Are we Teaching Our Kids to be Entrepeneurs?

Serious EntrepreneurToday is Take your Daughters and Sons to Work Day. If you have a store front, you might force encourage your kid to work there, partly because you need the cheap labor and partly because you are imparting a work ethic. But, do you take the time to show her and create the picture of being the owner?

If you are an Entrepreneur and you works at home, you might think that every day is “Take your Kids to Work Day” – but is it? Part of the reason some of us work at home is so that we can be there for our kids, able to take them to school, extra-curricular activities and BE there when they get home from those events. We get in the habit of working our businesses around them, instead of with them.

I’m guilty of this. My daughter has no interest in my actual scrapbooking business (except when she can use my supplies to complete a school project.) However, I can still impart the notion of what it’s like to be in business for your self. Showing her that knowing WHO you are is invaluable and something I’ve visited via Ann Evanston through her Social Networking Coaching Club.

I was reading a blog post by Jennifer Fong and I was struck by her comment about her son’s pretend play, he said, “I’ll fix the truck. I own the tire store.” Wow! Am I creating that picture for my daughter?

I think a sense of Entrepreneurship can exist for not only Entrepreneurs but within a corporate community, what do you think? What can we do to encourage the spirit of Entrepreneurship in our youth?

About Pat Zahn

Pat is a Photo Solutions Superhero specializing in finding simple, painless and quick ways to showcase and enjoy photos and the stories behind them. She's been scrapbooking, well, her whole life, but seriously for over 20 years, and as a business for over 15 years. It's easy to figure out that she loves purple, chocolate, good food and a smile on the faces of the people around her.
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21 responses to Are we Teaching Our Kids to be Entrepeneurs?

  1. First, Pat I am very glad you are writing about something personal here, because although I love to read your blogs, I am definitely not your target market since I do not scrapbook and have absolutely no interest in it, but I love you for what you do :) Second, as you know, I work from home and my two teenagers watch me working into the late hours of the night or getting up early to work and that, in and of itself, is teaching them something. Kids model their parents’ behavior, that is a fact and I am hopeful my work ethic rubs off on them.Entrepreneurship has many different faces, but I am not sure it exists in the corporate world, because after all, the corporate world is just that – a group of people working for a “boss” and getting compensated for their contribution to someone else’s company. I do encourage my kids to help me and pay them for their time. That is usually a very motivating factor!

  2. I too love the personal touch in this blog post, Pat. All the years my kids were growing up I worked outside the home. They learned many things but certainly not about being an entrepreneur and neither are. I don’t think your daughter necessarily has to have an interest in your business. You are still setting an example for her of entrepreneurship and how one can be in business and be home for her children, that is work a business around her children. Most of us didn’t have that growing up. She is very lucky to have you set such a great example.

    Susan Berland
    A Picture’s Worth

  3. Pat – you know that I love the topic of little entrepreneurs! So happy to read your thoughts in this blog……
    I agree sometimes we schedule our entrepreneurial ventures AROUND our kids’ schedule and not WITH them … often this cannot be avoided. However, what I am trying to instill in my boys is their level of gratitude in what I do and show them how I work hard at everything that I do – both for them and my biz. I hope that they feel that one day they can do whatever they want and share with their family and be the best they can be all at the same time – whew!
    My little one is very entrepreneurially motivated – he is working for quarters now on little projects — so cute! Rachel

  4. You’ve really hit on something here, because there’s more to life than entrepreneurship, and we want to impart good character skills to kids even if they don’t choose that path. But to help your child see the value in independence, self-reliance, creativity, finding help from others as needed–all sorts of qualities…that’s a great opportunity! (And it’s a good opportunity for you to remember that your daughter will likely choose a different path from the one you chose!)

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer
    “My cat owns me, my clutter stymies me, my writing frees me. Word maven loves—and learns from—ordinary life.”

  5. I will begin this by saying, I’m not a parent…but I am a grandmother to my husbands sons daughter.
    I hope that not only will I help to establish the entrepreneur spirit in my granddaughter…IF it is in her. I have noticed that for some youngsters that it is actually better if they get a job because they really need the structure and clear definitions. So, more then the entrepreneur spirit, I hope I can help instill the LOVE of work. To show that by loving what you do and being passionate about it, work becomes a 4 letter word like LOVE and not Hard or a number of other 4 letter words!
    Very thought provoking Pat…what is it we really want to instill in young peoples lives?

  6. I have often thought about this with my own two daughters and I like to teach them that they can choose to be whatever they want to be. We discuss the career options given them in school and I tell them if none of them feel right then think outside the box. The world is a different place and is changing so rapidly that they should not think only in terms of ‘jobs’ – though if a ‘job’ suits them then that is good too. I do reward my children for their chores and intend involving them in my business but I’m not sure that’s encouraging them to be entrepreneurs or me giving them a job lol. Either way I find talking to my girls the best way to go over things such as this.
    Louise Edington
    Fearless Over Fifty

  7. I worked outside the home for most of the time m kids were growing up However, i was always involved in some type of “home based business’ as well. My son started his own candy business when he was 11 years old. With the money he made from that, he went out and bough candy/gumball machines, hit the streets and found locations for them. I like to believe he got his entrepreneurial spirit from me. I am just happy that he is open to different ideas, different opportunities. I also know he gets upset as he has seen me struggle with said “home based business’s” which so far have not had the success I am hoping for, even though I work very hard. But I don’t believe this will dissuade him from continuing to always ‘think outside the box”

    Julie Labes,…The Fierce over 50 feels much younger point and click junkie loves to travel does not use a jogging stroller and before you ask this is NOT my granddaughter..Woman

  8. Hi Pat,

    I, too, find it lovely that this blog post lets us get to know a different aspect of you. I find that I have instilled an attitude of working for myself and not for a ‘boss’ in my kids as they keep telling me they don’t want to work for anyone else. But I agree with some of the other comments that it can sometimes be really useful to work for someone else to learn some of the basics along the way before getting stuck into creating your own venture.

