How many lemonade stands did you set up as a kid? Or bake sales? Did you help your parents with the yard sale in exchange for some cash to buy new toys? What about when you started a lawn care business as a teenager, how did that go?
Children learn the broad strokes of entrepreneurship very young, but few understand enough to move on to the next level. In an Inc.com article recently, 93 percent of successful entrepreneurs revealed what they thought their key to success was.
It’s no surprise that they attribute their adult entrepreneurial success to starting young.
Some of them watched other people (like their parents) start a business, and some started a business themselves at a young age. Some were gently forced by their parents, and others felt pressure to improve their financial standing from childhood.
Watch and learn
Military kids are no different, they have great ideas, they see their parents build businesses, and they want to make a difference.
Though, not all military kids get the entrepreneurial bug at a young age. Some wait until after college, or even after serving in the military themselves. Ian Falou, CEO and co-founder of GitLinks is such an example. As an Army brat, Falou was born in Germany, attended West Point, and then served for nine years before leaving the military to get his MBA and start his company.
Coast-Guard-kid-turned-Army-spouse Jen Koepl founded Koepl Keepsakes to share her love of crafting. She explains that her experience as a military kid gave her the skills she needed for her adult life, “Early on integrity, loyalty, and hard work were engrained in my core.” She encourages others as well, “Instead of seeing yourself uprooted, see it as a way to make new connections and build more relationships to grow your business!”
Getting an early start
When military kids get a great idea, they run with it, and no obstacle is too big. Wesley started mowing the grass with his dad when he was eight. Motivation to buy a cell phone had him asking about making some money doing this. With his father’s help, Wesley created a business plan, email address, and business cards. He canvassed the neighborhood on his own and secured five clients immediately.
He was off and running!
His clients prepaid for scheduled lawn care. When his younger sister mentioned she would be interested in making money, Wesley again learned from his father how to hire and manage a subcontractor, paying special attention to the quality of work his clients have grown to expect.
“Younger sister has worked as an employee of Wesley’s on smaller lawn care jobs such as bagging grass and raking leaves. She says she’s happy because she doesn’t have to ask the neighbors to let her work. She can just go to work and get paid,” Cathy, Wesley’s mom, says.
Wesley has learned quite a bit in this process, including the often-disappointing lesson that the money you receive for a job is not what you get to keep. He’s purchased a new lawn mower and additional materials along the way, his parents said. Wesley said, “Being a military kid and moving doesn’t mean you have to quit your business.” He went out at his new installation and immediately found new clients in the neighborhood.
And he’s not stopping there. Wesley has a plan to teach his younger brothers to do the mowing when they get older, and maybe even expand his business to include some friends.
“Eventually, I want to stay home and get paid while other people do the work,” he added.