Encouraging Entrepeneurialism in Your Children

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Isn’t she just the cutest little thing you’ve ever seen?  This is our oldest daughter, Maddie.  Normally I’m not fond of putting the kids’ pics out there in the Internet world, but Maddie’s already somewhat out in the public eye because, at age 11, she published her first fiction work. 

Because of the financial mistakes Rick and I have made, it’s been a huge goal of ours to teach our children to make their own way so that they’re not dependent on an employer for survival.  We believe strongly that while it’s perfectly fine to work for someone else, a backup plan of earning income, or multiple streams of income-earning, you could call it, is all the more important in today’s unstable economy.

So when Maddie showed signs of being a gifted writer, we ran with it.  She published her (affiliate link)  first book1461106796 about a year and a half ago, and books two and three in the series are coming out in March/April.

Our goal is to teach each of the kids which streams of income fit their talents best, so that they are already earning income, and knowing how to create income, by the time they graduate high school.  How do we do it?  Here are some tips:

1.  Be observant.  We are all given gifts of some type.  What are your child’s gifts?  Are they creative?  Organized?  Helpful?  Make a commitment to know your child well enough that you know where their giftings are.  Maddie’s desire to write really took off after Rick experienced a job layoff in 2010.  The experience was difficult for her, and she channeled her stress into lots and lots of writing.

When I took the time to read what she’d written, I realized that she truly had a gift here.  The kid could write fiction better than many adult-authored fiction books I’d read.

Your child has gifts too.  Figure out what they are, and how your child could use those gifts to produce income.  Does he/she love to bake?  Maybe they could provide muffins and cookies for local small businesses during their meetings. (Check your state food prep/selling laws first).  Is your child a computer whiz?  We’ve got a friend whose son started providing IT help at age 11 or so.  He’s really good, and charges WAY less than an adult professional out there, so he has his own computer repair/set up biz and is doing pretty well at it.  You could also set up a small stock trade account with stocks that pay dividends, and have your child put some into the account for growing his account.  Teach him/her how to analyze and trade stocks.

No matter what your child’s gifts and talents are, they can be used in some way to create income.  It’ll take some time on your part, but will be well worth it when you send your child out into the world with a knowledge of how to create income instead of just teaching them to wait for someone else to pay them.

2.  Be objective.  I’ll never forget when I first realized that Rick simply didn’t get that all parents think they’re kids are the best.  He said to me “Isn’t it funny how everyone thinks they’re kids are the cutest, but ours really are the cutest?”.  :-).

We need to be careful when nurturing or promoting our kids’ gifts and talents to make sure we’re being objective.  Does your child truly have a gift for a particular line of work, or are you just seeing their talents through the mommy/daddy rose-colored glasses?

Seek the opinions of those who will be honest with you about your child’s talent in a particular area, and focus on the areas that your kids really do have a gift for.

3.  Be listening.  No matter how gifted your child may be at something, if she/he doesn’t like it, you should never force them into creating a business out of it.  Maddie, along with being a tremendous writer, is a gifted singer.  We’ve had total strangers in the music industry come up to us and say things like “You know, she’s really got an amazing voice.  You should really do something with that.”  While it’s tempting to push her to earn income in that area, she’s just not interested.  And honestly, we’re not interested in having her go the route of so many other gifted performers and get caught up into the trap that money and recognition can sometimes bring.  With writing, she’s relatively behind the scenes, and she likes it that way.

4.  Educate yourself.  Your child may have a gift that you know very little about, and in order to nurture that gift, you’re going to have to learn some things about that particular industry.  Even if it’s an industry you aren’t interested in yourself, take the time to learn about it as a gift to your child.  Take interest in his/her interest, and see if this is a gift that he/she could really make something out of, and wants to make something out of.

As parents, we have a certain responsibility to help our kids grow into adulthood using the gifts and talents that God has given them.  He has a special plan and purpose for each and every one of us, and life will be a whole lot more joyful if we are living in a way that uses the gifts that are in us.

