On the Rich Dad Radio show, legendary 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 of our children 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 five ways to teach your children about entrepreneurship.
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.
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.
4. Help them start a small business around their passion.
My son loves video games and he’s good at them. When I asked him about what business he wanted to start, he said he wanted to sell digital guides for his favorite games. We have been working on his website and putting the guides together. He has already presold four of them to his friends. Will this 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 a large portion of my children’s life, I worked a job 60 to 80 hours a week and hated life. My kids took note of what I went through and how it affected me. They often asked, “Dad, why don’t you quit?” It took three years of hard work, but I was able to quit that terrible job. I now write, speak all over the world and coach clients who want to create freedom in their work, health and relationships.
My kids have noticed the difference and it’s helped them understand what it means to live free. Your children will learn more from what you do than what you say. They 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.