I wish someone told me that when starting a business, I would have to miss out on some things like my friend’s birthday parties. There was a time I had agreed to speak at an event, not knowing it was the same day as my friend’s’ birthday party. I chose to do the event anyway because it was something that I committed to and I celebrated with my friend on a different day. That was a hard decision to make.
As part of my series about young people who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Caden Harris.
10 year old CEO Caden Harris specializes in teaching kids financial literacy with financial tools such as flashcards, activity book and financial toolbox. Soon he will be adding a mobile financial learning center in his business so that he can reach more kids in a fun interactive way.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit how you grew up? Mention your family members, your city or state or a pet or if you’re in the army or something.
I’m from the metro Atlanta, Georgia area, raised by two veteran military parents. One Airforce and one Navy so there is always a debate in my house about which branch is the best. I am the youngest of 2 siblings, my older brother is 17 and enlisting in the Airforce this year. My sister is 11 and runs her own business selling vitamins and other healthcare products. The one thing that we all love to do is travel. My favorite place so far is Montego Bay, Jamaica. Costa Rica and Colombia, South America are also among my favorite places to travel as well. I’m from a family full of entrepreneurs, my ancestors owned the first black hotel in Atlanta. My grandparents owned business,, my dad owns multiple businesses so it’d safe to say that entrepreneurship is in blood.
Is there a particular book or organization that made a significant impact on you growing up? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much? You got this!
The Book, Make Your Bed, Little Things That Can Change Your Life and Maybe The World, had an impact on me. It talks about how doing one simple task, starting your day making your bed can lead to completing many tasks throughout the day. It tells the story of a Navy Admiral and Seal team and how they made it through the most challenging time of their career. It also shows that the little things in life matter.
How do you define “Making A Difference”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example? I would suggest how you make a difference with your project/business/book/product. This is a great part to say that you are not too young to write, speak, create, share, show, etc
I define making a difference as changing lives or changing someone’s view of something, which ultimately leads them to be success or gain knowledge that will help them in the future. You’re never to young to make a difference in the world.
Ok super. Let’s now jump to the main part of our interview. You are currently leading an organization that aims to make a social impact. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today? See this as ‘What are you doing that is making a difference?’ and talk about how you are inspiring others
The way that I make a difference in the world is by teaching kids’ financial literacy through my products and live workshops. I believe learning financial literacy early in life allows you to have a head start. Everything in the world is ran based on the economy (MONEY). There’s no way to guarantee future success without knowing how to earn, save, budget and invest money. I have found that even if you feel money isn’t important to you and you just want to help out the poor or sick people. It still takes money to do that too.
Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause? This is ‘Why did you start doing what you are doing?
My passion for learning about finances began when I attended conferences with my dad. I realized that money gives you choices. It determines where you live, the amount of healthy food you can buy and the amount of people you can help. I found that many parents would stress about their kids asking for toys, games and other items, while not realizing the cost of the things they asked for. My friends would tell me their parents would always tell them this cliché message, “money doesn’t grow on trees.” My first money lesson began when I asked for a video game, my parents told me that I could get it but I would have to earn the money. I worked in the family business for three weeks to earn the money. At the end of the three weeks I realized that earning money takes a lot of what my dad would call sweat equity, meaning I would likely have to break a sweat to earn the money I wanted. I wanted my friends and other kids to understand this too. I used that experience and what I learned through the generational wealth academy to start my very own business with a $200 investment from my dad.
Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger? This is basically ‘How did you finally decide to go for it?’ and this can include your parents supporting you with an investment, taking you to an event and so much more.
I knew I wanted to start a business after my first money lesson but I had to get my parents onboard. I convinced my parents that I was serious about starting a business by doing a lot of research. I searched on google, YouTube, books, anywhere that would give me information. I knew that I needed an LLC, that I would need money to fund my 1st set of flashcards and a ride to events to sell my products. Whenever you are knowledgeable about something, people take you seriously, especially at 10 years old.
Many young people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started? Again, the word organization can mean business
One of the first steps I took in my business was seeing if there was a market for the business I wanted to start. I needed to know if I sold my products, that people would actually buy them. Well, I found that there were a lot of adult programs teaching financial literacy but not many for kids. I had my mom put out a post on Facebook asking people what they would want their kids to understand about money. That post got a lot of comments. I used those things to decide what things I would teach my peers. After I created and began to sell my first set of flashcards, we realized this was going to be a real thing. My parents then help me start my LLC, find a printing company to print my cards and figure out how to get a good return on my investment. We setup a website, an Instagram page and attended events where I could sell my products and give free workshops.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization? Talk about being placed in a store, having a major speaking event, getting on a curriculum, speaking to students, etc
My favorite thing to do in my business is visit schools to talk to other kids about money. I had this idea that it would be a cool experience for kids if I have my own mobile bus that would go around to schools and teach financial literacy in a fun way. I want a bus with tablets, lights, TVs and pretend scenarios about banking, budgeting and earning money. I shared this same idea with the CEO of a company and he told my parents that he could gift me a bus. They surprised me one day by taking me to the bus, then at the last minute they told me it was mine. I was floored, my mouth was wide open with a ton of excitement. I did end up having to pay a small amount but this was the best news I’ve had in business. I recently started a crowd fund to help me with finishing out the remodel of the bus. I hope there are a lot of people that want to help me spread financial literacy to children. Once everything is done, I’m going to have a big ribbon cutting party.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or take away you learned from that? I am not in love with this question, but please consider something that you learned on how to make your item better.
