In praise of 8-year-old entrepreneurs

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Welcome to spring. Well, maybe not for all of you, and certainly not officially, but out here in South Carolina, Spring is making a grand entrance. It's warm. It's sunny. The days last an hour longer. Yep,spring is here.

Did I mention it's already warm here?

I was about an hour into my first warm-weather multi-hour bike ride Sunday when I came up on a lemonade stand. In March.

I told you it was warm.

At first, I just smiled at the two 8-ish little girls on the side of the road... but... I was kind of thirsty, so I stopped, turned around, and bought myself a glass of delicious ice-cold lemonade.

Let me tell you something: That was the best glass of lemonade I've had in a long time.

It hit the spot, as they say.

Especially for only 50 cents.

The service was excellent too. The two little girls were pretty excited to have a customer - and at the time, I thought I might be one of maybe two or three that day... but I was wrong. (I'll get to that in a sec.) The point is that they were friendly, fast, professional, and very precise when it came to filling the cup with ice, pouring the lemonade, and handing me back my change. It's very serious stuff, running a lemonade stand as you wellknow, and these two little girls had obviously worked out all the kinks.

This was a well-oiled machine.

While they were busy filling, pouring and calculating, I asked them how long they had been out there. "Since 2:30, they answered." It was 4:00(pm), so they had been working for an hour and a half. I asked them how much money they had made so far. "$49," the older one answered.

$49???!!! In just an hour and a half?

"Yep," she answered proudly.

I was amazed.

I asked them if they were going to split the cash two-ways, and she hesitated. She told me about her older brother who had worked with them for twenty minutes and then got bored and went back inside to play video games. She explained that she might give him ten bucks or something... but that they would keep the rest.

I filled up my bottle, thanked them for the great lemonade, congratulated them on their success, and rolled out. The last thing she said to me was "we'll be here again next Sunday!" I shouted that I would be back. As I turned the corner, I looked over my shoulder and saw a minivan pull up to their stand. Three kids hopped out with cash in their hands.


What are these girls learning?

1. Being your own boss is hard work, but it has its rewards (whether you're 45 or 8).
2. When it comes to retail, location matters.
3. Pricepoints matter too. ($0.50 for an ice-cold glass of lemonade isn't bad... especially on a hot day.) I've seen $0.25, but I think that's leaving money on the table, between you and me.
4. Work can be fun.
5. Starting a business doesn't have to be complicated.
6. Basic accounting.
7. Customer service.
8. An 8-year-old can make $20/hour on a Sunday afternoon.
9. Exposure is not advertising-dependant.

Entrepreneurship isn't dead. Not by a longshot. And that's pretty damn cool.

Support local businesses and young entrepreneurs whenever you get a chance. It's good for your community, and it's good karma. ;)

Have a great Wednesday, everyone.

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