    I always used to say that if you can buy something in for £1 and sell it on for £2 you’re in business. My youngest son has discovered that he can get bumper packs of sweets and drinks at our local newsagent and sell them on individually to friends at school. Sounds like good business to me.

    Fiona Stolze
    Inspired Art and Living

  9. I come from a long line of entrepreneurial women so I’m a big believer in this…when my daughter wants something, sometimes I buy it for her. Most of the time, though, I ask her what business will she start in order to earn the money to buy it…and she has held lemonade stands, sold bracelets, done odd jobs. Now she wants to walk dogs and start her own online business…we’ll see! She understands the freedoms and challenges that come with working for yourself versus having an employer because she lives it with me :-)

  10. As I was growing up my environment was definitely getting a good job working for the big guy. If I think back it would have been great if my parents encouraged my creative ideas I had. Maybe having a lemonade stand or selling things I would create to family members…you know even if it was for a $1. I feel if there was acknowledgment for my unique talents and explaining that maybe I may want to explore and see if I could make money from that. Definitely going to encourage this for my kids to explore whats in their heart.

    Alara K. Castell
    Your Sassy Spiritual Guide

  11. Our daughter has grown up in a home where her parents owned their business, and we never hesitated to include her in our conversations about what it was like to be a business owner! When she was younger, she got together with her friends and put on yard sales, sold lemonade, and did fund raisers for causes she believed in, so she definitely has the entrepreneurial spirit in her! As a matter of fact, now that she is graduating from college she has stated her goal is to own her own clothing boutique one day. So I guess she is o.k. with all the hard stuff we talked about as business owners…she knows it is not at all the easy way to go! I think it is so important for parents, even if they have never been entrepreneurs, to encourage their kids to explore being in business for themselves — I wish they taught more about how to run a business in the schools, why making a profit is not evil, business ethics, finding good employees, taking care of them, etc. Thank you for this discussion, Pat! I think it is something lots of parents should see!

    • patzahn

      Donna, for me it falls into the category of painting a picture of possibility. Growing up with a family business definitely paints that picture and including your daughter in discussions was smart on you part. I agree, I’d love to see Owning a business 101 taught in high schools.

  12. I agree with Laurie’s comment. Seeing me work at home during the day, late into the night, during the weekends, etc. creates a vision of work ethic for my kids. The kids definatly have a sense of ownership with our business – how can they not – it’s a pizza place! We ask them a lot about what they want to do with their lives when they are adults – its always fun to hear what they have to say! Great post!


  13. Great post Pat! I hope my daughter, and the young ones, are getting a bit of the entrepreneur bug…from me! They see me working from home, making my own schedule, and doing things my way….which is freedom! My oldest loves having lemonade stands….all year long…lol! A few weeks ago she was out there with my little ones – who totally didn’t get the whole people give us money for this…but were loving every minute of it…lol! They’d come running in to show me the quarter…so I see many stands in our future. It is really important to encourage kids to do all sorts of things……you never know what the future has in store for them:)

    Rita Brennan Freay

    • patzahn

      funny story about my daughter, her friend and a lemonade stand they did once. They made the lemonade on their own w/o any input from my husband and I. They used lemons from our tree, used too much water and no sugar. The man that does gardening in our area came over to patronize and they charged him $1 for a tiny little cup! At some point, I sampled and spit it out, then instructed them to go give the guy his $1 back – what a nice guy, he never said anything and refused to take the $1.

  14. I so like the question you’ve raised here–a subtle difference that makes a big difference. I briefly worked at home as a counselor when my boys were in grade school. I bribed them to be quiet and I’m afraid that was the extent of my sharing my entrapreneurness at the time. However, as they grew older, I believe I did share how much I valued my work, and they also had occasions to see that others had benefitted from it as well. Since my younger son is now a counselor himself who works in his home, evidently I modeled something that that reflected the worth and satisfaction of my work.

  15. Hi Pat,
    Thanks for this wonderful post. Congratulations for helping your daughter grapple with her place in the world. And from all the preceding comments, you’re preaching to the choir here, with all the right ideas, too! I’m not passing along my entrepreneurial ethic, except by example to friends and colleagues. And as I recall, much of what I learned from my parents I learned from the examples they set, rather than from what they patiently instructed. BTW, Tom Peters (, among others, has a lot to say about being your own entrepreneur in the corporate world.

    • patzahn

      Yeah, did we ever listen to anything our parents SAID…wah, wah, wah…but seriously, I grew up in a family where I probably had no business believing I could go to college. But the language and the “picture” that was painted for me was that there was no question but that I would. Thanks for the link to Tom Peters.

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