Future Legends Special! - Inspiring Life & Business Advice From 12-Year-Old Entrepreneurs

By James Mills, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International

We have a collective responsibility to help young people realise their potential to lead happy, healthy and successful lives.

Recently you may have seen an article about a 5-year-old girl in the UK who was given a £150 fine by council officials for setting up a lemonade stand for those making their way to this year's Lovebox festival. After being challenged, the fine was waived by Tower Hamlets council, in the name of adopting a common sense approach. This was a situation we discussed as a leadership team in a morning meeting and funnily enough, later, whilst outside I walked past a lemonade stand!

So I decided to speak to the two girls who had taken the initiative to set up a stand whilst on their school holidays. The lemonade was wonderful, but more than this I was impressed by the maturity of Mercedes and Megan who subsequently agreed to do an interview. At 12 years old, not only do they have bags of enthusiasm and ambition, but they offered advice that many of us adults could benefit from! Find out what they feel we can do to support the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs, as well as who they look up to as role models...

What Are Your Career Plans For The Future?

When I asked about their plans for the future, it was clear that both girls have been thinking about what they want to do. Mercedes aspires to work in event management and Megan in advertising. They both expressed interest in running their own businesses. As an aspiring entrepreneur, Mercedes said:

"I think I would like to work more independently to have my own business rather than be run by someone else's business. I think it's good to have your own ideas and follow your own dreams... Be more of a leader than a follower."

Megan added to this by saying:

"I'd also like to be independent and to do my own thing and prove to people that I can do what I want to."

What Can We As Adults Do To Help You Achieve Your Goals?

Although both girls are ambitious and are clear about their plans for the future, there is still plenty we can do to help future leaders and entrepreneurs to help them bring these ideas to life. Mercedes shared how much she valued positivity from those closest to her:

"I think encouragement is a very big one, because if you're encouraged and supported by others, your peers, your parents, your family, loads of people then it helps you be more happy and positive about yourself."

Megan built on this with the important role that she feels other people will play in her ultimate success:

"I think for me it would be that people believed in me because if it's just me, yeah I think I'll go and do it. But I need people's support and people to actually believe in me to help me do it." 


What Advice Can You Offer To Other Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs?

Both girls were keen to offer their advice to other young people looking to get stuck into the world of entrepreneurship. Mercedes highlighted the power of persistence:

"Stick with it! Persevere because we didn't have the best start, we didn't get that many sales but we just kept on staying out here for a long time and it just gradually got more and more good." 

Megan reminded us that we should all enjoy what we do:

"Have fun with it! Don't just sit there and be bored and do something that you enjoy doing."

In fact, when we look at this, there is plenty of wisdom that us grown ups can take on board for our own careers and businesses! 🙂

Who Are Your Favourite Legends?

Both girls are also into their sport and so named a couple of sporting stars as their favourite legends. Mercedes is a keen golfer and very much sees the professionals as stars she looks up to:

"My favourite is Tiger Woods because even when he got his back injury he still went on the course and he still gave it a go and even though he's been suffering from his injuries, I think it's just been really good to keep on going and carry on. He's just an amazing person."

The Paralympics has clearly made a big impact on Megan and her choice of legend:

"So for me, it's Ellie Simmonds - she's a British Paralympic swimmer. I don't swim massively, I enjoy it from time to time. She's an inspiration because she's obviously had quite a tough time but she's trained so hard and she's got so much power now and now she's quite well-known all around the world."

What's evident from both these examples is how much the girls appreciate the qualities of persistence and determination, especially in the face of adversity.

So, there you have it! Inspiring stuff, right? No doubt there are plenty of other young people like Megan and Mercedes who have big dreams for the future. It seems like we as adults have our work cut out to be the best role models we can be for them and to give them all the encouragement and support they need to make their dreams a reality. I've heard on the grapevine that Mercedes and Megan will be investing some of their profits into a new business venture, so watch this space...!!

A big thanks to Mercedes' mum for supervising the girls on the day and for both sets of parents to give permission to conduct and publish this interview for the Legends Report. Here's the full 6-minute audio interview...

For more proof that you are never too young to start realising your dreams - here's How 2 Teenage Sisters Convinced Bali To Ban Plastic Bags!

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