Many of you may already have a business but you’re not sure how to bring your children into the mix….at least sanely. Or, your family has the business side down, but you’re looking for ways to change the focus of your business into more of an outreach, a ‘business as missions’ as we say.
The American Dream remains only a dream for too many potential entrepreneurs. Homeschooling demands, hectic work schedules, and life get in the way for the majority of dreamers.
No idea how to get started? You are not alone!
OK, a family business might not seem possible right now, but you want to teach your children the basics so they can start their own business if they ever want to. You ‘get’ the ‘entrepreneurial mindset’, but how do you teach it to your children?
That’s exactly where our family was 30 years ago as we started our homeschool journey. We were running two different businesses and homeschooling 4 children. We had a vision for what we wanted to do, but no clue how we were going to make it all work. When others shared that they would like to do the same, we knew something had to be created.
Homeschool was still in its infancy so resources were scarce. Definitely not what you have available now! Like most homeschooling families, we just figured it out as we went along with support from the few others that were struggling just like us. Can you believe we didn’t even have the internet! The local librarian became our best friend. (it’s likened to the dark ages by our kids!)
Anyone else out there remember those days?
Our 4 children have long since graduated, 3 are married, 2 with children, and all have moved onto various pursuits. Three are entrepreneurial, one is checking out the corporate ladder, yet they hope to have their own bed and breakfast someday. (they are phenomenal cooks and terrific hosts!)
What I Would Do Differently
Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond proud of all my children, but in retrospect, don’t we all see things we wish we had done differently? My poor children were Homeschool Entrepreneur’s original guinea pigs. Thankfully, it all worked out . . . “better than we deserve”!
Thanks to many wise mentors and the school of hard knocks, it all worked out. We did come away with a few things we’d like to share with ‘y’all’! (that’s a transplanted southerner’s slang for ‘my friends’!)
Where To Start
Overwhelmed yet? Just take it one step at a time.
So….what’s the first step you ask? The answer to this question is much like you would answer a family wondering where they should begin to homeschool their children.
There are many variables to consider:
- How many children do you have?
- What are their ages and stages?
- What is your family’s goals, purpose or “passion” for their future?
- Do you have any entrepreneurial experience?
- What are your time constraints?
- …and of course, your budget!
These are just a few things to consider, but you get the idea. You may say this all seems like common sense, and you are right. However, one of the biggest mistakes new homeschooling entrepreneurs make is taking on too much and getting overwhelmed quickly. Think carefully about what you want your day to look like.
“Start with the end in mind”. That’s good, actually excellent, advice, but it’s not much help in knowing where to begin, is it?
Hopefully the following steps will help you get those entrepreneurial gears going:
Step One: Write Your Family’s Mission Statement
It’s always a good idea for you and your spouse to sit down (why we always need to “sit down” has always been a puzzle for me…) and discuss your goals for your family. Where do you want to be in 3 years? In 5 or 10 years? Why do you homeschool? What are your goals for each child? (so far)
This may be a 10 minute or 2 hour discussion. You may already have a good idea what your goals are. Feel free to dream big, just plan your dreams in do-able steps! Writing it down is essential.
Then, sit down as a family (there we go, sitting again) and talk about some of your goals with your children. Encourage input from every member of your family, even grandpa if he lives with you! You might be surprised at the insightful input you receive!
This can become a family homeschool project, too. Each person can write down their own goals and visions on a sheet of paper, or you can create a question sheet for them to use as a guide. Meet together with the results and try to make it fun.
Laurie Beth Jones wrote an excellent book, The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life.* Our family found all the lists and questions incredibly helpful! There are other books out there on writing a family mission statement* that will help too.
Step Two: Catch The Business As Missions Vision For Your Family
If you haven’t already caught the BAM mission, we have some great places to start on our Business As Missions page. Don’t worry, we’re not going to guilt you into going to remote areas abroad or ask you to give away your house to the homeless. We just want you to see your family’s entrepreneurial journey in the light of furthering God’s Kingdom. Basically, it’s the entrepreneurial mindset marries The Great Commission. More on that later.
Step Three: Assess Your Family’s Talents and Resources
We aren’t talking about how much money you have to invest, we’re thinking about what gifts, talents, resources and even connections God has blessed you with. How can you use them for His Glory? How much time are you able to give to this new goal? What are your end goals for your new business?
Listing each family member’s gifts, interests and ideas would be a great addition to the emerging business journal you are hopefully creating by now. Keeping a log of all of this soul searching will be priceless someday!
Sometimes it helps to throw everyone’s ideas, thoughts and comments into one place and let it ferment for a day or a week or more. Review it as a family later see what emerges. At the very least, it will make some quality family time!
One resource online you might check out is CrownBiz.com, which is:
. . . a faith-based business and entrepreneurship destination on the internet to inspire, inform, and instruct Christian entrepreneurs. Our goal is to use proven practices and principles to help you grow your business and expand your kingdom impact.
Step Four: Taking Action
OK, enough talk, it’s time to take some action. You may not be sure yet what you want to do, but if you don’t do something, you never will. Try some short term fund-raising projects or a garage sale with the addition of someone’s hand crafted items or home-baked goods.
Let each family member have their own table and make it a competition if that motivates your less enthusiastic members. Keep good records and rally together for everyone’s feedback afterwards. Have a pre-set purpose set for your profits. Remind everyone that failure is one of the best teaching tools so no one feels less able than anyone else.
Step Five: Go!
This website as well as the internet offers a wealth of information on building a business, fresh new ideas, marketing and more. Keep a journal of your family’s thoughts and visions to this point and don’t forget to keep the main thing the main thing! Post your family mission statement somewhere prominent and pray about it often.
You probably have better ideas as these are only suggestions to help get those creative juices flowing! We would love, love, love to hear your ideas and experiences! (you can leave them in the comments below or email us !
Thanks for reading!