Early Onset Entrepreneurship

Jan 09, 2020 | Jennifer Balon


Early Onset Entrepreneurship

One of the things I like most about the Highway 11 drive is the moment when a young voice says, “Mom.”  I know a question is coming, and I always consider it an opportunity to learn a bit more about my child: 

“Mom, the kids at school like candy; would it be okay if I sold them candy?” Said Jason, then age 6.

“I think it would be okay, as long as your teacher doesn’t get mad,” I said.

“When can we buy the candy?  After school?” Said the young aspiring Warren Buffet.

I thought quickly about my day before answering, “Why don’t I pick you up from school today, and then we can go shopping.  And because I think this is a good idea, I’ll buy the candy the first time.  Once you start making money, you can buy the candy.”

This was of course met with much enthusiasm.

As promised, after school we drove to the closest Walmart, and headed straight for the candy aisle. 

Jason selected a few bags of bulk candy that he thought would be in demand, and after a quick consultation with me, he decided sandwich bags were required too.  Re-packaging different candies in multiple assortments would provide more choice for his customers.

On the way home, Jason and I had a conversation about wholesale prices and retail mark-up.  I explained that he needed to charge his customers a price that would cover the cost of candy, the cost of the sandwich bags, and leave him with a fair profit to compensate him for the work he had done.

That night, I helped him prepare the candy bags and calculate the selling prices.  He used a black Sharpie® to write the price on each bag.  He put the candy in his backpack, and was now prepared for his first day of self-employment.

The Result?

Jason sold candy for five years, at two different schools, and no teacher ever got mad.  He thwarted the competition (yes, other kids tried to compete) by having a higher quality product offering.  He was routinely bringing home $20 to $40 each week, which he dutifully saved.  Little Warren Buffet amassed a small fortune of $4,000, which he gave to me to invest.  His choice of investment will be explored on the next Truck Talks.