Wow Before How: To Raise a Visionary
“Dad, I’m going to be a millionaire,” proclaims your son as he flashes the calculator screen on his phone, revealing a 7-digit number. “I’m going to sell my idea to those guys on TV, and then invest the money in the stock market. See, I’m going to have a million dollars before I’m 25.”
Such is a day in the life of a parent to a teen tycoon. Ambition, determination, and optimism, unhindered by years of “experience” that tell a person to get cynical. To drop their dreams and punch a timecard.
At Biz Kid$, we’ve spent years following the entrepreneurs lives of young business owners across the country. Their stories are as different as their ideas; some are stories of overcoming struggle, while others are marked by good fortune and perfect timing. But among nearly all of the young entrepreneurs we’ve featured on the show, a common thread weaves through their interviews: rose colored glasses.
One of the biggest assets an aspiring young entrepreneur has over the rest of us is their lack of experience. They haven’t been told that their dreams aren’t realistic. They haven’t had their bubbles burst with the claim that “it’s already been done.” And they typically don’t have rent and grocery bills just days away. In other words, they have perspective that many adults don’t -- and can’t.
But understanding how to respond in moments of sometimes uninformed optimism is a tricky decision for any supportive parent. Our take? It’s not a question of which route to take, but which to take first.
Critique is vital to the success of any idea. With that you’ll find no argument here. As such, identifying the potential pitfalls in a plan is one of the most valuable roles a parent can play in the formation of a child’s business. But when raising an “idea guy” (or girl), timing is everything. So before you poke holes in their plans, celebrate their idea and recognize their ambition. Speak to what you find impressive in their plans. Take note of their ingenuity and celebrate their passion.
Only after you’ve established your support, ask questions. “How many would you have to sell to become profitable?” “What would it cost to launch?” “What licensing or permitting would you need to apply for?” “Is there anyone we know who could help consult?”
Your feedback is valuable. But timing is everything. Say it with me, parents: