Ever since I was a kid I had the drive and passion to be an entrepreneur. At the time I had no idea of such a term or of such a career but had always exuded the lifestyle.
The first business I remember working on was with my brother selling these Creepy Crawlers made from those lightbulb ovens. Those things were amazing as a kid except when the light bulb would burn out, which would be like every five or so uses, or when you'd leave them in for too long and it smelled like burned rubber. Good times. Anyways I ended up selling to encouraging family members for 5¢ each, what a steal!
Later on in third grade I remember trading a coupon book, that allowed students to do different things like chew gum, to a classmate for a bunch of necklaces he had received from a visiting uncle. They were pretty neat looking and I immediately knew I could sell them for $1 each. I started making a bunch of sales and the next day the teacher caught me presenting the necklaces to interested customers in the hall way. I was reprimanded by my teacher for making sales on school grounds and got a letter sent home to my parents. My mom kept the note, she is an entrepreneur herself and an inspiration to me growing up. Looking back I see the education system as an institution stifling the entrepreneurial spirit, although true entrepreneurs will overcome the cog in the machine indoctrination.
The next year my best friend from across the street received an electric ice cream maker which was fun to use. With some capital help from his mom in raw materials we soon set up a home made ice cream stand. We sold vanilla, strawberry and chocolate for $1 in a 8oz cup. After a couple of days of decent sales in front of our homes we set up on the street with the most foot traffic conveniently along the way to the neighborhood pool. The funny thing was we kept the ice cream in his home's fridge so every time we had customers one of us would have to run back and get the order. After one week we made $50 and split the profits, our first real success. We would have continued if we had access to a mini fridge and a power source by the pool.
This type of scrappy entrepreneurship continued on throughout my life. From buying and selling Pokemon cards, which I still have somewhere, to buying hot wheels from friends and selling them online to collectors. The point is this mentality comes from somewhere and lingers with you throughout your life, and after a taste of employment you never forget those happy times where you worked for yourself no matter the age.
My little sister Kaitlyn recently trumped my childhood endeavors while visiting grandparents in Iowa. She set up a lemonade stand with other tasty treats and blew away my records. Her secret was in the timing. She prepared for the day there would be guaranteed traffic, the family feast. This combined with some good old fashioned word of mouth to farm neighbors, ended up racking her $80 in one day!
Tell me your greatest childhood entrepreneurial stories in the comments!