As technology changes with the world around us, so do job prospects for our kids and future generations. In fact, as much as 30% of jobs may become obsolete in the next 20 years. That’s huge! Along with these tech and societal developments, starting a company and becoming your own boss and entrepreneur has become a lot more accessible and a lot more accepted.
With the vast benefits of entrepreneurial experience and the huge advantage for those who start learning about and building businesses in their teen years, encouraging youth entrepreneurship is one of the best ways to set our kids up for success in the future. Plus, sometimes we see the traits of a future entrepreneur in adolescents and teens, and the best thing we can do is to channel those traits into success. Here’s our guide at Beta Bowl for encouraging youth entrepreneurship.
What Are the Benefits of Entrepreneurship?
There are countless benefits of entrepreneurship, but these benefits are especially true for youth who have yet to enter the workforce. Whether your child is an adolescent or older teenager, mastering an entrepreneurial skillset can serve them well in many areas of their life.
Entrepreneurship can be a challenging, but very rewarding journey, and in addition to attaining a wealth of knowledge and impressive skillset, aspiring entrepreneurs will gain the confidence to tackle real-world problems and go after their dreams. This is the perfect way for youth to begin exploring their interests and talents and learn just how they can use these gifts to their advantage in their future careers.
Furthermore, entrepreneurship will help teens think creatively, cultivate their analytical and problem-solving skills, and seek out ways to learn, evaluate, and improve their craft. Entrepreneurship is truly the best preparation for youth with any career or business aspirations, from the arts to finance.
If you have an adolescent or teen interested in business, entrepreneurship, or channeling their creativity, motivation, and free time into a rewarding and productive learning experience, Beta Bowl is a great extracurricular opportunity for teens to do just that. Beta Bowl participants go through a 12-week virtual program, both online and with live startup mentor and group calls, and take an idea from inception to business.
Participants learn and implement every step of the business-building process, from idea validation to concept testing to financial modeling to pitch deck creation and more. The program culminates in a pitch competition, in which students get individual feedback on their idea and pitch deck from real investors and entrepreneurs. A $1500 prize is also awarded to one participant or team per session, based on the judges’ feedback. However, the two biggest benefits of the Beta Bowl program are the impressive resume boost and differentiator it affords high schoolers on their college applications, and the customized recommendation letter Platinum participants get from the program founder and CEO, specific to their progress and accomplishment throughout the program.
If your adolescent or teen is interested in entrepreneurship, this program is an ideal way to get their feet wet, give them a robust business-building toolkit, and develop the skills and traits necessary for success as an entrepreneur. You can go here to learn more about the program and enroll your child in the Beta Bowl package that is right for them. If you have questions, you can also book a call with someone on our team to answer any questions and see if Beta Bowl is right for your child.
One skill that is often overlooked in schools is independent thinking. High school is largely about memorizing information and knowing the right answer for the test. However, in the real world, there isn’t always one right answer, and sometimes conventional wisdom is not the best way to solve a problem. Employers know that and colleges know that, and they do look for candidates who demonstrate their ability to think independently and come up with unique solutions for common problems.
This is exactly what entrepreneurship can help teens cultivate. In order to succeed as an entrepreneur, you need some competitive advantage or differentiator, and this won’t come from doing things just like everyone else. This demonstration of a unique perspective will be impressive to recruiters and college admissions officers, and developing these skills in your youth will only accelerate a teen’s success in life and in their career.
It would be irresponsible and inaccurate to say that every single entrepreneur gets rich off their business; however, the truth is that entrepreneurship is the one avenue that allows people to create limitless earning potential. Most jobs have a capped salary, and even with annual raises and bonuses, there is a limit to what an employee can bring in and how fast they can increase their earnings. Entrepreneurship is just the opposite; there is no cap.
