Lemonade stands and YouTube: Fun ways to encourage young entrepreneurs

Oct 1, 2012 at 4:56 a.m. ET

Whether you're a business owner or wish you were, you've gotta admit -- there are obvious advantages to following your passion and being your own boss. If your kids have mastered the lemonade stand and are ready to move on to big business, here are some fun ways to encourage their entrepreneurial spirit.

kids running lemonade stand

Show them other successful kid entrepreneurs

It doesn't get more inspiring than watching other kids who have turned their interests into thriving businesses. Head online and show your kids these young entrepreneurs in action.

Lizzie Marie Cuisine

Twelve-year-old Lizzie Marie Likness started cooking at the wee age of two. When she desperately wanted to take horseback riding lessons at age six, she decided to earn the money for lessons by selling baked goods at the local farmers market. That entrepreneurial spirit led to appearances on Fox News, CNN Money and even the Rachael Ray show. See how Lizzie Marie continues to inspire budding entrepreneurs on her YouTube channel and her own website, lizziemariecuisine.com.


In 2011, 8-year-old Jessica Nedry started making friendship bracelets out of rubber bands for fun. When a friend was diagnosed with cancer, she turned her hobby into a venture to "raise money and hope." This led to the creation of FriendlyBands, a company that sells themed friendship bracelets to raise funds and awareness for various charities. Visit Jessica's website to learn more about her business and see her interview on CBS CEO Corner.

ManCan candles

In 2010, 13-year-old Hart Main realized there were no candles with scents that appealed to men. He took that thought, paired it with his desire to feed the hungry and created ManCan candles. Hart purchases canned soup from the grocery store and donates it to local food kitchens. After the cans are used, he cleans them out and pours in his manly scented wax candles. A great idea, spiffy packaging and a desire to do good has helped Hart grow his business and gain plenty of media attention, as you can see on his website, www.man-cans.com.

Encourage kids to follow their interests

Each of the successful young entrepreneurs mentioned above took an idea or interest and used it as a springboard to create their company. Help your own kids brainstorm for ways they might want to take a hobby and turn it into a business.

Provide support

If your child shows an interest in becoming an entrepreneur, provide the encouragement and advice to get them started. Kids can do a lot on their own, but the most successful youth entrepreneurs usually have a parent giving them emotional (and yes, financial) support.

Let them fail

In your excitement to help your kids create a business, it's easy to try to protect them from failure. This is a mistake. As most entrepreneurs will tell you, it's those failures that taught them more than any business course ever could. If one idea doesn't pan out, be there to help your kids understand what went wrong and to move on to their next big idea.

Expert Tip

Sharon Lechter of Pay Your Family First tells parents to help young entrepreneurs make a hobby a business. "Go into their world and find something that they like, then look at it from a business perspective... If they like to ride bikes, explain to them how they can turn that into a business — creating handlebar stickers to sell to other bike riders or offering to wear shirts from a local business when you ride in exchange for a small fee."

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