According to a recent study by the Girl Scout Research Institute, a whopping 92 percent of girls think they’re smart enough to be entrepreneurs and nearly 80 percent say they’re interested in careers in the business world. Love. This! What we don’t love so much is that one in three girls feels the stress or risk of failure involved in entrepreneurship makes it not worth the effort. Another bummer? The majority of girls think their gender would make it harder for them to succeed as entrepreneurs.
If you’re wondering why any of this matters, think of it this way: there’s a lot of power (and money!) in the business world, and if girls are too intimidated to even give their entrepreneurial skills a shot, they’re getting locked out of a lot of amazing opportunities. And even if your girl isn’t interested in calling the shots someday at her own business, having an entrepreneurial spirit will be important when she’s doing everything from writing a resume and negotiating her salary to making smart household purchases.
Luckily, it’s easier than you think to give your girl a business mindset and confidence in her entrepreneurial abilities. Borrow these five simple tips to get started.
- Let her fail.
Resist the urge to step up and help her finish her science project at the 11th hour. Let her suffer the consequences of forgetting her homework at home. It may sound harsh, but learning from her mistakes will also teach her that she has the ability to bounce back and do better next time. The more often this cycle of failure and recovery happens in her life, the more comfortable and resilient she’ll be when faced with challenges and disappointments in the professional world.
- Teach her to bargain with you.
If she’s angling for a bit more freedom and wants to stay up later than usual or go to a party you normally wouldn’t agree to, don’t just say no—ask her to explain her side and outline why she thinks you should say yes. Has she been super responsible and shown that she can handle that freedom? Is she offering to do extra chores around the house in exchange for this one-time treat? Hearing her out doesn’t always mean she’ll get her way, but it can help you understand her thinking a bit better and will definitely help her gain solid negotiation skills that will come in handy sooner than you think.
- Play “Ten New Ways.”
The next time you’re stumped for a dinner conversation topic or are killing time in the car, play a round of Ten New Ways, where each person in your group is challenged to think of ten different uses for an everyday household item, like a rubber band or a yogurt cup. It’ll make the time fly by and strengthen her abilities of imagination, resourcefulness, and innovation—qualities all entrepreneurs need in abundance.
- Have her spread the word.
The next time you host a yard sale or stoop sale, make her your advertising executive in charge of getting the word out. What does she think will be the best way to advertise? How can she make your sale seem different or better than other sales that might be happening in the neighborhood? In business, no one can buy what you’re selling if they don’t know about it in the first place. The sooner your girl learns this lesson, the better she’ll be at running her own business and convincing others of her worth in the marketplace.
- Talk to her about the things she buys.
It’s always a good idea to make sure your girl gets an allowance (even a small one) so she can make financial decisions on her own. Take that a step further, though, and actually talk to your girl about the things she buys with her own money. If she chose a name-brand over generic or vice versa, is she still happy with that decision? Did she compare the prices of similar items? Is she saving up for something exciting down the road? The more your girl talks about money and financial decisions, the more comfortable she’ll be dealing with these topics and navigating that world when she’s older!