If you are an adult today, managing a business was the last thought on your mind as a child. But for some kids, the sense of entrepreneurship catches on at an early age.
And today, more kid entrepreneurs are changing the small business landscape than ever. These 6 kid entrepreneurs are business powerhouses in progress. And every small business owner, whether young or old, could learn from them.
1. Erik Finman
- Age: 22
- Founder: Botangle
As a child, Erik Finman jumped from school to school and was often bullied emotionally and physically. A particularly mean teacher advising the Idaho native to “drop out and work at McDonald’s because [he’d] never amount to anything.“
Erik eventually dropped out of school, but not his learning. He created his education atmosphere from home, using a computer and an Internet connection, and named it Botangle (a combination of “robotics” and “angle“). “I created this side project to kind of save myself,” he said “Its mission is to replace the public education system because of my really terrible experiences in it.” When the robotics genius was 15, he took his project to the next level, launching it as a fee-based online video guidance service. He bootstrapped the startup on his own, using $100,000 he’d cashed-out from a fortunate early Bitcoin investment. Today, he manages a team of programmers, not only for Botangle but for several other likely projects.
What Erik enjoys most being a kid entrepreneur:
“The most fun thing is to not have to go to school. I get the freedom to travel, hang out with the most important people in every industry and work on what I love.“
“Be selfish. I think [the word] ‘selfish’ is just a tainted word for self-leadership. Lead yourself through life, do what you love, build what you want to build, go where you want to go.“
2. Ollie Forsyth
- Age: 23
- Founder: Ollie’s Shop
Richard Branson became the inspiration of Ollie Forsyth to start the entrepreneurial venture at the age of 13. That’s three years younger than the billionaire Virgin Group founder was when he dared his first attempt.
Much like Branson, Ollie struggled in school. He was often bullied and called as lazy. The Northamptonshire, U.K. native, later discovered that he has dyslexia, also like Branson.
One day, while watching YouTube, he had a breakthrough. In an inspirational clip, Branson explained how he transformed his dyslexia, often mistaken as a weakness, into his biggest power.
“Right then I was determined to become like him,” Ollie tells Entrepreneur. His first step: accepting his learning difference. His second: showing the people who said he’d never amount to anything wrong with the launch of Ollie’s Shop. The online gift boutique offers trendy fashion accessories, including cufflinks, bracelets, and belts. Ollie created some of his wares himself at home. Others are sourced from China.
Winning despite the naysayers feels amazingly good, Ollie says. But nothing really compares to the excitement he felt when he eventually coincided his hero, Sir Richard Branson.
“I met him at a Virgin Unite conference last year,” he says. “I was not going to leave the building until I met him. He’s the nicest person I’ve ever met.”
What Olli enjoys most being a kid entrepreneur:
“You get to meet some fascinating people, but, most importantly, you get some incredible opportunities from those connections made.”
“You have to do what you love and, if you have a business idea in mind, just try it and see what happens. I see too many people with great ideas, but they do not pursue them as they are afraid to. Just get on and do it!“
3. Isabella Rose Taylor
- Age: 20
- Founder: Isabella Rose Taylor
By the age of 12, Isabella Rose Taylor had already stitched up an extraordinary achievement by selling her own collection at Nordstrom.
The Austin, Texas, native’s creations range from crop tops to graphic tees, mostly black, white, and grey color. Her love of art inspires those that feature patterns. Many draw sketches of hands or dashes of paint, all in an abstract way. Soon after Isabella Rose became the youngest designer ever to market a clothing line at the Seattle-based upscale retailer, the artistic young fashionista checked off another unbelievable achievement: showing off her hippie-chic designs at New York Fashion Week.
What Isabella Rose enjoys most being a kid entrepreneur:
“Like most entrepreneurs, I get to build a company around something I am passionate about, and then I get to watch it grow. I have also enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life. As an entrepreneur, networking is very important, and I’ve met people who’ve inspired me and I think I may have inspired others.”
