If you own your own business, it’s a great idea to hire your own kids and test their ability to handle responsibility. But even if you’re kids aren’t ready to be put to work, entrepreneurial parents can teach kids a lot more than just the in's and out's of their own business. Mom of three Kendra Doersam, founder of No Sweat Life, a line of active lifestyle products, says her children (ages 2, 4 and 6) have acquired a number of life lessons as a result of her entrepreneurial lifestyle.
Being an entrepreneur can give parents access to powerful teaching moments to impart all sorts of important life lessons and skills.
Entrepreneurs need to be able to juggle various aspects of life and business and wear many different hats throughout the day. Doersam says this is a skill she’s tried to impart on her own children. “I expose my kids to a variety of people and languages and environments and I expect them to adapt,” she says. While most children interact the same way with others regardless who they’re interacting with, Doersam says her middle child especially has shown an ability to interact differently with different adults. “He is attentive to clues of where that person is coming from and adjusts his response accordingly,” she says.
Being an entrepreneur is the ultimate test of independence. “As an entrepreneur, you’re the only person responsible for your successes or failures,” says Doersam. Her kids have picked up on the self-confidence it takes to be able to put their foot forward. “The kids have no qualms about entering a new environment like a school. The older ones will tell the younger ones ‘everyone is nervous, just say hi and ask if someone wants to play,'” she says.
Every entrepreneur goes through highs and lows and must push through. Although her kids are too young for Doersam to share all of her successes and failures, she says she has sought to show her kids how to push through difficult situations through participation in sports, something aligned with her brand. Not giving up is part of succeeding in sport, just as in business.
While many kids have parents who go to an office in the morning and return in the afternoon, entrepreneurial parents often bring their home with them or have their work in part of the house. When Doersam started out, she had four people working in the basement while her kids played upstairs. Her kids were exposed to work from an early age. Having a workspace integrated into the home space gives kids an opportunity to see what work is first hand and understand what mommy or daddy are doing when they say they’re working. This can help to instill a strong work ethic, something crucial to any entrepreneur’s success.
Even mommy and daddy don’t always have the answers to everything. Doersam lets her kids know what even successful people need to open their ears and listen to others. “I constantly go to friends who have businesses that are larger or more established than mine for advice,” she says.