Have you signed your kids up for camp?

CampsCamp is one my favorite memories from when I was a kid.  I loved staying in a tent or cabin, slurping slushies, singing fun songs around the campfire and learning all kinds of new things by experiencing them first hand.  I loved it so much I became a 4-H camp counselor at age 16, volunteered many times at my sons’ Boy Scout camps and now I am so fortunate to direct and teach youth entrepreneur camps.

Camps are a great way for kids to experience and learn things they may not have the opportunity to in school.  What is interesting to me is that the kids who may not do well in school (sitting at a desk all day) flourish in a camp environment.  Year after year, I see kids come in on Monday morning not showing much self-confidence and by Friday when they are presenting an idea they are passionate about they are glowing with confidence. 

The following is from the American Camp Association Website which pretty much sums up the benefits of camp:

At camp, when children make new friends, explore the world around them, and learn that “I can” is much more powerful than “I can’t”, magic happens. In an environment created just for them, children learn real life skills, develop self-esteem, and gain a sense of independence and community. Whether children are playing, exploring nature, conquering new heights, or becoming part of a camp family, they are creating memories that will last a lifetime – See more at: http://www.acacamps.org/campers-families/because-camp#sthash.44KAY3o4.dpuf

Since school is either out or soon to be out, it’s time to find a camp for your child(ren).  There are camps of every subject possible so there is bound to be something that they are interested in.  Many camps are already full but with some searching you will most likely find something that fits.  That’s what I really like about directing and teaching at Youth Entrepreneur Camps; the business each camper chooses to create takes into account their strengths, interests and talents so it fits everyone!

Since the UW-Madison SBDC Youth Entrepreneur Camp (where I have been the director for the past 8 years) is full and there is a long wait list, I have decided to add an E-Seedling Youth Entrepreneur Camp July 18-21 in Madison.  It is a 4 day (Mon-Thurs) commuter day camp for ages 10-14 (there will be breakouts based on age groups).  It is limited to 16 kids (8:1 instructor ratio) so register now before it’s full!  To find out more about the camp and to register, Click here!

Hope this is the year to start making memories and having fun at summer camp!

Entrepreneur Theatre Life Skills

5 Life Skills that Entrepreneurship and Theater Teach

Entrepreneur Theatre Life Skills

Entrepreneur & Theater = Life Skills

Last week I finished directing a production of Fame Jr with my son Ryan at our local community theater group. As I reflect back on the experience, I realize that both entrepreneurship and theater have a lot in common  when it comes to the life skills they teach.  Here are 5 life skills, that I came up with, that both entrepreneurship and theater teach.

  1. Passion and Natural Talents: Entrepreneurship is all about finding what you love to do and using it to solve problems and make a difference. Musical Theater kids have a passion for acting, dancing, singing or all 3 and they are using their natural talent to make a difference in people’s lives by taking their minds off of the everyday issues even if it is only for an hour or two.
  2. Time Management: Running a business takes an enormous amount of time and it requires good time management skills to make sure homework & chores are done, other commitments are completed and that there is still time to work on a business. Ditto for theater; it is a huge time commitment and it requires time management to get it all done.
  3. Commitment: Being an entrepreneur requires commitment to working on your business idea even when it gets tough. A commitment to your solution or cause will help you make it through but in order for it to work in the long run; you must be committed to it. Again theater is a commitment, it takes a lot of hours to put on a quality production. There is always waiting at rehearsal for your scene; you must be committed to the role you accept.
  4. Communication: Entrepreneurs must be able to communicate clearly what their product or service is and what the benefits are in order to sell to their customer. You must also be able to communicate with partners and mentors so they can help you grow your business. Whether you are on stage in the cast or off stage in the production staff, you must be able to communicate with the audience to get your message across and with each other to create a successful performance.
  5. Teamwork: Entrepreneurs cannot do it alone; they need to use their strengths in the most effective ways in order to grow their business without being overwhelmed by everything that has to be done. You need to find a team that can fill in where you aren’t strong to help you accomplish what needs to be done. A good theater performance is the ultimate team-based business model. It requires each person to know their role, focus on it and complete it when it needs to be done. There is a high level of trust that develops in a theater group and it becomes almost like a second family.

