As you find yourself wondering how to help your kids have a fantastic summer experience while learning something along the way, I highly recommend you consider helping them to start a little side hustle of their own. Here’s why.
- It teaches financial literacy. Revenue, expenses, cost of goods sold, profit- running a small business is a great way to learn some of the simple concepts that will serve your kids well throughout their lives.
- Reinforces the importance of paying attention to the details. Anyone who has run a business, large or small, knows that the devil is in the details. Giving your kids a chance to learn that the details matter and that they are critical to success is a fantastic outcome of engaging them on the topic of entrepreneurship.
- Requires children to actively engage with other real, live human beings and influence them. The ability of people to effectively look people in the eye and speak to them in ways that inspire trust seems to be something of a lost art. Kids can practice this skill with strangers in productive ways.
- Encourages curiosity and creativity. Developing a business idea. Identifying a market. Figuring out how to market your products or services. All of these activities can be great ways to inspire creativity.
- Exposes them to failure and opportunities to learn from mistakes. There’s a lot that can be learned from failure and pushing through adversity. A small summer hustle can create a healthy level of both and help your kids to develop some resilience.
- Requires them to find productive ways to work with others. This can be a real challenge for many kids and adults alike so finding ways to develop these skills early can help set your kiddos off on the right path.
- Instills a pride in ownership and a job well done. The sense of pride comes through loud and clear in my son’s smile as he finishes cleaning a customer’s vehicle. Allowing kids to create something from nothing and add value to their customers in the community shows them that they have control over their path.
- Helps to develop leadership skills. The entire entrepreneurial process, even for kids, requires them to influence others. Customer, coworkers, or even “employees”, your junior titan of industry will learn how to communicate effectively, to productively deal with conflict, and to articulate their expectations clearly.
- Positions them as a role model for others. Not only will your kids learn all of these valuable life lessons but, hopefully, they’ll inspire others to do the same.
- Keeps them off the screens! The weather is fine and it seems increasingly difficult to pull kids away from the soft, warm glow of the screen. Fostering a sense of energy around an entrepreneurial venture can be a fantastic way to have fun and learn some fantastic life lessons along the way.
The reason I decided to share this story with you, is because as proud as I am of my son for organizing others to create something out of nothing and to add value to others, I am wowed by his creativity and his ability to take control of his environment in a positive and productive way. He could have easily spent the first days of his summer vacation in his room playing with his Pokemon cards but he chose to try something new. To expand his horizons. To engage with his environment and to make a few bucks while he was at it.
We used this experience to talk about the ins and outs of running a small business. Revenue. Expenses. Profit. We talked about marketing – and about not hanging fliers on peoples’ private property. We discussed customer service and how to improve his quality. The thing that astonished me most is that he drove all of this. I simply made myself available to talk if and when he wanted.
I love being a dad and I love being an entrepreneur. My son gave me that swelling sense of pride that comes with seeing your child realize that they can control their future and that serving others and working hard is something that has great meaning.
All signs point to my son continuing his business throughout the summer. I look forward to using this experience as a learning opportunity and I hope that he continues to feel that same energy, joy, and excitement that I feel as an entrepreneur myself.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.
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