Entrepreneur Presentation

Compelling Reasons for Entrepreneurship at a Young Age

Entrepreneur Presentation

presenting at youth entrepreneur camp

Disengagement and Drop outs

I’m sure if you have a school-aged child, you have asked them “how was your day?”  The reply is usually (if they are a boy anyway), “fine”.  So of course you probe a bit more and you find out that in 3 of the 6 classes they watched movies.  It seems to be a Friday trend in some of my son’s high school classes.  “Oh,” I say, “they must be about what you are learning in class.”  He replies, “I’m not sure”.  Is that because he’s not paying attention or is the teacher not making the connection for him.   That is a question that may never be answered for me.  I really don’t remember being that many movies when I was in school – maybe I was napping at the time?! It does seem like there are a lot of movies and other non-related activities that are in our daily conversations enough so that I sometimes just have to wonder if they are just finding things to do to make sure they filling up the required hours that the kids have to attend public school.  Another thing I certainly don’t remember when I was in school; is sitting on one side of the table facing the librarian when they are using the library. Now these things may have changed since Columbine; but it sure seems like our schools have become more robot like, if not even more prison like.  From these statements, one might think I’m anti-education but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Both my undergrad and graduate degrees are in education and I truly believe that education is the key to opening doors in the future.  But, I see current high school as a game that you need to learn to play and beat in order to excel at it.  Many kids (including my son – who is an avid gamer) do not see any value in beating the game of school.  Unfortunately, I think there are many kids just like him that just get through it so they can get to the next phase of their lives.  Many of these kids are very bright, they just may not be good test takers, are bored, or just don’t see how it connects to real life. But even worse is there are 3.0 million (8.1% in October 2009) 16-24 year olds in the US that have dropped out and have not earned a HS diploma or GED (US Department of Education, Center of Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences).  Even worse is that as many as 1 in 10 young male dropouts end up in jail or juvenile detention compared to 1 in 35 of those who have graduated from high school (NY times, by Sam Dillon on October 8, 2009; based on a study at Northeastern University).

Youth Unemployment

In the NY Times article above, Andrew Sum –director for the center for labor market studies at Northeastern University ,  brings forth another problem and uses his own city of Gary, Indiana to illustrate what is happening for youth unemployment. He states, “Back in the 1970s, my friends in Gary would quit school in senior year and go to work at U.S. Steel and make a good living, and young guys in Michigan would go to work in an auto plant,” he said. “You just can’t do that anymore. Today, you have a lot of dropouts who are jobless year round.” In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that unemployment for youth ages 16-24 rose to 19.7 million in July 2013. Only 50.7% of that age group was employed in July 2013 at the peak of summer employment. The rate was even higher for the age group of 16-19 year olds and doesn’t look as if it will be improving in 2014.

Why Middle School?

I often get asked why do I love working with middle-school aged kids – to be honest, when I first started it was because I kind of fell into it – it was the program we had that I adopted and it was geared toward middle-school kids.  But now, that I look back on my life, I say it is the perfect age to learn about entrepreneurship – their minds are open to new ideas and change and they still believe that they can do anything. When I was in middle school, I made a decision that changed my life (although I didn’t realize until years later). I was born with club feet and my right foot was deformed and the Achilles tendon was much shorter on the right side. At age 3, I had an operation to lengthen my Achilles tendon and straighten my right foot. I wore leg braces until I was 8 years old and then continued with night braces and corrective shoes. Of course because of the braces, I was bullied when I was young. When I was in 7th grade, I overheard my mom and the doctor talking about what to do next. The doctor told my mom that he had done what he could and it was really up to me. They didn’t know I overheard them but it was it was the best thing that could have happened. I made up my mind that I was going to walk without using any correction and that is pretty much what I did.  I was fortunate to learn, at a young age, that I could do pretty much whatever I put my mind to and realize that others can learn at this age also.

