Ever since she was young, Cheryl Sew Hoy always knew she wanted to own her own business.
“When the teachers asked what your ambition is… and many children wanted to be doctors or lawyers. My ambition was [to be] a business woman,” said CNBC Do It.
That childhood dream is now a reality for the 39-year-old serial entrepreneur, whose companies include Reclip.It, a consumer software startup that was acquired by walmart laboratories in 2013.
now she runs little health, a health technology startup that sells home gut health tests for moms and babies ages 0-3. The CEO and founder said the test can help detect gut imbalances early on and prevent chronic disease.
Sew Hoy, a Malaysian now residing in Austin, Texas, attributes her success to her mother, who was also an entrepreneur and ran her own marketing business in Malaysia.
“My mother she owned her own business and she was the boss. Before Work from home I was popular, I already worked from home and I always had this role model,” he added.
Things have come “full circle” for Sew Hoy, who is now a mom two children aged 2 and 4, as he begins to impart the lessons he has learned.
What tips do you have for raising entrepreneurial kids? CNBC Make It finds out.
It’s hard to teach kids what businesses they can create at a young age, but kids “remember stories,” and that’s the best way to expose them to entrepreneurship, Sew Hoy said.
While modeling for her mother just observing, Sew Hoy said she wanted to be “more intentional” when talking to her children about running a business.
For example, she explains to her children about her job as CEO, the “backstory” of why she started Tiny Health.
“Speak to them like adults, even if you think they are too young to understand. The more you speak to them like adults, [you’ll realize] they actually understand a lot and learn a lot from it.”
By explaining to his children what he does, Sew Hoy said he is also teaching them the value of money.
“I show them why I’m working hard. Yes, it’s to make money, but it’s not just to buy food or spend money. While you’re making money, you need to build something of value for people. What problems do you want to solve?” in the world?”
Entrepreneurship is all about problem solving and that’s something kids can learn through adversity, Hoy said.
“There’s a difference between great entrepreneurs and good entrepreneurs. Great entrepreneurs are the ones who will continually bounce back because it’s really hard to run a business every day,” Sew Hoy said.
If children only have “smooth rides” where problems are always solved for them, they will never learn that value, he added.
“It requires a lot of patience. My daughter would complain and say, ‘Mommy, I can’t do it.’ I’ll encourage her to try again and maybe it will help her a bit,” she said.
“If you’re successful, especially if you’re successful on your own, learn the lesson that ‘if you had given up sooner, you wouldn’t have achieved this.'”
Sew Hoy said he noticed “a spark” in his 4-year-old daughter after going through the same scenario with her multiple times.
“I know you are learning because the next time [she tries to do something], she tells me, ‘Mommy, I can do it.’ I’m strong.'”
“So if our life becomes too easy, it would create adversity [for my kids].”
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