Isabella Rose’s advice: “Starting a business is a lot of hard work. Don’t start a business unless you love what you do. Do a lot of research and planning to make sure there is a market for your product.“
4. Rachel Zietz
- Age: 20
- Founder: Gladiator Lacrosse
If you cannot get the product you require, invent it. That is what Rachel Zietz did. The result: Gladiator Lacrosse, the ambitious Boca Raton, Fla., teen’s premium line of durable lacrosse equipment.
The varsity athlete and high school sophomore honors student started her sporty business in 2013, mainly out of disappointment. Despite exploring in stores and online, she could not get her hands on lacrosse gear strong enough to confront rigorous practice on repeat.
“For me, if there’s a problem, there’s also an opportunity,” she told the Sun Sentinel.
Rachel’s parents and younger brother are also businesspeople, so she got into the business. In her first year, she racked up $200,000 in earnings. A year later, she was on track to bank $1 million in revenues.
What Rachel enjoys being a kid entrepreneur:
“I believe the best part is that I am able to pursue something that I love [business] and can inspire others that you are never too young to accomplish your dream. Also, it is amazing to run the day-to-day operations of the company and it is great to see the looks on people’s faces when they realize who is running the company!“
“My advice to any aspiring young entrepreneurs is to make sure whatever you do, you are passionate about it. Passion is the key to success and it is what drives you to work through obstacles and challenges in your way.“
5. Mercer Henderson
- Age: 18
- Founder: Audiots
Like most teens, Mercer Henderson practices a flurry of emojis when chatting with friends but she applies them a tad creatively than most people. She unites sounds, changing the expressive visual icons into what she calls “soundmojis.”
One day, the tech-savvy San Francisco teen made her own soundmojis. “It was something I had fun doing already,” Mercer tells Entrepreneur. “So why not put the two together?” so her Audiots iOS app was invented.
The app, put forth by Mercer’s new company, 4 Girls Tech LLC, highlights 50-plus noisy emojis.
The promising young tech-preneur did strategic branding partnerships with GE, HINT water and the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). For her SPCA collaboration, she is raising appreciation for animal welfare by enabling Audiots users to send fun dog and cat emojis that say “funny things” and, of course, bark and meow. She also released Cardoji’s, a line of customizable digital greeting cards targeted to Generation Z members.
Henderson’s also served on integrating Audiots with email and Facebook.
What Mercer enjoys being a kid entrepreneur:
“The most fun part for me is the emails I get from people telling me they like the app! One girl told me it is the only app she has ever downloaded! I try to email everyone back after I do my homework and stuff. Also, being on TV was fun.“
“My advice is if there is something you like to do, think about if other people like it too. Then try to create a more fun or simple way to do it.”
6. Alina Morse
- Age: 15
- Founder: Zollipops
Alina Morse is one fortunate girl who visited the White House not once but twice and never as a visitor. Each time, she was an official guest, personally requested by none other than Michelle Obama
The active Alina Morse presented the unique candy at White House Easter Egg Roll — a special gift she invented when she was just seven, with guidance from her dad, Tom (the co-creator of 5-Hour Energy).
Her sweets are fruit-flavored lollipops that her little sister, Lola, named Zollipops. so what is unusual about them? They are sweetened with a mixture of xylitol, maltitol syrup, beetroot juice, and stevia, but not with sugar.
She did just that in 2014 when she began her company using $7,500 of savings from her grandparents. Soon, she decided to promote her candy creation, available in-store at Whole Foods and SuperValu and online on Amazon. She’s even pitched Shark Tank celeb investor Daymond John on Good Morning America and appeared on NBC News.
On a roll ever since the fifth-grader started her second product, Zolli Drops sugar-free peppermints. On top of giving a teeth-friendly alternative to sugary suckers, Alina donates more than 10 percent of her profits to organizations to reduce the impact of childhood tooth decay.
What Alina enjoys being a kid entrepreneur:
“The most fun thing about being a kidpreneur and working on Zollipops is that I get to travel, meet lots of people and see lots of places. All around the world, we share Zollipops with many people and brighten their smiles!“
“Always keep asking questions. You can do anything if you work hard, try and believe in yourself and never give up!” These kids are doing great in their field So the next time you need advice for starting or managing your small business, look to these inspiring kid entrepreneurs they can give you some business wisdom well.