Keep Your Kids and Your Business Separate? Here’s Why You’re Doing it Wrong.
Bringing your kids to work shouldn't be reserved for just once a year. There are ways both you and your children can benefit from involving them in your business.
A lot of companies do some variation of the "Bring Your Kid To Work Day." It's a great idea -- it's a fun office activity that helps you to get to know your coworkers a little more personally, and it offers kids an opportunity to glimpse the working world.
But doing it just once a year really isn't enough. As business owners and entrepreneurs, we should bring our kids to work more often. Not only is it beneficial for your kids and their life journey, but it can benefit your business as well.
Here are some reasons why you should involve your children in your business:
It will help your kids define their career paths
I got the entrepreneurial bug at a young age, and it had everything to do with seeing my mom grow her business up-close. I started working in her business at the age of 12 and loved watching her build something and grow it, and be involved in the office That's what made me realize I wanted to do that too one day.
Your kids might see your business and ultimately decide that the up's and down's of entrepreneurship aren't for them. Either way, it's a good opportunity for self-knowledge, and as entrepreneurs, we have more flexibility to get our kids involved and show them the ropes.
It's great for bonding.
As business owners, we're obviously super invested in our businesses. At some point, you've probably even joked that your business is like another child. It's a huge part of your life and consumes a lot of your mental energy and time.
Sharing this with your kids will serve to deepen your relationship. Some parents are uneasy with this, but your kids likely have a natural curiosity about something that is so important to you.
Before I started my yoga studio when I was training to become a yoga teacher, I'd practice teaching with my son who was seven at the time. I got the benefit of practicing on someone who had no yoga experience, and my son got to learn some basic yoga poses. Plus, we both enjoyed the quality time together.
Now having a studio of my own, as a teenager, he is working at the front desk and is understanding the business from a different perspective.
Having your kids around will motivate you.
As entrepreneurs, we think a lot about leadership, and one of the best ways to lead is to do so by example. Working with your kids around will give you another reason to up your game -- you know they are watching you and you'll want to set a good example for what it means to be a good boss and a responsible business owner.
There are a lot of ways that being a parent can make you a better person, and involving your kids in your work can simply extend that.
Your kids can help your business.
The more you bring your kids into your business, the more likely it is that they will bring a fresh perspective. They are seeing your business with new eyes, different preconceived ideas, and a different generational lense than your own. They'll ask unique questions, which could inspire creative thinking, or they might bring their own ideas for how you can add to or complement your offerings based on how their generation thinks.
My 16-year-old son works at my yoga studio part-time (as I discussed before). One day he asked why we don't use Snapchat to market the business. That mode of social media wasn't a channel that myself or the studio manager would have thought of, so we let him take the reigns.
He created an account and a filter for the studio and a whole marketing campaign. We benefitted from marketing through a new platform, and it has empowered my son and given him hands-on experience of his own.
As a parent and an entrepreneur, you and your children will benefit tremendously by merging these areas of your life. Be open, listen to your kids, and answer their questions. One day, they will look back on this experience fondly, and they just might help you with your business in ways you didn't anticipate.
This post was originally published on Inc.com on June 2, 2017.