Updated: Aug 26
Covid 19 has had a devastating impact on job opportunities and it’s harder than ever for young people to get jobs, especially students seeking part-time work to fit around their studies. However, for those teenagers with an entrepreneurial flair, there are still ways that they can gain experience and perhaps even make money in the process. If your teen has the enthusiasm and ability, starting a small business needn’t be costly and could give them an edge over others when it comes to interviews. This doesn’t mean full-time commitment – it’s something they could fit around studies or focus on only during school holidays. If things go really well, they may even have the beginnings of a career working for themselves.
Why starting a business offers an edge in developing transferrable skills
We often mention transferrable skills, and that’s because they’re desirable. Whether for further education opportunities or to fill job roles, interviewers are trying to ensure they take on someone who is the right fit. There may be a minimum standard of qualifications needed, but they’ll also be looking for personality and skillset. They need to identify the best candidate to benefit from the opportunity on offer as well as someone who can contribute to the growth and success of their department.
There are key characteristics that indicate how well someone will fit within an organization in terms of the way that they work and how they get on with other people. Academic qualifications give an indication of how well someone can process facts and recall them; personality indicates whether their values are aligned with those of the organization (such as loyalty, reliability and honesty); and skillset marks out those that already possess experience with the key qualities needed to build a successful business.
Transferrable skills are vital in every business, irrespective of the industry. Is your child a great communicator, well-organized, able to work on their own initiative, responsive and innovative? Can they prove it? Starting their own business gives your child first-hand experience that will teach them many skills that they wouldn’t hone so quickly (or at all) through academic studies alone. It enables them to see the big picture of what they are trying to achieve and the different steps needed to reach their goal. It demonstrates they can apply their learning and character in real-life situations – and gives them a vehicle to prove their capabilities.
What transferrable skills can your teen develop when starting a business ?
Whilst schooling and co-curricular activities (such as clubs, sports, public speaking) can help develop and demonstrate some of the skills listed below, setting up a business provides evidence of how a student applies themselves in a commercial setting rather than their own peer group. Here’s 12 of the most sought after skills interviewers are looking for:
Initiative - having good ideas and acting upon them;
Demonstrable experience - working on real-life projects, not just theoretical scenarios;
Ability to communicate – probably the most important, running their own business shows they can communicate well with clients and people they don’t know, both verbally and in writing;
Ability to meet deadlines – to produce high quality work within limited time-frames;
Leadership -inspiring and motivating others (by getting clients or followers);
Commitment and reliability – even growing a small business requires dedication over a period of time;
Consistency – delivering high quality on a regular basis;
Time management and balance – crucial in successfully maintaining a business alongside their studies;
Problem solving -recognizing challenges and finding solutions;
Listening – being responsive to others’ needs;
Teamwork - collaborating with others to achieve positive outcomes;
Digital technology -expanding and improving their knowledge of software and online systems.