A Note to the Grown-Ups:
Because we know that good things come in small packages, we’ve decided to write a post for children who want to become entrepreneurs.
Please share this with any children in your lives who might want to start a business.
If you don’t have kids to share this with, that’s okay too.
The advice we share applies to aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages.
We hope these kidpreneurs inspire you.
Hello, Kids and Young Business-Minded People,
Stop and think for a minute.
Is there something you wish you had that doesn’t exist?
Is there something that already exists that you want to improve?
You have two options.
You can leave things as is, and keep wishing.
Or, you could (and yes, I’m totally serious about this) start your own business.
And no, it doesn’t have to be a lemonade stand (although why not?).
Become an entrepreneur.
Okay fine, so you’re a kid.
In the words of Dr. Seuss,
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
If you follow the examples of these kidpreneurs, and take the advice of Dr. Seuss, will you succeed?
Here’s what we think:
1. Learn from Role Models.
“It’s high time you were shown
That you really don’t know
All there is to be known.”
~ Dr. Seuss
This advice goes for anyone of any age.
As Dr. Suess says, nobody can know everything.
That’s why entrepreneurs need mentors and role models.
When Asya Gonzalez started her business, her role models were her parents, who are both entrepreneurs.
Though she certainly understands that being an entrepreneur requires just as much work, if not more, than more traditional jobs, she noticed one particular benefit at a very young age.
”I remember asking my Dad why my uncle couldn’t come with us on spontaneous trips, and he said because he works at an office,” Gonzalez recalled. ”I knew right then that I wanted to have freedom, make my own money and make my own rules. You can’t do that climbing the corporate ladder … as my Dad says.”
Realizing that the entrepreneur lifestyle was for her, she started Stinky Feet Gurlz, a company that makes vintage style clothes and accessories:
Now, at the age of 18, she’s still on a roll.
With college, she has a lot on her plate, but her business isn’t going anywhere.
Asya’s brothers have now followed in her footsteps. You can listen to their story here.
2. YOU be the Boss.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
~ Dr. Seuss
It’s absolutely okay to turn to the adults around you for help, and there are times when you should.
Nobody can start a business without help.
But don’t forget that your business is YOURS. Make as many decisions as you can, and take on as much responsibility as you can.
Let your customers see you as the face of your business.
Leanna Archer’s customers certainly see her that way.
Before her 9th birthday, after receiving so many compliments on her hair, Leana decided to start giving away samples of her hair care products, which she created from her Haitian family’s recipe.
Before long, people were giving her money for her products.
Yes, she’s had help from her family, but she’s the one in charge.
She’s so in charge, she’s fired her father more than once!
And now she’s a millionaire:
There’s no reason you can’t reach the same level of success.
“When you want something done, you have to do it yourself.”
~ Leanna Archer
3. It’s Your Money and Your Responsibility.
“When at last we are sure you’ve been properly filled, then a few paper forms must be properly filled so that you and your heirs may be properly billed.”
~ Dr. Seuss
To start a business, you have to spend money to make money.
Which sounds simple, but how do you know how much to spend? How do you know what to do with the money you earn?
The longer you’re in business, the easier it’ll be to answer these questions.
In the meantime, experiment, research, and ask other business owners for advice.
Come out to see our 2015 People’s Choice Winner, Lemon-A-Peel at Trinity Groves tomorrow, April 2 from 12 -2 pm! pic.twitter.com/BZA36ujPql
— Lemonade Day Dallas (@LemonadeDayDAL) April 1, 2016
Kendal Webb and her partners Alexis and Alyssa Rollings from Lemon-A-Peel seem to have it all figured out. You will too.
The best part? They give a lot to charity.
If you’d like to learn more about financial responsibility, here are some apps that will help you.
Also, be sure to check out the games and videos at PBS’s “It’s My Life.”
4. If it’s Been Done, Do it Better.
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”
~ Dr. Seuss
Let’s say you have a favorite candy. It’s already been invented.
Let’s say you’ve always wanted to open a lemonade stand. But lemonade stands have been overdone.
So those ideas are out. Right?
Just look at these two “outside of the box” lemonade stands:
(How cool is this? See how long kids have been business owners?)
