When I first showed signs of being an entrepreneur

When do you start to become an entrepreneur?

Yesterday I met a new contact for lunch in The Anchor Line, in Glasgow. We had never met or even spoken before. It was one of those situations when you know the rough agenda but don’t know if you’ll like the person or have anything in common.

I was pleasantly surprised that not only did we get on, we had a lot in common and shared many opinions about business and our industry – digital, brand, PR and comms. Phew!

Listening skills

What was even nicer, was that Susannah asked me questions about me. Not about work. She didn’t start by talking about herself. She wanted to know about me. That was a sign she was an excellent communicator. She asked the ‘right’ questions and she listened. She was actually interested.

One thing we talked about was the inspiration for this post. We both have taken inspiration from our Dads. My Dad was an entrepreneur through and through. Sadly he passed away when I was 20. He had little education (he was a bit of a ‘bad boy’ when he was younger!) but worked up a hugely successful business, with a strong USP, and he was the best in the business.

My first business and my first job

I’ve always had different ideas and I’ve always come up with problems to solutions but when you’re younger you don’t think “I’m going to be an entrepreneur”. Our lunch conversation got nostalgic and I was talking about my first job at the age of 13. Washing dishes in my local coffee shop.

We lived in the country, in a clachan, so there were only a few businesses there, but it was a spot people travelled to at weekends for walking and a coffee. I always wanted to work in the coffee shop – the food always smelled amazing and I always saw people enjoying themselves at the outdoor tables in the summer.

When I was a kid, I used to buy waitress order pads from a shop in Brodick in Arran. We had a holiday house there and spent a lot of our time off school there. I used to take orders at the dinner table, even though I knew there was only one meal we could have and there was no choice, but I always wanted to be a waitress. Working with people and food and seeing people having a nice time.

Bringing back memories

As our conversation progressed, it brought back another memory. When I was around 11 years old, I started my first (unofficial) business. I learned how to make friendship bracelets one summer and I made them in my spare time, whilst not doing homework or tidying my room. I had a good stock of threads and colours. One day, when there was a wee market stall day, out ‘on the square’ in front of my house, I grabbed a fold up table and chair and sat myself at the bottom of our drive.

I had my threads on show, a few bracelets already made and taped to my table, plus I brought a selection of change out. I started selling my bracelets to the local kids at first, then passers by would stop and buy them for their kids. I even started making them on the spot and told people to come back in 15 minutes so I could custom make them with their desired colours.

Such a happy memory – it makes me chuckle! I was making something, I loved making them and people wanted to buy them!

At that time, I was still getting pocket money, so anything I sold was a bonus. When I started working in the coffee shop and earned £1.75 an hour, that’s when my parents stopped my pocket money. I really did start to understand the value of money…

Susannah was reminiscing about her youth too, talking about how she had her first job early on and wanted to be independent. She was even talking about her kids were showing signs of it already – one of them is only 5!

So cast your mind back to when you were younger. What ideas did you have and what did you do to earn your first buck?

Thanks for reading my post. If you enjoyed it, others might too, so please give it a share!

If you got some similar childhood memories, let me know in the comments below.

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