There is no limit to how much money you can make or how fast you can increase your earnings as an entrepreneur, and this allows for the potential of financial freedom. Not only can entrepreneurs attain whatever degree of earnings they pursue, but they can also build businesses that create passive, recurring revenue, or location-independent business that bring in sales every day, even when the founder is out of office on vacation. What more could we want for our kids than limitless potential and a life of freedom to do what they want and pursue their dreams without financial worries?
Lifelong Skills to Succeed
The entrepreneurial skillset isn’t only useful in business; the skills entrepreneurs develop are transferrable to almost every other area of a person’s life and career. Entrepreneurs learn and master everything from time management to delegation to perseverance to critical analysis and so much more, and these are just a few of the skills that carry over into the many other aspects of their lives.
Teach Them About Money
Young entrepreneurs have a very real experience learning the value of a dollar, and how money works in general. Teaching our children about money is a great way to prepare them for the real-world, as well as for success as an entrepreneur. A great way to encourage entrepreneurship and teach kids about money is to let them be an integral decision-maker in their own finances.
For example, rather than giving them an allowance for a predetermined list of chores, you could allow you child to propose to you what chores and activities they could help out with and to suggest their starting wages. This would help develop their presentation, communication, and negotiation skills, and would make money a two-sided conversation, rather than just handing your kids twenty dollars for mowing the lawn.
Additionally, you should talk to them about how they plan to spend and save their money. Most entrepreneurs and business-owners know that revenue can fluctuate, so saving is an important buffer to mitigate risk in down months. Kids should realize the value of a dollar and understand that an inflow of recurring cash isn’t always guaranteed. Saving and putting money towards meaningful investments that will offer a much bigger reward than the video game or shopping spree they might otherwise get is a great way to instill this knowledge.
Talk to Them about Market Opportunities
Entrepreneurship isn’t just an action or a profession; it begins with a mindset. In order to develop that entrepreneurial mindset, teens need to constantly search for and identify current problems or opportunities and try to come up with unique solutions. This is a mindset that kids won’t necessarily develop following a standard curriculum in school.
As parents, it’s incumbent on us to help our kids develop these skills, and you can begin by holding brainstorming sessions with your child or teen to try to identify problems and potential solutions. Once your child learns to analyze the world around them, identify problems, and come up with solutions, they will be well-suited to pursue a future in entrepreneurship. In fact, this mindset alone may cause them to stumble into accidental businesses throughout their youth, and this is how many great entrepreneurs began their journeys.
Talk to Them about their Goals and Wishes
Some teens know exactly what they want to be when they grow up, and some are just figuring out what they want to eat for breakfast today, but either way, most adolescents and teens do have goals, hopes, and wishes for the future. To help ensure that your kids are on the right track to achieving their goals, as well as to help them learn about and master goal-setting and preparation, it’s best to begin talking to them about these goals as early as possible.
The more we talk to our teens about their future goals, options they may not have considered, and how to engineer a path to get there, the more likely our teens will be set for success. Teens who aspire to become entrepreneurs should break down their goals into bite-sized pieces, like first identifying a problem or getting a certain number of friends to opt into their offer. Starting small allows teens to hone in on each step of the goal-setting and achievement process, and when they are looking towards bigger goals, like getting into an Ivy League university or running for student body president, they will know just where to start.
Additionally, it’s important to help our kids realize just how many options for their future are out there. There are endless career and entrepreneurial opportunities they could pursue, but if they aren’t exposed to these options, they may end up settling for the job they’ve heard their friends or peers go after. For teens with the world at their feet, there’s no reason to put a limit on their dreams or potential, and it’s our job as parents to have the open discussions that let them know that.
If your teen is interested in pursuing entrepreneurship, learning to take an idea from inception to launched business, or simply wants to get a unique and impressive extracurricular opportunity under their belt that will give them the skills to build businesses in the future, click here to learn more about our Beta Bowl packages and how we work with teens to build businesses.
