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Teen-2-Teen: April 2019

Sylvie Winje, North Dakota Living teen writer
Sylvie Winje

Me, start my own business?

by Sylvie Winje

Seventeen-year-old Fred DeLuca started a small sandwich business, hoping to defray the cost of college. Happily, his business was successful, and he raised more than enough money for his education. Just like DeLuca, teens should consider starting their own business to earn money, learn responsibility and grow communication skills.

First, you can earn and learn how to manage your money. My sister, Emma, and I started a business playing piano at nursing homes and have earned more than $2,000 so far! Doing so helped me associate the true value of a dollar with the amount of work required. When earning your own money, you are suddenly much more careful in how you spend it. Perhaps the money you earn can be invested back into your business, or saved for the future!

Secondly, starting your own business helps you to become more responsible. For example, Thomas Edison started his own business as a teenager, printing and selling newspapers to people who rode the train. When Emma and I perform at nursing homes, we must be on time, look presentable, talk to adults, have a plan, and most importantly, provide a good performance!

Finally, you will grow your communication skills. Creating a business requires you to speak with customers, suppliers and others. You also learn to write clear emails and manage logistics. As a young person, it forces you to have a certain level of maturity. To be honest, it is not easy to communicate with adults, even if they are 95 years old! I have learned so much through our nursing home business about communication, and you can, too.

You might be wondering how to get started. Begin by making a list of your interests (music, art, technology, nannying, being outdoors), talk to your parents about business ideas that surround those interests, and then learn more about the process. Remember Fred DeLuca? That successful business he started was Subway! Now he makes billions of dollars per year and it all began when he was just 17 years old. That could be you, but you must get started first!

Sylvie Winje is a sophomore homeschooled student. Sylvie is the daughter of Paul and Audrey Winje, who are members of Cass County Electric Cooperative.