If I had my way, entrepreneurship would be taught at school and from an early age, but I am not talking purely about the business element here as there is a whole lot more to it than pure commerce.
We must nurture the entrepreneurial spirit and develop our young entrepreneurs.
The future of our economy depends on it and not just in the creation of new companies.
At the heart of entrepreneurship is that entrepreneurial spirit…it’s more of a philosophy that is often described as a secret “something,” enabling economic growth and the creation of jobs…but to me, there’s a whole lot more.
I believe It’s a way of thinking that emerges from certain innate qualities that are within us all and it can be applied to almost everything we do.
Entrepreneurs and in particular entrepreneurial thinking challenge things, push the boundaries and display real critical thinking and I believe that is what’s severely lacking in the education system today…which to me is far more concerned with learning facts and figures within a framework to provide certification “within a box.”
Real critical thinking has no boundaries and maybe that’s why we are reluctant to teach our children to get “outside of the box” and challenge the status quo because we may not like the atmosphere of non-conformity…but I bet we would all secretly love to look at the results!
I challenge everything…but not just for the sake of challenge, but for the better.
It keeps me thinking and it keeps me evolving — I never stand still and my brain is just as active at the age of fifty-six as it was when I was a child…but with a ton of experience under my belt.
It is the combination of harnessing raw entrepreneurial spirit and experience that leads to success…and it’s up to you to define that success.
We are in a hypercompetitive world and it’s only going to get more competitive — the basis for this was the digital revolution and here is a great infographic to show you the transition to this revolution from 1947 to the present day.
Companies like Amazon and eBay have disrupted their respective markets severely and the effect on the large high street department stores has been catastrophic, but we have also seen the rise of new and exciting technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and the potential of quantum computing.
With this transition, we have seen the creation and development of a whole new breed of traditional entrepreneurs in the business sense and key employees who have embraced the entrepreneurial spirit…people who are no longer stranded by traditional business models and thinking, and who are able to embrace technology because they have been born into it.
Couple this with a drive for freedom and independence…a drive for people to work on their terms and escape from the hustle of the 9 to 5.
I believe entrepreneurs are born and then made…which I will talk about later!
I fell into entrepreneurship because there was nothing much else I could do after failing miserably in my attempts to get academic qualifications and in this article I am going to explain how I am helping my own children to develop their entrepreneurial spirit alongside following their dreams and passions…my aim is to help them use that spirit to both give them options to start a business and enhance their thinking and creativity in their chosen careers.
Entrepreneurs: Born or Made?
I believe we are born with an entrepreneurial spirit…it comes down to whether it is nurtured, harnessed, and channeled, or whether we lose our connection and get disconnected from it.
I talk about this often in my articles and how what I believe was cemented into my thinking when I had children, which was fairly late in life, but it did allow me to devote more time to help raise them.
Children have that ability to look at you and tell you immediately what they are thinking and they don’t necessarily have to be able to talk…a scream, laughter, or tears can often get the message across, and when they are able to speak, they have no fear in giving you their opinion!
They effortlessly display the qualities of:
- imagination…and among many more
And for me, the one quality that is lost with most of us as we develop and grow up and one that is at the core of the entrepreneurial spirit:
I have 3 children and my daughter, who was the first, was born in London and then raised in Dallas, Texas, from the age of 1, with my two sons both being born in Dallas.
There were plenty of visitors to my houses in London and Texas and I noticed that my daughter, pretty much from birth, would react totally differently to different people.
She would cry almost uncontrollably with some and then relax calmly with others — it was the same with my 2 boys and then when they could all walk, I would watch them run to complete strangers as they walked through the door and hide from others, never to come out during their stay.
Nobody taught them to do this.
I would also observe their creativity, their lack of fear, and many emotive conversations with their imaginary friends, plus their individual and combined abilities to play me off against their mother and vice-versa and to convince either of us that it is essential to eat a chocolate bar just before dinner.
Although raw in nature, these are all foundational qualities of entrepreneurship.
Having children later in life gave me a different perspective as to how to raise them — I had built companies, traveled around the world, and could devote so much more time to raising them than if I were younger, dealing with the pressures of life and work in general, which is sadly the case today for many parents.
