3 Timeless Startup Principles I Learned as a Kidpreneur

From the time I was a 9-year-old girl, I knew I wanted to dip my pink toenails in my own business. My first startup failed. After quickly learning I couldn’t guzzle more lemonade than I sold, I tried my hand at something less tempting to my palate. I had a passion for fishing, including the thrill of the catch and the fun of the clean. I thought long and hard how I could parlay that passion into profit. I knew that if a hook had a chance to be successful it needed good bait. Big juicy night crawlers happened to be the preferred bait of choice in my neck of the woods. My first successful startup was selling night crawlers carefully counted and packed in cut off milk cartons for 15¢ a dozen.

From the position of a successful multi-unit franchisee today, I still believe in these three timeless principles. Their importance should resonate within any start up business plan today.

Nightcrawlers for SalePrinciple #1: Think big when you’re small.

Big is good. Especially when it comes to night crawlers. First, I had to secure some crawler inventory along with good worm dirt. I learned to think big on size and supply. After every rain I’d take my Dad’s flashlight and head to the back yard at dark. No rain, no problem. I just improvised with the sprinkler. Those juicy night worms would pop their heads and I’d strategically dive down for the capture.

I learned to think big. I still think big when it comes to business. A wise man once told me, “If you want a big day, prepare for a big day.” Cha-ching!

Principle #2: Location, Location, Location

Does location still matter? Yes. Even Amazon, the e-commerce retail giant is going to prime locations with bricks and mortar. Based on your startup’s particular demographic needs, finding the right location is one of the most important business decisions you’ll make. Plan ahead. Do your homework. Consult with experts.

My first crawler location was a shoo-in for success, or so I thought. I set up shop on my porch, which happened to be on a high traffic street. It was convenient to my sensibilities, but that’s all it was. So I picked up and re-positioned myself on a service road to my neighborhood lake. Cha-ching!

Principle #3: Cash Flow Management

Learning I had to pay bills along the way was a tough lesson. I’m not sure you know how bad I wanted that new Barbie. But learning from my failure with lemonade, I decided to handle my cash drawer monies differently. I was practically giddy over seeing money coming in, but I didn’t run to the store with it. Soon, I was able to pay for my supplies and even reinvest in some modernization. I installed a bigger sign and bought paper for flyers that I put on every car in a two-block radius. Cha-ching!

And after all my bills were paid, I paid myself. I sense some eyes rolling.

I’ve always said, “Successful entrepreneurs have doggedness, a keen sense of urgency and an innate ability to self-correct.” Those traits are quickly learned as we navigate the ups and downs of growing a business. Whether you choose franchising that offers you a support system, or you startup as an independent and figure it out as you go, don’t discount the timeless lessons you may have picked up as a kidpreneur. As simple as they seem, they could mean the difference between success and failure. Cha-ching!

“Successful entrepreneurs have doggedness, a keen sense of urgency and an innate ability to self-correct.” –Gloria Plaisted