3 Things Kids Should Know About Starting a Business
So you’re a kid and you want to sell some stuff.
Let’s get to work.
I started my first business when I was four years old.
Alright, so it wasn’t super legit - but I put a lot of work into it!
I used pastels and drew flowers on paper and envelopes and sold them for literal pennies to everyone I knew. I was a pretty savvy four year old too. I made matching sets, I figured out who my target market was (Grandmas. Okay, MY Grandma, but still) and cut some paper in half to offer my customers size options!
When I was about 10, I started making friendship bracelets and sold those to my girl scout and swim team friends. I had an assembly line up on my bed frame - about 12 different bracelets in progress, and I’d work on a row or two on each and then move on to the next (even then, I was figuring out how to use my ADHD as a super power! Hah!)
I always, always planned on being in business for myself one day. I just had no idea exactly what shape it would take. About ten years ago I started selling the earrings I crocheted, and it played out exactly like the stationary and friendship bracelets did -- just on a slightly larger scale. I made stuff I loved, sold to everyone I knew, and then stopped when I either ran out of customers in my immediate circle, or didn’t quite know what to do with it next.
Luckily, I never completely gave up on those earrings. I kept making them, and kept refining other skills, such as product photography, networking, website design, and understanding the psychology of sales. TEN YEARS LATER, I am able to look backwards and think about what I wish I’d known and understood when I first launched Royaboya Handmade.
So, my fine-feathered ambitious friend, here are the 3 things I wish I’d known when I was your age.
One. Keep Going.
Keep going. Seriously. The number of times I started something, stopped it, and then wondered why it wasn’t successful is embarrassing. Obviously your business will grow and evolve as you do, but holy moly please don’t stop. I recently found a blog I started about ten years ago when I was first launching Royaboya Handmade, and I had SO much potential. I sure wish I had been consistent with it over that decade. Now that I’ve been consistent with my handmade business for about two years, I’m seeing growth and reach that I thought I was supposed to get instantly. It doesn’t happen instantly. And when I say “be consistent” I mean keep making, sharing, and talking about your business on a very regular basis.
Two. Be Outloud.
Be outloud. Be vocal about your business. Talk that ish UP. Talk about it in line at the store, on your personal social media, to your friend’s moms, and to the random people you run into. You never know who might be a connection. Also - it can be hard to talk about yourself and your business, especially when you are new or a little unsure of yourself. So you can use the practice.
Three. Look for Examples.
Look for examples. I am infamous for trying to recreate the wheel. I can’t tell you how much time and heart ache I have saved myself by looking around at what the people and businesses I admire are doing, and what systems they are setting up for their business. Now, I don’t mean copy them exactly - absolutely no plagiarism here, please - but look around at the businesses you look up to and pay attention to not just what their products/offerings are, but also see if you can spot their strategies. Do they post every day? Do they share customer stories? Do they do lots of videos or only photos? Do they feature mostly people or product? What hashtags are they using? What are the norms and standards of the industry you are a part of?