Hello, TEKKEK community. Generally, I don’t like to talk too much about myself because, frankly, I’m a writer, and I’m not that interesting. So I hope you’ll indulge me as I take a little bit of your time to share some good news as well as a few thoughts that I have on raising an entrepreneur.
On Labor Day, my wife and I found out we were having a baby. It wasn’t an altogether expected thing, nor was it something that panicked us. We both secretly knew we wanted a baby, though neither of us verbalized it.
Twenty-six weeks later, and here we are — less time left than we’ve already traveled (although it feels like we have much, much longer to go).
I’m not going to lie and say there isn’t a little panic. I am partially responsible for building my sweet little daughter’s code of ethics. Do I want her to be take-charge or to keep her mouth shut when she has an opinion?
Do I want her to work for someone or follow in Dear Ol’ Dad’s footsteps and work for herself?
Is it even my place to decide?
I mean, yes, it’s my responsibility to raise her in the way my wife and I see fit, but ultimately, she’s going to be an adult one day, and she’s going to set off on her own adventures and do things her own way.
Even if she doesn’t end up starting her own business, what lessons of being an entrepreneur would I want her to learn? What could serve her as she heads down the path toward an uncertain future?
To help wrap my brain around this concern, and hopefully help out some of you expecting entrepreneurs and parent-business types with young children, here are some things about entrepreneurship that I wish I’d learned as a younger child — things I hope to pass along to my little girl.
One: Realize Every Situation Is Different, But Nothing Is Impossible.
It took me about 28 years to put the pieces of the puzzle in place as to what I wanted to do with my life. Graduating college at 21, I honestly had no idea what was going to come next even as I walked in front of the podium to collect my degree. It took seven years of hard knocks, career changes, and failures to figure out where my particular skill set could be applicable to an independent business.
Starting out, there was no money, no retirement, mounting bills, and not enough clients to help me deal with the oncoming challenges. It became immediately apparent that to succeed I would need to turn my desperation into motivation and then choose something that could generate revenue with time rather than capital.
Hello, service industry!
In six months, I had a full-time income and it’s improved every year since. Yes, I’m a full-time freelance writer living in Arkansas of all places. This taught me that while every situation is different, nothing is impossible, and reaching your goals is only limited by what you think you can accomplish.
Two: Freedom Is A Lot Of Hard Work, But So Worth It.
There’s a popular misconception among those who’ve never done it before that working for yourself is easier than punching a clock and working for a jerk-boss 40 to 50 hours per week. All others see in the entrepreneurial lifestyle is freedom. And while you are free to make final decisions and steer your own ship, that freedom comes with a lot of hard work.
I had four serious jobs before moving into freelance work, and as much as I hated them, I had a lot more free time then than I do now.
Most entrepreneurs will agree. You usually don’t work less when you have the freedom of entrepreneurship. You work more. Every minute you’re awake is an opportunity to earn. Every minute crashed in front of the television binge-watching your favorite TV show, is a dollar lost. Therefore, you end up tied to your work every minute of the day and take it with you wherever you go.
What makes it worthwhile? The freedom to move, to be nimble, to go wherever you want, spend time with your family, take a break here and there to read a book, watch a movie, etc. Furthermore, you work when something needs to be done rather than sitting at a desk eight hours per day and finding things to make you look busy. And if you’re in the right industry, the work itself indulges your passions in a way that makes it feel like it isn’t work.
Three: Doing For Yourself Is One Of The Most Fulfilling Things That Life Has To Offer.
I’m not going to get in to the partisan wrangling of who’s right and who’s wrong among Democrats and Republicans. The discourse in this country has deteriorated to the point that it’s tough to have an opinion or an ideology without some Internet sack-less nut-job chiming in with death threats.
That being said, a look at the entitlement explosion in this country from 1940 until today — courtesy of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) — is downright terrifying, particularly if you’re the type of person who wants to teach your child the benefits of freedom and individuality.
(Just look at the charts yourself by clicking this link, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.)
Blame whomever you wish to blame, but the undeniable fact is that we’ve created a society where it’s getting harder and harder to abandon the government teat and provide for yourself. That’s tragic, because it’s eroding our sense of pride and our belief that anything is possible in this country with effort and determination.
I don’t want that for my daughter.
There’s nothing more terrifying for me as a husband and father than thinking that if something happened to me, my loved ones would be unable to provide for themselves. I want to know that their needs would be met, that they’d go on to find happiness and fulfillment without me.
The problem with an entitlement society is that eventually someone has to pay for it. The more people who become dependent on entitlements, the fewer there are to fund it until eventually, everyone is dependent on government. At that point, good luck with your dreams and aspirations.
My daughter can be whatever she wants to be. I want her to believe that. By learning the value of entrepreneurship, she can feel empowered no matter where life takes her or what obstacles are standing in her way. What lessons do you all recommend for raising an entrepreneur? Share your suggestions in our comments section below![Image via Loliplus]