Developing the Entrepreneurial Spirit in Children
Oct 11, 2010 Young Learners 1682 Views
I love the business that I'm in, and while there are a lot of ways to make money in this world, I happen to think this is one of the best. I very much want my son to follow my footsteps into this business. My son is currently twelve, but I already had countless discussions with him about the real estate business. Over the summer in between school, I was working on several flips, and I required him to work a minimum of four hours a week at my buildings. I paid him well for his time showing him what hard work paid. I had him painting doors and doing various projects. I've always believed that construction is an essential component to being a landlord. When you're coming up in the business, you need to learn how to fix things even if you intend to hire people to do it. The knowledge and skills have been priceless in my career, as I still to this day build a kitchen from time to time.
When my son gets to the age where he's thinking about college, things should get pretty interesting. I have some outside-the-box ideas when it comes to education. I work too hard for my money and have too much respect for my nest egg to see it go to waste if my son is not focused on going to college. I'd hate to spend $50,000 a year so he could smoke pot and chase girls and get mediocre grades. I would demand that he does much better than that for a return on my investment of $50,000 year. If he has no desire to attend college, then I would offer him a plan I call entrepreneur 101.
Entrepreneur 101 assumes that college costs $50,000 year for four years giving you a $200,000 investment in your son's education. Why not use that money to buy a $1 million apartment building with say fifteen units in it. I could buy an apartment building and have my son work there. As he learns about construction, communication with tenants, sales as he rents apartments and all the other various things that you learn when you manage a piece of commercial real estate. If he does well there, I could offer him a piece of the building, and if he doesn't do well there, he could take the low road and my money didn't go to waste.
I want my child to grow up to be an entrepreneur who steps up to be a man and make something of his life like the millions of Americans before him. To me American ends in "I can," and I believe that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. Working for yourself is one of the greatest experiences you can ever have, and being your own boss provides you with rewards you will experience every day for the rest of your life. No matter how much money you make if you're an entrepreneur who works for himself, I think you can guarantee you will be happier and healthier as your stress levels will drop off significantly.
Working for somebody else can be incredibly stressful, and when you throw in all the office politics, it's enough to make you nuts. I went to college for engineering and worked as an engineer for ten years as well as a salesman for ten years. So even though I worked in the corporate world for twenty years, my heart was always in being an entrepreneur. These ideas don't come without some effort. Your children need to be taught how to be entrepreneurs, and they need to be taught an entrepreneur's attitudes toward business. They certainly won't be taught this from some unionized teacher in a public school system that never made a payroll in their life. They need to be taught this by you and they need to see this lifestyle lived by you as an inspiration for them to enter into a business like the real estate business.
On the flip side, I don't want some liberal professor who spent his whole life going to college and then working in a college messing up the way my son's thoughts are processed. I've met more than my share of professors, and I think many of them have a liberal attitude in politics and an elitist attitude in general. I want my son to be inspired by business people who made their bones in this world by working hard and taking chances to become something. I don't want a liberal professor who never had to make a payroll in his life explaining to my son how the business world works because he has no idea how it really works. If he had any real business skills along with the guts to make it happen, he would not be teaching it. He'd be doing it. Capitalism is not a dirty word in my house, and lame liberal attitudes along with overreaching government officials are something we strive to fight.
Writing this book is another way of getting through to my son. First of all, I can make it mandatory reading for him easily since he has read many books for school. His school requires him to read twenty-five books during the school year, so this one will surely be on his list. The second idea is what if I fell off a cliff tomorrow? My wife would see to the business and raising my son, but only I can communicate to him my theories on real estate as I have written in this book. He would become an owner one day of some real estate, and this book may get him off on the right foot. Go out of your way to be your children's professor of entrepreneurism and help them to develop the much-needed spirit in their hearts.