Guest Post By Julie Medeiros
As a qualified teacher, mother and a business professional with a long-standing marketing career, Julie’s new project ‘Miss M Online Classes‘ shares her teaching and entrepreneurial experience to educate children 8+ about key marketing concepts, critical thinking through analysing advertising and other marketing effects, as well as time management basics.
Many of you may ask “Why would I want my child to run a business in the first place?” And you’ll be right – we, as parents, want our children to excel at school and apply this knowledge to life when they grow up. I was one of those parents before my child started school. Now, I think that modern education should go hand-in-hand with practical learning, or better drive academic learning.
Gone are the times when teachers taught ABC or maths. In today’s world, any algebra theory or concepts of history or science are available at the fingertips through the internet or educational platforms for kids. Even if your child has never been a fan of geometry or a Pythagorean theorem, for instance, they can master it in a matter of one week, when they know why they need this knowledge.
The world has changed and so did the children. The principal question for kids today is not ‘what is it?’ but ‘why does it matter?’ And it is the job of parents, teachers, and the community in general, to help connect the academic knowledge to real life, to help our children take responsibility of their own learning and make it a life-long goal.
As a teacher, an entrepreneur and a mother in the first place, I believe that creating motivated kids is more important than teaching them school subjects. Similar to cooking, kids enjoy well-prepared food and may even ask for more when it is made to their taste. Contrary to that, they refuse or spit out the food they don’t like. This is why the knowledge, like food, should be well cooked in the way that grabs kids’ curiosity and prompts them to explore concepts on their own beyond school education.
By starting their own business kids can advance their academic knowledge independently, appreciate hard work that goes into money making and learn essential life lessons early rather than late.
Here are top 6 reasons why children should learn how to start a business:
1. Develop motivation for learning
When I worked as a casual relief teacher in primary schools in western suburbs of Melbourne last year, one thing that stood out for me was the level disengagement among children. And this was consistent through the entire primary school cohort I taught at. The kids were simply not interested in doing the inspirational writing every single day. The prompts that were given were not engaging, to say the least. So while they duly did the assignments, I could see there was no spark in their eyes.
Now imagine they need to create a landing page of their website or a product description about something that fascinates their minds, be it travel, or technology, or a social cause. And there is real competition they should keep an eye on! By how well they do their job depends on whether they attract any customers and earn any money. Now that is a reason in itself to do well and explore how to spell correctly, how to structure a persuasion piece, how to use the verbs of action (and obviously, know the other parts of speech). The list of skills the kids need for this task goes on and on and extends into maths, in order to calculate profits, discounts and prices, science, geography, etc.
Thus, the number one benefit of starting business as a child is growing motivation by understanding why and how the knowledge will help them win the entrepreneurial game.
2. Plan and Prioritise
Many parents would agree that kids’ lack of planning skills creates a lot of tensions for children personally and for the family. Business is not a simple thing in a way it involves many aspects to be looked at the same time. By adding personal meaning and willingness to earn money, kids learn to organise their work process and prioritise tasks. And the best part? They do it on their own without parents repeating the same thing 200 times.
3. Get Over Failures
To paraphrase a famous saying, parents cannot build the path for their kids, but they can prepare kids to walk their own path. That said, we should do everything we can to help kids learn to overcome failures and rise after every fall. Business is not much different to real life except that kids work under your supervision and have you and the safe environment to make their first mistakes. So expose them to the situations where they are in charge and where they take responsibility for the decisions they make. Even if something does not work out, they have your example in front of them to show that they can try again and that failures should not deny their dreams.
4. Find Inspiration to Pursue Academic Knowledge Independently
In addition to what has been said earlier, for running a business successfully, kids need a lot of academic knowledge, such as maths in order to calculate bundles, optimise costs of the product, or explore different ingredients and how optimising a recipe affects the price. Apart from maths, they may take interest in collaborating with others for book publishing and here is where they need to learn effective communication. Or, perhaps, they want to learn about different ingredients and their unique features to compare the shelf life of products.
They naturally want to build on their current knowledge because this affects their results, and they are more likely to express interest in self-learning. So when you see your child reaching out for a chemistry book or resource instead of playing another video game, your heart smiles because you see that your child is inspired to learn more and that motivation comes from within.
Ultimately, self-drive to learn and explore is what most parents want for their children. As a teacher, I can only add this is how ideal education should look like.
5. Learn to Love Work
Many parents from our school community agree that kids miss out on many opportunities of work today in a sense of developing self-discipline and seeing others at work. It is certainly true for me and my kids: every time school holidays approach, the first thing I do is plan entertainment and buy tickets to kid’s concerts, experiences, etc. While it is definitely amusing, it is concerning at the same time that my kids are not exposed to some kind of work where they are given a task and they are responsible for it, and they see others doing the same. Starting and running a small business teaches children exactly that: how to grow tenacity and how hard work may bring results that are not immediate, and time stretched. Isn’t it a great skill to learn?
6. Manage Money
You may think that money management should not concern primary school children. And I’ll agree with you. Yet, there is a benefit in helping kids respect the work that goes into making money. Wouldn’t it be great if they appreciate that money does not come easily most of the time? That people need to make an effort in order to buy things? Teaching kids to make an effort, give it a go and live within the money they make is a precious skill that will help them well into adulthood.
You see that all of these benefits are real life skills that children should learn early rather than late. They lay a firm foundation for engaged and motivated learning which extends into self-education around the topics that are of most interest to children.
Let them experience as many things as possible while they are under your wing and have you to guide them through life. Don’t stress if their spelling or counting is not there (yet). It’s much more beneficial to create a confident learner who knows which type of knowledge they need and feel unstoppable in exploring it.
Enrol your child in the online course for kids “Marketing Foundations: How to Start Business as a Child”, developed for children 8+ where they will learn how to discover and monetize their talents through a step-by-step guide and marketing concepts illustrated through real life examples.