In 2022, a Junior Achievement USA survey found that 75% of teens would consider being an entrepreneur instead of working a traditional job. Also, 58% of them would be likely to start a business that solved a societal need even if they earned less money.
Unfortunately, many parents and teachers think of starting a business as something to do when you’re done with school. The truth is that many of today’s adult entrepreneurs started their first ventures before they turned 18.
The experience and lessons teens get from entrepreneurship can positively impact their entire lives, whether they stay an entrepreneur or transition to a traditional job in the future. Here are just a few of the benefits of teenagers embracing entrepreneurship.
Teen Entrepreneurs Gain Confidence
The Junior Achievement survey noted that 27% of teens thought starting a business was very risky. Running a business is challenging, and you do take financial risks in the process.
However, teens are in a position to be able to weather financial risk more effectively since they generally live at home and don’t have to worry about bills, rent, and other expenses. Embracing entrepreneurship during high school gives teenagers the chance to find out what the risk is like without having to worry about not having food or a roof over their heads.
In the process, these entrepreneurs will gain confidence in their own abilities. They may gain experience in leadership, and they’ll definitely learn more about their own interests and passions. This confidence helps them overcome negative peer pressure and potentially avoid bad decisions.
Improved Problem-Solving Skills
Some people solve problems quickly and easily, while others freeze, panic, and wait for someone else to tell them what to do. Often the primary difference between these responses is the experience you’ve had earlier in life.
Problem-solving is a skill that’s rarely taught until it’s too late, similar to car and home maintenance or first aid. Too often, we don’t learn to solve problems until we’re in the middle of a crisis, and by then, it’s do-or-die.
A teen entrepreneur has the opportunity to learn problem-solving skills in a safer environment. The business they’re running isn’t responsible for 100% of their support or success in life. Instead, it’s a side venture while they’re in school, which helps reduce the fear involved with facing difficulties.
Businesses face a variety of problems, whether it’s a new competitor in the market or a change in customers’ buying habits. By learning to face and solve these small problems without having everything on the line, a teen will be far better able to solve bigger challenges in the future.
Children and often teens have a hard time understanding the role of money — how it’s earned, taxed, and spent — until they have direct experience with it. This can come through a first job or by jumping into entrepreneurship.
Starting a business gives teens a real understanding of how hard it is to earn money, whether they decide to start a lemonade stand, be a coach for a sport or hobby, babysit, or walk dogs. A teen with their own business can also learn about the specifics of self-employment taxes, business write-offs, and other important financial details of having a business.
Learning how to manage sales, operate a business bank account, and pay taxes can help them have a much smoother transition into adulthood, where they have to manage their income and budget themselves.
Learning to Manage Stress
Going to school, being a good family member, and running a business can be a lot to handle. But being resilient under stress is a skill that can be learned, and it’s often best learned while a teen is still at home and has the support of their family.
Even without running a business, teens are often under a lot of pressure. By choosing to run a business, even at a very small scale, they can learn how to balance competing priorities, decide when making more money is worth it versus taking a break, and more.
As a parent, it’s important to know how to identify stress in teens and help them cope in healthy ways. Sometimes stress is motivational, like when you’re trying to hit a revenue goal or other target. Other times, it can lead to mental health struggles. If you notice more irritability than normal, changes in behavior, or problems sleeping, talk to your teen about their stress levels and help them find healthy management strategies.
Learning to leverage mindfulness practices, for example, can reduce stress and increase resilience. Limiting the use of technology can also help teens unplug and unwind. The skills teens learn before they turn 18 can make a big difference in how well they cope with the stress of adult life.
Encourage Your Teen To Embrace Entrepreneurship
As a parent, there’s a lot you can do to help set your teen up for success in their adult life. When you encourage them to pursue entrepreneurship while still living at home, you’re giving them the benefits of entrepreneurial experience without the sometimes overwhelming risk.
Running a business helps your teen develop creativity and communication skills, along with the other benefits we’ve mentioned. Entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be overwhelming — a simple side hustle or gig job during evenings and weekends can help your teen grow and experience the pluses and minuses of being their own boss.
Who knows, you might decide to give entrepreneurship a try too!
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels
Guest Author Bio
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but business, technology, and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or getting into the latest tech.