Will Your Child Follow in Your Footsteps as an Entrepreneur?

Growing up, I didn’t even know what an entrepreneur was. My parents both worked hard at their respective jobs, and held them for decades. But for my son, who’s seven now, the picture is drastically different. He’s got two parents who run their own companies – from home. His understanding of the workforce is unlike mine at his age. But he’s part of a generation that takes entrepreneurship as a given possibility, simply because he sees it every day.

child entrepreneur

I often wonder if he will become an entrepreneur too. Nothing would make me prouder.

A whopping 46% of kids who know an entrepreneur are more interested in becoming one themselves, according to the Kaufman Foundation’s Youth Entrepreneurship Survey 2010. That’s exciting, since there were more than 27 million small businesses in 2011. If every business inspired just one child to become an entrepreneur…well, you get my point.

Teach By Example

Whether your child shows interest in running his own business or not, it’s helpful to him to understand what it is you do with your own business. When I told my son that I make money on the computer, he looked around to find the printer that spit out the dollar bills! But I’ve found ways to explain that I help businesses get more customers. And Papa makes apps for phones.

It may not occur you to bring your child into your business or explain it to him, but doing so can provide valuable life lessons:

1. Keep the communication open about your business with your child. Explain in terms that he’ll understand what you do, as well as why it sometimes requires more of your time than he’d like. Explain why you work from home. Or why you don’t.

2. If your child is old enough, let him spend a day with you in the office. Then he can see firsthand what you do and how business works.

3. Encourage him to start his own entrepreneurial endeavors, even if it’s just selling lemonade.  Teach him about supply cost and profit, and encourage him to work to earn enough money for that special toy.

4. Show him the role creativity plays in entrepreneurship. You never know: your next great business idea might come from the second generation in your home!

5. And don’t gloss over failure. While you don’t want to scare your kids (especially younger ones) if your business is struggling, there’s a lesson to be learned in diligence and not giving up on your dreams.

You never know what will resonate with kids. Even if yours doesn’t become the next Tony Hsieh, he still will have an appreciation for hard work and independence thanks to you.

Child Entrepreneur Photo via Shutterstock

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Susan Payton Susan Payton is the Communications Manager for the Small Business Trends Awards programs. She is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in content marketing, social media management and press releases. She is also the Founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners who want to generate their own PR.

13 Reactions
  1. Really nice blog posting! I really like the part about not glossing over failure. I tell my college-age kids now that I’m 100% successful 25% of the time when inventing new software. Once that sinks in they laugh and I share my mistakes. Most people only talk about their successes, which gives a false impression that success is easy.

    • Frank–Thanks for your comment. They shouldn’t think it’s all roses, running a business! If they follow in your footsteps, they’d be in for a rude awakening!

  2. Jamillah Warner

    I love this Susan – to me small business is quickly becoming the new “job security”

  3. Hi Susan,

    Another great article here. I don’t have any kids yet but I do plan on having some in the near future. I’ve always said that as soon as my kids are old enough to type, I’m going to have them running their own blog, lol. My goal for my children and my family as a whole is to have them all be entrepreneurial minded and always go after what they want. I want to teach them that there’s nothing that they can do or achieve with a little creativity and hard work.

    I really appreciate this post Susan and thanks for sharing it with the community!


  4. Great Post Susan. I am of the belief that Kids can all benefit from early introductions into the basic principles of Entrepreneurship. I recently purchased the book Kidpreneurs written by the Toren Brothers and my kids love it! Taking a quote from the Toren brothers: “The philosophy behind the book is simple. The future of our children begins with us! Most people say, “It’s never too late.” The Torens say, “It’s never too early.”
    I highly recommend this book for kids 7-12yrs old (and their parents)!

  5. our kids should beable to choose what they want to do not what you want them to do based on satistics! just saying.