Behavioral Science

16 Ways to Teach Kids About Entrepreneurship

by . September 23rd, 2014

In his talk, Cameron Herold shares about he was raised as an entrepreneur as a child, and does the same for his children.

He talks about how entrepreneurship is vilified in mainstream media, that shows tend to show business owners as villains rather than heroes, and how it affects our kids. He talks about how we “cure” entrepreneurial spirit under another name: bipolarity.


I personally agree with him. I was never a good follower, and that would be looked down upon. I liked doing things myself. I liked forging my own path. I liked to be unhindered. I still do now. But does that make me a bad person?

In the Philippines, there’s this insult used by older generations. “Pilosopo.” Philosopher or thinker. Sad thing is this isn’t metaphoric at all. People look down upon people that think for themselves. And although this is more clear cut in the Philippines, it’s everywhere. Media’s views on beauty, peer pressure, news on big companies trying to steal your money.

However we need to teach kids how to create their own paths. Here’s a list on how to teach kids about entrepreneurship. Some were taken from the speech, and others were stuff I either gathered or thought about.

1. Don’t allow your kids to have jobs.



Instead, ask them to look for creative ideas to make money. There are business opportunities everywhere, but there are only a handful of people that realize this. Teach your kids that as long as there is someone that does something they need to do during time they could spend doing what they WANT to do, there is demand.

2. Buy them games that teach them about strategy


There are lots of tabletop games that teach about this. Even Dungeons and Dragons. With videogames, there are things like XCom which lets you strategically build the most efficient city you can to ward of aliens. MMORPGs will sometimes have leeway for you to game the system if you think about it well.

3. Teach them the value of not only a dollar, but a penny

If you see them throw away coins, tell them to pick them up. Kids have to understand two things about money: The value of each hour spent, and that doing calculated risks for a better outcome is not wasting money. Frugal, but fearless.

4. Don’t give your kids allowances



“Allowances teach your kids about regular paychecks.” Up to now, even as I think of new ways to make money, I catch myself thinking of the regular monthly spoils, which I shouldn’t if I’m to start businesses. Instead, I should always be on my feet, actively seeking to bring profits up. And if you want your kids to be entrepreneurs, teach them the same. Cameron Herold does this by telling his kids to find things that need to be done around the house and tell him. After which, they negotiate how much doing that chore should cost.

5. Separate their money into two bank accounts

Give them a “toy account” from which they can spend on anything they want, and a “house account” which goes to stock brokers. Yes. It’s not too early.

6. Tell them to make up their own bedtime stories

It’s great bonding to read stories to your kids so they fall asleep, but it’s also nice to have your kids make up their own bedtime stories. This teaches them how to sell and how to think creatively. If they need guidance, gather a few things around the room and ask them to make a story out of those.

7. Encourage them to speak



If they have something that blows their mind, find events that would let them talk about it. Encourage them to go on school plays, to be the main speaker of their oral reports. And most importantly, respect their opinions when they talk to you. They may have bad ideas, but discern the bad from the weird and know that at least they thought, and thinking is good.

8. When you go out, show them what bad employees and good employees are like

If you see a bad employee, ask your kids what makes them bad. Teach them to expect a better standard of service. Teach them also that even though it’s nice to be patient and understand what people are going through, a bad day does not excuse bad business.

9. Instead of garage sales, show them that the world is much bigger

Ask them to sell their old stuff online through sites like Craigslist. Teach them how to find scammers, fix the price, market well, etc. Garage sales are great, but learning to sell online is even better, as it bring your kids in the fray of the real world.

10. Find entrepreneurial traits in your kids and nurture those



Tenacity, passion, tolerance for ambiguity, vision, self-belief, and flexibility. These are great traits to watch out for when raising a child. However, if you want to raise an entrepreneur, there’s one trait that most parents nurture that you should: rule-breaking.

Teach your kids that the fastest way to a point is not always a straight line. That if you can’t climb or run through a wall, go around it. Teach them to find ways to go around the system to manipulate it in their own way.

11. Don’t medicate them for ADHD, mania, stress, or depression

Unless it gets really bad. Bipolarity is also called “CEO’s disease.” Steve Jobs, Jim Clark and Marc Andreessen had it. You sort of need an incessant passion and craziness for entrepreneurship. When you’re surrounded with so much failure, you have to have adamance to go forward. And sometimes it takes a whole lot of emotion to do it.

12. Teach patience and productivity while waiting


If you’re waiting in line with your kids, parents would most likely tell them to just keep waiting. However, there are other things you could teach in line. Teach them to not sit, and find something to do while waiting. If you were put in line when you know you had the right to go through, teach your kids how to negotiate or call the people you know can help.

13. Tell them why you choose certain groceries


When you go shopping, you have your favorite brands. But you have reasons to why their your favorites. The price, the taste, the contents, etc. Teach this to your kids. Also let them know when and why you switch brands. Perhaps you’re getting the same taste and nutrition while spending less.

14. Ask them to help you with groceries

Give them money, but instead of telling them the brand, tell them the parameters of what to look for. why, not what. This is like the previous comment, but more active than passive. Let your kids decide what is best through the knowledge you’ve given them. Also note that “I want to try if this is actually good” isn’t a bad answer.

15. Talk aloud on how you make your financial decisions as a grown-up

When talking to your partner or to yourself about what to spend on, what to save, what to look out for etc., let your kids in on it. Like the above, you could even ask your kids for advice, no matter how young they are. Giving them this level of trust and responsibility also nurtures them to become great adults.

16. Ask them to compare college choices



Compare them through cost, employment prospects, choice alumni, and student loan debt. Let them understand that this choice will help define them financially in more ways than one. However, I honestly believe in alternative forms of education. I’m not sure about you, but I am. If your child wishes to learn through apprenticeship, or online courses like Udemy and Coursera, think about it.

thumnail by: jagrap


I do grown-up things to pay for my childish whimsy and rule the universe one step at a time while at it. Join me for the most fantastical, out-of-this-world adventure your trudgy 24/7 startup will never have.

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