I am sure there are more life skills that both entrepreneurship and theater teach and so I would love to hear from you in the comments (or you can email me at juliewood@eseedling.com): Which life skills do you feel are taught in entrepreneurship and theater or another activity that you are involved with?

As always, please feel free to contact me at juliewood@eseedling.com or complete the contact us form on www.eseedling.com .  And as we say in theater, hope to see you at the next auditions!

 

 

 

 

Young Entrepreneur Lemonade Stand

7 Steps to Start a Kid Business

  1. Young Entrepreneur Lemonade Stand

    7 Steps to Start a kid biz

    Choose a business idea. You can’t start learning about how to start a business if you don’t have an idea. Think about hobbies, interests, what you’ve learned, what you have experience in, what you’re good at what you like to do in your spare time.

  2. Test your idea with potential customers. Entrepreneurs take risks but you can limit how much risk you take by testing your ideas. Ask customers, prospects, friends and family questions about your idea. You can start with whether or not it is a good solution to the problem you are solving and would they pay money for it.
  3. Create a memorable brand and plan your marketing & sales activities. A brand is what your prospect or customer thinks of or feels when they hear your name, see your logo, marketing materials or store. Once you create your brand you need to plan how to get the word out. This will be determined by where your customers are located.
  4. List what you need to start your business and how much money you need to get started. Start-Up Items are the items you need to have before you can start your business. Some examples of start-up items include office supplies and equipment, website, and tools to make your product or provide your service. You may also need to buy some inventory or supplies to make your products. You probably won’t have fixed costs such as rent but it’s good to be aware that these costs exist also. You will then need to figure out a price for your product or service based on costs, competition and your earlier testing.
  5. Keep your Customers Happy. Once you have customers, you need to make sure you keep them happy! The cost to get a new customer is much higher than selling to an existing customer. Happy customers will be your best resource for getting new customers (what is called Word of Mouth Marketing). You will want to make sure you have a plan for staying in contact with your customers and making sure they are happy.
  6. Parent Approval and Legal Stuff. Before going any further, you should always check with your parents to make sure that your business idea is okay to put into action and also check on if any legal permits are needed. Each state, city & town has their own rules so it is always a good idea to check and see what is required. There may be free or reduced legal resources at your local business center or university or college so you might want to check on that.
  7. Create a Plan. Now that you have your business idea figured out, you need to have a plan that will guide you. You need a marketing plan for how you are going to get the word out and an operational plan for business activities. The two plans will work together to help you schedule your time and resources. All of the hard work you have done already will go into a plan – this chapter will help you put it all together so you are ready to go!

These 7 steps will give you a good start for getting a business going. If you would like a complete Step-by-Step guide including free downloadable worksheets. My new e-book You’re Never too Young to Start A Business is available for only $2.99 on Amazon.com. CLICK HERE to ORDER If you would like more information on cultivating young entrepreneurs, visit eseedling.com and sign up for our e-newsletter.

 

Money Business Entrepreneur

There is more than one way to become a Billionaire Entrepreneur

Money Business Entrepreneur

More than one way to Spell Money And Business

In today’s blog post I wanted to share a couple of infographics. The first one features the”10 Youngest Billionaires of Our Time: How Did They Do it?shared with me by one of my readers (thanks Madeline). These young billionaires have done some amazing things and most of us have been affected in one or another by what they have achieved (I mean, who has not been affected by Facebook or what it has done to change social media). You may notice that many of these young billionaires did have an advantage and that in most cases is family money or the means to attend a very prestigious school (could be money could be intelligence) so the question begs – do you have to have that advantage to become a billionaire? Well, I wondered this as I don’t have either (family money or the means to attend Harvard, Stanford, or MIT) and of course who wouldn’t like to become a Billionaire Entrepreneur (or at least a Millionaire)!