How do you encourage your child’s gifts and talents?

43 comments

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Jennifer, for the encouraging words for Maddie. She really appreciates them. It’ll be so fun when you start to discover your little sweetie’s gifts too. It just gets better every day, Jennifer!

  1. Congrats to your daughter Laurie, that is AWESOME! As we run our own business this is a big concern of ours and want to pass it on to our children. I think it’s a great way to help prepare them for life and finding opportunities to better themselves.

    • Laurie says:

      John, you are so right! We owe it to our little ones to empower them to do the best with what they’ve been given, financial and otherwise!

  2. Laurie, it seems like you are doing a great job raising your children and nurturing their talents. And I agree, there’s nothing worse than parents that can’t take off their rose colored glasses when looking at their children.

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, yeah, that can be a little grating on the nerves. Thanks for the kind words, Johnny. It’s obvious from your site you love your little ones dearly, so I’m sure you’re doing a great job with them too.

  3. Wow that is so great! Congrats to Maddie in her first book and the fact that she is turning it into a series of books. And I love that you are working with her to recognize her own talents and to give her so much support and confidence to pursue them. Very cool.

    • Laurie says:

      :-)Thanks Sicorra. We’re trying very hard to educate the kids in ways that will help them to utilize their talents in a way in which they can support themselves.

  4. That is pretty awesome Laurie and congrats on the book Maddie. You sound like you have it down. My parents always let us follow the entrepreneurial spirit and I plan the same for my son. The one thing that my parents did that many don’t is that they let me fail with one business. It showed me responsibility and to work hard. Failure sucks, but it is a part of life. I plan on teaching that was well.

    • Laurie says:

      Grayson, you are lucky to have parents who care so much about you that they’d let you fail like that. Having your own little one now, you know how very much you love your kids, so you must have an idea now of how tough that decision must have been for your parents, but what a wonderful gift! I’m totally in awe of their wisdom and foresight. I hope we can be that smart with our kids!

  5. I should have started a computer repair business as a high school/early college kid. Those were the days where all you had to do was look nerdy and be able to fix stuff. I had both of those down. Now the computer field is full of certifications and degrees, and tons of people who have them but for some reason can’t fix stuff that I could fix a decade ago.

    It’s awesome that your daughter can write that well at such a young age. Outside of some minor computer aptitude, all I got was the ability to get good grades. Useful later in life, not so useful as a junior entrepreneur.

    • Laurie says:

      Wise words, Myfij. Our kids are missing out on so much by not being taught to use their skills in this way. This is one of the biggest blessings we’ve gotten out of homeschooling, is that it allows us to tailor each of our kids’ education based on their gifts, talents and interests.

  6. So important to encourage your kids to be successful at whatever they have natural gifts for/in. I definitely had an entrepreneurial spirit as a child, but I don’t think my parents knew how to harness and encourage that kind of interest and energy.

    • Laurie says:

      You’re right, KK. Parents aren’t taught to look for this stuff, so they don’t know to teach their kids to look for it. It’s amazing what our children can be missing out on in this respect.

  7. Great job Maddie! It’s really difficult to write and publish a book, I’ve tried it in the past and was unable to make it past the editing phase. It’s something to really be proud of.
    Laurie, it’s so important to encourage your child’s entrepreneurial spirit. This is something your children will be able to carry with them for the rest of their lives. I give you kudos.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks Justin, for the encouraging words. The thing about Maddie is that writing is not even difficult for her. Her brain is jam-packed with ideas and thoughts and is constantly going. Books, Youtube videos, illustrations and animations, I can’t keep up with her!

  8. I agree with you Laurie. I think having a job is OK but there’s nothing wrong with learning some extra skills that could help you earn a little extra income or even start your own business. That’s probably the whole reason how I got ahead in life.

    • Laurie says:

      You’re so right, Chris! A course on finances I studied once said that if you can produce multiple streams of income in this way, and manage your money properly, you’ll have pretty much guaranteed financial success.

