Entrepreneurship can be a very scary venture for adults. Oftentimes, it means quitting jobs, changing locations, and taking risks that can have a long-term impact on the entire family. Unlike adults, when teens decide to become entrepreneurs the risks are minimal and can also be a life-changing experience for both the teen and the entire family. It is a rewarding experience and parents are always very proud of their children and seem to brag a bit more about those who are creative, innovative, and cutting edge. However, it still can be a little scary for adults and oftentimes a difficult journey. Parents try to encourage their teen’s creativity and support the growth of their entrepreneurship despite its difficulty and cost. There are some things to keep in mind to ensure that the entire family can successfully support the venture of your young entrepreneurs. Rather your child is pursuing a business idea or a career in the entertainment industry here are 6 things to consider:
LISTEN: Parents spend so much time talking that we forget to listen. Trust me, our teens have a lot of valuable information to share that is always worth listening to. Let your teens talk through all of their business ideas with you. Sometimes when they are able to hear themselves discuss their ideas they will begin readjusting and thinking about the reality of their vision and map out milestones that will ultimately lead to success.
ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS: As your teen moves forward in their business or music pursuit it is okay to be curious and ask questions. You may actually stumble upon a question that they haven’t considered. This will also offer you an opportunity to see how dedicated they really are and if they’ve done their homework. Every now and again challenge them to a 60-second elevator speech…keep them on their toes. They may not acknowledge YOUR BRILLIANCE right away but eventually, you will see how they have applied the knowledge you ‘dropped’ on them.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LOCAL TEEN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS:There are lots of programs that are being implemented all over the country in various cities that help to groom teens to become entrepreneurs. Check local PanHellenic chapters, 4-H programs, YMCA, local community colleges, and community and economic development organizations. Of course, that may mean those awesome weekends you’ve planned to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING are looking super busy all of a sudden. This will force the entire family to start finding creative ways to manage their time. There are some cool smart device apps that are free and assist families with sharing calendars and keeping one another updated on tasks completed and incomplete.
TAP INTO YOUR NETWORK: Parents tend to know other parents that could either use the services of their teen entrepreneur or have teens who are interested in the service. Either way, chances are you have a network of friends that are connected to the purses that other teens, whose interest in the teen entrepreneurs service, will tap into. It’s okay to connect them. It may even inspire other teens to become entrepreneurs.
SHARE YOUR TEENS BUSINESS ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA: There is nothing more thrilling than a teen watching their parents Instagram, Skype, or Facebook about their business. It further reinforces that you are supportive.
IT’S NOT A TRAGEDY IF YOUR TEEN BEGIN TALKING ABOUT THE OPTION OF NOT ATTENDING COLLEGE: At the beginning of your teen's entrepreneurship they may begin to fantasize about becoming famous and not seeing the need to attend college. Don’t freak out! Let them dream. Heck, it may become a reality. Besides, college isn’t for everyone especially an emerging CEO; not that earning an advanced degree wouldn’t help. It simply may mean that they would pursue academia at another time and perhaps become a non-traditional student. Continue to save their college fund just in case. Your teen will either use the money it to invest in a four-year education so that they will one day become a CEO of a fortune 500 or you’ll use the money to invest in their business so that they can grow their already growing enterprise.
Whatever the teen’s entrepreneurship is…have fun! It may even inspire you to do more. Remember, helping your teen become a young business owner isn’t cheap it may require a financial investment, as well as the investment of time. But, there is so much more your teen will get from the experience including time management, money management, communication, and leadership development. For more information about creating young teen leaders please visit our programs.