So I did a little digging and the good news is there is hope for anyone who wants to work hard, take risks and persevere to become a billionaire entrepreneur!  Sara Blakely who invented Spanx and was added to the billionaire list in 2013, (from as far as I can tell) she was an everyday person who attended a public high school and a State university. She came up with an idea that she believed in. She worked long and hard to research and develop the idea and her entrepreneur road wasn’t easy but she persevered and as we know today the rewards were great. Then I found another infographic that shows what self-made billionaires have in common. The most well-known (for me anyway) was Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, who was an orphan, was brought up by relatives on the South Side of Chicago, was not born into money and did not have a college education. He learned computer programming on his own and one of his first jobs had to create a database. He then started Oracle databases, one of the most used database in the world.

Okay so some of the becoming a billionaire usually does require a bit of luck, whether it is being in the right place at the right time, making the right contact or having family money to back you up, but you won’t get there without hard work, perseverance, taking risks and belief in your idea. So get going on developing your idea and developing yourself as an entrepreneur (you are not getting any younger)!

Sources: 10 Youngest Billionaire Infographic: Masters-in-Accounting.org; Sara Blakely story: spanx.com; Self-made billionaires’ infographic; entrepreneur.com; Larry Ellison story: businessinsider.com.

If you would like to learn more about entrepreneurship education and cultivating tomorrow’s entrepreneurs – subscribe to my e-newsletter and visit my website at www.eseedling.com.

Police close lemonade stand

Is Your Lemonade Stand Illegal?

Police close lemonade stand

Police officer closing down the lemonade stand

This week it was Jerry Seinfeld’s kids lemonade stand getting closed down by police due to neighbors complaining about parking and not having a permit. I have been hearing about a stand getting closed down almost every week some place in the U.S. this summer – what do you think this does to kids who are testing the waters for entrepreneurship? Most of the time, the kids who start the lemonade stand are raising money for a good cause or they may be saving up for a larger purpose (not to mention all the learning they are doing). What better way than to start a lemonade stand?

So what is up with the neighbors who are complaining and basically getting the kids ticketed, fined and closing their businesses? I’m wondering is the lemonade stand on a hot summer day really causing them a problem? Do they not have enough to keep their selves busy? Another reason for shutting down the stands is that they are competing with a local business – I’m wondering how much business a young entrepreneur lemonade stand takes away from an established business. I have learned that is more important to focus on your own business and do the best you can then to worry about the business next door! And what about our police force – don’t they have more important things to do then to visit a kid’s lemonade stand to close it down? I’m frankly quite disappointed that we are even spending resources on this! I’ve even read

Okay, so there may be arguments that the kids should get a business license. But really can’t we make kids first taste at business more positive? How about if municipalities create a Lemonade Law and allow kids up to 5 different days to run lemonade stands during the year. If the kids want to sell more days, then the formal process of applying for the permit would need to take place. A website page could be added for kids to register the dates of lemonade stands and print out a permit that they can display at their stand so when their neighbor wants to report them they can easily see that the young entrepreneur has taken care of the permit. One simple webpage set up can eliminate the phone call to the police, the police having to investigate and break the young entrepreneur’s heart!

If you know of any municipalities have come up with a good system to remedy this issue, please share maybe others can learn from what has already worked! We definitely need to make it easier for young entrepreneurs to try out their business ideas – if we don’t change the way we treat them we may have less and less young entrepreneurs which will translate in less small businesses in the future (more on that in my next blog post)!

If you would like free tips and resources to cultivate youth entrepreneurs (or to run lemonade stands) – sign up for our free e-newsletter at eseedling.com or purchase More Than a Lemonade Stand at eseedling.com or your favorite online book store.

