My sons are aged eleven and fourteen, with both of them obsessed with being professional soccer players and who am I to get in the way of their dreams?
Both of them are on social media, as you would expect these days, but for a different purpose and that is to have a fall-back career, should their soccer dreams not work out, and notice that I am not talking about getting a formal education here.
More on that later.
Entrepreneurship for kids is no longer a few words that you throw around because it’s cool and trendy, they are words that are essential for our current and future generations to deeply understand and take action upon.
But a word of warning — as Jodie Cook talks about in her article in Forbes, it is important to understand the concept of raising entrepreneurial kids and not kid entrepreneurs.
There is a huge difference between raising a child in the hope that the child will start a business and teaching a child the basis of entrepreneurial thinking.
Back To My Sons
Now, although there are huge opportunities to make money generally using social media and you could argue that the earlier you get started, the more your chances of success, I am with Cook when she talks about teaching children values and having fun while learning to understand and solve problems, just to give one example.
But I want my sons to have the best of both worlds — a clear understanding of entrepreneurial thinking and the basic tools to start a business, should they not pursue their soccer careers, or decide to start a business after.
I’m sure every parent would feel the same.
The New Breed Of Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship to me is about being able to put creativity into action…after forty-odd years of being in business, I now believe that it is far better to focus on building a long, stable business career, rather than focus on short-term gain, whether it is about generating massive amounts of cash or not.
Survival is the key because one thing is for sure as an entrepreneur…you are going to be “tested” and what I am talking about here is having the resilience to keep going and no matter what comes at you.
Over my career, I have survived 3 recessions, class action lawsuits, and other events that would have caused most people to crumble…but something inside me kept telling me to push on and never give up.
The new breed of entrepreneurs, in my opinion, will focus more on survival, rather than trying to “win.”
Because if you don’t try to win, you cannot lose!
But what exactly is survival in the business or career world?
In purely technical terms, survival can be viewed as simply having enough cash to operate the business and avoiding potential disasters, but it extends far beyond that to the one thing that is really at the heart of everything…
Having the right mindset is the key to everything and it’s something that I work on with my own children each and every day.
Here are the 3 core qualities I see the new breed of entrepreneurs has:
- The right mindset.
- The ability to survive.
- A “no fear” plan of execution.
Now, you don’t have to start a business to be an entrepreneur as I have said, so these qualities would equally fit into a career.
So let’s talk about careers for the moment and having spent the majority of my working life in the recruitment and staffing industries, I have had my fair share of experience.
What Career Do You Choose?
In my day, which was back in the 1970s, there were no real tough career decisions to make — that generation of parents had a pretty standard view on what their children should do, starting with achieving a good academic standard at school, take the option of further education to set you up for University and then into some sort of profession.
You would come from the other side of town where you had no chance of becoming educated enough to get a good job and you simply took your chances when it came down to gaining employment, or if you lived in the UK, where I was born, you would get and income from the state.
There was, of course, the opportunity to make a career out of music, art, and sport, but very much like today, it was viewed as an extremely unlikely career choice because of the extremely limited chances of success.
And let’s not forget my route — after being told that there were three million people who were unemployed in the UK at the time and one who was unemployable…yours truly, you could put your talents to use and start a business.
The only problem was that I was not academic, had no business experience, and would have to “learn as I went along.”
Not the most ideal way of starting your entrepreneurial and business career!
Careers of the future will fall into the same categories as ever, but with different outcomes.
If you want to be a lawyer, then you will need to have a strong academic foundation, but with artificial intelligence on the rise, you will need to give careful thought to the type of lay you will practice.
Construction is a thriving industry, but how will artificial intelligence impact the design phases, and will 3D printing replace people, and so on!
One thing I do tell my footballing boys is that it will be a long time before we are all watching robotic soccer players!
You don’t need me to tell you how technology has impacted our lives and my kids today cannot imagine a world without smartphones and instant communication…but that’s all they know.
The last thing they need is their dad telling them about the “old days” where you had to turn up and physically meet someone after having a couple of phone calls to decide where and when.
Having personally been through the “revolutions” has given me a huge advantage — I can see clearly where we have come from, where we are right now and where we are heading.
I am not technologically “one dimensional.”
But it’s the technology that has paved the way for the future and one that will revolutionize how we live, work, and play.
Again, I am not going to spell out the obvious to you but you can see how the world of robotics will change roles in the workplace, how rapid advances in computer processing will enable us to plow through the massive amounts of data we generate through our now more closely monitored lives…and how intelligence is switching from humans to machines.
The Future Of Work
In this article, I talk about how to find your dream job and I discuss some of the careers I believe will thrive in the future.
But I think that what is now been termed as the fourth industrial revolution will change our lives forever.
This in my opinion is more than a phase or another business cycle.
So how do you prepare for it?
You don’t in simple terms because I believe it is going to reach far beyond another technology update and it will involve a total shift to combining human and machine intelligence and whatever your thoughts about the consequences of that, there will no longer be a “career” in the old sense of the word.
The hyper-competitive economy, coupled with a global rise in the cost of living and a volatile, uncertain economic and geopolitical environment will take its toll and how can you prepare for it?
That’s the million-dollar question and one I will address more fully in future articles.
Right now, I am a concerned parent who wants to help my children fulfill their dreams and ambitions.
So you have to add the chance of being a YouTube or Instagram sensation to the list of careers — and you have to teach children about the opportunities that are out there in the Internet economy.
