A few weeks ago I attended a virtual pitch competition where teens from around the world pitched their business ideas and products. It was inspiring and fascinating to hear how these teens wanted to make the world a better place!
After the competition, I reached out to three teens to learn more about their business goals and to find out what they had learned about themselves through this entrepreneurship experience.
Mistakes Set You Up for Success
Jade Abramson, a teen from New York City and founder of Friend Pals, shared that she no longer concerns herself with waiting for the “right time”. When she first started her business she was consistently overthinking and highly concerned about everything being perfect. Eventually, she had to realize that, “...there will never be a right time. It’s not going to be perfect at first, but I will just learn through the process.” Abramson also found the value in the mistakes, “my mistakes just set me up for success in the future.” Right now she is looking to expand her pen pal service to other locations and find ways to create more connections between the letter writers and those living in the shelters.
When I chatted with the founder of Cookies 4 A Cause, Nicole Kashani, she shared about a valueable lesson she learend. Through this process she was reminded to do things at her own pace and at her own size. While some people like to go big, she likes to go small. “I like to start small. The idea of having a huge cookie company was quite overwhelming at first, so I decided to start off by making a small Instagram account for mostly family and
friends.” Starting small allowed her to manage the number of orders coming in, along with staying on top of her homework and other extracurricular activities. Kashani also pointed out that launching a business showed her things about herself that typical homework projects don’t reveal. When she’s really interested in something she enjoys dedicating time and effort to achieve success. “I can get a lot done when I put my mind to it. I spent a lot of time on the planning aspect of my business.” While most teens feel like there just isn’t enough time to get everything done, Kashani realized that she will make time for what she cares about and she cares about Cookies 4 A Cause. She plans on expanding countrywide this year.
Don’t Be Afraid To Change Your Mind
San Diego teen Eliana Leff pitched a dog treat company, SUPAW TREATS, during the pitch competition. When we finally got the chance to connect she had decided to move on from that idea. Leff had come to the realization that creating the product isn’t the part she enjoys the most. She really enjoyed creating the logo and marketing materials. This led her to reach out to fellow teen entrepreneurs to see if they needed help with logo design and the creation of marketing materials. “I’m just not afraid to change my mind. I think it’s ok to go through different ideas and try new things.” At thirteen years old she feels she’s just getting started on her entrepreneurial journey, “I’m still learning what interests me. I don’t force anything. I’m taking time to learn about myself and learn from others’ experiences.”
So many of these lessons I didn’t learn until much later in my entrepreneurial journey. It’s incredibly inspiring to hear from these teens and to think about all they will accomplish by changing their minds, starting small, and learning from one mistake at a time.
All teens mentioned in this article participate in the WIT - Whatever It Takes entrepreneurship program.