Where to Start
Hey, everyone! This is Scott Donnell. I’m an entrepreneur through and through. I love business. I’ve started half a dozen businesses over the last 15 years, a lot of them having to do with helping kids or raising money for schools. I started a company called Apex Fun Run, where we have three million kids across America that benefit from us raising money for their schools along with teaching them leadership and fitness. I also started a biotech company called Hapbee. Most recently, I built MyFirstSale, which provides the resources to help children and young adults launch their own business. It’s basically a marketplace for kids to start their own business. We’ve had kids making $500 each on there already for the last few months. It’s an amazing program.
You all probably have a desire to be kid entrepreneurs. I’m sure you have drive and talent. You might even have a great business idea. But the question you might be wondering is: where do I start?
The answer is in one word: why? The Why is more important than anything else in your business. It’s more important than how to do it or what you’re going to sell or anything else. You have to figure out your Why. Why do you do business? That is the central piece. It’s more important than what you do or what you sell or how you do it. All those come next. But the most important thing is right here. Why? That is your passion. That is the Why of business. So here’s what I want you to think about for a second. Why do you want to be a kid entrepreneur?
Why do you want to do business? What are you excited about? Do you want to help others?
Do you want to make money to go on a trip, pay for your college, save money, invest? Why?
The Sweet Spot
Now you have your Why and you’ve established your passion. If you stick to your passion, no matter what comes, financial hardship or market instability or issues with the business, you love it and you stay with it because of the Why, because of the passion.
I’m going to teach you a little tip on how to uncover amazing business ideas for kids. Maybe you already have your winning business idea, which is great, but guess what? You can do way more than one. I’ve got 10 of them. You don’t just have to have one business. You can do many, many businesses over your lifetime. That’s the beauty of this. The tool I’m talking about is called the Sweet Spot.
Picture a triangle. It has three sides, which help you reflect on three different things. And where those meet, in the center of the triangle, that is your sweet spot.
- Side 1: Passion The first one is your passion. What are you passionate about? What do you love to do? Everybody loves many things. I love skiing. I love soccer. I love frisbee. But I also like writing. I like research online. I love creating businesses. I love coaching and speaking and working on technical issues and building machines and biotech products. I’m passionate.
- Side 2: Skills The second one is your skills. What are you good at? And don’t forget, passions and skills aren’t necessarily the same thing. What are you really good at that you don’t really like to do? For me, it’s emails. I’m really good at writing emails, but I don’t really like it. Other times you might love something, but you’re not very good at it. I have a workshop at home, and I like tinkering with things. I’m not very good at building furniture and things like that. I like it, but I’m not very good at it. So think about what you’re good at that you also love to do. It’s got to be something you love and something you’re really good at or something you can become really good at very quickly.
- Side 3: Need The last part of the triangle is a need. What are the needs that you see around you in your community or in your country or in the world? Somebody else has to need it. They have to need what you are going to do. It has to be a product or a service that other people want or need. So find a need in the world, and you are going to fill that need.
That is the Sweet Spot, where your passions and your skills and the needs of the world collide. We do that exact same thing with every business that I start. I want to make sure that I love doing it, it’s a need in the world, and I’m really good at it. In fact, that’s why I’m doing this right now. I love doing this. It’s a need in the world. A lot of people want to learn entrepreneurship or come up with business ideas for kids. And I’m good at this. I’m passionate about it. So it’s the perfect win. What’s your Sweet Spot?
Another great way to think about your Sweet Spot is to try to ask family members, your friends, and others who know you really well. Ask them, “What do you see in me? What do you see are my greatest skills?” You’ll be amazed at what fantastic business ideas you create when you focus on the Sweet Spot.
Build Your Confidence
We’ve talked about the Why. We’ve talked about the Sweet Spot. But now it’s time to hone in on one more key to success in entrepreneurship. You need to learn how to have confidence.
I’ve created a lot of businesses, but I learned the most from my very first experience as a kid businessman in third grade: making gecko keychains. I wanted to make them because I loved doing it. And I realized it only cost me about 50 cents or 25 cents to make one, but I could sell it for $1.50. And a lot of people wanted them. Well, I ended up selling a lot of them, hundreds of them. And it was really, really amazing. I learned about profit. I learned about pricing. I learned about what I like to do. I learned about selling and pitching. And here’s the best thing I learned: I learned to have confidence.
The best way for you to build confidence as kid entrepreneurs is to build something out of nothing with your hands. If you can take things from a lower level of raw materials and you can be productive and make something of higher value, that’s all entrepreneurship is. It’s a bunch of people like you and me taking things that are in one state and making them better.
So it’s really important to think about this when it comes to passion. The world runs not on money, but on people’s passion. Your confidence is built by making something with your hands and selling it to a customer, to a stranger, and making a profit. Because if you make something at a profit, and it’s more than you paid to make it, you win because you make a profit and you feel great. There’s nothing better than getting your first sale. It’s the best feeling; it’s a huge confidence-builder. But guess what? The person who bought it from you, they also win because they want what you have to offer. So you both win.
And if the whole world does this, we have a bunch of win-wins, and that’s what the economy is. It’s a bunch of people selling things to their neighbor or their community or the world online. And everyone wins. It’s an exchange of goods, a voluntary transaction. And that’s all the economy is: it’s a bunch of people like you and me finding out ways to fill a need in the world and serve other people. And that’s how things grow.
Finding your passion is so important because if you don’t set the right mindset, none of the other stuff like product, pricing, profit, etc. will last very long. You can’t just do it for money. There’s a lot more that makes your heart move and makes your energy go than money, so you have to figure out your Why. Only when you find your passion first and pour it into your business can you truly succeed as an entrepreneur.