My First Step to Becoming an Entrepreneur

I would like to start out by sharing a story with you about how I became an entrepreneur at a very young age.

When I was four years old, my parents split up. My mother worked in a lumberyard to take care of us and it was really hard work. I was 12 when I finally realized that we were poor because it was at that age that I noticed that kids were dressing differently than I was. To save money, Mom bought my clothes at the local five and dime or discount department stores.

Now, when you're that age, what you're wearing often defines how cool you are -- or at least how cool you are perceived to be.

I started to notice that all the other girls in school were wearing jeans from the local boutique and I was wearing jeans from the discount store. Those boutique jeans cost a lot of money. Those jeans were designer brands with nice labels.

I decided that I wanted a pair of those jeans.

My Mom said to me, "Lisa, I can't afford those jeans. If you want those jeans, child, you are going to have to find a way to make enough money to cover the difference between the jeans I can afford and the jeans that you want."

With that, I decided I was going to get a job.

I went in to the Bank Street General Store and told them I was looking for a job, and they hired me! They hired me to work the cash, keep the store clean, stock shelves -- all the fun stuff.

The day after they hired me, they fired me!

They fired me because I was a 12-year-old and I didn't have a Social Insurance Number so I wasn't able to legally work for them.

But I still wanted those jeans, and I still needed the money to buy them. So what was my solution? The flea market!

I went on a hunt for all my old toys, all the things that I didn't want anymore, and all of the crafts I had made. I was a knitter and also crocheted so I had a lot of hand-made things to sell.

I went next door to my Aunt and asked if she had anything I could sell -- I was shameless and I asked everyone in the neighborhood for things I could sell!

The that day I went to the flea market, I sold every single thing I had. I still don't know if it was because I was a cute kid selling all her worldly possessions or if I was a really good salesperson. On your first time at the flea market, they gave you the table for free so I had no overhead.
I walked away with a wad of cash and I bought those damn jeans!

Not only did I walk away with enough money to buy those pair of jeans, but also I had enough money to cover the costs of a table at the flea market for the next week! I had started my first business -- I was an entrepreneur!

I kept collecting things, I kept making things, and I kept bringing them to the flea market to sell. I did this until I was "legally" able to get a job.

The point of this story is really simple. I was a 12-year-old and I didn't have any preconceived notions about my ability to sell. I did not have the "what ifs". I wasn't worried if no one liked me, bought my stuff, wasn't a good sales person, or wondered if I'm asking too much money. None of that garbage was stopping me from going out and selling my things. I was uninhibited by my mindset and I knew what my goal was -- a pair of jeans.

When children want something, they get tunnel vision, and I did what I had to do to get those jeans. But what I didn't realize was that I was setting myself on a lifetime path as an entrepreneur.

So, what about you?

You're an adult. You've got resources. You've got all kinds of things that you can do to make money. What can you do to make that happen?

I want to hear from you, what were your steps in becoming an entrepreneur?