Special Feature

Kids can do biz! (4 Young Homeschoolers bitten by the entrepreneurial bug)

Have you noticed? A new trend is gaining popularity among families as a worthwhile activity for kids: Entrepreneurship.

I had the opportunity to accompany one of my kids to a kids’ entrepreneurship event in June last year, and let me tell you, it was incredible! We met a group of young entrepreneurs, aged between 8 and 12, who were fearlessly diving into the world of business.

Their enthusiasm was truly inspiring, which is why I decided to reach out to four young homeschoolers who are running their own small businesses, along with their amazing parents. I wanted to hear their stories firsthand and learn from their experiences.

Please note that I have written this piece in June of 2023, so these small businesses may have evolved into so much more than what am sharing with you here.

Erin Kristen Lopez, 12, Erin’s Little Kitchen
FB page: Erin’s Little Kitchen

The idea of 10-year old Erin selling Gourmet Tuyo in jars and Lengua de gato in 2021 was originally her dad Jeff’s. With a starting capital of Php 8,000, they found a supplier for her products and started out with a simple plan of selling them to only family and friends. “At first, I didn’t think much of it. But when I saw how people enjoyed the Gourmet Tuyo and Lengua de Gato, and I started earning money, I got really excited!” She said.

Erin Lopez of Erin’s Little Kitchen

Erin takes on most of the responsibilities in her business, including taking orders from her customers, keeping track of the sales and expenses, and even delivering her products to customers who live nearby. Her parents, Pia and Jeff, help her in restocking her products and promoting them to their friends. “I owe them a big thank you for their support!” says a grateful Erin.

Asked on what she’s learned in running her own small business, Erin answers,” I’ve learned to be resilient when some people say no to buying my products. I’ve also gained skills in money management, keeping track of sales, and staying organized.”

Erin’s little kitchen’s biggest order was from a company that wanted to give away her products as Christmas gifts. “They ordered a whopping amount that totaled almost 15,000 pesos! It was incredible to see my business growing and being chosen for such a special occasion,” she exclaims.

Erin’s biggest challenge was meeting the demand for her products. Pia shares, “One challenge was managing the surge in orders during peak seasons, like Christmas, and ensuring that all deliveries were made on time.”

Erin with her family

Pia also pointed out that they had to balance Erin’s time on her business with her homeschooling and other activities. “It’s important to prioritize her overall well-being.”

Erin sees Erin’s little kitchen as a side business. Something she can do on special occasions, such as the Christmas season, when there is high demand, or during vacations. However, she shares that her ultimate dream is to have her own cafe. “Maybe I can expand my business and save money to make that dream come true.”

Jacob Gonzales, 12, Jacob’s Aquatics
FB page: The BETTA Company

Like Erin, Jacob started his small business when he was only 10 years old. He has always been passionate about aquariums and spent a lot of money maintaining them. “It was my idea to start a small business and use my hobby that I love and enjoy as a way to earn money for myself,” he revealed. “ I didn’t really sit down with my parents to discuss the idea of putting up a business since they let me explore and decide what I would like to do.”

Even the initial capital for his pet shop business came from Jacob’s own money. He pooled together all the Christmas gifts he received, amounting to Php 6,000, and launched Jacob’s Aquatics.

Jacob Gonzales of Jacob’s Aquatics

“I didn’t really have a plan, I just went for it,” he said. “My target was to make money, save and offer a cheap and affordable price for kids that have a small budget.”

Jacob’s Aquatics (now The Betta Company) is a fish store that sells fishes, supplies and accessories. “I also sell starter kits which include fish, a small aquarium, fish food, anti-chlorine, which is ideal for first time fish pet owners,” explains Jacob. He adds, “My pet shop offers the lowest price in the market.”

Drawing from his own experience as a fish owner, Jacob carefully selects products for his store. “I choose affordable products for kids like me who have a small budget but are looking for a new pet to take care of.”

Jacob with his mom, Pearl

Jacob soon found out that his experience in managing aquariums was not enough to succeed in business. He had to learn social media marketing!

“In my first 4 weeks, I had no customers and my pet shop was barely surviving,” he begins. “I had to figure out how I could get people to be interested in my business.I started to post listings of my products on Facebook Marketplace and Facebook group pages and it worked but sales dropped in the third month.” He continues, “I figured that not a lot of customers saw my listings and needed to branch out and that’s when I started to create a Facebook page where I regularly post and I also placed ads in Facebook.”

