An Enterprising Kid Learns About Business

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2009-05-0717

We’ve got a neighbor with an 11 year old child who’s an eager student of entrepreneurship. The first time I met this kid, he came to my door to sell wares for a school fund drive. After that, it would be one thing after another — selling his services as a photographer, planting seeds to grow plants which he’ll sell to the neighborhood, etc. So a few months ago, I hired him to “babysit” my two kids for an hour a week. I’ve been giving him $5 a visit. He said he was putting this money into mutual funds so that he would be “a millionaire soon”. 🙂

I’m pretty impressed about how some kids these days can be so shrewd and knowledgeable about the things I never worried about until I was up there in age. Is it just me or are children just more precocious these days?

I could only hope that our babysitting neighbor could be a positive influence on my much younger children. With this 11 year old’s focus, self-motivation, determination and drive, he’s on his way to a successful future. I was quite amazed that he does not require coaxing by his parents to enter into various creative pursuits; apparently, he comes up with his business ideas independently and executes them all on his own. He even funds them with his own savings. I suppose that some people are just naturally gifted with that entrepreneurial spark!

A while back, I wrote about some very young entrepreneurs who were on their path to success. How inspiring are they? Probably just as much as these very young entrepreneurs: there’s Trevor from Striking Up who comments on our site and has a personal finance blog (he’s listed among the top 100 world’s youngest bloggers), and Cameron Johnson, who by 15 was running a company that was generating $15,000 a day!

young entrepreneur
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The one thing about entrepreneurial kids (as in the case of gifted kids in music, sports or academics) — is the question of how “balanced” their life is, especially when they spend so much time focusing on certain tasks. Although they spend a lot of time pursuing their interests, these may come with tradeoffs. Fewer friends and less social experiences for example. And some may even quit school for their passions!

Raising talented children can have its challenges. But it’s a good problem to have.

Copyright © 2009 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Millionaire Acts May 8, 2009 at 1:07 am

Wow, I love this kid. I think with his entrepreneurial spirit, he could definitely be a millionaire soon.

Manshu May 8, 2009 at 3:57 am

I think you just found the next Buffet!

Civil Engineer May 8, 2009 at 4:52 am

I’m all for kids learning these things but also understanding that there are things more important than money and not focusing so much on material things that they overlook those more important things.

Do You Dave Ramsey? May 8, 2009 at 5:07 am

Hey, great story about this young guy… it’s well worth the $5/hour in hopes some of this traits rub off! Not to say you’re not already doing a great job raising fiscally responsible youngsters!

Dave May 8, 2009 at 7:12 am

I wish I’d have been entrepeneurial at a young age but I was too busy running around on my bicycle causing trouble! 😉

Jeremy Day May 8, 2009 at 8:32 am


Good post. These stories are always inspiring to hear. I would say for any kid like this parents shouldn’t worry to much about “life balance”. One of the best ways for us to be successful in life is to be good at what we do.

I am sure when he is in his 20s and 30s he will find his own balance. For right now he should be encouraged to keep doing what he is good at and has a passion for!


Mikael @ Retire Rich May 8, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Besides that I don’t think he is wise investing in Mutual funds I am just as impressed with this as you are. I was a little like this when I was younger but unfortunately I got influenced by the people around me to take the JOB route. Talk about a setback in entrepreneurship. But anyway… it is never too late to start.

As for young people being like this today I don’t think that it is the general rule. I see way too many young people simply wasting away their lives with TV and video games. It is so sad to watch.

Neil May 8, 2009 at 5:05 pm


My son (8) is constantly discussing money making schemes with me. I’m not sure whether to encourage him or tell him to concentrate on his school work 🙂

Michael Harr @ Wealth...Uncomplicated May 8, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Any child with this kind of spirit will be just fine. The great thing about entrepreneurs is they are innovative and adventurous–traits that lend themselves well to getting what you want out of life. I wish my kids had a fraction of his creativity and drive:)

Charlie May 9, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Kids today are really different from those in our time. In the same age back in the days, I was more focused on things that entertained me, rather than on more productive endeavors.

Kristy @ Master Your Card May 10, 2009 at 2:07 pm

I love stories about kids with the entrepreneurial spirit, and I’m even more impressed by the fact that his parents support and nurture his creativity. Unfortunately, I had a lot of that cut off in my younger days. My parents didn’t really see my artistic pursuits as worthwhile and forced me to focus more on other things. I’m sure they meant well, but I could be in a completely different place now if I had had their support.

I do think in some cases being focused on productive endeavors can have their drawbacks, as you mentioned, less social experiences as an example. However, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Although, I’m not entirely sure I’d allow my kid to just drop out of school. I would at least require tutors for a few hours a day, like the child actors. I think education is important and it will serve them well in their pursuits. If they wanted to leave public school, that would be fine, so long as there was an adequate substitute.

Nathalie Lussier May 11, 2009 at 6:28 am

That’s interesting. When I was studying to be a Software Engineer, I kept reading stories about how a 16 year old started a business that was now generating millions. I guess that bugged me, since I was already past 16, and because I was spending so much on my education whereas they didn’t have any.

I think it all comes down to that entrepreneurial spark you mentioned. If you have it in you, then it’s all about getting your biz going and there’s nothing that can stop you, no matter the failures. All the more power to these children, they will be incredible adults! (Oh and the techy kids starting businesses at 16 might not have any interpersonal skills, but they wouldn’t have much more by going the traditional college route either, sad but true! 😉 )

Todd @ The Personal Finance Playbook May 12, 2009 at 11:57 am

That truly is impressive. My wife’s brother was that kind of kid, too. He was always taking things apart as a kid and putting them back together. He worked as a welder in junior high and high school and bought a rental property when he was 16 (with a co-signer of course). He’s graduating this month with a PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT and starting his own company. Some people have that little bit of extra drive and vision ingrained in them as part of their personality.

Michael Temple May 14, 2009 at 5:03 pm

I can identify with this kid. When I was a kid I started a lawn mowing business when I was 11. I also washed cars for my neighbor, sold stuff in a trailer park near my house and hustled in other ways for a buck. My friends all thought I was weird. I can’t say I was necessarily a money genius, but I definitely wanted my “own business” where I could make my own way.

Interestingly as an adult I never felt like I found my place in the world until I quit working for others and finally started my own business. For years I used to feel I didn’t ever really fit in at the places I worked at. I was never sure why. I never made the connection between my early childhood and adult life. When I finally thought I would give my own business a try several years ago it was if the stars had finally aligned and everything fell into place for me. I can so identify with this kid, what a great inspiration. I am guessing he will find the same lesson I did someday…there is nothing like entrepreneurship!

Trevor - Striking Up May 15, 2009 at 7:01 am

I aim to do just what your neighbor is doing!

SBL May 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Great story – I wish we could all go back to that age – before we get a little worn down by life and get told that we can’t do anything. That is what entrepreneurship is all about – succeeding where others say you can’t – or in this kids situation – succeeding and not knowing any better.

Wish we would teach entrepreneurship in grade school – might be the only chance many of these young kids have for a future.

Young Entrepreneur Blog November 25, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Well I’m a “young” entrepreneur myself but this is a bit ridiculous! 11 years old?!

I guess you have to start somewhere. And, hey, if it isn’t bugging anyone and the kid wants to pursue this kind of stuff then I say why not let him? He’s definitely ahead of the game!


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