Is Your Child a Born Entrepreneur? Here’s How to Tell

by Vincent King · 12 comments

You’re strolling down the street, hand in hand with your spouse on a warm summer evening, listening to the crickets sing and the wind whisper through the trees. Bobby’s set up shop on the corner, like always, this time selling candy to the neighborhood kids.

“He’s always selling something,” you whisper to your partner.

“Yeah, he’s never plays like the other kids. I wonder why?”

Simple: Bobby ISN’T like other kids.

Bobby is a Born Entrepreneur.

The old carrot and stick economy is slowly dying, while the Internet allows anyone with an idea the chance to thrive. Our children are watching, and the ones who are paying attention will be most prepared for a lucrative tomorrow.

Our children see, hear, and watch us run our own business. They grow fascinated, inspired by the thought of their own potential success.

And a child entrepreneur doesn’t operate the same as other children.

Most kids can be found playing video games, watching TV, or maybe throwing rocks at the neighbors. Their lives are centered around investigation and discovery; learning to navigate their way through the world, mostly concerned about how they fit into the larger picture of life.

Child entrepreneurs look at the world differently.

They focus. You could even say they “hyper-focus” on their projects. They’re driven to see what they can do, what they can earn, and how far they can take their ambition. Instead of fitting in, child entrepreneurs try to change the world the way they see it.

They constantly have new projects in the works, and their thoughts are almost always money or business centric.

These children are driven by challenge and are unwilling to surrender, simply because a project has failed. That failure will often spark their fire and fuel them further. A regular child will reach for their game controller when faced with the defeat, the entreChild doesn’t know when to quit.

What Can Child Entrepreneurs Do?

You may find them selling candy, cards, or even cookies. But one thing’s certain: you’ll always see them developing an idea, new or old, to see what they can make of it.

Child entrepreneurs love a challenge – an enviable trait that can carry them far in life. There are many examples of successful child entrepreneurs. Cameron Johnson built a greeting card business that generated $15,000 per day at age 15, and Ashley Qualls’ site, whateverlife.com is more visited than Teen Vogue or Cosmogirl!

Child entrepreneurs can, and will, do anything to build their businesses and parents who spot entrepreneurism as a strong characteristic in their child enable them and help them go farther than their imaginations ever dreamt they could go.

How to tell if YOUR child is born entrepreneur

Watching your child carefully will help you spot the traits that could lead them to a successful life as an entrepreneur later.

So what traits should you look for?

  1. They’re easily bored playing with Jimmy down the street and would rather sit with Grandpa. Do you find your son bored with playing with other kids? Watch his behavior around other children and adults. If they show more interest in what is going on in the adult’s world and tend to ask questions about their environment around them, you may have the makings of a child entrepreneur on your hands.
  2. They think beyond their age. For example, do they connect the dots between business and consumer relationships that kids their age don’t? Do they see past the salesman in front of you and have an idea of what he’s going to benefit from you?
  3. They’re constantly developing new ideas for projects. You may even find them having trouble shifting from idea to idea without completing the first. A child entrepreneur may start a baseball card business and before the idea has had enough time to fully evolve, he’ll be on his way to selling t-shirts.
  4. They have a better grasp of the concept of money at an earlier age. Your entreChild may understand how money works and what you do with it far beyond what Susie, Jill, Michael, and others of the same age understand. He may not have any qualms about waiting a month before he’s earned enough to get that Super Deluxe Hot Wheels Racetrack with Working Car Wash because he understands that money takes time to earn and knows that with the next paycheck, his due will come.
  5. They focus on money and monetary issues. Is your daughter constantly on the lookout for ways to make more? She may seek ways to earn more for her next Barbie Dream House, complete with jacuzzi and Barbie car or ways to save more for the designer dress she has her eye on.

Whatever your child’s entreTendencies are, nurture and encourage them, at every age. You never how that seed will germinate, or what sort of fruit the branches may bear.

Does your child show entrepreneur characteristics? How do you handle them?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Landlord2 says:

    Regarding point 1: “They’re easily bored playing with Jimmy down the street and would rather sit with Grandpa.” As a parent, you shouldn’t discourage his infantile, imaginative and natural traits. What I mean is that, if he/she doesn’t pay that much attention to Grandpa, you shouldn’t force him/her to do so, in the expectation that it’ll make him/her an entrepreneur . He’ll have plenty of time to worry about the adult world (the rest of his life, in fact).

    Besides, “entreChild”? how cheesy is that?

  • Harry Dick says:

    It’s easy to lie on the internet Dick. Show us some real facts. If your so rich as you say, you would not be wasting your time sending multiple replies into an online column. Oh, and I sold my software engineering firm to an IBM Subsidiary for fourteen million..

  • dick says:

    I sold car fresheners on my paper route. Painted house numbers on curbs, sold sparklers for the 4th of July… almost started a junk hauling business but did not drive and my proposed partner was not allowed to join by his parents.

    I recently sold my last company to a NYSE listed firm for multiple millions of dollars.

  • dick says:

    All young business folks do it for the MONEY … they understand money brings freedom, of choice, of living. Many folks don’t understand how important money is in the world. If there is a problem follow the money !!!

  • Jean says:

    Yea, you can sometimes really tell when a kid is going to grow up to be something different from the rest. Certainly there are the more famous examples like Jobs and Gates who strode off the beaten path from a young age but even in day to day life, there are so many examples.

    -Jean

  • Heather says:

    When I was in 5th grade we had a project where we had to build a class economy. I decided to sell cookies from my grandma’s kitchen. About two weeks in, my teacher asked where I was getting the cookies from. I told her my grandma baked them. I was then told I was suppose to make them myself. It wasn’t a rule in the beginning of the project & I said so. My teachers said I was suppose to use my own resources. I told her I was … she’s my grandma! Couldn’t argue with that.

  • Greg says:

    Great article! My mom caught me selling candy bars and gum in the 3rd grade. I saved lunch money for a week, starved for it, and then put the capital into the most popular candies in my class. Now I’m a landlord, and a manager of a lawn care company, and of course have plenty of ideas always fermenting.

    I also spent more time questioning elders then playing with friends; I guess sometimes people don’t change! I always thought my ideas stemmed from not wanting to be poor, but it makes sense that these traits may also be something one is just blessed enough to be born with.

  • There is an old proverb in hindi in India ” poot ke lakshan palne mai hai nazar atte hai” literal translation is ” You can see the traits in a kid right from when the kid is in a crib”. This is true for entrepreneurs as well.

  • Some kids definitely seem to have a natural gift. The downside is that the typical education system tends to discourage the creativity and “thinking outside of the box” that is so dominant in entrepreneurs. I read a fabulous book for middle school kids that captures the entrepreneurial spirit wonderfully — Lunch Money by Andrew Clements. I would highly recommended it to any child who is interested in their own business and also to their parents so that they can understand some of the middle-school thought processes!

  • Love this article! I see some traits of this in my little cousin, would love to see some advice on what to do to help cultivate your child’s inner entrepreneur.

  • This is funny! When I was in high school, my mom would make the most amazing lunches and I would always break into them during 4th period. There was a girl who always wanted my food so I started charging her for my bag of chips and would tell my mom to pack me two! Haha

  • KM says:

    That’s funny. I noticed I had many of those traits as a child, but I don’t see myself as an entrepreneur. I dreamed about having my own business at some point, but once I realized where my interests lie, I figured that it will be extremely difficult for me to start my own in that field, and it’s a lot more beneficial and stable to work for another company. I still would like to be my own boss, but I don’t see myself as having the qualities of someone necessary to do it, despite showing the mentioned characteristics at an early age.

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