By Leo Babauta
I tell all my kids they should start their own businesses someday. I think it's an amazing way to make a living, an amazing mindset to have, and it's a school like no other that you keep learning from all the time.
Besides marrying my wife and having my kids, starting my business is the best thing I've done.
And then a little while ago, I realized that there's nothing stopping them from starting a business now, while they're young.
Yesterday my 14-year-old daughter Maia became the first to officially launch her business: a vegan cupcake venture!
I encouraged her to start one a few months ago, and in that time she's experimented with a handful of recipes, doing taste tests with her siblings (who have absolutely loved the process of course). She's found recipes that worked.
And this past weekend, she decided to take her cupcakes public.
So I helped her build a very simple webiste (a placeholder really), she picked a name and a domain, she made a hand-painted sign, she got her ingredients ready.
And then yesterday she made two different vegan recipes (cinnamon cardamon, and toasted coconut), decorated them nicely, put them on trays, and the entire family headed over to Dolores Park to sell cupcakes.
Mostly Maia sold them with her little sister Noelle, who carried the sign and yelled "vegan cupcakes, one dollar!" as they walked past people. The cupcakes sold like hotcakes. They sold two dozen in about 20 minutes, giving them $24. Maia decided to give Noelle $5 for her efforts. Win all around.
What does starting a cupcake business have to do with unschooling?
There's no better education, in my opinion. They're learning:
- How to start something
- How to try even when something is scary
- How to brainstorm and come up with ideas
- How to test things
- How to deal with failure
- How to learn from feedback
- How to make a website
- How to price, and adjust pricing
- How to sell and deal with customers
- How to have fun while making a living
- Math and economics
- That they're awesome human beings
These are incredible things to learn at an early age. I don't think schools teach most of this (maybe the math, but math is more fun when you're doing cupcake expense and revenue calculations). And what a fun way to learn -- when it's something you actually care about!
My other kids have ideas in the works for their own businesses. And now they have their sister's incredible example.