Beats Bussing Tables
(FORTUNE Small Business) – Caroline Gray, 13 Serial entrepreneur Wellesley, Mass.
I STARTED MY FIRST BUSINESS when I was just 10. My parents don't believe in allowances, and my sister had already locked up all the good babysitting jobs in the neighborhood. I needed money, so I decided to set up a car wash. I made a sandwich-board sign and walked around the neighborhood for an hour. When I got home, there were six cars lined up outside my house. I had to hire some of my friends to help. That presented my first management challenge: Nobody wanted to vacuum under the kids' car seats. But I made good money—about $150.
My most successful business was making stress balls that kids could squeeze. We were entering a testing period at school, and everyone was stressed out. I made my own stress balls out of colored balloons filled with flour, and sold them for $1 apiece. I sold 90 in two days.
Now all of my friends want to start their own businesses too, because it is so much cooler than bagging groceries or cleaning tables at a restaurant. Plus, you make lots more money! Last summer, among all my businesses, I made about $800. Being an entrepreneur is a perfect equation: Fun plus money plus happy customers equals a great job.
SCHOOL'S IN Number of American colleges and universities with entrepreneurship departments
SOURCE: Kauffman Foundation (kauffman.org)
Number of students ages 13 to 18 who participated in entrepreneurship programs from the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship
Percentage of kids ages 13 to 18 who would like to be entrepreneurs (2006)
SOURCE: Junior Achievement (ja.org)
As Told to Patricia B. Gray (Caroline's Mother) contributed to this article.