Raising An Entrepreneur

All he thinks about is opening his next business.  You would think after having 5 businesses, 3 of them online, that would be enough to keep him busy, along with going to school.  Did I mention he’s only 16?  Oh, and he happens to be my son. You probably already read his article before this one caught your eye.  I don’t blame you.  He’s a lot more interesting.  Being his mother, I often get asked, “How did you raise that kind of a son?”  I didn’t.  Well, at least not intentionally.  But as I reflect back on his younger years, I think I may have planted a seed.
Will was 4 years old when he first began selling.  He and his sister, 18 months his senior, would sell flubber at small, local arts & crafts fairs twice a year.  As a homeschool mom, I was always thinking of ways to make learning fun, especially in the younger years.  So one of the “fun” activities would be making flubber.  They enjoyed it so much that we always had flubber around the house and handing them out to friends whenever we’d have a playdate.  Then the teacher in me started thinking about how to take the children’s delight in making flubber to the next level.  “Maybe we could sell it,” I thought.  Then making flubber became even more special because Will and Linzey would get excited knowing they’d be able to share their flubber with other kids their age.  Although they would have given it for free, the entrepreneur in me thought a buck a bag would help pay the cost of the ingredients and my gas. I remember our first attempt at selling grossed us a whopping $6. That was our lunch money at McDonald’s where my kids would share a Happy Meal on the way home.  That one experience, of course, led to several booths at arts & crafts shows throughout the year which helped launch Will’s entrepreneurial spirit.
Within a year, Will asked his dad to build him his custom wagon (the ones at Toys R Us weren’t big enough) to fill his wares when he’d setup his lemonade stand by our gated community.  Then he gradually added more to his menu including candy bars, gatorade and snow cones.  A year after that, Will became a lot more strategic in his selling making sure he was setup by the gate at 3:15pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  When asked, “Why do we need to always be home by then?”  He would quickly answer, “That’s when the school bus drops off the kids from school so I can’t be late.”
No magic formula.  No step-by-step instructions.  Just this simple piece of advice; support them no matter what.  Make sure they’re having fun along the way.  Be their biggest cheerleader.  And let them make mistakes.  Those will be their greatest opportunities for learning.

2 Comments

  • Ralph Chiodo

    Reply Reply January 21, 2016

    Good to meet you Marissa! We are a home school family as well! I love watching my kid’s natural curiosity guide their learning. Passion is something that is difficult to create and foster in a formal classroom!

    This article caught my eye. My 8 year old daughter has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. She made Christmas Ornaments, this year, and sold them. She made over $1500.00. Bless her heart, she wants to use her money to go on a mission trip to Honduras. I also am in the process of mentoring three immigrant youth (14 years old) to create their own lawn care service (Liberty Lawn Service). I am having the time of my life watching these youth germinate and grow this business! Isn’t it fun to watch kids learn & apply their knowledge?

    Your son is an amazing young man! Great job on the website!

    • Marissa

      Reply Reply January 28, 2016

      Thank you Ralph for sharing the wonderful story of your daughter’s entrepreneurial spirit. I do believe having the time as a homeschooler helped develop that spirit in our children. Because homeschooling affords that time for our children, they are able to really dig deep into whatever it is that interests them. At a young age, my son would have his lemonade stand setup right before the school kids’ bus arrived to drop them off after school. That was his target market. Soon he began upselling to snow cones, candy bars and gatorade. He found that school kids preferred having a lot to choose from since they easily were bored of only having lemonade available. My son started community college in 8th grade and is graduating from high school and community college as a high school junior. My daughter also graduated as a high school junior with both her high school diploma and her AA degree. Gotta love the benefits of homeschooling.

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