Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve been witnessing record numbers of employees voluntarily quitting their jobs. In 2020 alone, over 36 million people resigned from their positions to pursue other opportunities. Many of those are finding jobs with other companies, seeking part-time work, or retiring and leaving the workforce entirely. But, there’s also a large percentage who want more flexibility and freedom in their work and turn to entrepreneurship as a result. In fact, about a third of Americans are quitting their jobs to start their own businesses because they want to be their own boss.
This same entrepreneurial spirit is reflected in our younger generations and might even be more prevalent than ever. Among Gen-Z alone, over 40% plan to start their own business… that’s almost one in two people between the age of 10 and 25-years old! At a time when income inequality is at an all-time high, this is great news. After all, entrepreneurship can become an incredible equalizer by spreading wealth across the world. However, not everyone is exposed to examples of successful entrepreneurship in their lives. This can prevent children from being raised with the skills and qualities they need to be successful business leaders. Therefore, it’s important for parents – entrepreneurs or not – to expose their kids to key business concepts early on. I sat down with Greice Murphy’s, founder of Advanced Care Partners and she shared the strategies she uses in her own family and her tips for families that want to raise the next generation of entrepreneurial kids:
- Use the proper terminology: I like talking business with my kids And, when I do, I make sure I use the right words. For example, I will say things like earnings, depreciation, as well as profit and loss, and explain what they mean to my kids. I do this to ensure they have the correct understanding of business terms when they hear them for the first time.
- Give them real-world opportunities: My kids and I watch Shark Tank together at least two times a week. During each episode, I give them a pen and a piece of paper and ask them to take notes about their business evaluations. I will then pause the episodes several times and ask them questions like: what do you think the entrepreneur will get offered? What risks do you see in scaling that business? Is this a product you think the world needs? It’s a game and we make it fun! More importantly, it teaches my children that asking the right questions is often more important than having the right answers.
- Practice money management: It’s important for children to not only understand the value of money but also develop the skills they need to manage it. This is a skill that so many of us probably wished we had been taught early on in life. One of the best ways to do this is with a practical exercise that allows them to practice their money management abilities. Here is an example: give your children a monthly “salary” of fake money, which they must use for their monthly expenses. These expenses include costs like bedroom rent, transportation, meals, utilities, gifts, and health insurance. They must be able to make enough money to pay for everything or find a way to earn more by doing extra chores. They are also responsible to keep track of the budget in a spreadsheet.
- Teach the value of giving back: In the same exercise about money management, I also like to teach the value of giving back. Example: When the kids save more than 20% of their salary in a month, they receive a bonus (interest) from you (the bank). Then ask them to donate 10% of their savings to a charity or church. By doing this you will empower your children to give back and teach them that generosity requires consistent and intentional efforts. Great successful entrepreneurs find their sense of purpose by serving the communities around them.
- Set a sense of responsibilities: I’ve told my children time and again that being an entrepreneur is the most rewarding job you can have – you get to use your passion to create opportunities for others and therefore make their lives better. But, it also comes with a great sense of responsibility. It’s a privilege to employ others. And, one must not take it lightly.
A sense of responsibility, a willingness to try new things, and an aptitude for creativity are some of the most foundational things we can teach our children. These are also vital skills for any professional to have, especially those who decide to start their own businesses. Regardless of the career path that a child ends up in, teaching them how to be business savvy can only provide valuable life skills and important financial lessons. It’s important now more than ever to expose our children to the endless opportunities that the entrepreneurial journey can offer.