A funny mistake that I made starting out was thinking that I was talking loudly while giving speeches, I was not loud at all. I would listen to the videos after the event and wonder what was I saying as I spoke in a whisper. My take away was knowing that I needed help speaking in front of large crowds. My parents enrolled me in a kids toastmaster class where I learned everything I needed to know about public speaking.
None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?
Mom, Dad, family, a teacher, a coach. LIMIT THIS TO 4 MENTIONS PLEASE. I don’t want this to be turned into an awards acceptance speech.
My Dad is my closest mentor. He has ran successful businesses so anytime I want to do something new in business he has always given me great advice. He was also my very first investor. My mom helps me with the creative side of business. When I wanted to design my flashcards, books and subscription box, she was my go-to person. I also have very supportive family and friends, my biggest cheerleaders. They were the first ones to invest when I started my crowd fund for my bus.
Without saying specific names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause? Kinda self explanatory
In 2020 I participated in a book of the month event. My book, Caden’s Rich Kid Guide How to Make 10k under 10 years old was the featured book. One of the girls in the book club loved my book the most. It inspired her to start her own business. She attended her first vending event, after she made her first $20 she sent me a video. She was very excited about making her own money, she danced and sang happily. I have also inspired other kids to write their own books as well.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve? If you don’t now, you don’t know
Yes, community leaders and politicians can help me solve the problem of lack of financial literacy in schools by bring me out to schools to teach it and adding more curriculum to enhance it. Kids deserve to be prepared before they exit high school, instead of learning on our own after our 18th birthday.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of the interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each). This is probably the one that you ought to answer even if you can’t answer the others.
- I wish someone told me that when starting a business, I would have to miss out on some things like my friend’s birthday parties. There was a time I had agreed to speak at an event, not knowing it was the same day as my friend’s’ birthday party. I chose to do the event anyway because it was something that I committed to and I celebrated with my friend on a different day. That was a hard decision to make.
- I wish someone told me that there would be negative people around that don’t want to see you do well. There was a time that I was at a small Christmas event, a man walked up to my table, I explained my business to him and he asked me my goals. As I told him each one of my goals, he would give me a reason why I can’t do that. I told him that I wanted to own a property, he told me that I can’t because I’m not old enough. He asked me if I had a bank account, I told him yes. He said that I can’t have one by myself because I was too young. At that moment my dad stood up at my table and told the man to go away right now. That you should never tell a kid what they can’t do and he was being very disrespectful. My dad told me there will always be people like that as I grow in success and to never believe the naysayers.
- I wish someone told me that everyone doesn’t honor the things they tell you they will do. In 2018 I entered a business pitching competition, similar to Shark Tank. Out of 20 businesses I won the first place spot for $25,000. The organizer gave me excuse after excuse on when the check would be written. To make a long story short, I never received the money.
- On a lighter note, I wish someone told me that I would meet amazing people that only wanted to help me, without receiving anything in return. In June 2019 I met the nicest lady at a kid’s business fair. I was actually feeling terrible that day but she brought the best energy to my table and purchased several sets of my flashcards. Two weeks later she sent me an email saying that her and her mortage company wanted to have a meeting with me. At that meeting they asked me to come on their show for four weeks, their show aired on Fox 5. They wanted me to help them teach mortgage dos and don’ts. Of course, I said yes. That led to an amazing partnership and I created a set of flashcards for them as well.
5. I wish someone told me that running a business isn’t as easy as it looks. I thought that I would just create a product and it would go flying off the shelves. Well, it didn’t happen that fast, I had to create products with the customer in mind. I had to promote myself, make videos and talk to a lot of people before people and companies started buying products in bulk. All of the work was worth the outcome, I wouldn’t change my experience or the people I’ve inspired.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them? This one might just be the easiest of all the questions
I would tell young people that they shouldn’t be ashamed of their challenges. There are people who have the same challenges as you and sharing your story could help people in so many ways. My biggest challenge growing up was not knowing how to talk. It concerned my parents; I went to many specialists. I didn’t learn to talk until I was almost 5 years old. I would leave off the beginning of some words and the end of others. I went through years of speech therapy but I overcame my language challenge. I found that there were other amazing people that overcame the same thing I did. The best golfer in the world, Tiger Woods and president Joe Biden also overcame their speech challenges. The irony is that now I get paid to speak in front large crowd.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂 I am so sure you can think of this one on your own.
For a long time, my dream has been to meet and have lunch with President Barrack Obama. He is the first black president and an example of black excellence. We would talk about the state of the world, family and how we can help our youth become great adults. My favorite food is hot wings, I would hope we could enjoy our favorite foods together. I would love to share with him about my business and how I want to change the world.
How can our readers follow you online? Make sure include your website and active social links
Fb: Daddy Did You Know https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Public-Figure/Caden-Harris-928304644014806/
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!