Kidpreneurs—Start Young

Key Takeaways

  • Let kids dream big and think outside the box. Emotional intelligence (EQ) can be more important than IQ.
  • Borrow a page from Silicon Valley and encourage kids to fail early, fail fast and fail often. There are many important lessons in failure.
  • Pay kids appropriately for chores they do around the house, but also teach the value of accountability—“You give us results, we give you dollars back.”

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I reread a great book about kids and entrepreneurship recently. It’s called Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. It was published 20 years ago but is still relevant today, since it looked beyond IQ and measured the value of street smarts—a kid’s EQ. Thanks to the Internet and all of the other ways we’re connected in the world today, kids are discovering their EQ at earlier and earlier ages.

Starting as young as 6 years old, kids can start delving into their street smarts, their emotional intelligence, to see where they might go as future entrepreneurs. Not every child is going to be the next Zuckerberg, Gates or Jobs, but without developing their EQ, many kids might miss their calling, as well as more fulfilling careers. My recent post about being a Corporation of One explained how more and more of us, especially young people, are taking control of their careers rather than letting large organizations determine them.

When I was a child, we had paper routes, lemonade stands and Junior Achievement. There wasn’t much more out there. Today, there are so many more opportunities to get out in the world and run on your own with the skills and EQ you have.

A recent article in Entrepreneur magazine offered five great tips about entrepreneurship for the younger set:

  1. Allow them space to brainstorm. Let them go at it. Let them do anything. Let them dream big, think outside the box and wander with their imaginations.
  2. Coach them early about goal setting. All the successful entrepreneurs I know are huge goal setters. It’s just part of their DNA.
  3. Support success, but reorient kids toward failure. Why? Because there’s opportunity in failure. As the Silicon Valley mantra goes: Fail often, fail first, and fail forward. It’s very important, because we learn a lot from our failures.
  4. Introduce kids to a business plan. They’re never too young to learn how to set a clear path and measurable goals.
  5. Invest in them. But more important, teach them “value for value.” If they do chores around the house or help you at work, make sure you pay them appropriately for their efforts. Don’t overpay or underpay. It’s important that they understand “You give us results, we give you dollars back.

You can go to for more. Also, email me any time and let me know about topics you’d like us to cover in future posts.

Love to do that. Until next time, enjoy.

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