10, I kept a ledger to keep track of my card business and other expenses. Use Exel or Google Sheets to help your child begin to understand just how much that App Store purchase sets them back. Implement social media skills. Run a social media page with pictures that your child has taken/chooses. Teach them about hashtags, show them accounts similar to their idea (for example, if your child wants to document your puppy, show them some famous pet accounts to give them ideas), and let them be creative. It also is a great opportunity to talk about internet safety! Prioritize public speaking. Encourage your child to join school clubs to continue to improve their problem-solving skills, especially if the club prioritizes public speaking skills. The ability to speak confidently is important. When I was younger, I was very shy and anxious but presenting classes helped me get out of my shell. Watch appropriate lectures and TED talks with your child to showcase good examples, and take them to a local open mic night. Problem solve with them. When something would break at my house when I was younger, my mom would walk my sister and I through what happened. She'd call the repair man/repair it in front of us, go through payment details, and answer our questions. This was invaluable not only to increase my personal competency, but to problem solve even better myself. Embrace mistakes. Mistakes happen. Mistakes are how you grow and learn. I've had many parents that I've worked with tell me that they expect perfection from their kids. It's disappointing because it doesn't encourage continuous improvement or a healthy mindset. Encourage your child to keep trying and improving!
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