Business idea

I have a business idea – 5 steps young entrepreneurs can start with!

Business idea

I have a business idea

In the last 2 blog posts I included ideas for how young entrepreneurs might come up with a business idea, an overview of the steps to get started and 10 ideas that work. Now that the business idea is starting to be developed, here is some more detail on what to do next.
Here are 5 steps to get going in the right direction:
1) Calculate how much the unit (or direct) costs are. What is needed to create the product or service? For example, if you are making jewelry, you will need to know how much wire, beads, and other supplies are needed to create one unit (bracelet, ring, earring, etc.) and then figure out the total cost. There may also be costs for equipment or supplies that is necessary to make the product or provide the service so that also needs to be taken into account (these are indirect costs). The same is true for a service, how much do you want to get paid for the service and are any supplies needed to provide the service.
2) Pricing the product or service – after the costs are calculated, figure out how much you want to make per product or unit of service. This can do this by using an accounting equation (a simple math problem); Income-Expenses = Profit. You have already calculated the costs and the profit is how much you want to make (such as $2.00 per bracelet). You can then back into the income which is the sales price for the item or service. Also make sure to account for indirect costs.
3) Get the word out. You need to figure out how you are going to get the word out to potential customers. Once you know who your customers are (neighbors, friends, family, school mates, etc.), you can figure out how to communicate what they are selling to them (this is marketing). This may be by making posters, business cards, flyers, or posting on social media. The key is to find out where your customers are and what the most cost effective way of communicating your message to them is.
4) Follow the rules. Make sure to check with your city, town or school about any rules they have for selling items. You want to make sure they obey the laws and rules so they don’t end up with fines or other issues.
5) Keep good records, make sure you keep track of what you are selling how much you are making and keep it separate from your personal money such as allowance or other non-business funds. This is a good habit to get in right away as it is very important if your business grows to keep business and personal funds separate. If your business takes off – you may need to consult with an accountant or attorney about any taxes you might need to pay.
These 5 steps will get them going in the right direction with a new business. Watch for future posts as they will focus in more detail about the different concepts of running a business as a young entrepreneur.
If you would like additional information on youth entrepreneurship or teaching youth entrepreneurs sign up for my e-newsletter and free tips at http://eseedling.com/

Start an Awesome Business

10 Awesome Business Ideas for Young Entrepreneurs

Start an Awesome Business

Start an Awesome Business now

In my last blog post I talked about how kids can use their talents and passion to guide them into a business idea. But how do you know if that idea will work?  Here are 9 business ideas that have a high chance of success for young entrepreneurs (and some helpful hints for each one):

  1. Make jewelry – if you love jewelry – and like making things with your hands – try making jewelry. Start by making bracelets for your friends and family (both girls and boys wear bracelets if they are with larger beads). Then remember to keep track of all of the supply costs and your time so that you price them fairly and for you to make some money.
  2. Babysit – Okay so there are a lot of kids who do this. But think of what you can add to your service that makes you different and better than others. Could you include doing crafts with them or helping with their school work or a sport or dance. Then propose that to the parents and see if they might pay a little more for that service.
  3. Tutor- if you are one of those kids who is really good in a specific subject, then think about how you can help others increase their knowledge in that subject. You could print some worksheets (or better yet create some) and help kids complete the work. Remember to make sure it is not too hard for the student but is just hard enough to challenge them. Also, make sure you communicate how much you are charging and what is included.
  4. Mow lawns – if you have experience mowing lawns, this may be a good option as a business. You can either provide the lawn mower and gas (in which you want to charge a higher price) or use theirs. This is a good service to provide within your neighborhood. Neighbors may also need other services such as trimming, weeding, changing light bulbs, raking, etc. So ask them what they need and charge them for your services.
  5. Make video game tutorials – if you love playing video games and you are good at it- why not make video tutorials. You can post them on YouTube and if your views get high enough then you may earn revenue with sponsorships. If you want to post them on your website you can charge a subscription fee to your members (the startup costs may be a bit higher).
  6. Make fashion and make-up videos. If you are into fashion and/or make-up then you can film videos and post them on YouTube. You may find sponsors to pay you for each view or you can create a membership site that your fans subscribe to for your tips.
  7. Create an E-Zine. If you have some great content to share with the world, create a subscription based online magazine with unique content. Something that you can give hints and tips for, videos on a subject, interviews with experts or cooking foods would be great topics to get subscribers.
  8. Teach sports, dance or music. If you have an expertise that you can teach, this is a great way to share it and help others. Remember to keep track of all expenses and your time so you can charge enough to make it worthwhile.
  9. Make something. If you have a product you can make such as t-shirts, candles, fishing lures, etc. You can sell them to your friends and family and then have customers post their use of them on social media to help get the word out and expand your business.
  10. Care for Pets. If you love animals then help out your neighbors by taking care of their pets while they are on vacation or busy at work. You can walk their dog, play with their cat, or feed their fish. You will love what you do and your neighbors will love that they don’t have to rush home to take care of their pets!

