Guest Post by Stephanie Halligan :: I’m not a mom. I am, however, the daughter of a very entrepreneurial woman.
My mom is the epitome of a boot-strappin’ entrepreneur. After my dad lost his job in 2008, my mother channeled her talent, passion and hustle into launching her own Pilates studio (run right out of her basement.) Needless to say, she’s an amazing role model and because of her, I have my own dreams of running a business someday.
But until then, I’m at the mercy of the U.S. job market. Right now, I’m a twenty-something that’s fighting and clawing my way through a terrible economy, and I’m one of the lucky ones. I landed a great job shortly after college, but many of my college-educated peers aren’t as fortunate. With half of college grads jobless or underemployed, most of my friends have reluctantly taken positions that don’t require a degree. Some have given up on their dream careers entirely, accepting their fate as underpaid receptionists with too much potential.
It’s easy to blame external forces: The economy is weak, there aren’t enough high-quality jobs, no one is hiring recent grads. It can’t be helped, right? Here’s the truth: regardless of the job market, your child can make a career for herself if she develops the right set of business skills. And you’re the perfect person to teach it to her.
If the recession has taught us one thing, it’s that a college degree will no longer guarantee your kids’ financial success. But here’s what will: resourcefulness, creativity, ambition and business-savvy. Moms: you’ve got all of that that.
As an entrepreneur raising a family, you’ve got the skillset and experience that your kid needs to survive a bad economy. If your child develops the same entrepreneurial expertise that you use to run your business, the unemployment trends won’t matter.
Here are three entrepreneurial lessons that I learned from my mother and that help me thrive in a tough economy:
1. Solve someone’s problem, get paid. The first lesson of an entrepreneur: People will pay you if you solve their problem. What better time to introduce this concept to your child than with an allowance? An allowance tied to household needs is a great way of helping your child link the value of a dollar to a service provided. Consider asking your child to identify tasks she could do around the house and how this would make your life easier. Your child will carry those problem-solving, business-minded skills through adulthood and into her career.
2. Understand real the value of a dollar. Most kids know how easy it is to spend money and have little appreciation for what it takes to earn a dollar. To the extent that you’re comfortable, explain your finances to your kids. Providing them with a realistic perspective about how you earn and spend your money will hopefully encourage them not to squander what they earn (and even build a savings cushion for tougher times).
3. Get a degree at college, major in real life experience. College is still a key step for your child to advance his career. But the most important education your child will receive wonít happen at a university. Real world experience — the ability to experiment with business ideas and make mistakes — is essential to cultivating a young entrepreneur. How can you provide your child with as many real-life learning opportunities as possible, outside of a formal education? What kind of business or marketing lessons do you wish you had as a kid? Cultivating your child’s business ideas in a safe but flexible environment will build the foundation of an adaptable, entrepreneurial adult.
If it weren’t for my mom and her influence, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t have built and launched my own website or developed the courage to think outside of the box.
So do your own kids a favor and teach them everything you know about business, creativity and making mistakes. You could just save them from financial disaster.
Stephanie Halligan is the founder of The Empowered Dollar, a personal finance and coaching website dedicated to helping kids grow up wealthy and debt-free. Stephanie’s created a special resource page exclusively for Founding Mom readers, with tips and tools for navigating your kids through the New Economy. Find Stephanie at @EmpoweredDollar.