How Youth Entrepreneurship can help

It is a time for transition – this is the time kids are finding their place and the more successful they are the more confident they will become. This is a time where kids might not feel as they fit in anywhere and entrepreneurship is about making their own place in the world.  Entrepreneurship connects the academic subjects with the real world.  When you learn about running a business you are using math, english, writing and science.  When I ran my business in my 20’s, I learned more during those 3 years than any other 3 year period in my life. Entrepreneurship allows kids to explore what they are good at and like to do as a viable career option. In school, they give kids all these assessments and then try to guide them into one of those “quadrants” as the only viable career areas.  This may or may not be something they are interested in or passionate about. Entrepreneurs are vital to today’s economy.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) reports that small businesses make up over half of the private workforce in the US. Yet many of the skills need to create successful entrepreneurs are not taught in schools. Entrepreneurship is about solving problems and creativity. In today’s world, we need problem solvers and the entrepreneurial mindset is about looking at problems and turning them into opportunities that we can solve to make our lives better. Entrepreneurship is about empowerment. When the kids come to the youth entrepreneur camp I run on the first day, many of them are timid and quiet, you can see the growth during the week and by the fifth day, they present their own business idea in front of their peers.  That is quite an accomplishment in one week.  They can take that accomplishment with them and realize they can do more than they may have thought possible.  Entrepreneurship is about giving back.  In the camp, we raise funds in the team lemonade stand competition for the camp scholarship fund so that kids who can’t afford to attend can have the same opportunity. Entrepreneurship is a career.  One of the most important things we teach is that entrepreneurship is a viable job.  So if you can’t get a job, you can create your own.  After all, if you have lemons, what do you do – make lemonade and then of course sell it!

Young Entrepreneur Lemonade Stand

The Aha Moment that I’m sticking too!

Have you ever been someplace and all of sudden that light bulb goes – you know it – that ‘aha’ moment. When I was at Brendon Burchard’s Experts Academy last fall – I was working in a small group and explaining the youth entrepreneur camps I’m working on  by using the words, “it’s More Than a Lemonade Stand” and someone in our group said “that would be a great name”. I thought to myself, wow, she’s right – and the More Than a Lemonade Stand Youth Entrepreneur Camps and Training were born.  One thing that Brendon told us, that really stuck in my head, was to pick one thing and stick with it for two years.  I do have to say that was really good advice – I for one have no lack of ideas so it will definitely be a challenge- but I think what it does for me is help me stay focused on what my goal is. This has actually helped me move toward it faster than I ever imagined possible. Sometimes it feels like it’s moving a bit fast, I just signed my first book publishing agreement with Morgan James publishing and I am learning so much about the publishing industry, editing, and publicity all while writing my book (and working full-time so I can actually afford to do all of this)!  I’m so grateful that I’ve been fortunate to learn so much in a short time from experts in the industry and hope to continue on my journey in the next 2 years (and beyond).


Have you Organized your Stuff Yet?

Whenever I get back from any conference, and Author 101 University is no exception, I have a pile of notes, handouts, marketing materials, business cards, and emails to deal with. I usually pull the stuff out of my bag and put it on the table; being a bit overwhelmed it just sits there for a day or two (or more) – Sound familiar?!

So since I’m a Franklin Covey Facilitator I thought I should practice what I preach!  So I set up a system to organize all my stuff from the conference.  I thought this might help others so I thought I would share my step-by-step process (if’s always easier to break it down)!

author101-folders1) Gather empty file folders and labels and label them with the different speakers or programs or subjects for instance I have folders for each of the speakers (or their subject title which ever works best for you).  So I have a folder for: Starley Murray, Tom Antion, Move People to Action, Morgan James, Right Book Right Now and so on.  Then I just put the papers in the folder (from my pile) that they go with.  I also have a folder for my Website, my book, and my products where I put ideas, content, etc. into. Then I put them in a folder organizer (not sure what these are called so I included a picture) next to be desk – since I’m a visual person, I like to see them!

