Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pulling Weeds

I have two daughters, ages 9 and 6. The nine year old sure has her mom's entrepreneurial spirit! She decided she wanted to make money, but didn't know how. Without any help from me, she came up with an idea. She was going to pull weeds for the neighbors for $5.

How did she come up with this? She went outside, saw that many of our neighbors had lots of weeds in their front yard, (it's that time of year here in Phoenix) and decided that this would be her new business. So she did what every entrepreneur does:

  • She identified a need
  • She came up with a solution
  • She determined that she was capable of providing the solution
  • She determined what she would charge for her service

She needed a few supplies (gardening gloves and a garbage bag). She came to me. Of course, as her mother, I decided she was a good risk, and lent her the start up fee she needed (approximately $4). I then asked her how she would advertise her service.

"I'll just ring their doorbell and tell them what I'm doing."

Hmmm. There's a Back-To-Basics lesson to be learned here. Just let your potential customers know what you are doing. Interesting concept. I, for one, often get caught up in making sure my entire marketing campaign is thought through, in place, and ready to go before I get out there.

However, when I started up my SendOutCards business, I knew that I didn't have time for all of that. I just needed to get out there and let people know about this great online service that lets you create real greeting cards on the computer, and then just click send. Then SendOutCards will print, stuff, stamp, and mail the cards for you. That's all there was to it. So I set up presentations and started making phone calls. I joined a networking group. I just told people. Some were interested, some weren't. But I just kept telling people. And it's been working.

I'm glad my daughter reminded me of how basic sales can be sometimes.

So she went door to door, her little sister in tow, and started letting the neighbors know what she was doing. The first day out, she was rejected by every single person she talked to. I felt bad for her, knowing how bad she wanted this to succeed. And so I thought this would discourage her and end her weed-pulling career.

To her credit, and my delight, she got out there again the next day she had off of school. And started asking different neighbors. This time, she had success at the first house she went to. And when she was done pulling that person's weeds, she moved on to the next house. Again...success! She would've gone on to a third house, but pulling weeds is tough work.

And so my little 9-year-old entrepreneur reminded me that persistence pays off. And right now, I really needed that reminder.

Until Next Time,


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