But these raw qualities can be easily shut down by parents…as they were in my case.
“Stop being so silly, you are too old for that” and “grow up, you’re no longer a child,” were words I heard frequently as I was battling to stay in my own secure childlike world of imagination non-conformity…and the freedom that came along with it.
Without realizing, I was being shut down and taken away from my own reality and placed into the adult, or real-world.
Now, you might say that this is a natural and we have to move out of childhood, which of course, is a fair and valid point…but it is how that transition is made and for me, it came with a new set of qualities:
- Loss of confidence
Leaving the comfort of my own little world that I shared with friends…both real and imaginary and where we didn’t have to conform was tough and I gradually withdrew into a shell that saw me unable to speak or express myself confidently at school, suffered from being bullied and fail miserably academically.
I was raised by my mother and grandparents following divorce, which was rare in the 1970s, so you have to factor that in as well and I don’t blame anyone for the way I was raised…because they were only doing what they thought was best for me, plus there is no real school for parenting.
It took martial arts to bring me out of my shell and restore the confidence I had once enjoyed and it had the added benefit of stopping the bullying!
I had always vowed to help young entrepreneurs when I was one — there was little help on offer to me when I started my first business at the age of nineteen and I had to seek out books and people who I believed could give me something.
Very few were willing to help and over the years, I learned from experience and in some cases, the experience was bitter, which luckily in my case, only served to make me fight back stronger, but that is not always the case for everyone.
Today, I share my knowledge freely and I make sure that my own children have all the help and support they can get when it comes down to following their dreams and ambitions, with a huge dose of entrepreneurship thrown in.
Helping and inspiring young entrepreneurs
I will stay with my own children here because it keeps things in the real world and I can talk from the experience.
All of my children have had clear ambitions as to what they want to achieve in their lives:
- My daughter is determined to be a classical singer
- My two boys are determined to be professional soccer players
I went through many career ambitions when I was young…the usual airline pilot, doctor, soccer player, etc. and they were largely dismissed as pie-in-the-sky dreams, with little advice to go with the dismissal — and the only advice I received from the school was when the career advisor told me that there were 3 million people unemployed and one unemployable…me!
That statement probably did more for my entrepreneurial career than anything.
My grandfather did teach me music from the age of 7 when he taught me to play the piano, later sending me out to teachers to give me another “career option.”
He was a musician in the army and then later privately and after he left — he always believed that I would have a musical option on the back burner and that is probably where my daughter gets her musical interest from…and my grandfather loved classical singing!
All of my children started to be fixated on their futures from the age of 8 and my reaction was simply to tell them to sing as much as possible and to play football — I wanted to encourage their passions but at the same time, give them the freedom to almost “play” with them.
Sometimes you have to abandon any learning structure and simply see what comes out!
Further encouragement came from sitting down with them and watching their favorite singers and soccer players on YouTube and just watching their faces being fixated on the videos and looking at their heroes in awe — they would then play and sing like crazy and try to emulate them.
People tell me that there is a slim chance that my children will make it in their chosen careers, but I always explain that it is unimportant — my children know the reality of their chances because they are immersed in their career choices, plus they are also passions… they do their own research and know the details!
I tell my children that it is all about hard work and dedication — you must be prepared to go the extra mile, to put in the hours that you know the other person will not.
I explain to people that no matter if they succeed or not, they will have shown a tremendous amount of discipline, put in endless hours of hard work, and will have learned about commitment.
Qualities that will serve them well in anything that they do.
As an entrepreneur myself, I make a conscious decision to teach them how to think like an entrepreneur and put those instinctive qualities that they were born with, to good use.
I encourage creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, and always ask them to come up with the solutions to the questions they ask.
I do this by asking them to come up with a plan to find the answer to the question and not simply the answer — this is vital because it encourages them to think in a structured format, as well as randomly.
It doesn’t matter if that answer comes from Google or Siri — it’s the process of going through a process that counts.
My daughter is now sixteen and in the final stages of her education to qualify for a place at her chosen music college and my two boys are thirteen and ten and are in development centers for a professional soccer club.
But the hard work is just beginning.