2) Set up the same folders in your emails. Use the same categories you have for paper as you do for emails – it will be so much easier to find them!  Then move your emails from you in box and your sent box into the associated folder. If you don’t know how to do this – email me at juliewood@eseedling.com and I can help you out!

3) Go through your notes and file in the appropriate folders (or you can scan and save them electronically). You probably have pages of notes to organize (if you’re anything like me) so you may need to sift a little before filing.  One thing I try to do when I’m at a conference is keep my note pages so that I only have one speaker on a page so I can easily organize when I get home.

4) Go through your pile of business cards and enter them in your email software (hopefully have one such as mail chimp, constant contact, aweber, infusionsoft).  If you don’t have one – get one now! If you are using a true CRM system – enter any pertinent information you want to keep track of (you won’t remember it a month from now)!

5) Make a Master To Do List and prioritize!  Either as you are organizing or after you’ve organized make a Master list with all the things you want to do.  Then go back and prioritize.  Once prioritized, assign deadlines and measures (goals) so that you stay on track.

I hope that helps get you going!  I would love to hear your comments and what tips you have that work well for you!  Julie Wood, chief cultivator, seedling, llc







Are you building your platform?

I’ve been back a week from Author 101 University and I finally sifted through all the materials and started getting to work on the 3 things I wrote down to focus on: 1) Build my platform (more on that in a moment), 2) Finish writing my book, 3) Follow up and write thanks with contacts.  If there is one thing I learned at Author 101 University (besides you must have a book proposal if you writing a non-fiction book) is you need a platform!  Basically, if you want someone to publish your book, you must have a following (a platform).  We learned at Author 101 that there are many ways to go about building your platform.  We learned that you need to get out and share your expertise either in person or online (or both)!  Free content is a good way to start building your credibility, making an impact and building your platform.  So, in addition to writing the book (thankfully, I already finished the book proposal), I will be putting together some free content to help others with entrepreneurship.  I also have a few ideas for a kindle book which we also learned could help build your platform.  So, what are you doing to make an impact and build your platform?


Throwing a Wrench in the Works

From what all the experts say, writing a book is the number #1 way to build your credibility.  When I was thinking about starting a youth entrepreneur camp business, it never occurred to me that I would be writing a book.  Then I went to Experts Academy with Brendon Burchard, he brought to the stage Rick Frishman from Morgan James publishing telling us that the number #1 way to build credibility was to publish a book.  Talk about throwing a wrench in the works; did I need to stop working on my business and write a book?  The really funny thing is when I woke up the next morning, there I was at my computer writing (a book).

I remember looking back about 6 years ago when I was going to go back to school after leaving corporate America. I wanted to get recertified in elementary education so I could go back into teaching. An advisor at UW-Madison said to me, “you should think about graduate school.”  Mind you, I was 47 years old; another wrench in the works?!  Okay that was a bit of a regression but I do have a point here.

Anyway, I have been working on my book (really my book proposal which is what you have to do first), and it is not only interesting and challenging but doing the research for it will definitely make my business idea better in the end.  In the book proposal, you have to look at competitive books, how you are going to market your book, and who you are going to market to.  These are very important in business and researching them for the book will definitely help me in the long run.

Now, back to my earlier point – maybe sometimes we need to have a wrench thrown in the works to get us looking at things from another perspective and help us move forward!


My entrepreneurial journey begins!

Since this e-seedling is a business about cultivating tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.  I think it is only fit to start with a post of documenting my entrepreneurial journey of getting this new business going.  It’s exciting to start a business in today’s age but it is also challenging. There are so many resources out there to help get your business started and technology is readily available.  But is with these resources that the challenges come.  Just customizing a WordPress template can be challenge in itself :).  So I hope you follow along with my entrepreneurial journey as we learn together!

Julie Wood

Chief Cultivator, E-seedling, LLC