A 3-step guide for parents to encourage our children to use their creativity in an entrepreneurial spirit. Whether it be doing the activity they love or simply getting familiar with what a business looks like, motivating our kidpreneurs to start thinking on their feet can be an incredible learning experience from the comfort of their own home.
At 17, Jack Bloomfield is a self-made Australian millionaire. Starting with odd jobs like mowing his neighbour’s lawns, his instinct to make money has led him into a successful entrepreneurial journey while balancing his final years at school. Today, Mr. Bloomfield owns five e-commerce stores and is the CEO Tech Founder of Disputify, a cyber theft prevention platform. Youth entrepreneurs are not to be underestimated.
Speaking to children about making money can be a great way to get a business going straight from the kitchen. This topic can however, seem vaguely unapproachable, and perhaps, unnecessary. This is even more reason for parents to encourage our children to approach their interests with creative ideas, in order to set them up with a potential business platform.
Step 1: Have an idea and follow it through
Showing our kids we support them doing what they love can give them the confidence they need to pursue it as a business idea. Nevertheless, it is important to remember picking up activities and dropping them for other interests is common for kids at a young age. Focusing on one can however, significantly build a child’s understanding of a particular field and give them the drive to explore it as an entrepreneur.
Options are endless. There are entrepreneurs for all things, and all shapes and sizes. Whether it be calligraphy cards, cookie baking and packaging, scented holiday candle making, or sewing reusable masks during a pandemic, money or space should not hinder a child’s ability to pursue their interests into a profitable idea. Indeed, many successful entrepreneurial ideas are DIY and do not require an expensive investment.Step 2: Establish a target market
Once children have a product idea they are excited by and interested in developing, they need to establish a targeted market. For instance, certain products are more suited to next door neighbours and family friends, whereas others can be distributed as perfect gift ideas to teachers and their colleagues at school.
Establishing a targeted audience will help narrow ideas to figure out what quality of service is expected from potential customers. This is a fun and creative process resulting in a lot of trial and error but teaches our children invaluable skills they can use in the future.
An inspiring business created by Lottie Molnar and Amy Lansell at aged 14, is Tallow Candles (@tallowcandles). This Melbourne based business started up in 2016, when both girls were in Middle School. Using home ingredients and DIY materials, they began a hand poured soy candle business from the comfort of their very own kitchen. Using their cooking and sewing skills, both girls were able to master the art of candle-making using kitchen materials, and that of packaging and presentation of their products. A local success, the target market for their scented candles was friends, family and school-teachers in Melbourne. This ensured their products were easily marketed by word of mouth by loyal customers.
Step 3: Get it out there
Finally, with an idea in mind, a product to sell, and an audience to sell it to, get your product out there. Depending on their age, our role as parents could be inspired by helping monitor and manage our child’s business image on, for example, social media. Sometimes, when a desired audience is local (i.e. family and friends), a private Facebook or Instagram page is a safe and easy way to go.
Here are a few accessible ways young entrepreneurs can put their ideas into the open:
- Word of mouth
- Social media
- School (i.e. through teachers and friends)
- Work (colleagues of parents)
- Neighbourhood/local initiatives
At 13 years old, Issy Hunt started Instagram account @cardsandco.official as a way to turn her talent in calligraphy writing and love for art into a small Australian-based business. This consisted of selling personalised calligraphy place cards for two dollars per card. With guidance from her parents, her social media accounts are private, aiming to only target friends, family, and friends of friends. In doing so, Issy’s parents can enjoy some peace of mind knowing a deliberately small-scale business platform does not attract strangers. Cards & Co has been an incredible way for Issy to learn the nuts and bolts of marketing a skill, presentation in photography, delivery of products, budgeting and customer service.
An important note: A child’s ability to pitch and sell their product could really depend on the way their parent approaches public platforms like social media. Are you comfortable with your child’s image being online? Would you rather people heard about your product in person? How creative can you get online vs. off-line?
Although on one hand, it might seem unnecessary to put in the effort to encourage your child to start their own business early, each step outlined above highlights some of the most durable and essential skills kids can apply to their work ethic at school and potentially, in their working relationships in the future. Not only does encouraging youth entrepreneurship enhance children’s awareness about business, it can bolster family and community bonding.