“When I grow up, I want to…” PorcFest & A Young Entrepreneur

“When I grow up, I want to…” “own my own” “start my own”

For some kids when you ask them what they want to do, they will give you an occupation. Most of the time, Kk has an idea for a business.  PorcFest provides the opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to develop a business, even if only for a week.  My daughter has been wanting to start a business at PorcFest for a while. This year, I took this as an opportunity to give her room to explore her understanding of key concepts of owning and operating a business. The result of which leaves me with the intention to share this.

PorcFest is a great place for kids.  In fact, I would prefer PorcFest to Disney World.  It is much more authentic and offers unique opportunities for a young person to become comfortable with things like owning a business, public speaking, event management and anything else they might want to learn about while still having fun.  Yes, there are things that go on there that I do not find suitable for young children.  As a parent, I can avoid those things easily.  However, I would suggest that maybe having my child interact with a variety of people while still in  my care might be a better way to proactively learn to deal with challenging situations when I am not there in the future

Intially, Kk’s idea was to cook breakfast every day.  While that would be a profitable endeavor in the right situation, it would not be ideal for a tween whose parents were both volunteering throughout the week.   We talked about the market and what resources she would have readily available.  We discussed prep time and profit margin.  She determined she would like to have a “food truck” which was really a wagon with fruit and water.  She wrote a business plan.  After presenting it to her investors (us),  we advised her that we would invest in her initial inventory and she would be required to pay us back.

Just before PorcFest, someone reached out about some great cups with LED lights that he wanted to sell at PorcFest.  Kaelyn offered to sell his cups and in doing so learned about Partnership and contracting.  They also made the wagon much prettier and easier to organize.

And so, she hit the road with 4 Wheelin Fruits.

Fresh Start

4 Wheelin Fruits

She met her first customer about 10 minutes after starting.

First Customer

First Customer, Thanks Carla!

Then she worked on establishing a route

Poolside delivery

Poolside delivery

She did pretty well on her first trip through.  The hardest part of sales is the initial contact and she experienced that discomfort and pushed through as best as she could.

We talked about going out at night and decided to try to make something that might draw people to the cart.  We took about 45 minutes to set this up.  It was worth it. Here is where Kk learned about product placement.

Looking good

Looking good

We went out and she started selling.  I stood close by, but, not so close that I was hovering.  This was her business and I was there as a coach, not a boss.  There was a lot of interest in the cart and she took many of the opportunities to ask people if they wanted to buy something.

Knowing your market

Exploring Market Opportunity

People were drawn to the cart and it was going well.  Though, there was this one guy. At PorcFest, drunk fools are the minority, most people are looking out for each other, especially watchful of the kids.  This made this interaction significantly less risky.  He was loud,obnoxious and unaware that he was intimidating my daughter.  I called her Dad over and took this picture.

Dealing with customers

Dealing with “difficult” customers

I returned to her side and stood with my hand on her shoulder.    I showed her how to exit gracefully and warned her that “when dealing with a sloppy drunk person, you need to know how you should respond, not try to figure out how they are going to, because they are drunk.”  This was perhaps the one experience at PorcFest that I would not replicate outside of PorcFest.  However, in this moment, I was able to teach my daughter the value of walking away from a sale and a bad situation.  It is my belief that this lesson will serve her well throughout life long past childhood.

Over the next few days, Kk merged with another young entrepreneur (she was selling seltzer water) formed a partnership and split their profits.  However, Kk lost her steam for operating a business.  After all, this was PorcFest and there was fun to be had. As a result, most of the fruit went bad and we did not make back our initial investment.

It was very frustrating to see a net loss of what should have been a profitable endeavor.  However, I would rather she experience a business failing as a kid and start to understand the reality of operating a business.  I would support her doing this again.  However, next time, I would have her earn the money for her initial inventory investment. I think that would motivate her to make sure she made her money back.  We live and we learn.  More than any perceived failure, I see an experience that taught me and my daughter a lot and made our PorcFest one to remember.

See you next PorcFest!

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