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 

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.

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.

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!