Adam Toren was 7 years old when he and his brother Matthew started their first business. Their grandfather showed them how to sell stunt airplanes at a festival near their home, in Vancouver, Canada. "Our grandfather taught us that to be an entrepreneur, you must work hard, be determined and have a passion for your work," says Adam. Now grown, the brothers use what they know to help kids start their own businesses (see "Start-Up Tips").
Here are five kids who have started enterprises. They may inspire you to start one too!
Laila Wilson, 10, told TIME For Kids that she has "DJ-ing in her blood." Her dad has been a professional disc jockey for almost 30 years. As a toddler, Laila would sit on his lap when he practiced his craft. Laila's parents let her start her own DJ business when she was 7. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida, and has performed at parties across her state and in Georgia. "My dad is a good mentor," says Laila, who is known as DJ Laila Jade. She says that the best way to get the party started is to play "ABC" by the Jackson 5.
A Sticky Idea
Like many other kids, Greyson MacLean, 13, loves Legos. When he was 9, he had the idea to create reusable stickers for Lego bricks so he could customize his creations. Greyson, from Hartland, Wisconsin, worked with his mom, dad, aunt and uncle to develop BrickStix. Today, the stickers are sold in hundreds of stores. "Do what you are passionate about," Greyson advises. "And believe in yourself and your idea."
He's Got an App
What does Connor Zamary, 9, like doing more than playing computer games? Designing them! When Connor was in first grade, he created an app for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. He called it Toaster Pop. In it, players put spread on toast that pops out of a toaster. Connor, who lives in North Lima, Ohio, learned about starting a business from his dad, who teaches the subject at Kent State University. "My dad helped me with step-by-step instructions for what I needed to do to start a business," says Connor, "but he made me do all the work."
Worms at Work
About 6,000 worms live in the basement of Greta Johnson's home in Frederic, Wisconsin. That's because Greta, 13, is a worm farmer. She started a business growing and selling worms three years ago. Her mom came across the idea in a book about unusual jobs and helped Greta get started. Her biggest clients are bait shops and fishermen. Greta likes the money she earns from her work. She sets a quarter of her earnings aside for college. Greta likes feeding the worms. What are some of their favorite foods? "They really like watermelon and coffee grounds," Greta told TIME FOR KIDS.
Hooked on Fishing
Aidan Ryan has read books and magazines about fishing since he was 5. Now 13, Aidan says years of fishing have taught him "what a fish will and won't bite." He started AFR Custom Tackle to make and sell lures (a type of bait) that attract different kinds of fish. Aidan, who lives in Oveido, Florida, also started a blog for kids to post photos of their catches. Aidan says that fishing with his great-uncle in the Florida Keys—islands known to be among the best places in the world to fish—has been an inspiration.
Adam and Matthew Toren began Young Entrepreneur (youngentrepreneur.com) and wrote Kidpreneurs to help young people start businesses. "We want to give kids a chance to get to their dreams as fast as possible," says Adam. Here are their tips.
- Surround yourself with people you can learn from.
- Find a mentor who can help guide you along the way.
- Follow your passions and interests, and don't give up!
To access the digital edition of Time For Kids, go to timeforkids.com/digital.