I have an Aspiring Entrepreneur – now what?

You have an aspiring entrepreneur in your house or classroom; the one setting up a lemonade stand and sitting out in the front yard until dark or the one that is making bracelets and selling them to their friends at school or the one that is always asking their neighbors if they can take care of their pets.  So how do you keep that entrepreneurial fire burning?  Here are some tips on how to get started!

  1. Choose a business idea. If they haven’t chosen a specific business idea, they should chose and commit to one. You can’t start learning about how to start and run a business until you actually do it. If they need inspiration help them think about their interests, what they’ve learned and what they like to do in their spare time.
  2. Determine the goal. Once they come up with an idea, have them come up with a goal. Is it just to have fun? Is it to earn money for something they want to buy? Is it to learn more about business and finances?  Whatever it is, have them write it down and be specific.  The more specific it is, the more likely they are to accomplish it.
  3. Create a plan. Once they have their idea and a goal, they need a plan on how to get there. They will need action steps to take to achieve their goal. These can be such things as how many people do I need to contact, how many products do I need to make, etc.
  4. What is the budget. They will need items to start-up their business and make their product or provide their service. Do they have money already saved up or will they need to borrow money from you? Have them put together a list of what they need and the costs so they can figure out how to get the money they need.
  5. Legal Stuff. They already have your approval but before putting it into action, you may need to check 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.
  6. Just Do It! Most entrepreneurs learn while running their business and since entrepreneurship is about taking action, there is no better way. Be sure to keep track of your expenses, sales and what is working and not working. That way you can keep doing what works and make changes as needed.

Being an entrepreneur is a rewarding experience and I can’t think of a more fun way to learn and earn money during the summer!

Want more resources to help your aspiring entrepreneur? Here are a few to check out:

LINK to Amazon, You’re Never too Young to Start a Business e-book (with downloadable worksheets)

LINK to YouTube Mini-Lesson Monday’s for Young Entrepreneurs

LINK to more Information on Summer Youth Entrepreneur Camps in Madison, WI

If you would like to know more about how to bring youth entrepreneurship to your area contact Julie Wood at juliewood@eseedling.com or visit eseedling.com 

Girl Looking at Goldfish

What do Mini-Lessons & Goldfish Have in Common?

Girl Looking at Goldfish

Girl Looking at Goldfish

Mini-Lesson Mondays for Young Entrepreneurs – Are they the wave of the future?

You may have heard that the focus of a human being has been compared to that of a goldfish.

In a recent article by a colleague of mine, Jenna Atkinson, in our local business magazine (In Business Magazine) quoted that  Time magazine published an article called, “You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish.” It reported on how an increasingly digital lifestyle has reduced the average person’s attention span from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to eight seconds in 2015.

The average attention span of a goldfish? Nine seconds. Scary right?! 

Then a few months ago, I read an article in HR magazine about how micro-learning is becoming more popular.  The article discusses a company that uses 4 minute videos to teach concepts and the employees can come back and view them as needed.

And then I began to think about my own attention span – I am currently taking an Internet Marketing course that is broken down into small segments of reading and video.  Each lesson’s content is no longer than a few minutes.  In addition to short quizzes, they give you an assignment based on the content you just learned so you can apply it. I really like this type of learning, I can fit it in when I have a few minutes and can come back to it when I need it.

That is why I decided to create Mini-Lessons for Young Entrepreneurs.  Each Monday, I post a short video on my YouTube channel with a new mini-lesson that will help young entrepreneurs come up with a business idea, business name and help them get it up and running.  The videos are short with the majority of them being less than 3 minutes long and each one gives a short assignment to write in their ‘entrepreneur notebook’. If you haven’t checked it out yet, Click HERE for the Mini-Lesson Monday for Young Entrepreneurs Playlist.

I would love to hear what topics you are interested in for Mini-Lesson Monday so please share your ideas by commenting below or emailing me at juliewood@eseedling.com

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!

 

 

 

 

videos for young entrepreneurs

My Fave 5 Videos for teaching Young Entrepreneurs

videos for young entrepreneurs

movie theatre marquee

Everyone loves a good video, especially kids!  It’s always amazing to me that they can be somewhat loud and rambunctious and then a video comes on and voila; it’s like magic – they are mesmerized by the world of video, they pay attention and soak it in! That is why when I teach young entrepreneurs (adults seem to like them too), I interweave video with teaching and activities to make for a fun and effective learning environment.  Since I’m getting ready for the summer camp season, I thought I would share my top 5 videos for teaching young entrepreneurs.

