THE INC. LIFE

5 Stellar Ways to Raise Your Future Entrepreneur

The best way is to start ‘em young

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BY Marishka M. Cabrera - 28 Jun 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Want to raise a future entrepreneur? There is no such thing as starting too early. More than a profession, entrepreneurship is an attitude, a mindset from which a lot of life skills are honed. It’s about constantly looking for better ways of doing things, understanding the relationship between risk and reward, and seeing problems as opportunities for growth.

Want your children to grow up to be entrepreneurs, remember these five things:

1. Don’t let them fear failure

Failure is an inevitable part of life and, interestingly, of success. One will be hard pressed to find successful entrepreneurs who have not failed. Jack Ma and the late Steve Jobs stumbled along the way, but it was not their failure that defined them.

In Israel—a place that has become a fertile breeding ground for start-ups—failure is accepted and even celebrated. Avishai Sharon, CEO of content marketing analytics firm TrenDemon, says in this Inc. Southeast Asia article that the acceptance of failure in Israeli culture encourages people to tackle bigger, more relevant problems.

“If you’re playing it safe, you’re never going to make a major breakthrough,” Sharon says.

2. Encourage them to ask questions

Without asking the question “Why?” imagine how many inventions and technological innovations might not have seen the light of day; perhaps even more so with the question: “Why not?”

Children are naturally curious and persistent. Harness these qualities by listening to them and trying to provide answers as best you can. Don’t fret if you don’t know how to respond; suggest instead that both you and your child research the answer together.

3. Don’t tell them they’re perfect

Author and life coach Tony Robbins advises against parents who constantly tell their children how perfect, smart, and unique they are. Citing research by author Carol Dweck, Robbins says in this Inc. video that when you constantly tell your children that they are perfect, they’re the best, you put internal pressure on them.

“Initially they are all happy about it, they feel special. But when they go on the real world, and the real world doesn’t think they’re the smartest, the fastest, or other people outperform them, it freaks them out inside,” he says.

Instead, we have to teach children to be focused on growing. This will make a person grow up valuing persistence, hard work, and effort, “which is where all rewards come from in business and personal life,” Robbins says.  

4. Teach them the value of money

Teaching children the value of money will go a long way even if they decide to forego the path of entrepreneurship. Often parents are bent on providing for their child’s every need, but it pays to show them the value of hard work and earning your own money. Allow them to discover their knack for finding what it is they can capitalize on, such as baking or drawing.

Jeffrey Stewart, co-founder of fintech firm Lenddo, operated a lemonade stand when he was about 10 years old. “It was really exciting to sell something and have customers,” he says. “Ever since then I’ve wanted to start businesses.”

5. Cultivate the habit of reading

As this Inc. Southeast Asia article suggests, the most successful people in the world are also the most voracious readers, and Southeast Asian entrepreneurs are no exception.

According to the article, Rohan Pasari, founder of Singaporean edtech start-up Cialfo, likes to read on weekends and during flights, and catches up on tech industry news for about 30-40 minutes a day. Nix Nolledo, co-founder and CEO of Philippine tech giant Xurpas, reads for an hour everyday, while Philippine job hunting platform Kalibrr co-founder and CEO Paul Rivera reads news and non-fiction books in the morning.