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Every parent wants to set their child up for success when they are adults. We teach them the things we think they need to know like how to brush their teeth, how to stand up for themselves in a fight and find the square root of 17. But what if we aren’t actually teaching them enough usable life skills? Personally, I’m a strong advocate of teaching elementary school kids computer coding. The skills gap is very real in the IT industry and those who do have specialized computer skills will have jobs for life, and salaries in the six figures. Unfortunately, this isn’t what is being taught in schools across America.

Here’s another question: Why aren’t we teaching our kids how to create a lifestyle of financial independence, in which they are not reliant on a job (i.e. other people) for income or health insurance? I recently took this career path myself after only eight years in the corporate world. Eight years was enough. Each day that I am at home working in my company, I wonder: Why did no one teach me this sooner!?? I don’t recall my high school guidance counselor ever “counseling” me on how to start my own business and be financially independent. No one told me when I was younger that this was a viable and rewarding career path. What a disservice we are doing our kids.

For those who are well-suited, entrepreneurship has far more to offer than traditional employment. It offers freedom in your schedule, which means freedom in your life. It also offers a creative outlet and quite often unlimited income potential. Of course, there are challenges. You must be highly ambitious and driven. You must be okay with not having regular paydays every two weeks. Owning a business is not for everyone, and that is just fine. In fact, that is the very spirit of WorkSmart Counseling: doing whatever makes you happy and not stopping until you get it. But if you do take the business ownership route, there is great pride and satisfaction waiting for you. Ironically, there is also stability. How often do people get fired, laid off or just fed up and leave their jobs? Every single day. Sometimes, the only thing you can really count on is yourself. Perhaps true stability comes from investing in yourself and doing what makes you happy, not what makes your boss or your parents happy.

Ultimately, what owning a business is teaching me is what it means to make a real decision. I’m not talking about those “decisions” we make when we say, “I’d like to lose weight…” or “It would be nice if I could work from home one day...” Those are not decisions, those are preferences. A real decision means you cannot wait any longer, you have to do it today and you are cutting off any other possibility. How is that for a life skill? How amazing would it be to teach our kids to have that kind of confidence and independence? But like anything, if we want to teach it to our kids, we must start with ourselves.
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