Preparing children for the freelance economy

Sep 1, 2017

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

If you’re a parent and a freelancer, you have a lot on your plate.

One thing every parent wants to do is prepare their child for their adult lives. Part of that comes in the form of career planning. Every kid is asked what they want to be when they grow up, but few classrooms discuss freelance work. As a parent who is a freelancer, you can not only show your child an example of a freelance career, but discuss with them the joys and struggles that come with it.

Below are three ways to prepare your child for the ever-growing freelance economy and other transformative business trends.

Set an Example of Healthy Work and Home Boundaries

One of the most important aspects of freelancing is boundaries. Keeping your work life and home life separate is one of the most common pitfalls of working from home, but it is imperative.

You can set examples of positive boundary setting in the following ways:

  • Set aside a space (preferably a room) where all your work will be done. Don’t allow home tasks in this space, and do not complete work tasks in other parts of your home. Explain these boundaries for your children, and once they’re older, explain the tax benefits that come with having a home office and the requirements for claiming it as such.
  • Dedicate certain times as “family only” and don’t answer work emails or texts during these times.
  • Include your children in discussions about your schedule so they can see the work that goes into building enough time for both work and home life.
  • Teach a strong work ethic so that your kids don’t rely on supervision in order to be productive.

Teach Them Business Skills

From lemonade stands to youtube channels, there are lots of options for teaching kids business skills.

It’s never a good idea to force your child into anything, but if they show passion for a certain activity, get them thinking about how they could monetize it. Whether that’s writing stories, creating online videos, or playacting shop ownership, it doesn’t matter if they ever make a penny. Simply creating a business model or imagining the details of what owning a business would entail is a great first step.

Educate Them on Finances

Financial education will benefit your child whether they choose a freelance career, start their own business, or work for someone else. No matter where their careers take them, a solid knowledge of finances will make life easier. Here are some ways to start financial education early on:

  • Include children in budget discussions. “Since we have to save for this, we won’t spend as much on that this month.”
  • Have children pay attention to prices when grocery shopping, and teach them how to assess when cheaper is a better deal and when it’s not (package sizing, quality, etc).
  • Help them brainstorm ways to earn money for items they want.
  • If your kids earn an allowance, allow them to decide how to spend it, but teach them the value of saving and the consequences of spending too much too soon. Sometimes they won’t have enough for what they want, and they’ll have to accept that.
  • Once they’re teenagers, obtain them a secured credit card that they can use with some discretion. This will basically be a debit card but will help them start building credit early in life. Review monthly statements with them and offer your perspective on their spending habits.

Preparing kids for adulthood is tough, but showing them the ups and downs of freelancing will help prepare them for many options in life. If they ever lose a job, they’ll be more capable of getting back on their feet and fending for themselves.

Do you have tips for teaching kids economic and career skills? Share in the comments!

Jeriann blogs at, exploring books, life, and the struggles of paying off student loans.