Alina Morse, who has always loved lollipops, has definitely learned this lesson. She didn’t worry that lollipops are one of the most common candies out there.
— Advantage Oakland (@AdvantageOak) March 1, 2016
She knows that most lollipops are bad for your teeth, so she reinvented the wheel by adapting lollipops to make tooth-friendly Zollipops.
— Zollipops® (@Zollipops) September 8, 2015
She’s become quite a hit. Because who doesn’t love lollipops?
And it’s no surprise that dentists love her.
5. Communication is Key.
“So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!”
~ Dr. Seuss
You may have the coolest, most useful products on the market.
But if you can’t communicate well and build relationships with your customers, you won’t make a lot of sales.
Communication isn’t easy, especially when you’re speaking into a video camera or in front of a crowd.
Don’t worry. Even if you find communication difficult, you’ll learn the ropes.
— Lizzie Likness (@TheLizzieMarie) October 20, 2014
Lizzie Marie Likness has created an entire business based on her cooking videos.
In order to do this, she had to learn to speak in a clear, effective way.
If she didn’t have good eye contact with the camera, and if her instructions weren’t clear, who would want to watch her videos?
She’s also very good at communicating on Twitter:
11 years ago I was cooking with toys – now I’ve upgraded to the real deal! pic.twitter.com/UvQ7go6qlr
— Lizzie Likness (@TheLizzieMarie) January 7, 2014
Fruit salad with coconut milk whipped cream pic.twitter.com/QaWNkbuB
— Lizzie Likness (@TheLizzieMarie) January 8, 2013
Watch entrepreneurs like Lizzie and pay attention to how they communicate. Then, practice.
Before long, you’ll be a pro!
6. Toughen Up and Develop “Grit.”
“This was no time for play. This no time for fun. This was no time for games. There was work to be done.”
~ Dr. Seuss
It’s not easy when you work so hard and things don’t go your way.
Entrepreneurs of all ages struggle through the difficult times, especially when things get tiring.
If you feel that you’ve failed, it’s hard to get back up.
But as time goes on, you’ll develop grit. In other words, you’ll learn to “stick to it.”
When sisters Lily, Chloe and Sophie Warren decided they wanted to start a business of their own, they were disappointed to learn that their family’s bees weren’t producing enough honey for them to sell.
They’d already been to a marketplace for young entrepreneurs and opened their own bank accounts.
Rather than give up on starting a business related to their bees, they adapted and realized that even though their bees didn’t produce enough honey, they did produce plenty of wax.
They’ve continued to work hard, developing their recipes and products.
Now, they’re expanding their business. One of their latest product is lip balm, and they’re not slowing down.
How do you become as tough as the Sweet Bee Sisters?
To toughen up, it’s a good idea to pick one new challenge (besides your business) and stick with it as long as you can.
Maybe you want to learn martial arts but have always been too afraid to try. Or maybe you should try writing a short story or learning to cook your favorite foods.
Not only will these challenges make you stronger, they’ll be a good break from your business.
Imagine the world without their contributions. Aren’t you glad they never gave up?
Keep going, and someday (maybe even soon) people will be grateful for your hard work.
7. Lead, Don’t Follow.
“Oh, the things you can find if you don’t stay behind!”
~ Dr. Seuss
— RELEVENTS (@CreateRELEVENTS) June 3, 2015
Thomas Suarez, who started programming at the age of 11, wasn’t thrilled that his school wasn’t offering computer science courses, and he didn’t wait for things to change.
So, he took matters into his own hands and started his very own app club.
His list of accomplishments is truly astonishing:
Rather than basking in the glory of what he’s already done, he’s preparing for his future.
Just look at what he’s reading:
— Thomas Suarez (@tomthecarrot) August 26, 2015
Don’t be disappointed if what you need to start your business isn’t at your fingertips.
Lead the way and make it happen.
8. Embrace What Makes You Unique.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
~ Dr. Seuss
Chances are, when you start your business, you won’t be the only entrepreneur who’s doing what you’re doing.
We’ve already talked about how that’s okay, but let’s take it a step further.
Find what makes you unique, and use that quality to bring attention to your business.
