In every kid’s life there comes a moment when they look outside of themselves and see what is going on around them. They discover how other people live and they compare it to how they live. That self-discovery can lead some kids to realize they are less fortunate and for others it can mean a discovery that shows they are luckier than most people. It is in those children that change starts to happen, with the help and support from understanding parents, that pushes the child to come up with ways to help other people.
That moment happened for Emily Meehan, a 9 year-old student, when she witnessed the homeless on the street begging for any kind of help. She would see them holding signs on corner streets and started to wonder what she could do to help. Children are exposed to these kinds of events happening everyday but very few understand the situation or care enough to take it any further than offering a dollar or some bottled water. Emily took it upon herself, after talking with her parents, about what she could do to help and came up with two great ideas.
Turning a Passion Project into a Business
The challenge with passion projects is that once the work starts to get demanding it no longer feels fun or exciting. That is when the feeling of “work” starts to set in and the challenge with meeting quotas and deadline starts to overwhelm the whole process. In order to ensure that Emily understood what she was getting herself into her parents made her aware that she had to find a way to make sure that she could earn money that supported her idea, which was to help cloth the homeless.
Identify Money Making Skills
The only skills that Emily had at her age were baking Muffins and knitting. The two skills would go hand-in-hand in supporting one for the other. In this case she decided that selling Muffins around her neighborhood would allow her to earn enough money to purchase fabric and materials to sew scarves and hats.
Creating a Brand Strategy
Emily and her mother, Leslie, knew they needed a name that people would recognize and connect with the mission of her company. That is when the idea for Muffins on a Mission came about. Emily designed the logo for all the packaging so that when people see it they know it was personally made by her. The church that Emily and her family attends along with some of the members have taken an interest in her project and want to help her expand the goal. Word-of-Mouth marketing is still the best form of marketing for any kind of business.
Setting Production Goals and Sales
Emily understands that in order to make the holidays she will need to sell a lot of muffins in order for her to have enough money to make what she wants for the homeless. This means that she will need to buy enough supplies, price at a certain number (which for her is $2 a package), and sell a certain amount in order to have enough scarves and hats to give away in December. In the beginning she was only baking twice a month but now that the holidays are around the corner she has increased production to every Saturday now. Emily has all the time to sew so that means when she is not baking she is buying materials and sewing.
Keeping it Fun
The help she will get from community members selling her muffins is what will keep her passion project fun and a worth while learning experience. Her family members also help sell her muffins in order for her to meet her goals. If she takes this opportunity in stride she will learn all the basic lessons of what it takes to start a startup business, without any of the risk that comes with a regular startup. If things work out this holiday season then the look on the people’s faces when she hands out all her scarves and hats will be worth the effort put in. That is usually when an entrepreneur gets their next big idea on how to expand. If things work out she will move online and set up a website and maybe hire some local help.
The great thing about learning how to run a business at a young age is that you learn a lot of important skills that you will use for the rest of your life. Even if the business fails, it’s ok because you can start over and try another one and learn from your mistakes in the first one. In order to get the most out of it though, for any kid, is to have understanding parents who are supportive in every step of the process. Hopefully she will make the news again with her great idea to help the homeless.