When you think of child entrepreneurs, what comes to mind? Lemonade stands? Newspaper carriers? Babysitting? Maybe a lawn cutting business? Well, there are some kids who go way beyond those time-honored traditions.
With hard work and persistence, some support from Mom and Dad and a healthy dose of being in the right place at the right time, some children and teens are able to turn their great ideas into thriving businesses. While certainly there are many opportunities in the digital world for young entrepreneurs, you will notice that our five young people run the gamut in terms of products and service.
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Here is our list of some of today’s most intriguing under 21 Young entrepreneurs
At the age of only nine, Leanna Archer started to create her own hair products. Later, using her great-grandmother’s recipe, Archer began selling home-made hair pomade to friends and family before expanding her line to include shampoos and conditioning treatments. She developed and mixed each of her products and initially handled orders and customer correspondence herself. Leanna’s parents and two brothers assisted in bookkeeping and packaging.
Leanna, who became the youngest person to ever ring the NASDAQ Stock Market opening bell, later founded the Leanna Archer Education Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping underprivileged children in Haiti.
Today at age 18, the Long Island native is the chairman of her own company, Leanna’s Inc. (http://www.leannashair.com), which makes hair products that are free of sodium lauryl sulfate and parabens, chemicals which are common to commercial hair products, and they contain no oil filters or synthetic ingredients.
Robert Nay was a 14-year-old with no coding experience when he spent hours researching coding at his local public library in Spanish Fork, Utah. The result of his efforts was the creation of Bubble Ball, a physics-based puzzle app. In 2010 during the first two weeks after its introduction, Bubble Ball beat out the popular Angry Birds game as the top downloadable free game in the Apple app store. With this out-of-the-gate success, Robert founded Nay Games (http://www.naygames.com), his own iPhone, iPad and iPod games company. In April Robert’s company, Nay Games, released 12 new levels of Bubble Ball, for a total of 156.
Lizzie Marie Likness
Lizzie Marie Likness was only six when she decided to sell her homemade baked good in order to raise money for the horseback riding lessons she wanted so badly. She ended up discovering that she had a talent for baking and cooking and had a head for business.
Today, at the age of 14, Lizzie’s healthy recipes have a huge following. She was a spokesperson for the American Heart Association’s ”Go Red for Women,” campaign and has appeared as a guest on the ”Rachael Ray Show.” She has taught cooking classes and has starred in “Healthy Cooking with Chef Lizzie,” her own video series on WebMD.
The Georgia native has her own company Lizzie Marie Cuisine (lizziemariecuisine.com) that focuses on teaching kids and adults how to prepare making fresh and healthy recipes.
As a boy, Anshul Samar loved playing card games. When he was in the sixth grade, he created his own game, Elementeo, which combines his love of card games with his interest in chemistry. The game pits personified versions of each element of the periodic table against each other as they vie to “capture” electrons. Now 19 and a freshman at Stanford University, Anshul created his company Alchemist Empire Inc. (http://www.elementeo.com) and has continued to update the game, and has also created an iPhone app.
When she was nine-years-old, Jessica Nedry, created a rubber band bracelet she named “Hope” to honor and help raise money for a family friend who was diagnosed with cancer. The idea was the start of Jennifer’s own company, Friendly Bands, which offers colorful bracelets that help raise awareness for special causes.
Today Friendly Bands (https://www.friendlybands.com) offers more than 50 different original bracelet styles that buyers can make themselves at home along with the circular Sunshine Loom, which Jessica, now 11, designed to create the bracelets. The products are available online and in stores.
What these young people have in common is that they each were able to take something they were already interested in and develop it into a business. They also started small and took incremental steps in growing their businesses. Each also had the support of their family members.
In his classic motivational book, Think And Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill, writes “Every failure carries with it a seed of equal or greater benefit.” No matter what their age and no matter what their business plan, successful young entrepreneurs seem to have had parents who allowed them to make some mistakes early on. Learning from mistakes is a key factor to becoming a confident entrepreneur of any age.