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How to Start a Small Business At A Young Age

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

An interview with teen entrepreneur, Riley Baker

There are so many different jobs and careers in the world! One of them is called being an "entrepreneur," defined as "one who takes the initiative to create a product or establish a business for profit." So an entrepreneur is someone who starts their own business, instead of working for someone else. The great part of having your own business is you are your own boss: you have more freedom and flexibility, and you are directly working to make money for yourself. The tough part of being an entrepreneur is it's a lot of work! Nothing good ever came easy, though, and you have the power to work hard! Our founder, Bianca Rae, talked to Riley about what inspired her to start her own business so young, and what advice she has for you if you'd like to try it, too!

Riley Baker is now 16 years old, but she was just 12 years old when she started her own business. That's right: after attending the Bianca Rae Foundation's Rae Of Hope Retreat as a sixth grader, she decided to start a business making and selling coasters and trays!

Bianca Rae: Tell us about your business. What do you sell and how can people buy it?

Riley Baker: My business is abstract art -- it's mostly coasters, trays, and canvases! I currently sell the coasters on Etsy under the name "Colorstormstudio." Before lockdown, I would also go to local art fairs!

BR: What do you recall learning at the Rae of Hope Retreat that inspired you to start your own business?

RB: I remember at my first Rae of Hope Retreat, everyone there kept telling us that we can do anything we put our mind to, and that they wanted us to follow our dreams no matter what. I found that really empowering. I decided I wanted to take a risk and try something new. I have always loved any way of expressing creativity, so the idea of creating art seemed to fit perfectly!

BR: How did you go about starting your business?

RB: The first thing I did was build lots of inventory, which took lots of time but was also really fun. Next, I had to set up an Etsy account, decide how to price items fairly, take good photos, and learn how to safely ship items. After that, I searched for local art fairs to attend to help me gain better social skills. It also helped me learn more about how to efficiently work in-person. From there I just had to keep supplies and inventory stocked, which is fairly easy. Even though it sounds like quite a lot, it's really a fun and interesting process and nowhere near as intimidating as it sounds!

BR: You were very young when you created your business. Do you remember feeling nervous at all?

RB: When I started my business, I was super nervous, but that is really understandable. I always tend to worry a lot and overthink everything that passes through my brain, so getting over that was certainly tough. Luckily, I had tons of support and the doubts went away over time. You just have to remember that the negative thoughts in your head are never enough to stop you!

BR: What advice would you give to young people looking to start their own business?

RB: DON'T GIVE UP! There is nothing or no one who can stop you if this is something you are passionate about. Find something you love, learn about it, create something beautiful, and share it with the world. It feels so good to sit back and look at what I have accomplished because I realize I have no regrets. Plus you gain tons of amazing skills from starting a small business as well!

BR: What advice would you give your 12-year-old self?

RB: I would tell myself to stop worrying and realize I'm on the right path. Like I said, I tend to overthink everything, which has led to so much unneeded stress in my life. I would tell myself that everything works out and worrying does no good. Basically, just live in the moment. Don't let your brain tell you that you should grow up faster or have everything in your life planned. It does no good, just keep living in the now and put the worries behind you.

Riley Baker is a 16-year-old sophomore in high school. She attended two Bianca Rae Foundation Rae Of Hope Retreats, in sixth and seventh grade, before going on to start Colorstormstudio at the age of twelve.



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