Raising An Entrepreneur

Will was 4 years old when he first began selling.  He and his sister, 18 months his senior, would sell flubber at small, local arts & crafts fairs twice a year.  As a homeschool mom, I was always thinking of ways to make learning fun, especially in the younger years.  So one of the “fun” activities would be making flubber.  They enjoyed it so much that we always had flubber around the house and handing them out to friends whenever we’d have a playdate.  Then the teacher in me started thinking about how to take the children’s delight in making flubber to the next level.  “Maybe we could sell it,” I thought.

Then making flubber became even more special because Will and Linzey would get excited knowing they’d be able to share their flubber with other kids their age.  Although they would have given it for free, the entrepreneur in me thought a buck a bag would help pay the cost of the ingredients and my gas. I remember our first attempt at selling grossed us a whopping $6. That was our lunch money at McDonald’s where my kids would share a Happy Meal on the way home.  That one experience, of course, led to several booths at arts & crafts shows throughout the year which helped launch Will’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Within a year, Will asked his dad to build him his custom wagon (the ones at Toys R Us weren’t big enough) to fill his wares when he’d setup his lemonade stand by our gated community.  Then he gradually added more to his menu including candy bars, gatorade and snow cones.  A year after that, Will became a lot more strategic in his selling making sure he was setup by the gate at 3:15pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  When asked, “Why do we need to always be home by then?”  He would quickly answer, “That’s when the school bus drops off the kids from school so I can’t be late.”

No magic formula.  No step-by-step instructions.  Just this simple piece of advice; support them no matter what.  Make sure they’re having fun along the way.  Be their biggest cheerleader.  And let them make mistakes.  Those will be their greatest opportunities for learning.