Entrepreneurs often start early: here are 5 of my own examples

Entrepreneurship has a legacy of leaders who got started early. That sense of independence, experimentation and motivation to be challenged appears to often be a natural instinct.

When I started Technical.ly in early 2009, I had no experience or real awareness of entrepreneurship. We’ve learned a lot, and in truth, I still remain a relatively inexperienced founder, but I have taken and enjoyed this early entrepreneurial experience.

And looking back, I’ve come to realize that without ever planning it, I had some early experience in starting up. Here are a few examples that come to mind:

  1. As a child, I traded in baseball cards with a mind for investment.
  2. In high school, I launched a satirical newspaper with plans for selling them.
  3. During several summers, I bought boxes of candy, like Crunch bars and packs of gum, and sold them for $1 each to friends and neighbors. I often highlighted something specific that I was raising money for (like my college education).
  4. In college, I cut the hair of friends for $5 a pop. I wasn’t very good, so I had to price the service low.
  5. For my first two years of college, I had a meal plan that also allowed me to purchase packaged goods at certain times of day. I got in the habit of building into my schedule the act of purchasing those goods and selling them at a discount to dorm-mates who wanted to stay in, and I focused on my meal plan.

None of these made me much money. Almost always I also had a more traditional side job, but these were experimentations with business models, efficiencies and pricing. I learned negotiation and got comfortable with planning for self-reliance.

I don’t know where this energy came from. Looking back, I didn’t really the word ‘entrepreneur,’ I just wanted to earn my own money for independence and for learning. Perhaps that’s how it often begins.

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