The first time I remember making and selling things, I used oil pastels to draw little swirly flowers on hundreds of sheets of paper and envelopes, and sold them as stationary sets for nickels and pennies to everyone I possibly could. I think I must have been 4 or 5 years old. I remember thinking really hard about which envelopes went with which papers - and cutting some in half for different sizes.
Fast forward a few years, I had some Girl Scout cookie sales under my belt, I had attended lots of camps and workshops - including Junior Program Leader trainings, I had many many many examples of women running my world and sharing their leadership and business expertise. I moved on to more complicated textile arts, and persistently sold friendship bracelets to my troops, swim teams, and friends. I remember having an assembly line of friendship bracelets set up on my bed -- with about 20, 25 different bracelets taped to the headboard, and I would move through them a few lines at a time.
I was homeschooled, with parents who devoted massive amounts of time and energy to supporting my interests. They weren't the "school at home" types either - they made it a point not to interrupt my projects, to give me spaces to be messy and experiment, and connect me with people of all ages in the fields I was interested in. On one hand, the path my interests took looked chaotic and scattered - I moved from theater to crocheting to painting to collage to shrinky dinks to resin to watercolors to knitting to quilting to scrapbooking to beading to ceramics (which stuck, hardcore, for years, but that's another post). Looking back there are clear connections - but at the time I can only imagine what it would have been like trying to keep up with my mess-and-material intensive interests.
I spent years taking ceramics and art classes at our community college. My first job was at a ceramics supply store and lab. I went on to get a Bachelor's in a degree that would let me "do all the things" -- Recreation and Leisure Studies. I joked I was majoring in Girl Scouts. I made decisions that would open opportunities and doors, not narrow things down.
I knew I wanted to be my own boss - that was never a question. Family lore has it that at a very young age, I put hands on my hips and demanded of my aunt, "How will they know what to do if I don't tell them?"
Another decade, another degree, now running my own two businesses and teaching recreation and leisure! I've got a couple of kids and even more of a desire to be the one in charge -- but also helping others do the same. Enter the Youth Entrepreneur Sponsorship program. I'm putting every bit of what I wanted as a kid, my art-world experience, my programming/event management knowledge, and my higher education (I'm also a licensed therapist) into providing a space to train and support kids who want to run their own businesses. It fills me with energy and absolute joy to help folks talk through their ideal audience, how to engage with customers, sales and tracking systems, and the mindset shifts we go through as we become leaders and the absolute boss of our empires.