Last summer, my oldest teenage son and I started an e-commerce business together. We’d found a gap in the market, and we created a fun, practical solution. Our growth has been slow, but steady. The greatest benefit by far is the valuable ‘real world’ lessons all of us are gaining from this experience.
As teenagers, my boys are in an interesting time of their lives. They want to be viewed as ‘different,’ but they also want to fit in as much as possible. Asking them to be vulnerable isn’t always met with much enthusiasm. Starting a business means we have to sit outside of our comfort zones more often than we’d like. Putting a new idea out into the world can be scary. There’s a significant fear of rejection. We’re doing something different. However, there’s so much strength in vulnerability. The more we get used to sitting in our own discomfort, the better we will be as people and ultimately, as a company.
My kids and I have quickly learned we must take steps every day to reach our goals. We may not always feel motivated to do the work, but we have to remain disciplined. Success is never met without consistent effort. Just like my boys practice lacrosse to improve their abilities on the field, they’re learning to take small steps each day to contribute to our ultimate success.
Our business is certainly not a ‘get rich quick’ concept. We are building a brand and a community of incredibly kind and supportive patrons, and this takes time. My kids are growing up in a period when everything feels accelerated. We can find answers to nearly anything with a few key strokes. We can order food and have it delivered to our home within minutes. However, building trust with others isn’t something we can do instantly. Instead, we have to show up each day and represent ourselves and our brand authentically, and those who appreciate what we have to offer will support us when they feel comfortable doing so.
Every win, no matter how small, is worth celebrating. We may not have thousands of social media followers, but we sincerely appreciate each and every friend and customer who chooses to engage with us. There is nothing better than seeing patrons using our product and proudly sharing it with their friends. And the genuine connections we’ve made online and in our community with so many kindhearted people are priceless.
When we created our product, we made certain the quality was the best we could offer. It was important for us to promote items we would want to purchase ourselves. However, delivering exceptional customer service has been, and continues to be, our number one priority. It’s essential my kids learn the value of offering more to a customer than he or she is expecting. If something isn’t quite right, we do whatever we can to can to make it right. We’ve also sent free product to strangers who’ve inspired us for various reasons. There is so much good in celebrating the light we see in others.
Life experience brings us perspective, and I’m grateful to share this entrepreneurial journey with my kids. Who knows what the future brings for our business, but I do know the lessons learned along the way are invaluable.