In 2011 my wife became inspired with the idea for us to become beekeepers. My son Boaz (age 11) jumped on the honey and money business idea quickly and before I knew it, my son and I were business partners and we were making plans for the spring. This is how my son learned the word entrepreneur.
We split everything 50 – 50. Starting up the honey business required lots of equipment. To list a few, bee proof suits, hives, honey extractors, honey jars and of course, the bees, shipped all the way from New Zealand. Boaz couldn’t afford everything all at once, so he had a no interest loan set up with me. Boaz also had businessmen from the community and family members who supported his entrepreneur adventure financially. Boaz had his siblings involved too. Each of them were willing to put in one or two hundred dollars for a year and Boaz paid them back 12%/yr. This ended up being one or two dollars payment a month.
I gave Boaz the freedom to name our honey business and he called it Bo’s Bees Wildflower Honey. With the help of a local marketing business, our honey jars had customized labels clearly displaying our brand. 1 kg jars were sold for $15.
Working with Reality
Like every entrepreneur, my son had to be aware of financial risk. There were no guarantees the bees would make enough honey to cover the costs of starting the operation. No guarantees the bees would live through the winter. No promising that we would be successful beekeepers! In our first season we learned a lot and harvested about 25 kg of honey. The next 8 years were filled with honey business highs and lows.
This kind of an opportunity takes a determined and adventurous kid, as well as a parent with some time and enthusiasm. The operation lasted 8 years. In 2019 the several bee hives didn’t make it through the winter, or swarmed and left in the spring. At that time Boaz was feeling satisfied with the amount of energy and money he had put into the business and ended the operation.
At 21 years old, Boaz is feeling inspired by bees again and is hoping to have bees on his own property in the future. I have also gone back to having bees after a few years break. So far, so good. This year’s hive and harvest was small. But enough for my family to enjoy the sweet benefits.
Experience Amplifies Discussion
This entrepreneurship opportunity allowed for many lessons on finances with all of my kids. Simplified discussions on investments, loans, operating expenses, reality of financial endeavors and of course, budgeting. It required effort and intentionality. But these lessons were easier to communicate paired with the tangible business and experience.
Of course, beekeeping is not the only entrepreneurial opportunity for kids. Two of my daughters successfully sold handcrafted bracelets for a few years. There are an infinite number of ways kids can make a business of their own. For them to grow, fall, get back up and most importantly, learn. It requires their willingness to step into something new and the support of an adult.
Were you a child entrepreneur? Are your kids entrepreneurs? We’d love to hear your stories! You can reach me on social media or email me at email@example.com.