 

  1. Entrepreneurs Can Change the World by Grasshopper, The Entrepreneurs Phone Company. (grasshopper.com) https://youtu.be/T6MhAwQ64c0 This video is a great introduction for a discussion on what an entrepreneur is, what they do and how they can make a difference.
  2. Channel One News Teen Entrepreneurs Wrap Up from Channelone.com. https://youtu.be/11bOrQG3xMw . This video is a great intro into the students choosing their own business idea.  It talks about passion, other businesses and the benefits of starting a business as a young entrepreneur.  Channel One News has lots of great information for teens and teachers can use many of the episodes as a fun classroom discussion starter.
  3. Saturday Night Live’s Pizza Eater Video with Melissa McCarthy. http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/pizza-business/n35040 Melissa McCarthy goes to the bank to get a loan for her new business. This humorous video works great as an example for learning the business model canvas.  In addition to being funny it shows that there is one huge flaw in her business idea (how to make revenue). After watching the video, work on the business model canvas as a group and fill in the building blocks based on the pizza eater business.  Here’s more information on the business model canvas if you are not familiar with it: http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas/bmc
  4. Lemonaire: Youngest Entrepreneur from Umpqua Bank https://youtu.be/5d2V1LYNBeE .This is my all-time favorite video that I use when teaching young entrepreneurs. It was created by Umpqua Bank as a marketing video but includes so many lessons for teaching young entrepreneurs. It works great to use at the beginning of running a team lemonade stand. It’s great to use for a discussion of a business model, how to get money, how to plan and what can happens when things don’t go as planned.
  5. The Home Run from Liberty Mutual (the responsibility project) https://youtu.be/C-3QCgVDQGw . This is a true story of a girl’s baseball team and what happens with the team to win the game. It is a great example of ethics and sportsmanship and works well to start a discussion on business ethics and rules.
  6. BONUS: Life After Death by Powerpoint 2012 by Don McMillan https://youtu.be/MjcO2ExtHso. This is a humorous video is a great example of what not to do in Powerpoint.  If the kids are going to do a presentation this will start a discussion on what you should do. The reason this is not in my top 5 is that it does include the word “hell” and it might not be appropriate for younger kids.

Now it’s your turn – I would love to hear what your favorite videos for teaching young entrepreneurs!  Please share and comment below. 

For more resources on teaching young entrepreneurs visit eseedling.com

What is the Biz Ops Game?

I often get asked what exactly is the Biz Ops Game?  Here is a short video to explain what it is, how it works and what it teaches.

 

 

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.

 

Kid Planning a Trip

5 Everyday Opportunities to Teach Entrepreneurship to your Kids

Kid Planning a Trip

Daughter planning a trip

I am an avid reader of ideas for teaching entrepreneurship not only for improving my own teaching of entrepreneurship but also so I can help parents and teachers implement entrepreneurship education in easy and effective ways. Sometimes we forget about the everyday opportunities we have for developing our kids into young entrepreneurs so here are 5 everyday activities that you can use to teach entrepreneurship to your kids.

  1. Getting up in the morning – do you go in their room and wake them up for school? Empower them by picking out an alarm clock and putting the responsibility on them. If they prove that they can be responsible (and keeping their grades up), you might make them a deal that they could use their cell phone as an alarm. After all, will you be there when they get up and get going for college or a job? Be sure to discuss what the consequences are if they don’t get up on time and get going to school. This one thing can teach responsibility and initiative.
  2. Budget for needs and wants – as young as age 9 they should have the skills to develop a budget for some of their expenses. Kids can understand needs and wants by then (even much younger than that) and so they could have a budget for needs and a budget for wants. This is a great way to have kids start learning how much it costs for necessities and learn what you as a parent are doing to provide these necessities for them. Then have them budget for their wants and come up with ideas to earn money for those wants.
  3. Questions or complaints; brainstorm solutions. If your kids are like mine – they ask multiple questions (and complain) every day. How many times have you heard, “I’m bored”, “How come she gets to do that” or “What’s for supper”? Since entrepreneurship is about solving problems, have them list the questions and brainstorm some ideas on how it can be solved. Then have them pitch an idea to you about the solution. This empowers them to come up with a solution and work as a team to put it together. It will also help their team work, negotiation and consensus building skills.
  4. Plan a Trip. Planning a trip is like running a project and entrepreneurs have to plan and manage many projects. Have a discussion of where you might want to go for a family trip (could start small with a weekend getaway). Then have them research hotels (including prices) and activities they want to include. If it’s a bigger trip, they can include airfare and a rental car. They can also come up with an itinerary for the trip. This will give an idea of how much a trip really costs and it will also give them the chance to learn how to research, document and communicate their findings.
  5. Promote their passions. No matter what it is, find out what they like the most and help them develop those skills. Maybe it’s going to cooking class together, or going to sports activity, it will make them feel special and help deepen their passion (and your relationship). If they are truly passionate about something, encourage them to turn it into a business. They can start small, maybe at craft fairs or by teaching kids at school. This way they can see how it goes and make sure they like it. It will give them a taste of entrepreneurship and maybe they will be able to earn money for some of those “Wants”!

