The story of a 9-year old entrepreneur caught my attention this summer. With his business savvy, incentivizing leadership, and friendly smile I was curious about where he came up with his ideas and company. Here’s my interview with and story of the motivated young man…
It’s an interesting time to be in business. It’s an even more interesting time to operate with a team, find and keep employees, motivate them, and successfully run a company. But that didn’t stop Joseph.
Earlier this year he and his family walked into a crystal shop on the Oregon Coast where Joe’s inspiration ignited. Then, during a camping trip to Eastern Oregon his sister began finding and collecting crystal embedded rocks – geodes.
Put two and two together and an idea was born. Joseph knew he could sell his collections and start making money.
Upon returning from the family vacation, Joe asked his mom to help him build a shop front. Using crates and bins and homemade signs, the Charlie Brown-esque sales stand came to life. Discussing the concept with some neighborhood friends, Joseph landed on his pricing structure for his various products and hung out his shingle.
But it wasn’t long before Joseph realized he couldn’t and didn’t want to do this work on his own. Not only was he coming face-to-face with the various hats one must wear as an entrepreneur, the thought of being the salesperson had him thinking of ways around owning that role.
I asked him, “How do you market or promote your products?”
I have ‘employees’ to help get customers. When people are on walks in the neighborhood ‘employees’ will approach them and ask if they want to come see Joe’s Geode Shop.
“How do you find your employees and compensate them?”
Friends from the neighborhood and even a family member have decided to help. I give them $1.00 per customer they bring to the shop.
“What’s your favorite part of owning your own business?”
I like the interaction with my customers and how they enjoy the rocks and crystals I have for sale.
“What’s one thing you don’t love about owning your own business?”
The only thing is putting the whole shop away at the end of the day.
“What advice would you give someone who wants to start a business like yours?”
I would say – good for you! Do it!
This remarkable conversation with Joseph started moving my wheels, too. This year has brought so many unknowns for workers, employers, and businesses in general. If they haven’t already, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if people begin launching their own companies. Finding an interest, or better yet a passion, then getting creative, paying attention to strengths and weaknesses, and embracing their internal leader will all be required. But if a 9-year old entrepreneur can do it…
The final question I asked him was this: “Why did you start a business, Joseph?” To which he replied, “Well, I want a quad someday, but my mom wants a camper, and I wanted to contribute to that.”
If we could all be as motivated to help others, especially those we love, just like Joseph is.
Related: From the Wall Street Journal – Workers Quit Jobs in Droves to Become Their Own Bosses
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