What My Daughter Knows About Business She Didn’t Learn From Me by Dina Ramon

My daughter has the entrepreneurial drive I never had as a kid (or as an adult, come to think of it). She set up her first business, a ‘For Sale’ table when she was 6 at the end of our driveway. I think she sold stickers and some tchotchkes she had lying around, and made a couple of dollars. She followed that by partnering with her best friend down the street and they sold energy drinks in plastic cups and small bags of Goldfish crackers. They netted about $5.00 each and were pretty pleased with themselves. I thought her business ‘start-up’ phase was over but apparently she’s still got the entrepreneurial bug. This past weekend she and a friend were busy creating some kind of sign and asking to use little tables but I was fixated on my computer, only half-paying attention. Next thing I know I’m outside watching them set up a stand so they can sell mechanical pencils and markers for 50 cents each; extra inventory that my daughter rarely if ever used. I certainly admired their effort but honestly thought ‘this isn’t going to go anywhere…’ I should have had a little more faith in their ingenuity, and recognized that they would succeed precisely because they had no fear of failure. They weren’t thinking, ‘what if no one buys anything?’ They set up and patiently waited. Their sales started out slow but a couple of people bought a pencil or marker. Sales picked up; it helped that it was a beautiful day and lots of people were out and about. A few people gave the girls a dollar or two just because they were so impressed by their resourcefulness. And when their traffic slowed down, they didn’t give up. They came up with a new, ‘buy one, get one’ deal – they threw in a baggie of Sunchips with any purchase. I was impressed. One passerby who expressed his support for their set up even asked if it was my idea or theirs. I insisted it was totally their idea and that I was just monitoring the situation. He said he was inspired by their initiative and must have been reading my mind when he said, ‘I wish my parents had encouraged me to think like that and do something like that. Typically we are taught to work for somebody else rather than ourselves.…’ I could totally relate to his perspective and I think more moms today are recognizing that as well. Many have experienced firsthand that much of corporate America – and unfortunately many small businesses that talk a big game about work-life balance but typically don’t follow through – don’t care if you have children and need time to care for them. They are reluctant to allow flexibility, let you telecommute or work around the needs of your child. So that forces women to strike out on their own and make it work however they can. There are over 10 million women-owned businesses in the US according to the Center for Women’s Business Research and it’s estimated that many of those are owned by moms who want to work for themselves so they can spend more time with, and be close to their kids. My daughter and her friend are already on their way to future careers that will work for them because they are earning the confidence to be their own boss and be successful at it. As it turned out, they had a pretty profitable day. Their total takeaway came out to a little more than minimum wage for each hour spent at their stand, but they made it working for themselves which makes it that much more rewarding. I’ll probably be working for them someday…

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  1. 2 Responses to “What My Daughter Knows About Business She Didn’t Learn From Me by Dina Ramon”

  2. You are right, Dina! A couple years ago, my son set up a lemonade stand with powdered lemonade mix, water, a table and cups, a block away at a local park. He ended up making $19 from a few hours of catering to thirsty locals! Now he is putting together this incredibly creative arcade using all size boxes. I’m curious how much he’ll make from this one!

    By Cara Meyers on Apr 19, 2013

  3. thanks Cara! It is amazing how resourceful and determined our kids can be. It motivates me for sure!

    By dina on Apr 24, 2013