My husband has been self-employed for nearly twelve years and I have been self-employed for seven.
Being able to do our own thing has become so firmly entrenched in our way of life, we often joke that we are probably now unemployable!
What we endeavour to do by our own example, is teach our children a strong work ethic. They’ve certainly become accustomed to seeing me burn the midnight oil on occasions when I’ve had to complete an urgent copywriting or marketing assignment for a client!
Whilst I recognise that self-employment isn’t for everyone, I have to say that I fully intend to encourage my own children to consider working for themselves.
I will certainly support their desire to work in the ‘traditional’ workplace if that’s what they choose to do, but it seems silly me standing idly by, watching them ‘wait’ for someone to offer them a job (particularly given the dire state of the job market for our youth) when they could potentially be creating their own opportunity to work.
Just what that ‘opportunity’ might be when the little poppets reach of age, I simply do not know. But with a business of my own to manage, it seems logical to show them the ‘entrepreneurial ropes’ in some shape or form. And as they’re exposed to the business on a daily basis, I may as well show them sooner rather than later!
At four, seven and eleven, they’re still fairly receptive to my frequent requests to do all manner of odd jobs – whether business-related chores for extra pocket money (lessons in finance?), helping each other with their school projects (team playing), or joining in local voluntary work (true value/caring for others). I’d like to think that through gently nurturing them in this way, they will have a head start with very practical skills for the workplace – whether their own or someone else’s – and hopefully become enterprising adults.
It is something I happen to be very passionate about. So much so that when Lorraine Allman invited me to contribute to her book “Enterprising Child – Developing your child’s entrepreneurial potential” I leapt at the opportunity. It is a superb resource which I hope you will get an opportunity to read. It will both enlighten and inspire you.
I asked the question on Facebook, “As self-employed mums, do you think you will encourage your children to seek ‘traditional’ employment, or will you encourage them to consider working for themselves?” and received some very interesting responses.
Here are some of them:
Elise Sherrin: Traditional if its available, for experience, contacts and income, then go out on her own!
Sarah Illsley: Start off working with the general public,retail or catering, only then will they know how to handle people then when they have an idea or see an opportunity to take it and work for themselves.
Chantelle Jeffers: definitely instilling self employment skills and values from early on but not suggesting to her that she become self employed rather she made the decisions herself but be ready if she chooses to go that way.
Chantelle Jeffers: helping with table sales, bookkeeping, etc is a good way to back up the maths etc they learn at school anyway and introducing them if you are designing a spreadsheet, website, crafting or marketing can only serve to broaden horizons I think
Laura Morris: I have ran my own businesses for 7 years and won many awards and my daughter is constantly telling me how proud she is of me. I come from a background where I know you have to work hard to make and earn a living whichever way you go but I would rather my daughter started her own business and when she is old enough to do so then I will encourage that. Obviously if she didn’t want this then I would support her either way but me going to school and doing exams has not got me to where I am today. I have always wanted to develop her people skills and confidence and she is already showing this.
Fantastic responses, which indicates to me that self-employed parents are more likely to encourage their children to consider self-employment as a viable option. Certainly, we all have a desire to exposure our children to very practical, hands-on skills. Skills which they will, after all, need for life – not just for the workplace.
So, what do you think – will you encourage your children to go down the traditional employment route, or will you encourage them to go it alone? Please feel free to comment in our new forum.