I remember very clearly the first business I ever started.

It lasted about 6 hours I think, possibly a bit shorter than that.
I couldn’t have been more than 9 or 10, definitely younger than 12 because it was in our first house , the one I was born in, until we moved when I was 12 going on 13.
It was a handmade greeting card business.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I am not particularly arty. I have lots of creative ideas, but not too skilled in the delivery department. But I knew I could make a mean greeting card, plain and simple, Some birthday messages, congratulations,  even plain cards for your own words.
So, I tinkered around the house, appropriating card stock, cutting it down to size, writing with my koki pens ( that’s a texter if you’re Aussie) . Drawing and even gluing pictures from magazines on the front of the cards. I even had a range of tasteful, executive postcard sized thank you notes planned for a future expansion of the business.
When I was happy that had sufficient stock, I made a sign, and stuck it on the front gate of our property facing the road.
A couple of hours later. My mother came home from work, and my sign was pulled down. The business was over before it even made its first sale, thanks to Government Interference.
I was gutted. What? My mother couldn’t see the benefits of me being financially independent ? I mean seriously. Who would want to do chores for pocket money, when I could have my own business ? The earning potential far outstripped my pocket money, which was ( in my mind ) limited by my parents willingness to part with their Rands.
In hindsight, and knowing that I grew up in the middle of the demise of apartheid, my mothers actions make sense. A little girl alone at home for a couple of hours after school, it’s not the place you want to be inviting strangers in.
As I have grown in my various jobs and career path, I also see very clearly that I have always had that independent, I’ll do it my way attitude. Thankfully it has not been conditioned out of me along the way.
And I have learned over the years to focus on what I am good at, instead of any random idea that might work, if only I was able to deliver the product.
If I had to give my 9 year old self any advice today, I’d tell her to rope in her arty friends to make the cards, buy them wholesale ( at a fair price) and sell them into the wealthier suburbs of Johannesburg for a good markup, get a table at one of the markets.
To any parents reading this blog :  Take heed – when your child starts making up a business, be involved,  and guide them in the market forces that surround your home. And be happy, because a 9 year old entrepreneur is inevitably going to grow up to do great things in their own life, if not the world around them as well.
Most importantly let them fail, if the idea is bad, or they have gaps in their abilities. Failure is a vitally important lesson in the entrepreneurial journey, and the sooner they learn to deal with the disappointment of not having an immediate success, the more resilient and the less entitled they will be as adults.