Entrepreneurship is one of the few career choices in life that still allows for unlimited growth opportunity. As a parent, I believe that part of my job is to raise my children with the ability to handle the hardships of this world, build character and have a heart for others. I also believe that as a parent, it is my responsibility to teach them how to give back to humanity as well as ensure that their families will be taken care of as they get older.

How many “jobs” out there offer the opportunity to make $150,000 a year or more?

  • Doctor (Min. 7 years in college and TONS of student loans)
  • Lawyer (Same…)
  • Astronaut (Shoot for the moon on this one.)
  • Professional Athlete (Got goals?)
  • Blockbuster Movie Actor (The avg. actor makes $50k)
  • Business Owner (Achievable!)

According to Salary.com, the average CEO’s compensation is over $729,000 per year!

When you can understand how to start and run a business, opportunities are unlimited. No longer do they have to rely on others for a “paycheck.” They can create their own. Downsizing, layoffs and pink slips are a thing of the past. You can make as much or as little money as you want to make. Live life how you choose.

One thing I have always taught my children is to be givers. I think that the vast majority of people want to give. It’s built in us. The truth is, however, you can’t give what you don’t have.

In order for us to help our children achieve opportunities that will allow them to be givers and more than provide for their families, we must give them the tools and the attitudes that will allow them to be successful entrepreneurs.

1. OPTIMISM

No one was ever born a pessimist. The world tends to do that to us. Children are naturally optimistic. When you were young, what did you want to be? Was it something on the list above? Children look for the best in things naturally. We must support this.

Entrepreneurs take calculated risks. In order to repeatedly take risks, an entrepreneur must believe that the result will be positive. For children, that means we have to help them grow and maintain optimism through their failures. Small children fail and keep trying. That’s what we need to support.

Failure is a requirement to success. We always learn more from our failures than we do our successes. The only real failure is the person who stops trying. Make every failure a learning experience for your children and they will handle failures and setbacks well as adults.

2. CREATIVITY

Children love doing new things, taking adventures, being spontaneous and creating things. As adults, we tend to grow out of this mindset as we get older. We get caught up in the hum drum day to day responsibilities that keep us from experiencing all that life has to offer.

Entrepreneurs are creative problem solvers. They venture into new and uncharted territories. As a parent, we must encourage children to try new things, think outside the box, experiment and be creative. It’s this mentality that has helped create all of the innovations that simplify life and technological advances that we enjoy today.

3. PERSUASIVENESS

Children are naturally masters at the art of persuasion. Ask any parent…children are great salespeople. Why do we, as we grow older, develop a fear of sales, negotiation and persuasion? Simple. It’s how many times we hear no most of which are for no good reason (Because I said so is not a reason, parents).

One of the best things we can do for our children is listen and respond thoughtfully. When the answer is no (as it should be sometimes), let them know why. Help them understand that nothing in life is free and everything has a cost and a consequence. Help them learn to make good choices when they want something. Don’t stifle the persuasiveness. If they begin to move from persuasion to manipulation, however, teach them the difference and steer them in a better direction.

4. FINANCIAL PRINCIPLES

If you can’t manage your personal finances, you’ll never be able to manage a business effectively. Financial literacy in America is a crisis. Far too many people are in bad shape financially because they don’t manage their finances well.

Most children have a degree of selfishness in their nature. If you have children, you’ve heard “I want,” “can I have,” and “can we” probably a million times. While it’s fine to want things and have things, it’s not fine when it puts you in a financial bind. We must teach our children the value of working, saving, giving and only then getting what it is that they want.

My children have come up with lots of ideas for businesses over the years. I remember when my youngest daughter was 9, she wanted to start a mobile nail painting business. She planned to go to people’s houses in the neighborhood and paint their nails for a few dollars. While there was plenty of credibility to her idea and she has a cute face (who could resist??), the problem came into purchasing enough bottles of nail polish for a selection. I offered to invest…for a return.

If your children want to start a small business, you should be willing to invest in it and also teach them that you expect a return on your investment (remember that nothing in life is free). Encourage them to invest their money and help them learn to evaluate how their investments perform. They need to know how money works and what it takes to make it. They will have a much better grasp of the real value of it.

5. COMMUNICATION SKILLS

One of my favorite topics is communication. I’m a people-watcher. I love observing how others interact. It has taught me a ton over the years. Watch how your children communicate with their friends and with others. Being able to articulate a vision and have others grab onto it is crucial to the success of any entrepreneur. Being able to interact with others how the other person communicates is important for clear communication and understanding in any family or career.

Entrepreneurs experience many challenges and emotional struggles and those must be shared with others. Inability to communicate well, keeps many people from being able to have a healthy amount vulnerability and often restricts relationships to the surface. This can be the kiss of death for an entrepreneur.

6. TALENTS

We all have certain talents and skills we are born with and just seem to excel at. Sometimes it can be baffling or frustrating to others who weren’t born with these particular strengths. You can accomplish much more when you understand your strengths, build on those strengths and apply them to your efforts in business. In the same way, you need to understand your weaknesses and how you can partner with others who are strong in those areas.

I am very good at teaching, speaking, leading and creating content. I used to think I was good at administration until a staff member came to me one day and told me how bad I was at it. I think her exact words were, “For the love of Pete, PLEASE stop trying to do the administrative stuff. You’re horrible at it.” (Yes…sometimes it does take others pointing out our weaknesses to get it.)

Encourage your children to try a wide variety of activities. Help them discover and develop their talents and strengths. As well, help them find their weaknesses. As an entrepreneur, one of the best success principles you can learn in this area is focus on your strengths and staff your weaknesses. Get help.

As you help your children grow their strengths and talents, help them see the strengths in their friends. In virtually every business, success comes by putting together the best team of people whose talents complement one another.

7. LEADERSHIP

John Maxwell defines leadership as “influence.” Leadership skills and abilities can take you very far in life. Without them, you will always be limited. In developing leadership skills, the limits are taken off and anything can be achieved. One is too few a number to achieve anything great. An entrepreneur is a leader who “breaks away from the pack” to pursue a vision.

Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur, but everyone needs to be a leader. Encourage your children to be leaders. Whether they choose to be entrepreneurs or not, leadership skills will help them in all areas of life. They need to have the strength to pursue dreams that differ from those of others.