On my way to church this morning I spotted a couple of industrious young ladies (ages 7 and 9) setting up shop outside their Park Slope brownstone. They were setting up a table and fussing over where to set out different crates, how to arrange them, and so on. They were bossing their Papou and Baba around a little. “No, no, the chairs should go this way…. Yes… No, *this* way.” There was a very tidy little Sweet Shop set up within minutes, and the business women sat calmly and confidently in their little pink folding chairs, waiting for their first customers.
I smiled and went to services. Hours later, on the way out of church, I noticed that business had been booming. There was a little glass dish with a good number of coins in them. A tin for dollar bills. A lovely box of cookies that the girls had made from scratch, and home-pressed lemonade, nice and cold on a hot day. By the table was a sign, “Surving this community since 11 o’clock this morning, June 9.”
I had to stop. “Well, you ladies have been at it for quite a while now.”
“What’s it like to run your own operation?”
“Well, it’s hard. We had to make everything from scratch, and it’s hot, so we have to make sure that the lemonade stays cold, but there’s always a good crowd on Sundays, so we knew it would work.”
“Nice! Yes, running your own business takes a lot of work. And did you turn a good profit yet?”
Their Dad answered. “Actually, they had a good business plan and petitioned for Yiayia and Papou to donate the raw materials.”
“I see. Well, family support’s important, and sponsorship is always good.”
“You ask a lot of questions, lady. Are you going to buy our lemonade?” The younger of the two sisters asked.
A no nonsense business mentality…. Her older sister nudged her. “Would you like to buy a cookie or some lemonade? They’re homemade.”
I grinned. “Yes, I’d love to buy a cookie, especially if it’s homemade. No lemonade this time, though. I’m driving, so it may spill in the car.”
“Oh. Well, we’ll be here next weekend too. Would you like a napkin with that?”
“That will be 75 cents.”
I paid the young lady, who gave me a very courteous nod and presented me with my purchase. “Thank you. You’re very professional. Is this your first business?”
She smiled broadly so the gaps where new teeth were coming in were visible. “Yes, it’s our first one, but I think we’re doing okay. It’s fun to talk to people and find out what they do. With Baba and Papou here, of course…. What do you do?”
“I have a job where talk to people about the work they do, the work they want to do, and give them advice on stuff, or introduce them to other people who can give them good advice.”
She turned and looked at her father, “Baba, ask her if she has a business card!”
I couldn’t help laughing. I liked these folks.
“Very good networking, sweetie!” Her dad offered. He was very proud of his daughters — and he should be! I offered my card, thanked them all for the cookie, and was on my way.
What one comes away with — besides this Park Slope delicacy — is the fact that the entrepreneurial spirit is not something we develop after college. It’s an instinct we have at an early age — a desire to think and do for ourselves, a confidence and faith in an idea and in our ability to achieve a specific goal…. Whether you discover it at 7 and build your own lemonade stand or come across the dormant desire to break away from the mainstream at 30-something to develop your own business, it’s important to follow your instinct, make a plan, and set it into motion.
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this little narrative. For today, Philo4Thought is donating today’s post to the two young ladies in this story. $1 will be offered to these young entrepreneurs for every person who clicks the “LIKE” button to our Facebook page between 5:00pm today (06/09/13) and 10:00AM Sunday (06/12/13).
What was your first entrepreneurial endeavor? Feel free to post below!