Many parents and educators realize that participating in extracurricular activities, such as sports, can help teach kids and teens important life skills. What you might not realize, however, is that helping young people create a business can accomplish the same goal.
A young person with a business can earn money, have fun, learn to connect with others, and much more. However, having an adult as a guide can help keep kids and teens safe as they navigate the online world. While young people are tech-savvy, they are often less knowledgeable about the potential for predators and other dangers.
Here’s how you can help encourage and support business ventures among young people.
Encourage Exploration of Business Ideas
Some kids and teens feel that they can’t start a business until they’re older, but the truth is they can sell products or services right now.
Some of the business ideas they might consider include:
Social media content creation;
Creating and selling arts and crafts;
Providing services like mowing, snow removal, or pool maintenance;
Coaching others in gaming or other hobbies.
All of these businesses can be conducted online or advertised online to get customers. As a teacher or parent, all you need to do is help them get started brainstorming. The teens may come up with ideas you hadn’t thought of that are quite successful and profitable!
Emphasize Online Safety
Many businesses can operate inexpensively online. However, young people need to be reminded of the dangers they can encounter and how to protect themselves.
Protecting kids online can be challenging because they may trust their peers more than adults, and their curiosity and naivete can make them ideal targets for criminals. To avoid any sort of danger, parents can install software that can help them monitor their kids’ online activity. Parents should also be aware of who their kids are interacting with online and in person, especially if it involves their business.
Another essential thing to do is help kids protect themselves. Teach them about the dangers, emphasize the importance of saying no to anything that makes them uncomfortable, and offer yourself as a resource if they have questions or concerns. Also, point out that even though they are under 18, they can still be victims of identity theft, so protect confidential information that might be listed on bank accounts, business reports, and billing statements.
Encourage Goal Setting
Part of being successful in business, and all areas of life, is setting and achieving goals. Young people have a great opportunity to learn goal setting as part of running their business.
The most effective goals are SMART goals: aims that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.
For example, “I want to make money,” isn’t a SMART goal. To improve this goal and make it SMART, coach them through the following actions:
To make it more specific, ask teens how much money they want to make.
Find ways to measure their goal. In this case, they can measure it based on the money they earn in their business venture.
Make their goal achievable by starting small and working upwards. For example, they can work toward earning $100 per month and increase this goal once they achieve it.
To determine the relevancy of the goal, ask your teen why they want to achieve it in the first place. From here, they can think about the bigger picture of their business decisions.
Most importantly, they can attain their goal by setting a timely, comfortable deadline.
Once a young person sets a goal, you can help them break it down into smaller objectives and encourage them to achieve it.
Teach Financial Management
Another vital skill that young people learn while running a business is financial literacy. Unfortunately, most schools don’t generally teach topics like filing taxes, making investments, managing credit, and other crucial money skills.
As a parent or teacher, you can help the young people in your life learn financial management through business. The young business owner can also make decisions about how much income to keep and how much to reinvest in the business.
Financial decisions also give you a chance to teach young people about being ethical online and off. They should be encouraged to be respectful of others, keep everyone’s privacy secure, and avoid spamming and too much self-promotion. Also, it’s important to be fair with pricing and honest about the quality of goods and services.
Coach Teens on Time Management
Another important thing for young people to learn is time management. With school, family, and work obligations, it can be challenging to balance everything.
It’s hard for adults to avoid getting pulled into making money and working hard at the expense of other priorities. It can be even more difficult for young people who have less life experience. Helping the teens in your life learn work-life balance skills and prioritization will help them not only succeed now but set them up for a successful, productive life in the future.
One of the best ways to teach young people is to be a model they can imitate, so it may be helpful to think about your own time management and work-life balance as well. We never stop learning, and you might even invite a young person to learn and practice new time management skills with you.
Help Teens Grow Through Online Business
Young people are tech-savvy, which means starting a business online is a great way for them to earn money and learn important life skills. As a teacher or parent, you can encourage them to come up with creative business ideas, help them set goals and learn financial management, encourage online safety, and more.
Watching the teens in your life blossom as they realize new possibilities is incredibly rewarding. Encourage a young person to consider an online business today!