Moziah took his idea and his passion for fashion to Shark Tank, and now:
Food for thought, right?
9. Speak Up!
“I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.”
~ Dr. Seuss
No matter how young you are, as long as you work hard and stay honest, you have every right to be in business.
Don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.
— John Kleiner (@JohnK086) March 8, 2016
Hilde Kate Lysiak, a very young reporter who founded The Orange Stree News, recently faced a horrible ordeal when she reported on a murder (actually, she was the first reporter on the scene and was the one to break the story).
What did people criticize her for? Sadly, most of the nasty comments had to do with her being a “cute little girl” and a “third grader.”
As if there’s anything wrong with either of those things.
To Hilde’s credit, she didn’t have a sweet little tea party like one of her critics suggested.
She spoke up, and did a better job of standing up for herself than many adults ever could:
If she can get through that, you can get through anything.
10. Think of the Best. Hope for the Best.
“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”
~ Dr. Seuss
Yes, of course you have to be aware of the possible problems your new business might face.
But without optimism (expecting the best), you won’t get very far.
Take it from Ryan, of Ry’s Ruffery.
He wanted his newly adopted dog to have treats, but he couldn’t stand the smell.
Instead of complaining, he made it his own.
He started by giving the treats away.
Then, he applied to be on Shark Tank. The preparation was loads of work, but Ryan knew it would be worth it.
“I would tell any kid that wants to start their own business to never let anyone tell them what they can’t do. Just because we’re young doesn’t mean we aren’t capable and smart. We just see things differently, and that’s not always bad.”
11. Learn the Importance of Empathy.
“When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad…
you should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you’re really quite lucky!
Some people are much more…
oh, ever so much more…
oh, muchly much-much more
unlucky than you!”
~ Dr. Seuss
Without empathy (the ability to understand people’s feelings), it’s extremely difficult to create a product people will want.
Empathy isn’t only good business sense. It’s an important life skill for everyone.
Middle school was tough times. I call it tough times because middle school sucks. Girls go through a lot during in these years. That awkward phase kicks in. Boys come into the picture. Cliques begin to form. School becomes more serious. Bullying increases. Girls start to struggle with self esteem & the pressure to fit in. It doesn’t matter if a girl is the most popular girl in school or the best athlete or a band geek or a straight-A student or a punk. No matter who she is doesn’t make her any more or less vulnerable to feeling insecure.
Thanks to her site, Miss O and Friends, girls have a place to go to chat about life and get excellent advice.
Without empathy, her business wouldn’t exist.
12. Receive, But Don’t Forget to Give.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
~ Dr. Seuss
Here’s another example of a lemonade stand owner who added a “twist” to her business:
— Lovell PR (@lovellpr) February 22, 2016
I didn’t enjoy the bee stings at all. They scared me. But then something strange happened. I became fascinated with bees. I learned all about what they do for me and our ecosystem. So then I thought, what if I make something that helps honeybees and uses my Great Granny Helen’s recipe?
That’s how Me & the Bees Lemonade was born. It comes from my Great Granny Helen’s flaxseed recipe and my new love for bees. So that’s why we sweeten it with local honey. And today my little idea continues to grow.
Her success is huge, especially now that Whole Foods is selling her product.
As you can see, she’s had quite the year. She’s succeeded on Shark Tank, met the president, and plans to travel to South Africa to teach girls about entrepreneurship.
Why bees? Mikaila explains:
“Last year, beekeepers lost 40 percent of all their hives,” Mikaila said. “Bees are dying.” She quoted Albert Einstein who said: “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.”
Which is why she donates a portion of her proceeds (not to mention her time) to charities committed to saving bees.
Mikaila’s honey-sweetened lemonade is so good she could surely sell it without being so devoted to bees.
Why should she care? Why should any entrepreneurs care about the world?
You probably have your own great answers to that question, but Dr. Seuss couldn’t explain it better:
Here’s One More Dose of Inspiration:
You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!
~ Dr. Seuss
For more information on kids in business, check out:
Don’t hesitate. If these kids can do it, so can you.
So get to work, and I promise:
“Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
~ Dr. Seuss
Do you have an idea for a business or any advice for “kidpreneurs?” Chat with us in the comments.