Jacob says that his business is now profitable, and proudly says that he recouped his initial capital in less than two months.

Pearl, Jacob’s mom, initially had reservations when she learned about Jacob’s business plans. “I didn’t tell him. I was afraid how he could market his business when the fish store is just in our house with not a lot of foot traffic, “ she explained. “Despite my hesitation, I fully supported him because I felt that regardless of the outcome, Jacob will learn a lot from this experience.”

Pearl’s words of wisdom to other parents – “empower their kids and let them do their thing.”

Erin Miskha Martinez, 12, Artworks by Erin
FB page: Artworks by Erin

“My business is all about my artworks”, Erin describes her business. “I make jewelry and accessories from resin and polymer clay. I make a lot of glow in the dark keychains and accessories, which my customers find unique.” She continues, “I also recycle jars and sell them as night lamps. I sell my own paintings, and I also offer art commissions. My latest products are memo pads, where I draw the characters digitally and print them out.”

Would you believe that Artworks by Erin started out with only two products – bookmarks and gems? And it was all for a home economics project which she created using a resin kit given to her by her parents. “I realized that I need to make other products so more people will buy,” Erin told SP.

Erin Miskha Martinez of Erin’s Artworks

Erin faced tough challenges when starting her business. She recalls, “I had a lot of failures before coming up with the right mixture.”

But that didn’t deter her from pursuing her goals for her business. “I also learned to turn my mixtures into a new product, the bendy bookmarks,” she said. “It became very sellable since it is unique and new. After perfecting the formula, I was able to make different items. From rings to coasters, and from ordinary keychains to glow in the dark ones!“ She clarifies, “Making new products means more failures, but I have come to learn that you can only be successful after experiencing failure. I remember incorrectly cutting the memo pads, wrong printing, wrong sizes, and even the wrong formula for my recycled lamp.”

Despite the challenges, Erin emphasizes that she has benefited greatly from these experiences. “All these experiences have taught me how to improve my products and their design.”

Erin attending to her customers in a bazaar.

Erin’s initial capital for her business was Php 5,000. “It took years to get it back,” she admits, then adds, “my initial plan was only to get our capital back. But now I am planning to earn more so I can expand my business and share my talents with everybody.”

Erin catered to book lovers as her first customers, but now she is gearing towards accommodating a broader market. It seems like a lot of work for this young businesswoman, but she draws a lot of support from her mom, Jennielyn, who partners with her in business.

Erin and her supportive mom, Jennielyn

Jennielyn is the one who handles her social media accounts, among other tasks. “Since our items require an adult to prepare and mix the chemicals needed in our products, I am required to handle this aspect of the business,” she says.
Jennielyn also mentioned that she used to handle all the inventory and accounting aspects of the business, but she has gradually started involving Erin in these tasks.

By joining her in this business, I am able to teach her time management skills, in addition to bringing out her creative side.”

Jaden Etame, 8, Jaden’s Store
Shopee store:
Ma_Benta

Jaden was only 7 years old when he started dabbling in business. He sold scented smokeless katol made from bamboo charcoal. He had great confidence in his product, saying, “ It is okay for people with asthma like me because I asked my doctor. The scent is mild and safe for our dog, too.”

Jaden also rented out toys during the pandemic lockdown. According to him, they were wooden toys from Plan toys. He said, “I worked with my Mama to send out the toys to whoever wanted to rent during the pandemic.”

 

Jaden Etame with boxes of his Klean Katol products

He revealed that the toy rental business started when his mom, Liway, opened a daycare in Quezon City. However, due to the lockdown, they were compelled to close down the daycare. That’s when they came up with the idea of renting out the toys instead.
With his katol venture, it all started as a Math project for a subject in second-grade. The lesson was on addition, subtraction, and Philippine currency and they thought of starting a lemonade stand outside the house. Eventually, he shifted to selling katol products that he got from one of Liway’s friends.

Jaden learned to sell his products door-to-door, following the suggestion of his grandparents who purchased his first seven packs. Later on, his mom suggested that he try selling them at the Quezon City Circle.