  9. Pauline says:

    Congratulations Maddie! That is a very impressive achievement indeed, not just a book but a series, I am in awe.
    And props to you too Laurie for encouraging and supporting her. My parents did a great job letting us know any door was open. If we wanted to play an instrument, change school, travel abroad, they were ok with it, as long as we put the dedication and were good at what we did.

    • Laurie says:

      Wow, Pauline! You’re so lucky to have such supportive parents. Sounds like they really encouraged you. I bet that’s a huge reason why you’re doing so well today.

  10. AverageJoe says:

    Great tips. I especially like the one about listening. I think many parents are so enthralled with all the things they can tell their kids that they forget to listen to what their children can tell them.

    • Laurie says:

      Joe, such a wise point! We can learn so much from our children when we take the time to listen. I can’t tell you how many times my children have taught me with their wisdom and perspective.

  11. Maddie is indeed “the cutest”. I love your husband blindness in that regard because every parent should believe their children are the most handsome or prettiest! What an amazing girl and how fortunate she is to have parents that noticed and encouraged her skills. Where can you buy her book? I absolutely agree that we should encourage our children’s talents and see how it can work for them. My girls are always looking for ways to earn more money, so they can put it towards their save, spend and share goals. I love seeing their entrepreneurial spirit and the fact they no longer immediately look to me or their father to buy them whatever they want.

    • Laurie says:

      Hi Shannon! The book is available on Amazon both in paperback and e-book edtion. If you click on the link within the post or on my sidebar link you’ll get immediate e-book access. I think it’s really great that your girls too are nurturing their entrepreneurial spirits. Shannon, I’m excited about their generation of newly educated kids. I think they’ll be doing some nation-changing things!

  12. Wow, congratulations to Maddie! A published author at age 11! That’s wonderful that you are encouraging her. It is hard when you think your kids are the cutest, smartest, etc, to find balance between being realistic and encouraging their dreams. I hope to push our daughter without being too overbearing. I’m very curious to see what she might end up doing. Right now she wants to either be a cat doctor, a singer, or an artist, but it changes day to day.

    • Laurie says:

      She’s pretty young still, isn’t she? I find that it’s different with every kid. Some know what they want to do from very young and it never waivers, others have a variety of ideas and dreams in their heads. It’ll be fun for you to look back when she’s grown at the ideas and dreams she had when she was younger, and see how they shaped her career. I remember as a kid I usually wanted to be a teacher. I never got my teaching degree, but am now home schooling my own kids and loving it. 🙂

  13. That is incredible – Congratulations! I wish I had that kind of drive and support when I was younger. I was always told that I should study hard and work my way up the corporate ladder.

    This is once of the most motivating posts I have read in a while and I am now even more excited about teaching my son about the ways of the world.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks Glen. I know your son has a bright future ahead of him, because you have educated yourself in these things and are now choosing to pass that education on to him. What a great thing!

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks Jefferson! Yes, she is a truly gifted writer. After seeing Maddie go for it and succeed, I would encourage all “writers” to considering following their book publishing dreams.

  14. Carrie Smith says:

    I think what you’re doing with your kids is amazing! I wish my parents would have done this a little more when I was young. They were pretty good about encouraging us to discover our skills and to start ventures to make money, but I have an insatiable desire to learn. What your daughter’s doing is awesome! You guys should be proud parents 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Carrie! Yeah, she’s a pretty talented young girl, and we are very proud of her. You’re lucky that they encouraged you like they did. This didn’t seem to be real common back then. I hope we in our generation do more of that.

  15. Jim says:

    Laurie, you have done a great job in raising Maddie, that is wonderful that she has an interest and a talent in writing, maybe one day, she can be a guest writer for the frugal farmer!! Congrats Maddie!

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Jim! I really appreciate your kind words. Raising kids takes a ton of work and there’s lots of learning involved in it (at least for us 🙂 ), so we are happy that we’ve been able to help Maddie nurture her talents. Oh, and you bet: she’s already talking about a blog of her own. 🙂

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