Do you have a little minnow hoping to make it onto Shark Tank with his or her big business idea? It wouldn’t be surprising, since there’s thousands of GenZ’s doing just that—from running slime-making businesses out of their bedrooms to launching their own successful jewelry lines.
We featured 12 real girls and boys for the first-ever issue of Teen Boss, and in talking with these kid CEOs, we saw first-hand how their moms and dads helped turn their business idea —and most importantly, their dreams—into a reality.
If you want to encourage your business-minded kids to go after their big idea, follow these five tips from the kids who’ve been there.
1. Encourage them
When sister kidpreneurs Madison (13) and Mallory (11) set out to create their own beauty line, Angels and Cowboys, their mom, Viara Iyadunni, was right there to help them get it off the ground. In fact, it was her idea to get the girls on Shark Tank. “She pitched us, we auditioned and they loved us,” the girls explained to Teen Boss. The sisters walked away with an investment from two Sharks, Daymond John and Mark Cuban, and a big thank you to their encouraging mom. “We owe a lot of our success to her!"
2. Take them seriously
Some parents might have dismissed 11-year-old Maddie Rae’s complaints, but when she wouldn't stop saying that she couldn’t find glue anywhere to support her slime-making hobby, her parents paid attention. So much so that her dad, who works in consumer products, helped her find a solution for her problem.
“I decided to make my own glue that was especially for slime-making and my dad helped me create it,” the business-savvy tween explained. “My dad and I worked together on the design and the branding, and we contacted multiple factories and found the one who had the best pricing for my products.”
The hard work paid off: Maddie has pre-sold more than a thousand gallons of Maddie Rae’s Slime Glue—and they’ve even sold thousands of slime jars!
3. Root for them
When 14-year-old Lily Born from Skokie, Illinois, was 9 and struggling in school, her dad helped lift her spirits. You see, she had done a plastic prototype of a no-spill cup, but was lost on what to do next.
“I was getting bad grades and I asked my dad, ‘What am I good at?’ Lily recalled to us. “A day later, he came to me and said let’s take the cup to production, so we went to China and found a factory that helped us make them!”
By being her cheerleader, Lily’s father helped her find her path to success. Now, her Kangaroo Cups are sold on Amazon!
4. Collaborate with them
Fourteen-year old twin sisters, Isabella and Matilda Solis from Austin, Texas, loved making their hair accessory out of bobby pins, called Buntoppers, but they had no idea how to launch it into a business. That’s when their mom stepped in.
“She helped formulate a plan to turn our hobby into an actual business,” they explained to Teen Boss. “She worked with several advisors and works with a manufacturer to product them. Our mom has helped us so much to bring Buntoppers to life!”
So don’t be scared to use your own ideas to see if your kid’s idea can snowball into something big.
5. Consider investing in them
Eleven-year old Alina Morse from Wolverine Lake, Michigan, had a great idea: To make lollipops that are actually good for your teeth. But she didn’t have enough money to start it on her own.
“I took $7,500 from my savings, which I had gotten mostly from my grandparents,” she told Teen Boss. “Then, my dad matched the funds, so I started my business with a $15,000 investment.” The investment paid off—Zollipops are now sold at Whole Foods and Amazon!
Fourteen-year-old Bella Weems told a similar story to Teen Boss. When she decided to put $350 of her babysitting money to start a jewelry line, her parents matched the $350 and helped her sell her accessories at family parties, before moving to a kiosk at their local mall in Chandler, Arizona. Now, the 16-year-old owns OrigamiOwl.com, which generated $24 million in revenue in 2012, according to Forbes.
The bottom line? Tons of kidpreneurs can thank their parents for helping them get to where they are today. So keep encouraging your soon-to-be-CEO kids to follow their dreams and you might just be surprised where it takes them!