Teen Business – How to Help Your Teen Start a Business in High School
Remember the teenage days of mowing lawns and washing cars to make some cash? Consider that era long gone. Today’s teenager might have a lawnmower in tow, but she may have also taken the time to conceptualize a brand, develop a business plan, design a website, and build a social media following. Being a teen business owner is becoming more common and it’s a fantastic way to prepare for the real world.
Preconceptions about age once associated with the business world have been pushed aside by a class of young, innovative and tenacious visionaries. And the next visionary may be your teenager. So, what do you do when your eager teen comes to you with a business idea?
Listen to their ideas with an open mind.
Your first step as a parent is simple: listen. It may come as no surprise that you stand to be their first and biggest investor. Whether it’s emotional, mental, or financial, your support offers a crucial springboard for your teen’s confidence and creativity. By listening without judgment or expectation, you allow your entrepreneurial teen to express their unique point of view free from the cursory skepticism young minds often receive. Starting a business in high school is no easy feat, but the personal growth and potential career opportunities that result can be invaluable. Remember, being a teen business owner is impressive and admirable, especially to college admissions officers and future employers.
Ask the right questions to spur in-depth analysis.
Is your teen eager to become an entrepreneur but stumped on what business to pursue? This is when your guidance is once again fundamental. Ask them questions like, “What makes you happy?” and “What are your talents?” Often the catalysts for entrepreneurial journeys are innate passions and skills. If your entrepreneur is still unsure, encourage them to outline which needs they think aren’t being fulfilled in your local community. Business Insider provides a helpful list of ideas that might just ignite your teen’s ambition.
Encourage them to get hands-on.
Forming a tangible business can be an excellent bridge between the theoretical lessons of the classroom and the practical realities of the business world. Without concrete experience, a student can often feel lost after graduation (which can be a stressful transition as it is). There is simply no substitute for learning by doing. By executing a business endeavor in high school, your teen can put ideas into practice in a safe and low-stakes atmosphere.
Encourage them to find mentors.
Another essential step in aspirant entrepreneurship is finding your mentors and role models. Entrepreneur Magazine lists this action as one of the 8 tips for high school entrepreneurs. Who serves as better role models than peer-aged tycoons fulfilling their dreams and changing the landscape of technology, social progress, and even venture capitalism? Fortune Magazine’s “18 under 18: Meet the Teen Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing the World” is an excellent resource to motivate your teen to follow through on their vision. As young as 11 years old, these game-changers are living proof that, regardless of age, a good idea paired with the right tools can lead to widespread success.
Support them through their perceived failures.
One valuable lesson your teen will learn by starting a business is how to handle failure. Failure is a necessary part of any entrepreneur’s eventual success. And while failure may never feel good, learning how to maintain perspective, confidence, and determination through periods of stress results in an unshakable strength and level-headedness that no classroom could teach. As C.S. Lewis once said, “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” Adaptability, creativity, and resilience flourish from these often temporarily frustrating experiences and that mighty trinity is invaluable to every entrepreneur.
Embolden them to take relevant courses.
To help strengthen your teen’s business idea and its sustainable growth, you can guide your teen in enrolling in relevant courses that are beyond the standard classes offered in many high schools. Courses in psychology, economics, finance, leadership, ethics, communications, and entrepreneurship can equip your budding leader with an entrepreneurial mindset early on. Read this post to understand the instrumental benefits these courses can provide.
Who knows, you may be championing the next great innovator or social influencer. Remember, in 2018, children are no longer the future. They are the present.