In an Entrepreneurial Rut? Your Younger Self Knew How to Get Going.
Kids make some of the best entrepreneurs. Fresh ideas come naturally to them, they aren't discouraged easily, and they're more than capable of navigating the modern world. But where does that leave you? If you're reading this, you're probably a grownup.
Most entrepreneurial problems are solvable by a fresh perspective -- namely, a younger one. It's why we started Kidpreneurs.org; kids are natural geniuses, and it's about time we unlocked their true potential. Regardless of how you're stuck, looking back to your younger, more inspired self may help you to get out of that rut. These young entrepreneurs solved some of the most common entrepreneurial problems. What would your kid self do in these situations?
When that awesome idea just won't come.
Some entrepreneurs know they're destined for business ownership before a bright idea comes along. A case like this can be discouraging; without an awesome business concept, how can an entrepreneur succeed? Never fear—there is a solution, and it's easier than you think. Next time you're talking with friends or just hanging out at your local coffee shop, take note of the problems faced by those around you. If one person is facing an issue, hundreds (or thousands) of others are experiencing it as well. That means there's a market for the solution!
If you haven't heard of her already, 11-year-old Mikaila Ulmer is a pro at turning a problem into a product. After receiving a cherished recipe for honey-flaxseed lemonade in 2009, she was devastated to learn that honeybees were quickly becoming endangered. She set out to create a product that would both satisfy her entrepreneurial itch and help the bees . . . and came up with Me & the Bees Lemonade, sweetened with local, natural honey. Since establishment, Me & The Bees Lemonade has sold out at youth entrepreneurial events, restaurants, and Whole Foods stores region-wide. "Create a business that you see the that world is missing, solve a problem with it and do something you have a passion for," Mikaila says. With a big problem comes a big, brilliant business solution.
When you don't have the cash.
Bootstrapping is an excellent startup funding method, but some businesses require a bit more seed capital. But how will you get the money? While there are tons of way to fund a business, each comes with its pros and cons; in the end, it's all about what's right for your startup.
Madison Robinson didn't let indecision stop her from funding her business. After coming up with the idea for FishFlops and making a few initial prototypes, Madison sold her sea-themed sandals at local trade shows. It was the perfect way of testing the product's viability and raising cash for bulk manufacturing at the same time, and at one show, Madison received 37 store orders. Not only did she know there was a market for her product, but she had the funding to meet it! Madison knows it can be tricky to fund a business, but she says when the going gets rough, you just have to "be patient, persistent and never give up."
Every entrepreneur faces setbacks during his or her career. They come in many forms, but all setbacks share something in common: each contains a hidden opportunity within. It's just a matter of finding the open door and walking through it.
As it turns out, kid entrepreneur Erik Finman knows exactly how to turn a setback on its head. Erik was bullied extensively at school; some students and faculty even told him to drop out and work at McDonald's instead. When changing schools didn't work, he did drop out, but he had a plan for his newfound free time. Erik built Botangle, a customizable online learning environment, using the money from a savvy Bitcoin sale. His goal was to create a center for learning that didn't allow for excessive bullying and ignited passion in students' hearts. With Botangle, Erik was able to take advantage of a negative setback and provide a solution for students with similar experiences. According to Erik, overcoming those setbacks allows you to "lead yourself through life, do what you love, build what you want to build, [and] go where you want to go."
When you can’t pick your next move.
Entrepreneurship puts all of the power in your hands. While this is normally an exciting opportunity to flex your creative muscle, it can also be terrifying -- nobody knows what step to take 100 percent of the time. In some cases, you have to have faith that your moves are the right ones.
High school freshman Taylor Rosenthal faced the ultimate fork in the road with his company RecMed . After watching parents scramble for Band-Aids at local baseball games, Taylor thought he'd make it easier for people to get first-aid supplies on the go. He came up with the RecMed vending machine, a machine that distributes bandages, ointment, tape, and more with a bit of cash and a push of a button. Taylor received a $30 million offer for his business earlier this month, which would have put the young entrepreneur in the lap of luxury at just age 14. Though he considered the offer, he ultimately didn't take it. Rumor has it he'll only take $50 million or above for RecMed, some of which he plans on using to attend business school. “At the time, I felt the deal wasn't right,” Taylor says about the $30 million offer. “I felt like I wanted to grow and develop the company from what it was, which drove me to turn it down”
It’s clear that kids just get it, and when you were a kid, you probably did, too. Next time you’re in an entrepreneurial rut, trust that your younger self knows what to do.