6 Tell-tale Signs That Your Child Might Be a Budding Entrepreneur
In this first of a series of articles about young entrepreneurs, we begin by looking at some of the signs that parents can look out for. In later articles, case-studies will be used to help parents develop insight into the important role that the nuclear and extended family play in nurturing their young entrepreneurs’ talents, values and crucially their self-belief.
Why young entrepreneurs can struggle in school?
Parents early identification of young entrepreneurs is important as they don’t tend to fit the mould. While some embrace formal education, many don’t. This is where some of the greatest challenges for young entrepreneurs lie. Our education system, by its very nature, is a system of mass education. As a rule it does not claim to support individual’s learning.
Learning doesn’t just happen in school. In fact, our best learning occurs from doing, from making mistakes and figuring out how to do it better next time. Solving problems is a great way of learning and is central to how young entrepreneurs operate. However, it is not used in school, where emphasis is all too often on rote learning. Young entrepreneurs have little time for learning that doesn’t have value for them.
Real worthwhile learning happens within us, so it makes sense that we need to be motivated from within in order to learn well. We need a reason to learn something, so it must be relevant to us, our interests and our goals. Young entrepreneurs are very internally motivated and driven, which is one reason why external factors such as grades, punitive forms of punishment, or other peoples’ goals do not motivate them. The great thing about being internally motivated is that it provides boundless energy and as a result we are willing to spend a lot of time on the task, a key feature of entrepreneurs.
Because entrepreneurs think and act differently, even from a very early age, they may need help in navigating the education system from time to time. How you as a parent respond to the challenges presented along the way, can have long-lasting effects on your young entrepreneur and on your relationship. Parents are uniquely positioned to observe and support their young entrepreneur on their great adventure.
So how do you recognise the signs?
Here are some characteristics that young entrepreneurs can exhibit.
1. They experiment with making or building things and keep going until they get it right or until they get whatever they needed to learn from the experiment. For example, at a very early age they might make homemade lemonade or cakes and sell them at a profit. They might try building a website or app. Sometimes it’s about making money, but often it’s about seeing a need for something and finding a solution.
2. They think and dream big. Not having money isn’t seen as an obstacle as they have every confidence that they will find a way, usually by upselling or persuading others to support their new business. They might, for example, buy and sell things on the internet. Not only can this provide a source of income but also a way of learning the trade - a great start for a young entrepreneur who has her sights on online sales.
3. They are not afraid of hard work, but generally only when it is to achieve their specific goals. They tend to work smart as they don’t like wasting time. Time is valuable to the entrepreneur. Don’t expect them to get excited about something that you or your family deem of interest.
4. As we have already seen, while they value learning, it may not necessarily be formal education. They learn what they need, when they need it, and in the most efficient and effective way possible. Many budding entrepreneurs are not interested in school. It isn’t their thing and they firmly believe that it is a waste of time. They might put up with it only because they get to hang out with their friends.
5. They like time and space to themselves. They need time to think, to plan, to execute their ideas. In fact, planning is usually something that entrepreneurs of all ages love doing.
6. They see opportunity all around them and embrace change. They are driven to innovate, build, develop and drive their business ideas forward.
If you think that you have a young entrepreneur in your family, observe and appreciate how he operates. Listen carefully. Be open to questioning your assumptions about how you think things should be.
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