Traditional education has far been surpassed and my children are just as guilty of using Google or Siri for the homework as anyone…and why not.
It’s a far cry from heading down the local library to get some books, bury yourself in them, and take the time and energy to prepare beautiful documents to wow teachers for what is essentially something that the children concerned don’t even value.
Give me Powerpoint any day!
So in reality, you should find your passion(s) and try to make a living out of them, because you will have an audience, somewhere in the web world and you can connect to them.
If you want to pursue a more traditional career such as in a profession, for example, then go for it…but look at the future of that industry and how technology can impact it before you commit.
So let’s break down the values of the new breed of entrepreneurs and start to look at the future.
Having The Right Mindset
Not teaching children the basic educational components of life — paying bills, getting a mortgage, and having a strong sense of self-belief are criminal to me.
The mindset is the central point for everything and I have dealt with it in detail here.
We need to teach, or more importantly, re-enforce self-belief in our children and it really should be easy because they were born with it…in my opinion anyway.
Nobody taught your children how to walk — they copied you and others, with you providing the security of guidance until they mastered it.
Children were born with the qualities of creativity and imagination…until they were told to “grow up” and stop playing with their imaginary friends and to stop enacting out aspects of the movies they fell in love with.
Children are natural salespeople and will use one of the key qualities of sales, relentlessness to get that deal.
A deal to a child is getting a candy bar before dinner, or an extra bowl of ice cream…and they will use every emotion and tactic to achieve their goal.
The point is this — when you understand what children have in an abundance from birth, you can nurture it…but because us wise old adults “know best,” we fail to spot it, and then it gets lost until it’s forgotten.
We need to reconnect our children with their natural qualities.
Still, have some doubts?
Think about when children naturally resonate with some people and not others.
Who taught them?
Nobody, because they used one of the most powerful things of all…instinct.
It’s time to strengthen our children’s minds, to give them the self-belief they were born with, and to empower them for the future they deserve…whatever that may be.
The Ability To Survive
I have studied martial arts for longer than I have been in business and that is nearing forty years.
Learning in what I now term the “traditional” sense, I was looking for the mysticism, the “hidden secrets,” along with, of course, the ability to defend myself.
And it was a relentless journey, studying with the best people I could find and traveling to meet them.
Twenty years ago, I ended up in Russia, where the whole experience changed my philosophy of life.
No longer was I confined to bowing to “masters” who would maybe reveal some secrets, no longer did I have to line up in class to be marched up and down performing dubious techniques that I would later find out were useless when needed.
And no longer would I strive for colored belts that would push me up the hierarchy of the student-master members of the club or association.
Immediately, I was taught simple, devastatingly effective techniques that had to work, because they were used by the Russian special forces.
There was no hierarchy and if you wanted to drop out of the class to take an important (or non-important) call then you did and simply re-joined.
But here is what I really learned:
Stop trying to win and learn how to survive.
Combat is brutal, unpredictive and you will get hurt.
So you first have to survive those conditions and it was explained to me that the West was obsessed with a winning culture.
First is first and second is nothing.
The problem with trying to win is that very few athletes, businessmen, or anyone for that matter can eradicate the tiny elements of self-doubt that counter that belief.
The problem occurs when you lose…and the resulting damage to your psyche.
It’s something that resonated with me immediately and something that I applied to my life as a whole, especially in business.
We need to teach our children how to survive and I’m not talking about business here, I am talking about life in general.
People are not always nice, soft, or fluffy and they will try to harm you — when you connect a survival mentality with instinct you have a very powerful force.
One more point about survival — I’m not talking about survival in a passive sense, which could imply that I want you to curl up into a ball and hide!
I’m talking about active survival — surviving and hunting for opportunities at the same time.
When you have learned to survive, you have taken out ninety percent of the fear in your life, so now you can go and execute your plan, whatever that may be without the paralyzing emotion that usually interferes with that execution.
Now, a word about fear — the word itself is paralyzing and you should replace fear with concern.
In my martial arts days, I encountered some fearsome people and some that would be able to kill, if required to, in a heartbeat.
But I was never likely to meet these people in a combat situation and simply because they would never involve themselves in combat…unless they absolutely had to.
They were the quiet ones who kept out of the way, the ones who had real-life and unpleasant experiences that they would rather not repeat — they would do anything to avoid conflict.
Compare that to the person who is the reverse…who feels the need to prove themselves and who will take every opportunity to do so.
That is the person I would likely encounter and from what I learned in Russia, they were the easiest to deal with and simply because of their emotional state.
The same can be applied to your career, your business, and your life.
It’s all about controlling your emotions and working from a survival point of view, rather than trying to win at every cost.
As the great boxing trainer Cus D’Amato, trainer of Floyd Patterson and Mike Tyson explained — the hero and the coward have exactly the same emotions, it’s just how they deal with them!
The new breed entrepreneurs have to be a new breed and it’s our children that will have to make that transition.
The world has changed unrecognizably if you really take the time to look deeper than what you read in the media.
The word “career” will no longer exist in the form that we know it and this will have a huge impact on our children.
Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the economy…and we have to fuel entrepreneurship in general and not just associate it with business.
It’s about encouraging entrepreneurial thinking.
We need to focus on teaching self-belief, survival, and removing fear from our thinking.
This is something I will talk more about in the future, but what concerns me now is helping existing entrepreneurs to navigate through the maze, preparing aspiring entrepreneurs for the future they may not see, and giving our children all of the tools they need to live the lives of their dreams.
Last modified: October 30, 2021