For more information, free tips and product discounts on teaching entrepreneurship; subscribe to this blog or opt-in to our e-newsletter on eseedling.com.

What is an Entrepreneur

What is an Entrepreneur?

What is an Entrepreneur

What is an Entrepreneur?

My theory is that you can’t really teach kids how to be an entrepreneur if they don’t know what it is. The hard part is defining what an entrepreneur is! If you Google “What is an Entrepreneur”, you will get 149 million results in a matter of seconds.

The first one listed is the dictionary definition:

en·tre·pre·neur

noun: entrepreneur; plural noun: entrepreneurs

  1. a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.

 

Here are a few more of the definitions that came up as some of the first search results:

Entrepreneurs know you need to be both a leader and a manager… in that order. They always start with a leader, and then find a manager. “What is an Entrepreneur?” by Ken Krogue, Forbes July 3, 2013

 

An article from Inc.com entitled “What is an entrepreneur anyway?” by Justin Bariso (Nov 28,2014) includes several definitions of an entrepreneur including his personal favorite (which happens to be my favorite of the article also): Rory MccGwire (founder of The Marketing Donut): “An entrepreneur is someone who, rather than working 8 hours a day for someone else, would prefer to work 18 hours a day for [him or herself]. (And one can then embellish it with half-the-pay, twice the stress, but ten times the fun, etc.)” The article also discusses whether or not if all business owners are actually entrepreneurs which I tend to think they are.”

One of my favorites is from Entrepreneur.com: Who is an Entrepreneur by Juan Jose de la Torre on April 29,2015; He includes many traits but ends up with I think is the real key:Passion is the real drive:There is another element that really dwells at the center of any entrepreneur: passion! An entrepreneur possesses an interior fuel and stamina that drives his or her actions; this superior energy helps to overtake and surpass the different challenges and it injects strength to continue pursuing goals when difficulties arise. Anyone can be an entrepreneur and behave like one- regardless of whether or not they happen to be an equity holder. Ultimately, it’s all about the attitude when running the show.”

This is a great start but since there are 149 million results it tells us that it is not quite that easy to define! That is why “What is an Entrepreneur” is what I start with when I’m teaching young entrepreneurs – how can you teach them to be one if they don’t know what an entrepreneur is.

To introduce what an entrepreneur is and does, I use a short video from Grasshopper (a virtual phone company) entitled Entrepreneurs Can Change the World:  http://grasshopper.com/idea/  The video includes many points about being an entrepreneur and provides a great base for a discussion of what an entrepreneur is and does. Some of the points in the video include:

Entrepreneurs can be anyone

Anyone can change the world

One person can make a difference

They may start with little or nothing except a brilliant idea

Entrepreneurs Work hard

They see opportunities

They think about how life can better and make it better

Entrepreneurs change the way we see the world

They are innovators, thinkers, doers

Entrepreneurs take risks

They create jobs and fuel growth

Entrepreneurs find new ways to solve problems

In addition to the points in the video, I emphasize that passion and purpose are extremely important (to keep you going when times are tough) and then we go into a discussion of choosing an idea that they can use their own unique talents and skills (I’ll save that for another blog post).

Being an entrepreneur is not just about learning the business skills to run a business (anyone can learn those skills); it is about what an entrepreneur mindset is. They must be able to see opportunities and have the ability to come up with creative solutions. They also need resilience and so when they fail, they can keep on going. In a future post, I will talk about the new Entrepreneurial Strength Finder by Gallup – based on research they state that there are 10 Entrepreneurial Strengths necessary to become a highly successful large scale entrepreneur. I believe that anyone can become an entrepreneur (or I wouldn’t be teaching kids) and that if kids can learn about the possibilities before they even reach high school they will be much more open to learning what is an entrepreneur, developing those entrepreneurial strengths and creating an entrepreneurial mindset so that they can become successful entrepreneurs.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for my blog updates and share with others. For more resources and tools on teaching youth entrepreneurship and to sign up for my e-newsletter and special promotions visit www.eseedling.com.

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.