Kid Entrepreneur: Is Your Child a Budding Entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship isn’t just about making money. It can also be exciting and stimulating and allow for pursuing goals that help the common good.
Just like adults, kids can get inspired about creating enterprises of their own. With a little help and guidance — and maybe a bit of seed money from a friendly source — there’s no limit to what little businesspeople can do.
The internet is full of stories about kids creating interesting, viable businesses of all kinds. From lemonade stand moguls to tech millionaires, kids are doing it all. Read on and discover children that will inspire you — and maybe your own little ones.
Kid entrepreneurs who’ve made it big
Read about some kid entrepreneurs who made it big. We could all take an example from these enterprising young people.
Robert Nay, founder of Nay Games
Robert Nay was just 14 when he designed the game Bubble Ball, which became the most popular free app on iTunes in 2011, making him an overnight millionaire. An eighth grader in Spanish Fork, Utah, at the time, Nay built the game using self-taught coding skills. He has continued designing games since then under his company, Nay Games.
“I’d encourage people — young people especially — to find something worthwhile they want to do, and to try it,” Nay told the Provo Daily Herald.
Moziah Bridges, founder of Mo’s Bows
Moziah Bridges of Memphis, Tenn., launched his bow tie business, Mo’s Bows, when he was just nine years old, using sewing skills his grandmother had taught him. A dapper dresser, he was frustrated with the inadequate selection of bow ties for boys, so he started making a selection with more colors and fabrics, even using scraps of dresses. In 2013, Bridges appeared on “Shark Tank” at age 11 (with his mother). And now, at 15, he has grown his business to more than $200,000 a year in revenue.
“My friends say that I inspire them to do what they dream, to do what they love,” Bridges told Business Insider.
Alina Morse, founder of Zollipops
At age seven, Alina Morse from Wolverine Lake, Mich., wondered why lollipops had to be so bad for your teeth. She figured out how to make some that contained no sugar by using xylitol, maltitol syrup, beetroot juice and stevia to sweeten the treats. Then she borrowed $7,500 from her grandparents and launched Zollipops in 2014.
Her pops were soon selling in Whole Foods, SuperValu and on Amazon. Michelle Obama invited her to the White House twice and served Zollipops as the only candy at the 2016 White House Easter Egg Roll.
“Always keep asking questions.” Alina told Entrepreneur magazine when asked for advice for other kid business owners. “You can do anything if you work hard, try and believe in yourself and never give up!”
Mikaila Ulmer, founder of Me & The Bees Lemonade
After two bees stung her at age four, Mikaila Ulmer of Austin, Texas, became fascinated by honeybees. When she discovered that they under threat, she decided to do something about it. She started selling lemonade sweetened with honey to support beekeepers, using her great-grandmother’s recipe from 1940. Her company, Me & The Bees Lemonade, launched in 2009.
Ulmer received a $60,000 investment after appearing on “Shark Tank” in 2015, and in 2016 she announced an $11 million distribution deal with Whole Foods. She takes her social mission seriously; she recently founded the Healthy Hive Foundation to help ensure bees continue to thrive.
When she was launching her company, she told NBC, “[my friends] didn’t believe me. Now I am helping my friends start their own businesses.”
Rachel Zietz, founder of Gladiator Lacrosse
In 2012, 13-year-old Rachel Zietz wanted to practice her lacrosse game in her backyard, but she found her sports equipment quickly degraded from usage and weather. The teen from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., decided to create more durable equipment herself and launched Gladiator Lacrosse to market a line of rebounders and practice goals that lacrosse players could use for intense practice.
Zietz’s company racked up $200,000 in revenue in the first year, and by the time she was on “Shark Tank” at age 15, Gladiator Lacrosse had brought in $1.5 million in sales. Zietz plans to keep her company going as she moves forward with plans to study economics at Princeton University.
“It’s never too young to start,” she told Entrepreneur magazine. “I started when I was 13, and it was successful. Most people are afraid, but if you’re passionate about it, you’re never too young.”
Does your child want to be a kid entrepreneur?
Two of the most important personality traits of entrepreneurs include drive and motivation. It’s one thing for your little one to get enthused about the idea of a setting up a lemonade stand. It’s quite another for a kid to have the staying power to work that stand for hours. That staying power is a result of other central characteristics of entrepreneurs: self-efficacy (the belief that one can achieve goals) and locus of control (the perception that one’s own decisions determine outcomes).
Motivation to succeed is also related to an essential element to successful entrepreneurship: a passion for the project. Is your child truly excited by the venture he or she wants to start? That will probably matter more than anything. Whether your child gets enthused about a venture might depend on some other important entrepreneurial personality traits, such as creativity, innovativeness and the willingness to take risks.
Another commonality among entrepreneurs is a desire to learn and an interest in how a business works. A truly entrepreneurial young lemonade salesperson will focus on logistics — learn how to make the correct change, keep tabs on supplies and maintain a clean and appealing storefront, for example. Learning how to run a business on a day-to-day level requires traits like tenacity, responsibility and conscientiousness, all of which entrepreneurs tend to exhibit.
Entrepreneurs also tend to have good senses of how to connect with customers. They don’t have to be naturally “salesy,” but they usually do have a gift for networking and marketing. Extraversion is a trait often associated with entrepreneurship. Does your youngster keep trying out new strategies to get strangers to stop at the lemonade stand? Does he or she think about what else customers might like — iced tea, perhaps, or cookies — and add those to the product list?
Kid entrepreneur ideas
If your kid seems enterprise-minded, offer these ideas for him or her to try out and get a taste of life in business:
- Start a lemonade stand. This is the classic, and many kids’ first — and sometimes last — entrepreneurial effort. Those who really love it might decide to do something more.
- Launch an Etsy business. Etsy is unique among e-commerce sites because it focuses on vintage and handmade items. This means kids who can make cute crafts or source handmade or vintage items from others and start a business selling to people around the world.
- Sell on eBay. If you have unused toys or sports equipment sitting in your garage, suggest to your child that he or she set up an eBay storefront and sell them for a profit. It’s simple to start, and it will quickly give your little one a sense of how retail works. Learn more by checking this guide to starting an eBay business.
- Give other kids lessons. Older kids might have skills that they can share with younger ones. Make a suggestion to your child to hang a shingle as a tutor to teach others anything from math to music to golf.
- Babysit. Another classic, babysitting can be much more than just an occasional evening entertaining the neighbors’ kids. An entrepreneurial young person can shape babysitting into a lucrative and satisfying business, especially if he or she is able to play middleman by hooking parents up with other local sitters — for a bit off the top, of course.
- Walk dogs. Animal-loving kids will enjoy this option, and it’s easy to scale up. A kid can walk multiple dogs at once, making up to five or six times the money in the same amount of time.
- Do yard work. Hard workers can offer yard maintenance services to neighbors. Young landscapers can offer mowing, trimming, leaf-raking, snow-shoveling, watering and even full-service gardening throughout the year, depending on the season.
The bottom line
If your child likes working on a small scale as a tutor or dog walker and wants to expand, help him or her brainstorm ways to add extra capacity or reach to the business. For example, a neighborhood dog walker can choose a catchy company name, create a website and print up flyers to stick in mailboxes.
Parents beware: Regardless of how hardworking and enthusiastic your little kid entrepreneur is, the whole point for kids doing business is to have fun and learn new skills. The best support a parent can give is to help the littlest business people remember that.