I have been waiting for this post all WEEK!!! I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited to share a blog post. My sweet mom has decided to guest blog today to share “Ways to Support Your Young Entrepreneur”. I received an email this week from the mom of one of my course students who said “I’d LOVE to read your tips on how to be a supportive parent to someone pursuing photography or a small business”. I thought to myself that I didn’t have the answers to that..but my sweet mom would!!!
Since I was just a baby, my mom and I have been absolute best friends. She is my rock, my biggest cheerleader and such a source of inspiration in my life. I always say this in conversations about her…but I hope to be half the woman she is one day! I don’t know how in the world I would have built this business or even had the courage to pursue a unique path without her support and constant encouragement. If anyone could give advice on how to be a rockstar mom of an entrepreneur…it’s her!
If you are a parent of a young business owner, I hope that this post provides guidance and encouragement to you! It made my cry and I tear up every time I read it!!! I love you momma!!
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Hello there! I’m so excited to be guest blogging for Hope today! Someone suggested to Hope that a blog from a parent’s perspective on encouraging young entrepreneurs would be helpful to them. So, Hope asked if I would give my perspective on how I feel a parent can encourage, support and provide reassurance to a young adult on pursuing their dream of being a sole proprietor. This is a topic close to my heart, so here goes!
First, let me introduce myself! I’m Amy Taylor, better known as Momma Tay to Hope’s friends and workshop alumni, and I’ve been married for 25 years and a mom for almost 22 years. My biggest accomplishments are my three children, Hope, Nathan and Abigail and I’m forever grateful for my husband who encouraged me to leave my paralegal career and make being a mom my full-time job. I also owned a cake business years ago which I loved doing from home, and at the age of 12 Hope was creating logos and a website for me which she says encouraged her to start her own business. Now the tables have turned, and I’m in charge of desserts for Hope’s events with HER business! I’m so appreciative of the close relationship we share that enables us to work so well together!!!
Now, for any parent that has a high school or college age son/daughter that is wanting to pursue their own business and be a sole-proprietor, you already know that it is NOT easy and there are many obstacles along this path. It’s a bit of a yo-yo of emotions….some really great achievements (YAY!) and then some very frustrating setbacks (cue the tears). Trying to stay determined and focused can be overwhelming, especially while also maintaining schoolwork, athletics and peer relationships. Your children have the qualities that set them apart already for them to be successful on this path…traits like leadership, staying motivated, being ambitious, fearless and hard-working. You should be so proud because those personality traits will serve them well in life overall-not just as a business owner!
So-what can you do to encourage and help your child to achieve their potential and support their business? I don’t believe it is one specific thing you can do…I think there are many ways parents can be supportive and reassuring to their children that their dreams are a reality, and it all starts at home. Here are a few of my ideas on propelling your child towards success:
- Cheer them on! – “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” ― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan. I love this quote! Remind your son/daughter that they ARE capable of fulfilling their purpose of being a photographer, an artist, an interior decorator or whatever calling they have. Doubt and fear can destroy the dreams and goals your child has…especially if their peers at school don’t understand their vision and they get ridiculed or bullied. Being a business owner also takes patience and hard work. The saying that “There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs” is so true! It is a slow journey of dedication, hard work and persistence. You are your child’s most enthusiastic cheerleader….cheer them on when they start to doubt themselves or they get overwhelmed. Remind them of the reasons they started this journey in the first place. Celebrate every milestone and accomplishment no matter how big or small…it all matters! Those temporary emotions will pass….but your encouragement will be remembered for years to come.
- Education – This is a game changer!! One of the most helpful things you can do is equip your child with the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed! For Hope, this meant numerous photography workshops and conferences all over the country to not only learn, but to be inspired with like-minded creatives who understood her interests and passion for her business. Hope would save up her money for each workshop, and then our role as parents was to sometimes drive her long distances to get her there or talk with a teacher at school about the days she would need to be absent to attend these events. I will never forget when Hope attended Katelyn James’ workshop back when she was a sophomore in high school. She had saved up and was so excited to attend, and I drove her to Richmond and stayed at the hotel with her. When she finished her first day at the workshop, she returned and was so full of excitement and joy with so many things to tell me I couldn’t keep up! It was truly life-changing and a turning point for Hope-and from that point forward she attended as many workshops and conferences as she could afford and has never stopped wanting to learn! Every workshop or conference is unique and different in so many ways…but the key is that your child will be inspired and grow with each experience in a new way. It’s so important to NEVER stop learning and growing as a business owner! Education can range from Youtube tutorials (free!) to online workshops (no travel!) to trips and workshops overseas…the sky is the limit! It’s just important to make sure your child has a way to learn skills in their industry to equip them to make their business prosper!
- Landing Pad – Looking back, I don’t really know how Hope did all she did! Your child is probably the same way, juggling school, homework, sports, friends and also balancing kick-starting their business! IT IS HARD. I know there were tears on many occasions, from frustrations and being overwhelmed with all the demands of today’s society and lifestyles. And also from many times feeling like they are out of place or don’t have friends that truly understand their ambition and goals. I believe it is vital to have a landing pad for your child-a comforting home environment of feeling accepted, appreciated and understood. They need a place to feel loved and know that they have a team cheering for them on the good days and bad…and sometimes just a meal where your family gathers around the table can be the difference in a bad day becoming a great one. Sometimes the simplest things in life can be the most fulfilling…and a meal with real conversation can be just that! Order takeout, put the phones away….and TALK!
- Legal and Financial Roadblocks – Hope started her business at 16….and we quickly found that until you are 18 and sometimes 21…you are going to run into issues. We found this especially true when Hope got her first studio space, and due to her age I had to sign for the utilities and book hotels for trips, etc. Even Paypal is an issue before being 18! If your child is a business owner as a minor, you will need to oversee the legalities involved for your city/state as far as things like the name of their business, a business license, taxes, etc. Hope and I went to the courthouse together and ended up at 3 different buildings to finish everything-it was such an exciting time and looking back I am so happy I was there to snap a photo of such a special day! Also remind your child about liability insurance and insurance for their equipment-these two items are very important and often overlooked when starting out at a young age!
- Be in the Know!! – I realized early on that if I was going to be helpful or encouraging to Hope, I needed to know WHAT she was talking about and be informed on people in the same industry, leaders, education, equipment, etc. and try my best to be up to date on current events. I did this by reading other photography blogs, following industry leaders on social media and gaining an understanding of basic business knowledge through different online resources. I found this so helpful when Hope would want my opinion on business matters or when she booked a workshop or event to attend, and I would be able to understand the WHY behind it. I think I still get just as excited as she does when she attends events or when she hosts her own workshops! No matter what type of business your child is pursuing, this will be so helpful just so you can relate and understand their decisions!
- Faith – This will be your child’s steadfast support and anchor when it all gets tough…and it will! Your child will have setbacks, obstacles to overcome and resistance from others to succeed. As my pastor says, social media is a highlight reel of all the good in someone’s life or business….and what you don’t see are the tears shed or the late nights of working into the wee hours after already attending school or college all day. As parents, there is only so much we can do to ease their burden or make it better. But we can encourage them to pray, hand it over to God and to remember that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 And a big bowl of ice cream helps too! J
Hopefully these ideas will be helpful to you as you encourage your child on this journey of entrepreneurship! I wish your son or daughter the greatest success in whatever industry they have chosen, and know that they are grateful for your support alongside them!
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