Can Kids Start a Company? (in 6 Hours Over 6 Weeks)

7 Jan

For the last four years, I have been CEO of a startup on the fast track, which left very little time for extra-curricular parenting efforts.  In fact last year, when Fiona had an assignment to write an essay on something CRAZY that would NEVER happen, she chose to write an essay titled, “the day my mom drove for a field trip.”  yeah.  one of many low moments in the life of a working mom.

So now that my company has been acquired and someone ELSE has the daily stress that is CEO, I vowed to get more involved in the kids’ school.  Just as I made that mental commitment, I received the note in the backpack: “parents needed to teach mini-courses”.  Mini-courses are 6-week classes (1 hour per week) that parents teach on anything they want.  Fiona and Rowan begged me to volunteer.  I could do this.  Maybe?

If there is one thing I know about, its starting and running companies. So let’s see if I can get kids to start one in 6 weeks!  The idea (to make it fun):  The Coloring Book Company.  So I called the office to tell them I’d do a mini-course (see ya in a few weeks) and that’s when they told me I had to be prepared to PITCH.  huh?

I have pitched the world’s premier VCs when the stakes were as high as they could be.  I have spoken to audiences of hundreds of CEOs and CMOs.  But pitching to elementary school kids and asking them to pick my mini-course?  I WAS TERRIFIED.  Sam thought it was adorable (great).

I was told that other parents dressed in costumes and gave out candy to have kids pick them.  Low blow. I couldn’t go there.  That’s just not me.  So I went the challenge angle:

“I started a company and I LOVE running a company.  But, you know what?  I’m around a lot of grown ups and grown-ups say that kids can’t start companies!” (thank god they got it right away and jumped up, booing and screaming and revolting).  “Grown-ups say kids aren’t creative enough to come up with new ideas!”  (more boos and screams).  “Grown-ups say kids don’t work hard enough to do what it takes to start a company” (now the Principal has to calm them down and ask them to get back in their seats).  “I say you can start a company and I need some smart kids to help me prove it!”

My course was over-subscribed and lots of kids were turned away.  We start day 1 of the Coloring Book company next Friday!  It should be fun.  I will chronicle the adventure here.

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