From Lemonade Stands to Real Businesses: What Can Children Teach Us About Entrepreneurship

I believe there’s a little entrepreneur in every child.

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Some unleash it early on, depending on the environment they are raised in, the things they spend time doing and the attitude they receive from close people. Then, whether they’ll keep the motivation and business enthusiasm until their teenage years is a matter of choice and way of thinking. But once they do, they can be aspiring entrepreneurs and successfully turn innovative ideas into reality in their early 20s.

Most often, however, children like that become boring adults who live an ordinary life, work a job they don’t like and secretly wish they could start businesses from scratch whenever they like.

Truth is, they still can.

We live in a world where starting a business on the side, creating a product, offering a service, or just doing what we do but online and from every corner of the world, can be as easy as building a lemonade stand.

The Internet offers us more opportunities at this very moment than we can think of. But it’s us who’ll have to take action, dedicate time and energy, and make this project a priority.

Let’s see how we can go back to the creative, entrepreneurial and innovative child we were and use it to start working for ourselves or even own businesses.

For this to happen, we’ll need to unlearn some of the stuff the adult world has taught us, and listen more to children instead, and do things the way they do them.

6 Lessons We Can Learn from Children on Entrepreneurship

I’ve been thinking about my childhood lately. I was a child full of ideas, but I never just talked about them or wished they could happen. Instead, I gave each one a try.

I used to work on tens of projects each month, and most of them still sound like quite cool business ideas. And many other children are like that. Unfortunately, not many adults are.

So I got back to my childhood and wondered what made me do all these awesome but seemingly impossible things and jump from one project to the next.

Here’s what I came up with:

1. Children don’t consider failure an option.

richard branson quotes for success in life

That’s a big thing.

Fear of failure prevents so many people from even giving stuff in life a try. As a result, many books aren’t written, relationships don’t exist, products aren’t built, goals aren’t reached, and so on.

But if you look at how a child is doing something, you’ll see that there’s not a single thought connected to failure in its mind. And that’s how it should be.

It may seem foolish to those who always want to prepare and plan in advance, but it turns out to be brilliant.

So let go of failure today and start working on what you believe in. Even if you don’t succeed, that’s okay. You’ll just give something else a try. That’s how we gain experience and learn what works best.

Related: Why It’s Not So Hard to Succeed

2. Children don’t listen to others.

Whatever you’re working on, other people will try to interfere.

Most of the time it’s because they care about you or are just interested, but the result is that you lose focus, are in doubt, consider their opinions, etc.

It may be your parents trying to talk you out of a big adventure you’ve been planning for a long time just because they’re worried about you. Or maybe your friends don’t share this interest of yours and thus make you think what you do is weird, stupid or else. It’s possible that complete strangers can somehow ruin your project if you let them.

There are many options. That’s why I chose not to share my goals with others. And it has worked out pretty well.

3. They have fun.

When I go back to the things I’ve worked on hard as a child, even if it was for a few days, I remember one thing – I had so much fun. I believe that’s why there was so much enthusiasm, energy and focus too.

And there’s a valuable lesson here.

Whatever you do in life, make sure you’re having fun. That’s how you can be passionate about your entrepreneurial venture and make something meaningful out of it.

4. Children just start without thinking too much.

start now quotes

One of the things we’re bad at in real life is starting. Taking this first step is the most important part of anything, but it’s also the hardest.

Children are better in this too. They simply start. And if we think about it, why shouldn’t they?

If you have an idea, what better action can you take than working on it right away and start having fun?

Overthinking causes doubts. Analyzing too much makes you start thinking of the things that might go wrong, or imagining what others will say, or comparing it to past projects you’ve failed at, etc.

So according to children, the solution is simple: just act.

Often even big businesses need to remind themselves that it’s better to launch the product sooner, and add new features and ask for feedback constantly from then on. It’s important to get it out there and no time is better than now.

5. They work with what they have.

In many ways the situation many business enthusiasts are in these days is quite similar to that of children.

There’s no money, the time is limited as there are other things to do too, there’s no support either. Because of that many people give up on their dreams and don’t start anything on the side.

But children have mastered the art of working with what they have. When it comes to doing something they enjoy, they get resourceful.

I remember using anything that was in front of my eyes when I wanted to build something, play a new game, or else. And not only did it work, but I also ended up creating something even better as the things I used were eventually combined in different ways.

That’s what you should do when you’re stuck in life, don’t generate ideas easily, or use no money as an excuse.

Related: Success 101: What It Really Takes to Succeed

6. Children are truly dedicated.

talent and hustle quote

Another thing they are better at in terms of entrepreneurship.

These days our minds wander all the time, we are busy and in a hurry throughout the whole day, we have way too many projects to work on and don’t find time for new ones. Truth is, we find it hard to prioritize.

But when a child is passionate about one thing, it ignores anything else that could possibly require its attention or time, and focuses solely on the activity it’s doing in this moment. In a nutshell, it’s in the zone.

And it doesn’t mean not to care or to avoid important stuff, but to clear your mind of anything that’s not a priority right now.

Now that you know these – or are actually reminded of them – respect children more, listen to them and learn from them.

Related: What Can You Learn from a Child

Know that each time a kid passes you by on the street, there’s a unique idea in its head and it will probably work on it all night when it gets back home.

If you are a parent, know that your child’s passions aren’t just whims. At least most of the times. Know that each time you tell your kid to do its homework or go to bed when it’s in the zone, or don’t support its projects or hobbies, you’re killing the young entrepreneur inside and are basically telling it that it’s not okay to do what it loves and be initiative.

Don’t do that. The world needs kids to work on crazy ideas and keep that mindset till their teenage years. That’s how progress comes in a new, creative way.

So what do you think? Are you willing to let children teach you a lesson or two about entrepreneurship? And did you have a lemonade stand as a kid?

Photo Credit: Joshua Ommen @Flickr

Lidiya K

Lidiya K

Author, blogger and podcaster in the fields of self-improvement and life hacking. Creator of Let's Reach Success.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
Lidiya K

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