They have to get their academic grades as well — I’m determined that they do better than me, plus I want to give them the same fallback options that my grandfather gave to me.
Around eighteen months ago, I met a digital entrepreneur called Fernando Raymond.
I’ve been around digital entrepreneurship since its inception and have met many Internet marketers and so-called “experts,” many of whom will hide behind the comfort of their Internet presence and will only correspond with you if you buy their courses and gain access to their inner sanctum.
As the Internet grows, with more and more people getting online, the opportunities grow with it and so do the number of new market entrants who claim to offer you the “secrets” of success in the new digital economy.
The best people who operate in this field will gladly give away their knowledge and expertise freely…because they are confident in their own abilities and know that a certain percentage of people will need help with the execution of that knowledge.
Fernando is one of them and has created a fast, reliable and affordable hosting platform, Seekahost, a digital marketing agency called ClickDo and an online education platform at SeekaHost University.
It was Fernando who inspired me to start this blog and to teach my children digital marketing so that they can:
“learn the skills to pay the bills.!”
Both Fernando and I are passionate about online education and giving people the tools to live and work independently, away from the regular hustle and 9 to 5.
As a result, my 3 children have now started to build their online “real-estate” and all have their own name domains registered at SeekaHost, where they will eventually start to build their own blogs.
Right now they are focussed on social media and my eldest son, Sam has built an Instagram following based on his favorite football club, Chelsea and his initial focus were on reviewing players past and present, plus players from other clubs who he wished would have played for Chelsea.
My daughter has built an Instagram following based on her other passion — Cavachon dogs and she has built up an impressive following from a standing start.
But both my daughter and eldest son come together to produce my youngest sons’ YouTube channel where he talks about everything — his daily life, reviewing his favorite Apple products and even aliens!
I have to give his channel a shout out, so you can look at it here.
The beauty of all of this is that they are learning everything to do with digital marketing, slowly and surely, and by “doing” as well as studying the free information provided by Fernando and his team and this will give them the ability to prove what works, by building their own channels and online presence, which they hope to monetize in due course and to be able to offer their services to others who need their expertise.
They have combined their passions with the learning of essential skills for the future.
Keeping the balance
With my children, I have to balance their academic lives, career ambitions, and allowing them to still enjoy childhood and this is where you have to have a balance.
It is too easy to go “all-in” with following their dreams and passions and I see many parents who push their children hard, only to see the kids eventually fall by the wayside.
This has happened to other singing and soccer-playing friends of my children, with a few of them being pushed so hard that they could not sustain the pressure — I accept that the parents are acting in their best interests, but clearly, the balance has been lost with one child who was destined to go far in professional football, simply telling his parents that he no longer wants to play and after starting at the age of 6 and turning his back on the sport at thirteen.
I am also careful to maintain their academic standards and my sons were at one point, falling behind at school thanks to the extra training that I was giving them when they should have been studying.
Thankfully I could see the mistake early enough to correct it.
Teaching the entrepreneurial aspects is the easiest for me as I incorporate them into almost every discussion..with stories of my own journey, the frustrations I had with having little help, and how it impacted all of my life.
We are all conditioned to hear and tell stories…it’s another one of those nice, relaxing childhood experiences, so if you are looking to encourage young entrepreneurs, then use story-telling to do so.
It is vital to maintain as much as a balance as possible, so be careful not to over-emphasize anything.
I believe entrepreneurs are both born and made — we are born with the qualities of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking and then learn the skills to put them into action.
The ever-increasing digital economy will see a new breed of tech-savvy entrepreneurs who will challenge and disrupt traditional business processes and procedures, replacing them with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and with the power of quantum computing.
Entrepreneurship however is rooted in creative and disruptive thinking and taking instinctive action…at least in my belief and this is where those qualities that we are born with come into play.
It’s then about building the skill-sets to execute.
Children are future entrepreneurs and I believe that those instinctive childhood qualities should be nurtured much more in schools and at an early age.
And entrepreneurship is not confined to business as some people believe — it is a “spirit” and a way of thinking that can be applied to almost anything!
Please share this article and connect with me if you want to discuss anything further…I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
Last modified: October 7, 2020