I had known the safety of a corporate job for fifteen years before I started my company. I was in my mid-thirties and had never had any entrepreneurial experience. Starting a company was a risk that I am proud to have taken, despite having safer choices. I made it work through grit and hard work. When I look back however, I see that I always had the traits of an entrepreneur. I just didn’t know it yet. This makes me think what if each parent knew of these traits so that they could channel them early on?
Here are some ways to spot a child with entrepreneurial traits early on and be the mentor they need you to be.
1. EXCEPTIONAL WORK ETHIC.
These kids are workhorses. They complete assigned tasks before other kids or their siblings. They may not look for constant rewards, a completed job is a sufficient gratification. They are independent and results oriented, relentless in the pursuit of what they seek.
What parents can do: Reward their enthusiasm with encouraging words. Let them know that this trait will take them far. Pay attention to how they are doing in school and ask their teacher to give them a few bonus problems just to fuel their passion to go above and beyond.
2. ACTION ORIENTED.
You wont see them sitting idle. Their brain needs stimulation and they are not shy about finding the right stimulation. They prefer to take action, instead of complaining about hurdles. They are quick on their feet looking for options to solve the problem while other kids their age may look around for adults to jump in. Some may even share their plan to solve the problem, get their friends excited about it and solve the problem through team work.
What parents can do: Share stories of problems you solved at work. Involve them in everyday problems and seek their input when solving them. Make them feel valued for their input.
3. DATA LOVER AND PRACTICAL TO BOOT.
My son was 4.5 yrs old. We had just finished a bedtime story about a US President. I said to him he could be the President of the United States if he wanted to. His response was “How much does he make?”
Not just a dreamer, definitely not. These kids may not want to spend the money but hold it as a measure of effort and success. They love statistics, measure their options and make choices backed by logic and data.
What parents can do: While they learn basics of math, science or ELA at school, we can teach them the practical use of these skills. Percentages and fractions can be used to determine allocation of spend, budget or categories of a portfolio. Language and art skills to design a lemonade stand poster for the right season and the right target audience. Persuasive skills can be used to convince a passerby to purchase a girl scout cookie or a drink from the lemonade stand or snack shop.
Our kids are our future. If we want our planet’s future to be bright, we have to start in our own homes with our own kids. We have to teach them to dream without limits and give them the practical tools to get there.