I spent a good chunk of my childhood trying to make money. The combination of living in the middle of butt-fuck nowhere, being an awkward nerd with a ~limited group~ (no) of friends, and having a tendency towards productive boredom, I’ve collected hobbies the way an elderly woman might collect those horrific porcelain cat statues or dingy doilies. You know, the ones with the strange yellow stains and the ratty lace around the edges?
Anyway. I spent a lot of my childhood learning odd skills-knitting, scrapbooking, sewing, baking, giving massages, you name it, I tried the hobby (unless it involved running or sports). All was well initially, I’d pick up the skill and get decent at it, but then I’d always want more. I wanted more from the skill, from the world of the skill. I got bored easily. I’m not sure whether it was approval, or a new challenge, but it was rarely a desire for financial independence. Nonetheless, I started businesses. My first few entrepreneurial ventures were (shockingly, I know) fruitless. Guess that’s what happens when you’re a 6 year old that can only knit bookmarks. But I learned. I learned about working with computers and graphic design. I learned about marketing. I even learned how to manage people, with one of my more successful ventures; I had a team of other 7 year olds working for me one Christmas, and paid them a 45% commission of their sales. It wasn’t much, but with everyone trying to save up for Christmas presents, I had a decently sized team.
More than anything else, my businesses allowed me to create. I was always a ~creative soul~ but my businesses made my creativity worth something. The idea that I could not only create something I was proud enough of to sell, but also create a business to surround it successfully created a sense of pride in my work. It may have heightened my expectations for myself, but that’s what’s gotten me to the place I’m in today. Learning to work hard, and the reality of attaching your name to your work was a lesson that has defined me ever since.
Having a business also made me socially conscious. I realized the importance of giving back, but also the importance of connecting with your community. I held promotions around Christmas to up sales where money would go back to local charities.
As a shy, awkward, introverted child my businesses also provided me a refuge. It was a solo project that I could work on unapologetically alone. It was something that I could use in conversations. They provided me with a harbour of creativity, even helping me connect with other kids my age, even though it was in a professional sense as opposed to the traditional playground way. They also created a challenge, something I desperately needed at the time. I learned to problem solve, and to value myself. I learned about computers and money and marketing. I learned about the “real world”.
Kid-preneurship has been a rising concept, particularly in the last year, and though it was such a defining factor in my life growing up, it’s not something you can force. Encourage, yes. Help with, yes. But in the end it’s not for everyone, it’s the kind of thing that will revolutionize the world of one child and not effect the next. I’m just thankful for what I got from it.
Even today, I hold onto my childhood love for creating and growing businesses the way I used to. I run a dessert catering business in my free time, baking and decorating cakes for events, or donating them for charity auctions. I run this blog, something that’s become more and more like a business as it has progressed. Everything from the website design to the social media, the actual blogging to the analytics analysis, I run. And I love it.
To check out my dessert catering company, like me on Instagram at The Gilded Lily
To support my blog, I’m always appreciative of likes and comments 🙂 Let me know if you every played with entrepreneurialism as a child, or just something that defined you