By: Mia L. Hazlett
Work, work, work, work, work!!! It’s a word I’ve only recently been able to say with any sort of confidence. I open up in my book, Going Through It, as to how I remained somewhat positive during my struggle with 15 months of unemployment. But I was not the only one to endure the struggle. There were two little people who went through it with me. And as the lesson of “money doesn’t grow on trees” trickled from just generational repetition to an overflowing reality in our lives, entrepreneurship engulfed my family.
I had my own publishing company for years that I did nothing with. I even had a book to publish. I never did it. So at the lowest point in my life, when I had nothing to lose, I took a leap of faith and dove into writing a book of my current life’s struggle. I finally published it last month through my own company and it’s now selling. There has been one little consistent supporter in all of this over the past year; she is my oldest daughter. She was the first to congratulate me and give me a hug. I love that little girl.
But I wasn’t the only one hustling to make money to provide for my family, so was she. I came home about a month ago and she told me she needed to go to the store to get designer duct tape. I had to inquire as to why? “I’m starting my own business,” she said. “With duct tape?” I asked. “You’ll see.” Her grandmother took her the following day when I was at work. I came home to my daughter feverishly working in her bedroom to fill her “orders.” She had seen a girl take construction paper and put designer duct tape around it to make a wallet. When she went to school she told people about her business and took the orders right there on the spot. I wonder where she gets her marketing and sales skills…hmmm?
Not only did she fill the orders, but she made a bunch of extras just to have on hand. I asked her how much she was charging? “One dollar.” Even her teacher gave her $2, for her to fashion-up her coupon book. I asked her how the other girl was doing with her business? There was nothing I could do but laugh, “She isn’t real responsible. She doesn’t bring them in when she says she is going to and doesn’t have any on hand when people ask. Now since everyone knows I have them right there, they come to me with their money.” Her auntie asked her to make a coupon book. She had covered the teacher’s coupon book with the tape, but she had never made one from scratch. I watched her spend an afternoon trying to figure out how to create pockets and a closing top. She did it! Then I saw her take her five rolls of tape and take a sample of each. Each sample was gently placed on a piece of paper. “What’s that?” I asked. “My sample sheet to take to school. This way my customers can just tell me which one they want. I think I’m going to charge more if I use more than one kind of tape.” Then she handed me her reading log and math test so I could sign them. All of this and she is still maintaining her grades. Her “customers,” I love it.
I’m so proud of my baby. So she stole the concept from someone else, but in all business there is competition. I have to stop at the store tonight to pick up a roll of Velcro, so her wallets and coupon books will remain closed. I am so happy she takes herself so serious too. She came home the other day with a wallet she had made the night before. I reminded her about it. “No, I didn’t forget to give it to him. He didn’t have his money.” My baby is 10 years-old and already running her own company. I’m proud of you baby!