Jaden at work

Accompanied by Liway, he walked around the circle wearing a sign on his shirt, offering the katol products to the public. “I sold 20 katol that day!” He said to me proudly.

Jaden shares that he spent less than Php 2,000 on his first katol products. He has long moved his products to his mom’s online shop and was able to sell 3,000 katol packs in 8 months.

Asked what he learned from his experiences and he answers, “I learned it is very fun, because you can earn money and learn. I buy books and Beyblade with the money I saved, and the rest, Mama keeps in the bank.”

Jaden and his business mentor mom, Liway

Liway actively supported Jaden in his endeavors. Not only did she accompany him at the QC circle to sell his products, she also taught him how to use Canva to design his posters. She is also there to guide him as he resolves the issues he runs into while handling the business.

“There was a time when we packed the wrong scent of katol and we had a bad review in Shopee, and it was a good learning point,” she shares. “My son typed a proper apology to the one who bought it, and we sent a new pack to make up for our mistake.”

Liway tells other parents to let their children practice autonomy and trust the process. She adds, “have extra, extra grace for both yourselves and your child. As this is new to us, there were lots of detours and rough roads, and we just have to stick together and navigate it stronger.”

17 Comments

  • Alice Mola

    All these children are so brilliant, and note that they are surrounded by business minded women who encourage them! Proud of them for trying several business ideas and really reaching for the stars with the support of their families.

  • Stephanie

    Such inspiring stories of these kid entrepreneurs. I shared this with my children and they have been brainstorming since they read this!

  • Stephanie

    I absolutely love this! My boys are aged 8 and 10 and have also dabbled in a bit of it, using their own money for a cookie and lemonade stand this past summer. But not something as big as a full business.

  • Julie

    I feel like such a loser now because I didn’t start my business until I was 48! Seriously though, this makes me so happy to see these kids experimenting and learning wonderful business skills!!! You all have made my day with your wonderful exploits.

  • Clarice

    Yes, I think it’s a great idea to teach kids how to start a business at a young age. As long as it is not forced, I think the kids would have a memorable and a great learning opportunity to learn one of the most important life skills.

  • Kimberley

    Hello! Your post about kiddie entrepreneurs resonates with me, as I too embarked on the journey of entrepreneurship at an early age. It’s heartening to see the next generation following a similar path, embracing creativity, and venturing into the world of business. Your stories of young minds exploring their potential are truly inspiring. It’s fantastic how nurturing this spirit early on can shape future success. Thanks for sharing these uplifting stories and shining a light on the incredible possibilities for our budding entrepreneurs. Here’s to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit in the hearts of the youth!

  • Olga

    What an inspirational article! My sons are 3 and 5, and I hope they will find a special hobby that makes them happy. I really loved the idea of Erin`s little kitchen!

  • Luna S

    What a smart group of kids! I love that each one has their own unique business idea too, they all look like they will be quite sucessful! You must be so proud of them all.

  • Rosey

    I remember coming up with all of these different ideas for my own business when I was a kid. I never had anyone to support it, but how cool that it has been normalized now to encourage kiddie entrepreneurs!

  • Zab Zaria

    I completely agree with you that it is a great idea to teach children at a young age the basics of starting a business. I love the idea of this! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Melanie E

    This is such a great post. It’s great to see children with such drive trying to set up businesses at such young ages. It is also great they are learning about buisness early so they can learn and develop into sucessful individuals. I hope they all do great things in life.

  • Ntensibe

    Nnniiicceeee….this is a good journey to start for the kiddos. Entrepreneurship is a hard journey for so many grown ups now. The sooner the little ones begin on it, the better for everyone.

  • Monidipa

    This article is a heartwarming journey into the entrepreneurial spirit of these amazing young minds! 💡👧👦 Each story is not just inspiring but also filled with valuable lessons on resilience, creativity, and financial management. The parents’ support shines through, showcasing the importance of nurturing children’s ideas. Kudos to Erin, Jacob, Erin Miskha, and Jaden for turning their passions into successful businesses

  • Marysa

    It is great to see kids learning and being creative like this. And to see that they have the motivation to put their ideas into motion. How wonderful to see they are doing this.

  • Ebony

    I love these examples of little people entrepreneurs! It’s great way to teach children how to treat and respect money. It also allows them to use their creativity and making money work for them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.