Do you ever watch your kids play and wonder if you are catching a glimpse into their future? I literally saw my oldest (now 19) draw a step-by-step design for a cardboard alligator and build it from a shoebox at 5 years old. Now he is now in college studying engineering. So I got to thinking about things I have observed other children doing that might be catching a “glimpse” of a future career or business.

Your avid reader may become an author or editor, a block builder may become an architect or designer, a little performer may become an actor or teacher, an airplane fan may become a pilot or mechanic, a clothes lover may become a stylist or buyer, an athlete may become a coach or physical therapist, an artistic child may become a jewelry designer or graphic artist, your wee negotiator may become a lawyer or diplomat, an animal lover could become a veterinarian or groomer, your nurturer may grow to be a doctor or a missionary…

This article came about during convention season last year. I had the privilege of seeing and visiting with so many talented young entrepreneurs at homeschool conventions selling their wares. When I got the chance, I would go talk to them to learn how they got started in their business. They were so passionate and fun to talk with! I came home with loads of goodies made by teenage business folk: everything from jewelry and knitted mittens to bath bombs, soaps, and cherry-pit neck warmers. One girl that I particularly remember has had a booth next to ours in Richmond, VA for the last three years. Her jewelry is top-notch. She is very particular about matching stones in a pair of earrings and hammering her wire. She has grown in skill, and in height, over the years and I can only imagine she will go far should she choose to stay in the art field. After one show, while the stronger crew members were loading up the trailer, a few young gentlemen came up to chit-chat. I pitched my idea about writing an article on young entrepreneurs and asked them, “If you were to start a business right now, what would it be?” One boy was crazy about coffee and said it was his dream to be a barista and even own his own coffee shop. He was about twelve. This young man could tell you anything you wanted to know about coffee. Go ahead and ask your own kids this question and see where it leads. You might be surprised!

I have often pondered professions that stem from a passion. I was a high school French teacher because I loved France and all things French, and I was intuitively good at it. I worked hard to be even better. Back when my boys were in middle school, we had a conversation about getting paid for something that you love to do. I asked them what they thought they were good at and pitched some career ideas at them. My younger son said that he liked sports and talking. We discussed the fact that while he may not have the genetics to be a professional athlete, there were a lot of other jobs that involve sports in some way, like being an agent or a trainer. We discussed how I was being paid to talk about French stuff all day. Maybe the difference between a career and a job is passion.

The young entrepreneurs I spoke with at homeschool conventions had passion in spades. They decided to take the leap and make their passion into a business. Whether a student makes a lot of money or not isn’t really the point at this stage. Rather, the value lies in the process. Think of all the planning involved in purchasing supplies, calculating the materials cost per item, deciding how much to sell the product or service for, marketing the business, talking to customers, setting goals and reaching them, assessing success and adjusting accordingly, practicing time management and organization, deciding what to do with the money they make and so much more. The experience at this point in their lives can greatly impact their future. They may be 20 years old sitting in a college marketing class and think back on their early business experience. Or maybe they are working for someone else when a spark of a business idea hits them, and they think back on their early self-employed experience and muster the confidence to strike out on their own. One just never knows!