You might not think of yourself as a budding entrepreneur. But running your own business — no matter how small — can fast-track the development of your life skills quite like nothing else can.

Here’s a few reasons why you should indulge your inner Mark Cuban as early as Form 1…

Low-risk environment

When you’re in secondary school, if your T-shirt selling setup goes bust, chances are you won’t end up homeless. If you’d like to own your own business someday, this is great practice for the rigours of entrepreneurship, with little to none of the risk involved.

A chance to learn money management

The quickest way to learn about how money works is by earning your own. When you truly understand the value of a dollar, you’re less likely to spend your money frivolously.

A chance to learn time management

Any good business mogul understands that time is just as precious as money. When there’s only 24 hours in a day and you’ve got classes, lessons, football training, more lessons, choir, swimming and an upcoming dance recital, you still need to find time to attend to your business. You may need to pull an all-nighter to finish that sixth batch of brownies for your big bake sale tomorrow. Whatever it takes to get it done.

Learn how to set goals…

Maybe you have your eye on a huge purchase, or you’re getting a jump on saving for university tuition (if you’re really ambitious). Running your own business can give you a sense of purpose that little else can. Your success rests squarely upon your shoulders, and chances are you’ve got no one to answer to except yourself. Once you’ve got that part down, you’re on your way.

…and stick to them

The hardest part of goal-setting is implementation. It’s easy to say, “I want a pair of black suede Wallabees for school next year.” Except that achieving that goal comes with discipline, sacrifice and delayed gratification over an extended period of time. Try skipping that big MovieTowne lime to do your lesson plan for your growing tutoring business. It’ll be painful at first, but I guarantee it won’t suck as much as scrambling to get things done, or not getting them done at all.

Discover the sweetness of non-academic success

Too often, school can make us focus solely on academic achievement. Except that, according to this guy named Maslow, we need to have a sense of meaning to feel fulfilled. Unless you’re discovering the meaning of life in your POA class, you might not get the chance to see what you’re really made of. Are you great with kids? Imagine how good you’ll feel when you’ve got a booming babysitting service going. Love fashion? Try crafting a few items for sale, and watch your classmates sport your designs during the holidays. Feels a bit different than just getting an A, doesn’t it?

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