teaching teen entrepreneurs

In 2009 I read an excellent interview with Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) regarding prospering in a tough economy..and wanted to share this particular portion: (I apologize I do not have a link to this interview~Deb, 9/2016)

Q: What one thing would you tell someone who feels that this is the wrong time to be thinking about starting a small business?
A: I’d tell people to invest in themselves and teach their minds to see opportunities that their eyes don’t. This comes with financial education and personal development. This may be the very best of times for entrepreneurs with business ideas. Technology has leveled the playing field in terms of ease of entrance. In addition, there are more outlets than ever before to communicate your messages and tell your unique story.

Read more in his book: Rich Dad’s Rich Kid, Smart Kid: Giving Your Child a Financial Head Start by Robert T. Kiyosaki *

One of the main missions of Homeschool-Entrepreneur is to encourage parents to equip their children with the ability to “see opportunity” in all situations. Like any other acquired skill, it takes instruction and practice. Once learned, it’s like riding a bike, a skill for life.

The question still remains: HOW do you teach it to your kids?

First, I think parents have to have a good understanding of what it means to recognize opportunity -if they don’t already. I grew up with generations of entrepreneurs, so I thought everyone thought “entrepreneurially”. Discovering quite the opposite, I am seeing evidence every day of what John Taylor Gatto* talks about how our culture (government?) works hard at creating ‘worker bees’. Homeschooling gives parents a fresh opportunity to teach . . and equip . . .our children to be everything God created them to be.

Don’t worry if you are learning right along with your children. It’s a great bonding process when you are on a somewhat level playing (learning) field with your children. When you learn together how to think entrepreneurially, or to see opportunity. It’s a great confidence builder when your kid sees an idea first and you love it!

Secondly, the condition of the economy is a constant source of news headlines and can offer fertile ground to talk about solutions. There’s more talk every day about 2009 becoming the “Year of the Entrepreneur”. Never before has there been so much encouragement coming from every possible venue to think of ways to start your own business.

Some Fun Projects To Teach Entrepreneurs

How Would You Like $100,000 to Play The Stock Market – in real time?

Another way to stimulate conversations about how different businesses survive economic pressures is to play Investopedia Stock Simulator with your older student. Age is relative to maturity and competence, but this is a great time to have two Investopedia faux stock accounts and watch what happens to the stocks as conditions fluctuate. Several years ago, this is something one of my sons and I tried and he did so well he was invited to a “By Invitation Only” club sponsored by Warren Buffet. This was the beginning of my son, then only 14, decision to major in business finance in college!

If you aren’t familiar with Investopedia’s stock simulator, it uses real time Wall Street numbers with your virtual $100,000 worth of stock investments that you buy and sell. No previous stock knowledge required. There is a wealth -no pun intended- of information available on the site. It’s all free, but I will warn you there will be emails that will try to sell you many related products!

TV As A Learning Tool…really?

Another way to teach entrepreneurial thinking is to watch (suitable) TV. Really! Commercials on TV are usually only endured or used as time to grab a snack, but try to look at those commercials through the advertiser’s eyes. If that was your business, or your competitor, do you think you got your money’s worth? Was it effective in motivating the viewers to buy the product? You could even make it a school project to rate the commercials for effectiveness. A favorite project in our home was creating our own commercials! (more on that in another post!)

Everyday Edisons

Another way TV can be an entrepreneurial learning tool are the many reality shows that demonstrate various business ventures. Cake Boss is a show about the inner workings of a cake decorating bakery, Everyday Edisons is a show illustrating how inventions are brought to market. I hope to compile a list of these type of shows for you soon.

HOWEVER…we always recommend that you watch these shows with your student, not just to filter content you might disagree with, but it opens ideas for discussion in a light that suits the values that your family supports. It’s almost like having a chance to view the work world that your child will someday be immersed in, but now you have a chance to point out the good and the bad with them by your side.

Developing An Eye For Opportunity

Help your teen constantly be on the alert for consumer frustrations with products that don’t work like they should, or a service problem that doesn’t appear to have a solution. You can ask them how they would solve the problem if they had the money to develop a new and better product?

Back in 1993, Abbey Fleck became famous for her “Makin’ Bacon” kitchen tool. That little invention eventually garnered the family a distribution agreement with Wal-mart and sent Abbey to multimillionaire status. Abbey was 8 years old. Never dismiss your children’s ideas as silly!

These are just a few ideas to get your entrepreneurial gears turning, I’m sure you can come up with ways of your own. Be sure to keep a journal of all your observations, looking back later will be very enlightening, I promise!

Starting a business of any kind is probably the best way to begin thinking like an entrepreneur, most people have no idea of all the details involved. The Small Business Administration has many resources to help you learn everything you’ll need to know and it’s completely free. Start Up Nation and Entrepreneur Magazine also has a wealth of ideas and information to help get you started. Of course, there’s our Homeschool Entrepreneur 101 2.0 course too…(new version coming soon!)

*these are books with affiliate links to Amazon, our favorite place to buy books!

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