On the Rich Dad Radio show, entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki said, “The worst thing you can teach your kids is to go to school and get a job.”
I wouldn't go that far -- if one of my kids wants to be a doctor they’ll need college -- but as an entrepreneur, I want to teach my kids how a life of freedom leads to happiness. Entrepreneurship is one option to experience that freedom.
Today, the average college graduate will leave school with $33,000 in student loan debt. Of those graduates, only 27 percent will get a job in their major. The days of going to school and getting a great job after you graduate are over.
Student loan debt stays with many people for the rest of their life. Entrepreneurship can be one way to avoid that struggle. We can teach our kids how to build a business that either supports them, or generates enough income to pay for their college outright. Here are someways to teach your children that their Dreams are possible to reach.
1. Don’t make allowance contingent on chores.
If you give your children an allowance, do it to teach them how to handle money. Giving it to them for the chores they do teaches them to trade time for dollars. Subconsciously, they’re learning that how much money they earn depends on how many hours they spend at the job. Entrepreneurs don’t buy into that argument, so why teach it to your kids when they’re young and impressionable. Teach them that income results from creating value.
2. Get them involved in your business with little tasks.
There are little task you can delegate to your children, pretty much whatever their age. You can have them help you with your equipment or let them write a few lines in an email you’re sending out. When they’re older, you can have them answer email. There are tasks that won’t harm or help your business that your kids can manage. They feel special, even with handling the little tasks. My 5 yr old daughter Leyla Rose loves to bring me things when I am working at my desk. I can tell she feels included in what I am doing and that gives her a sense of accomplishment. That little thing can inspire her in the future to do something great. Don't overlook the little things.
3. Discuss openly why entrepreneurship is important.
Your message will fall on deaf ears until your kids understand the "why'' behind what you do. Teach them that life is short and time is our most precious resource. Teach them it affects every area of their life when they spend 40-plus hours at a job, especially one that doesn’t fulfill them.
Teach them that entrepreneurship can let them live life on their terms while earning money. Teach them that it takes time to grow, but it’s well worth the effort to build something that’s yours. For the longest time my kids asked me all the time "Daddy, where is your work?" They couldn't understand why their daddy could go to a lot of their school functions while their friends dads couldn't. Or why we would be able to do a lot of family vacations throughout the entire year verses only a few weeks. Now they see the value of what their dad does, teach them to think outside of the traditional work week.
4. Help them start a small business around their passion.
This one is something I am still working through. My son loves movies and nature. I am still trying to help him cultivate those passions In to something. Will it be a six-figure business someday like his dad's? Who knows, but the experience is invaluable.
Help your kids start a small business around something they love. You will train them to do what they love for “work” and they can make some money. They can grow that business to someday be something significant or at least send them through college without debt. Michael Dell comes to mind with this model.
5. Teach by example.
You can talk to your kids until you’re blue in the face but they study what you do and tune out what you say. Your results teach them what’s possible in their life, your actions teach them what's required. Show your children what entrepreneurship is and how it works by taking action and inviting them to witness the journey.
For the early portion of my children’s life, I worked a job 40 to 60 hours a week and hated it. My kids took note of what I went through and how it affected me. It took a few years of hard work to now I am able to work for myself and help other small businesses around the U.S. save money for their business to continue to grow.
My kids have noticed the difference and it’s helped them understand what it means to live free. Your children will notice things that you try to keep to yourself. If you love entrepreneurship, teach your children the why and how. Teach them by the actions you take in your life that their dreams are possible.