I read an interesting article in USA Today recently. It stated that, "Nearly half of business founders had a parent who started a small business first, according to a Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation report released last summer. Slightly more than 15% had siblings who launched a business before they did."
In other words, entrepreneurism may run in families. Also in the article: "'If you had a family member who started a business, you are more likely to become an entrepreneur than someone who didn't,' says Vivek Wadhwa, founder of two technology companies, as well as a senior research associate at the Labor & Worklife Program at Harvard Law School and a co-author of the Kauffman study. 'They provide inspiration, financing and they teach you the ropes.'"
I became aware of the influence I was having on my children when, after a business call, my daughter turned to me and said, "Mom, I like hearing how you talk on the phone." It was a simple, but powerful, statement. Children learn what they see and hear. And my kids are learning to run a business just by watching me.
I don't care if my kids become business owners or not. But I'm glad that they are being exposed to business ownership as an option for themselves in the future. I've told them that I learned much of what I needed to know to run a business by working for someone else first. And I've also told them that I started to work for myself while I was still working for someone else. Both things made my transition to entrepreneur easier.
As you embrace the possibilities of 2010, consider using this year as a time to show your kids about the benefits of being self-employed. They can learn a lot just by watching and listening to you. Invite them into your work space. Let them help when they can. Show them that though the buck stops with you, you also have a lot of freedom and flexibility. And, if you're lucky enough to love what you do, let them see the value of passion and enthusiasm in work.
Happy New Year!