Remember you have a few weeks of summer left so it is a great time to get your business idea going! Always remember to ask your parents before starting up a business endeavor! Visit eseedling.com for more resources and information on youth entrepreneurship.

Parents helping kids start a business

Avoid Summer Brain Drain – Help your kids start a business!

Parents helping kids start a business

Parents helping kids start a business

There is still a month left of summer vacation and the kids are getting bored! Why not have them start a business? Starting a small business is a good way to keep the brain drain away and keep the kids busy, learn responsibility, earn money and build their resume!

Here are 6 things to help your kids get started as entrepreneurs.

  1. Have them write down what they are good at, what they like to do in their spare time and what they have knowledge in. This helps them realize their talents and passions. It is much more fun to start a business doing something you love!
  2. Once the kids have narrowed down their idea, have them think about what problems they can solve with those skills and talents (maybe it’s teaching a musical instrument, academic subject, dance or a sport or maybe it’s doing outside work such as lawn mowing, leaf raking or snow shoveling).
  3. Once they have an idea – they need to put together a list of what is needed to start and the costs (they may need to research costs online or go to the store). Once the list is ready – have them make a proposal to you and discuss the idea. If you approve they may also need to check with a municipality to see if there are any special permits necessary.
  4. Have the kids come up with a price for their product or service. They should check out if they have any competition, what they are charging and what their strengths and weaknesses are so they know how to sell against them. They will also want to think about how much they want to make in order to figure out what they charge the customer.
  5. Have the kids come up with a schedule to work on the business and be reliable for their customers. If kids do this their business will grow with word of mouth.
  6. Help them find a mentor – if you have business knowledge you may be able to help, if not see if there is another adult who may be able to help them with business questions as they come up.

These starting steps will help kids get started learning about running a business and give them a taste of entrepreneurship! Want more information on youth entrepreneurship – visit www.eseedling.com.

solution

How are you entrepreneurial?

solution

Solving the problem in a different way

As I was reading The Element by Ken Robinson he brought up an interesting question about intelligence. He said we are asking the wrong question – instead of asking “How intelligent are you?” – He states we should be asking “How are you intelligent?” He claims that everyone is intelligent in their own unique way and I wholeheartedly agree! Having been an entrepreneur for several years and in working with many entrepreneurs on their businesses, I also agree that everyone is entrepreneurial in their own unique way. In that regard, we can use that same questioning in discovering in what ways an individual is entrepreneurial. I’ve heard the question, “Can Entrepreneurship be taught?” and of course I do believe it can be taught and I also believe that individuals are already entrepreneurial in some respects and that they need to be made aware of the attributes they have so that they can develop them further.

