What is an entrepreneur? Dictionary.com defines it as a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk. How can you help the entrepreneur in your life?
The first step is to make them aware of the possibilities. As a parent, you have always had your child’s welfare at heart – and that never changes. What does change is your role in it because the balance shifts as they get older.
After all the teenage bluster and rebellion, someone about to go off to college is preparing for adulthood and independence. The parent’s role changes from ultimate decision-maker to sage adviser – and it’s a very different relationship.
Identify Different Role Models
As an entrepreneur, you’re the captain of the ship. You’re building your own business from scratch: the business of being yourself. As a parent, you are an obvious role model. However, the path of your life and career may be very different from how your child wants to go.
In addition, parents may want the next generation to do better than they did. You can’t live their life for them but you want to guide them. You want to help them manage anxiety, and avoid any pitfalls you made. Furthermore, you want them to embrace opportunities you may have failed to grasp. Look at many of the famous names and they have all diversified.
Take Sam Walton, whose innovative business ideas led to the success of Walmart and Sam’s Club. But Walton had started small. He started by taking over five-and-dime stores while learning the business. He eventually revolutionized the US retail landscape. Over in the UK, a grinning student named Richard Branson started a record label called Virgin. He then moved on to record stores and branched out. He eventually ended up with an airline, a railway company, and various others, all bearing the Virgin name.
Consider Oprah Winfrey. She went from news anchor to mega-successful talk show host and now has the Oprah Winfrey Network. Additionally, she has acted in big movies, written books, and become a global brand identifiable simply by her first name. Drawing the potential entrepreneur in your life’s attention to such role models can be the positive input they need. Career advice often says as much about the giver of the advice as the recipient.
A conservative type, or someone who has had setbacks in business that have left them more inclined to take a safe approach and let other people take the risks, will advise young people to join an established company and stay there. But the notion of a job for life hardly exists today. If you’re young and ambitious, the idea of being your own boss and plowing your own furrow can be very appealing.
Give Financial Advice & Support
The world needs entrepreneurs. Including the entrepreneur in your life. They create jobs, generate income, and give purpose to lives. But first things first: the young person needs to get some qualifications and acquire serious knowledge of their intended field.
This inevitably leads to a first serious encounter with the world of finance because college study costs money. There are grants and scholarships available, more of them than most people know they might be eligible for, so there needs to be some research. Failing that, the answer is a student loan, and a federal loan can be an option, but sometimes going private is the way to go.
Private loans are based on assessments of creditworthiness, and at age 18, how many people have established a reputation, good or otherwise, with a financial institution? That is the point at which parents and other family members may come into the equation, lending their own reputation to the process.
This is not to be undertaken lightly, so both parties will want to consider the pros and cons of cosigning a student loan. The family member’s own financial track record will come into play here because the lender is looking for stability and reassurance that the loan will be repaid, so a senior figure with a poor credit rating is not going to enhance the young person’s chances. Helping financially is one of the best things you can do to help the entrepreneur in your life but be sure to research the options and know the terms and conditions before signing on the dotted line.
Helping Choose the Right Field
Young people are idealistic and less inclined to follow a path that parents would consider sensible. On the other hand, they know more about new potential avenues than their elders. There may be conversations in which terminology confuses the issue.
If the term tech startup doesn’t mean much to you as a middle-aged mom/dad for whom the word tech wasn’t often heard when you were at the same stage of life, you have some catching up to do. Fortunately, the internet gives us all the power to find out virtually anything we want and become, if not an expert, at least not ignorant on the topic. Equally, you will have valuable information your teenager has yet to discover, so a good balance can be struck, with mutual respect a vital component.