Having a Teenpreneur or teenage entrepreneur is a thing of joy for many parents. However, having an exceptionally gifted child also comes with its own responsibilities, expectations and challenges. A thing many parents are ill prepared for.
Dear Parent(s), you may have a baby genius but remember that genius is still a baby, and may need all the guidance and support you can possibly give. You can help them reach their full potentials by taking certain steps, 8 of which will be highlighted in this post, but first
Who Is an Entrepreneur?
There are many definitions of entrepreneurship. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines entrepreneur as:
“One who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.”
Nowhere is an entrepreneur defined as an adult or grown up. Therefore, there are no age restrictions to becoming an entrepreneur. According to teenpreneur Henry Patterson (who started at age 10!), “…you don’t have to reach adulthood before you can start earning for yourself”.
Who is a Teenpreneur?
Simply put, a Teenpreneur is a business minded teenager between the ages of 13 and 19; one who has either built or is building a business. A 2014 Gallup Hope Index poll revealed that 3% of grades 5 -12 students already own businesses and 42.1% had plans to start their own businesses.
This is a rare feat considering that reports put the average age of US startups founders at 45, many years away for such teenage geniuses.
While their mates grapple with the distractions of addiction, puberty, adolescence, identity crisis and such like, these teenage entrepreneurs not only take part in but are excelling where even many adults dare not tread.
There are some explanations for such a phenomenon,the scope of which lies beyond this piece.
Moving on let’s see
Some Successful Teenage Entrepreneurs to Watch Out For
The following entrepreneurs started out as teens, some even before age ten!
- Akshay Ruparelia (Founder: Doorsteps.Co.Uk, valued at $15.7m in 2017)
- Mikaila Ulmer (Founder: Me & the Bees Lemonade, valued at $11m in 2015)
- Benjamin Kapelushnik (Founder: SneakerDon, generates over $1m annually)
- Noa Mintz (Founder: Nannies by Noa)
- Moziah Bridges (Co-Founder: Mo’s Bows)
- Rachel Zietz (Founder: Gladiator Lacrose, generated over $2m in 2018)
- Ben Pasternak (Founder: Flogg, generated nearly $2m in venture capital)
- Logan Guleff (Owner: Logan’s Rub, Cooking Dreams, Order Up! With Logan)
9.Henry Patterson (Owner: The Adventures of Sherb and Pip, Not Before Tea, etc)
Following are 10 things that can distract and derail your budding teenage entrepreneur. You need to watch out for these
10 Major Sources of Teenage Distractions
- Bad friends/influences
- Peer pressure
- Drugs and alcohol abuse
- Teenage pregnancy
- Social media
- Television binging
- Lack of parental guidance/influence
- Low self esteem
- Fear of failure
Now, here are
8 Ways Parents Can Help and Support their Teenage Entrepreneurs
- Early Detection
This is very key. Many parents miss the chance of detecting a baby genius on time. Children usually display certain tendencies. Consistently displaying particular tendencies may be an early pointer or indicator of something special.
By close observation parents will be better able to spot their children’s natural inclinations and can better help them nurture what nature has already put in them.
As parent(s), you need to spend more time with your children and closely observe (not monitor) them during play. You can also pay school visits and interact with your child’s teacher(s) and see what they say about your kids.
- Become or Think Like an Entrepreneur
If upon close observation you notice that your child(ren) may have tendencies for entrepreneurship as they grow, you can help them become good teenpreneurs. Subsequent items on this list of 8 will show you how to do just that.
Meanwhile you can either try to start your own business, especially if you’ve ever dreamed of owning a business. Alternatively, you can start learning about entrepreneurship and thinking like an entrepreneur by reading all you can, interacting with practicing entrepreneurs and following relevant blogs.
This will help to equip you with the basics of entrepreneurship plus give you insight into how entrepreneurs minds work and why your teen(s) may be acting different than their age.
- Buy them Books
Books are a great way to prep your teen for the business world. By reading leading entrepreneurs they get early exposure to entrepreneurship which is key to their entrepreneurial development.
Thankfully, many entrepreneurs have written and continue to write about entrepreneurship in ways that the layman can grasp and run with. Today, these books are available in hardcover and digital formats.
Buy or download good books on entrepreneurship for your teenpreneur. Some great books on entrepreneurship include:
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- See You at the Top
- Think and Grow Rich
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t
- The Power of Positive Thinking
- The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich
- The Lean Startup
- How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- You are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth
- Equip Them
To do well in school children need good teachers, textbooks, teaching aids, etc. Similarly, your teenpreneur may require certain tools or equipment to help them work with and hone their skills or business acumen.
Like anything worthwhile, entrepreneurship requires practice, and what would they practice with? Tools. Providing the necessary tools they require will show them you care and are committed to their success.
For instance, if your teen is interested in coding, this will require a PC with relevant software. You can also buy or download video tutorials or software to facilitate and accelerate their learning.
- Encourage Them
Equipping them as mentioned above is one great way to encourage them. It shows you’re interested in and committed to their success. If for some reason, you cannot afford all the necessary tools at once, provide as much as you can.
Teenpreneurs need a lot of encouragement because entrepreneurship can be very tough even for adults. Combining teenage with entrepreneurship can cause overwhelm and make some teenpreneurs want to give in and give up when they face challenges.
At such times, motivational words of encouragement from other entrepreneurs can do wonders for their dwindling morale. It is important to be an encourager and intentional motivator.
- Enrol Them in Boot Camps, etc
Another smart way to encourage them is by enrolling them into boot camps, especially ones tailored for teenpreneurs. You can also sign them up for exhibitions and all such events.
You can also check with your local chamber of commerce if there are such opportunities or platforms to showcase teenage entrepreneurs.
Again, in doing this you’re playing an active role in your teen’s life and boosting their self confidence which is a key ingredient for successful entrepreneurship.
- Create a Peaceful Cordial Atmosphere at Home
It is very essential to maintain a peaceful and cordial atmosphere at home. This is very important for your children’s development, teenpreneur or not.
Research after research show that constant parental conflict and divorce negatively impact child development. It’s always hard for them to process. Add that to adolescence and entrepreneurship, and it might be too much for them to handle.
Many entrepreneurs are great thinkers. Peace and quiet are necessary ingredients for effective meditation and brainstorming sessions.
- Live by Example
You mustn’t be an entrepreneur yourself to live by example. Children and teenagers learn faster by imitation. Not what you say but what you display that can sway your teen your way.
You can model hardwork and commitment to every project you take up. Seeing you work hard will reinforce the value of hardwork in them; hardwork being core to entrepreneurial success.
Studying, reading, learning, creating, hobbies, crafts, etc. These are great ways to model for your teenpreneur. Whatever you do though, be careful not to be seen as meddlesome.
Do everything in your power to encourage and support your teenpreneur, years later you’ll be glad you did.
Amos Onwukwe is an AWAI trained Business and Ecommerce Copywriter who has been featured in scores of blogs including Huffington Post, Dumb Little Man, Ecommerce Nation, eCommerce Insights, Understanding Ecommerce, Result First, Floship, Successful Startup 101, Small Biz Club, Small Business Bonfire, among others.