Here are seven characteristics to look at to see “how are you entrepreneurial”: 1) Passion – everyone has a passion for something, something that they love to do or want to spend time on. Since creating and running business is extremely hard work, passion is extremely important for an entrepreneur to have. So spend some time reflecting on what you love to do and find your passion. 2) Persistence – Not everyone is persistent in everything they do but remember when you were a kid and you wanted something from your parents – you were persistent – right?! Kids will persist with their parents until they get what they want. So somewhere and in someplace you were persistent you just need to think about when that was and why you were so persistent. Running a business has lots of highs and lows and if you aren’t passionate and persistent – it will most likely fail. 3) Diligence – Have you ever worked on something over time until you achieved it (remember how good that felt)– that is diligence. Running a business is hard work and if you don’t work on moving it forward by setting goals and working to achieve them you won’t get very far. 4) Resiliency – have you ever failed at something, learned from it and then improved upon it? If you have, then you have resiliency – this is probably one of the most important entrepreneurial traits because there are bound to be failures and you need to learn from them and keep on going if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur. 5) Self-confidence – do you believe you can do anything you put your mind to? Sure you might have to study to learn something so you can achieve it but if you have that kind of confidence then you will be able to move forward when others criticize you or your product is not selling well. 6) Flexibility – Are you able to make changes if something is not going your way? Entrepreneurs need to be flexible and make changes or look for another solution if something is not working. 7) Opportunist – in that I mean someone who looks for opportunities and goes for it. Some would choose risk-taker as #7 but as I grew up in entrepreneurial family and my parents were not huge risk-takers and I myself am not a huge risk-taker; I don’t see this as important. Seeing a problem and turning it into an opportunity is much more important. Look around for problems that need solving and start thinking about how you would solve them and how you could help others with the solution. This is the start of a successful entrepreneur and I believe wholeheartedly that the more you do this, the more you can see opportunities in abundance.

Again it’s not a matter of how entrepreneurial you are but, how are you entrepreneurial! Just take some time and think about these 7 traits and start developing them if you want to become an entrepreneur.

Are you Listening?

 

are you listening

 

I love to learn, especially about entrepreneurship and small business! I read book after book on the subject; I don’t usually read fiction unless it’s something like “All in Startup” which is fiction inside non-fiction (more on that in a later post). I attend professional development seminars on the subject and participate in frequent webinars. So when I exhibited at the American Camp Association Tri-State Conference last week one of my main goals was to learn. Learn if they were the right customer for my products, learn what their needs were, what problems they have that need solving and learn what ideas they had for product improvement and development. Having those goals in mind before even attending the show put me in the mindset to listen to the persons who visited my lemonade stand booth and wow did I learn!

 

Here are 3 big product ideas that I learned from the attendees: 1) They would like a Spanish version of the Biz Ops Game, 2) They would like the Biz Ops Game adapted for Camps (i.e. a Camp Ops Game) to train their staff, and 3) They would like to buy the lemonade stand that I made out of PVC pipe. Each of these ideas is very doable and without the time of developing brand new products and so they are now on my list. I also learned that the Biz Ops Game makes a great rainy day activity for camps; now I have a new way to sell the game. I also learned that e-seedling is confusing to the camp audience – many visitors asked if I had something to do with gardening. If you are going to be clever with a name – you need to think about your audience and make sure it’s clear. So I learned how to explain exactly what E-seedling does; empowers youth through entrepreneurship (hence the e is for entrepreneur and seedling is the youth) and that the More Than a Lemonade Stand book is a do it yourself youth entrepreneur curriculum that can be implement as a whole or individual activities (oh and don’t bring that much candy to give away unless you want to bring it home).

 

I also learned some tips from the other exhibitors: 1) have an information sheet for visitors to take with them (I was directing them to my website), and 2) put the game sheets in a binder so they aren’t accidentally walked off with.

 

It’s amazing how much you can learn just by listening to others and yourself! Being a Covey Facilitator for the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People I have heard this quote many times and agree that it is true. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” 
― Stephen R. CoveyThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

 

Now I ask; are you listening?