Beta Bowl is an entrepreneurial enrichment program and independent extracurricular opportunity, and teens develop a robust startup skillset, as well as come away with a tangible, feasible business they can run on their own, even beyond the program. Beta Bowl participants don’t go through the program alone. They have weekly group calls with peers and startup mentors to ensure they get their questions answered and get the one-on-one help they need every step of the way.
Let Kids Solve Their Problems Independently
As much as parents hate to see their kids struggle and sometimes want to fight their battles for them, the best way to encourage their creativity, problem-solving skills, and entrepreneurial spirit is to encourage them to solve their problems on their own. Whether it’s a hard math problem or a bigger life issue, kids who are forced to come up with solutions on their own tend to find a way.
This is due to the simple fact that necessity breeds solutions. If a kid knows they can come to their parent for the answer, they have much less incentive to wrack their brains, get creative, try a few different approaches, and arrive at a solution on their own. That kind of creativity, determination, and drive to solve problems will take them far in life and entrepreneurship, and fostering those skills early is in their best interest.
That said, it’s still great to be present, offer additional perspectives and feedback, and be a willing sounding board for your kids. Encouraging their independence doesn’t mean abandoning them; it just means giving them the freedom to find their way and nudging them back towards the right path if they do go astray.
Emphasize Learning Where Challenges Arise
When a child or anyone, for that matter, is starting a business, they are going to face some challenges and obstacles, just as they will in every other aspect of life. What separates those who succeed in business and who achieve greater success in life, as well, is their ability to learn from and positively respond to those challenges and obstacles.
In order to foster an entrepreneurial spirit, we need to help children and teens learn from the challenges and obstacles that do arise. Talk to your child about the issue at hand, ask them why it occurred and what they can glean from it, and help them brainstorm ways to mitigate similar problems in the future. It’s these experiences and lessons that will help children blossom into successful entrepreneurs, and more importantly, learning from and overcoming these obstacles will give them the confidence to tackle the future challenges they face in life and business head-on.
Find Programming that Fosters Creativity and Innovation
We can’t deny that our kids’ success is largely shaped by the tools and resources they’re given along the way. This doesn’t mean paying top dollar for every piece of software or private tutor out there, but it does mean seeking out opportunities and programs that foster their creativity and innovation.
Many kids don’t know exactly what they want to do or be when they grow up, and likewise, many aspiring entrepreneurs don’t know exactly what they want their next business to be about. Regardless, the freedom, tools, and encouragement to explore those options is what helps kids and teens find their way, and sometimes they find their way right into their first business. We created Beta Bowl, not only to help teach and cultivate teen entrepreneurs, but also to give motivated teens a place to put their creativity and innovative thinking skills to good and productive use, with a tangible outcome they can be proud of.
Beta Bowl students don’t simply go through the curriculum and build a business that’s a carbon copy of their peers’. Each student has a unique journey and comes out with a unique business. The most rewarding thing about the Beta Bowl program for students and their parents is to realize just how far their own creativity can take them. Some students come into the program with no idea whatsoever, and some are dead-set on the problem they want to solve, but either way, they’re guided on a journey of analyzing, testing, evaluating, and developing their ideas into unique businesses with legitimate marketing strategies, business plans, financial models, and investor pitch decks.
Use Strengths and Weaknesses to Your Advantage
Entrepreneurs are not always the mathlete, the tech genius, or the straight-A student; and that’s okay. Every child has unique strengths and weaknesses, and just because they don’t fit into the decades-old societally accepted academic core subjects or common job prospects doesn’t mean they aren’t useful or valid. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs had learning disabilities or disorders, mood disorders, and struggled in some of the core subjects society often equates with “intelligence” or “success.”
From Richard Branson to Steve Jobs, it’s quite clear that these setbacks are not unsurmountable, and can in fact foster even greater success. Help your child identify their strengths, and help them lean into those strengths. Perhaps they’re great at attention to detail, but in other areas of life this presents as OCD; there are upsides to most downsides, and harnessing their strengths and weaknesses for good is the ultimate solution.
