I'm going to be brutally honest here. My kids are spoiled rotten - I know, it's my fault. I find myself telling them all of the time how good they have it compared to when I was a child. No, not the typical story of walking uphill both ways in three feet of snow like my mama tells me, but rather that they are so blessed. I recently had a conversation with my daughter who had asked me for money to go to the mall with a friend. I asked her if she had a job. She laughed at me - I mean a full on chuckle - and then followed that up with a "no, seriously".
That got me to thinking about that old Chinese proverb, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Had I ever taught her how earn her money? We have household chores here at the Crooks house but we don't pay for them. We allow our kids to live here and that's what they do in return. We pay our oldest each week for "scooping" the back yard - that is if we don't have to remind her. She's usually pretty consistent. So, I guess we have taught her there is value in service to others. But what if I want them to be wildly successful - you know, pay for my retirement and buy me lavish "thanks for raising me" gifts type of successful - have I instilled those entrepreneurial "millionaire" qualities in my girls?
I just had to research and you'll never guess what I found - Ann & Jack Morgan, a mother-son team at www.howtoraiseamillionaire.com. I was so jumping on that train. I sent off a quick email to Ann and here's what she had to share with all of us "future parents of millionaires".
Tara: Why is it important to allow your kid(s) to become entrepreneurs?
Ann: The world we live in has changed. We are no longer in the Industrial Age where you go to work for one company and retire with a feathered nest. We live in the Information Age. Jobs once done here in the U.S. are moving overseas in droves. Our kids need to learn that they have earning potential and know how to tap it. Teaching them something as simple as "finding a need and filling it" can give them the confidence they need to be a success in any situation.
It used to be that getting good grades got you into college. Now, a 4.0 GPA is standard. Admissions boards look for indications that our kids are capable. Nothing says capable like being a business owner.
Tara: What can you do to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit in your kid(s)?
Ann: First step is to realize entrepreneur skills are learned, you are not born with them. The next step is to stop paying your kids an allowance and help them start a business. Contrary to popular belief, paying for chores is not teaching responsibility. Chores themselves are the responsibility. I don't get paid to do the dishes or cook dinner, our kids should not get paid to help around that house, that is part of being a family! The last step is actually helping them start the business.
Tara: What skills do we need to teach our kid(s) to help them harness this spirit we've cultivated?
Ann: Ultimately what you are teaching your kids is to "Dream It", "Believe It", "Love It", "Work It", "Own It", and "Give It". Believe it or not, these five key skills will come naturally:
Business Skill #1: Marketing and Sales
Business Skill #2: Accounting
Business Skill #3: Execution
Business Skill #4: Customer Service
Business Skill #5: Follow-up
As they work their business, your kids will develop an aptitude for each skill. Let them learn them. Remember these two things; you are in a marathon not a race and you are transitioning yourself from "don't do this, don't do that" parent to a trusted advisor.
Tara: Does fostering this "millionaire" spirit and these qualities in your kid(s) raise their self-esteem and confidence?
Ann: At the root of it, millionaires are different from the rest because of four things: outlook, attitude, skills, and action. As I was teaching Jack how to start his own business, it suddenly dawned on me I was watching him learn millionaire skills. By starting his own business, I had unwittingly set him on the path to learn outlook, attitude, skills, and action!
Jack's self-confidence was back and better than ever. His ability to ask for things, be responsible, own his mistakes and think of others was palpable.
I want Jack to "Dream It", "Believe It", "Love It", "Work It", "Own It", and "Give It" with all the positive and uplifting energy he can muster!
Stay Tuned! In my next post I'll continue my talk with Ann and we'll get some "real life" examples of kid-sized businesses.
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