Posted on December 11, 2014 @ 11:28:00 AM by Paul Meagher
My daughter will be finishing high school this year and will be deciding in the new year what university she will be attending in 2015-2016. She is not sure what career she wants to pursue but likes the sciences and will likely enroll in that program. Usually when career discussions come up various ideas are put forth regarding jobs for which there will be future demand. I've contributed to such discussions but increasingly I find myself arguing the case for using university as a springboard to starting a business rather than, or in addition to, finding a job. I suspect that even if your goal is to learn what is required for a job that your prospects of finding a job would be increased by having some experience in trying to start a business. If you have two candidates with equal academic qualifications, but one has also tried to start a business, then I think most employers would consider the entrepreneurial candidate over the career-focused candidate.
I probably should have had some of these discussions before now regarding the entrepreneur career option. Better late than never. My son is in grade 10 so I'll have more opportunity to discuss this option with him and perhaps assist him in starting something while he is still a teenager.
Discussion will only get you so far with teenagers because what is important to them and me are not the same. You can talk about entrepreneurship but if it doesn't jive with their interests and hormones, then your talk goes in one ear and out the other.
So one idea I had yesterday as to how I might get them to think about entrepreneurship was to buy each of them a .com web domain that uses their first and last name as the domain name (e.g,. johnsmith.com). This will be an Xmas gift to them this year. I have web servers for my business that I can host them on so that expense is not there for them. I might put up a Wordpress site on the domain to get them started. It will give me an opportunity to discuss with them why people have personal-brand websites, how they might use their personal-brand website, what branding is, how they might drive traffic to their website, how they can collect payments from their website, etc.... Hopefully I can provide some business/technical support for any ideas they might want to bring to life for their personal-brand website.
When you purchase a personal-brand domain name (also called a vanity domain) for a teenager you save them the effort of coming up with a company name or business idea. That can be worked out later. In the case of my son, he has gotten good enough on the bagpipes that he can probably start offering his bagpiping services at funerals, weddings, reunions, and various other events. A personal-brand website would be a useful tool for him to have if he wants to pursue that option. Incidentally, my wife recently read that bagpipers are in demand because there are so few bagpipers available relative to the number of events for them to potentially play at. We will see.
So one idea for developing entrepreneurial capability in teenagers is to buy them a personal-brand domain name, have discussions about how they might use it and provide them with any support they might need to get some venture started on that website. Xmas is a good excuse to buy your teenager a personal-brand website. The website then becomes an avenue to have discussions with them about using their website in an entrepreneurial way.