Of course, encouraging your child to work on their weaknesses is a good exercise in self-improvement, but it doesn’t make sense to build a child’s entire future career or life around a skill they find unenjoyable or extremely difficult, especially when there are other skills that allow them to shine and excel. And if your child does exhibit some unique talent or affinity for a certain subject, be sure to encourage that beyond the classroom or your living room. That strength could be just the thing your child builds an entire empire around one day.
Use Mentors to Help Establish Goals
Most successful people had mentors, teachers, and role models who helped guide them on their ascent to success, and finding these mentors early is a huge advantage. If your child is pursuing a certain subject or field, they should not be shy about reaching out to the successful people in that field. Oftentimes these successful seasoned veterans are more than willing to help the eager youth become their future successors.
Mentorship is also incredibly important to entrepreneurship, and many successful entrepreneurs will credit the scale or speed of their success to their personal mentor. We believe that mentorship is so important that we assign every Beta Bowl Gold and Platinum student an individual startup mentor for weekly one-on-one calls, feedback, guidance, and 24-hour email access.
The Beta Bowl startup mentors don’t just know the Beta Bowl curriculum; they’ve successfully built businesses themselves, and they take their experience and knowledge into every conversation and piece of feedback they offer students. The most common piece of feedback we’ve received from Beta Bowl participants is that the one-on-one attention on the calls and the individual startup mentors were the most helpful and impactful parts of the program. Multiple Beta Bowl students who had gone through other similar entrepreneurial programs echoed the same sentiment: Beta Bowl was their first and only opportunity to receive individual attention on a weekly basis, get specific and meaningful feedback, and to forge a personal relationship with a mentor who knew their business inside and out by the end of the program.
Beta Bowl mentorship also doesn’t have to stop at the end of the program; the students are given access to the Beta Bowl team for ongoing questions, help, and connections if needed further expanding their businesses beyond the program. This is the type of mentor-ship that can truly foster successful future entrepreneurs.
Adopt a Mindset of Positivity
Entrepreneurship isn’t always easy, but it is incredibly rewarding in many ways, and sometimes it takes a positive mindset and strong mental fortitude to stick out the hard times and arrive at that rewarding outcome. It’s been said that to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be your company’s biggest optimist and biggest pessimist, all at once.
It’s true: you have to remain dedicated to your mission and have an unwavering faith and confidence in what you are trying to achieve in order to make it through the hard days. If you aren’t your biggest brand champion, you may get derailed by the small hiccups and naysayers along the way. That said, some healthy introspection, and constructive criticism, even airing on the side of pessimism, will help you continuously spot weaknesses and find ways to improve and grow your business.
As a parent of a future entrepreneur, it’s important to help your child adopt that positive mindset and unwavering go-getter attitude that will help them push through obstacles along the way. A positive mindset isn’t just helpful in the hard times; it’s also helpful in marketing and sales. Positivity and salesmanship are sometimes one in the same, and maintaining a positive attitude as your child builds their business will help them convince customers, partners, and investors to jump on board.
There are a lot of benefits for kids to learn about and pursue entrepreneurship, especially from a young age. Whether building businesses becomes your child’s future career pursuit or simply their creative outlet and side hobby, it’s a worthy endeavor that will arm them with an invaluable skillset. However, if we want our kids to become entrepreneurs, we can’t simply leave it up to chance and hope they’ll find and gravitate towards business classes in school.
We need to help them develop an inquisitive, analytical, creative, and entrepreneurial perspective towards life in general. We also need to seek out and offer them the tools, resources, and programs to explore this avenue and channel their skills into entrepreneurial success. Even if you aren’t sure if your child will grow up to be an entrepreneur, you have every reason to expose them to entrepreneurship as soon as possible, especially since the youth of today are uniquely positioned to excel as entrepreneurs. Find out more about Beta Bowl to help your teens develop their entrepreneurial skills.