Kamis, 13 Juni 2013

Youth Entrepreneurship - Developing a PASSION

by Michelle Kowalewski, Extension Educator, Susquehanna County

There are no specific traits that are required to be a successful entrepreneur, but one thing that is required is a PASSION for something specific you are drawn to.  One's "passion," or "love for what you do," must be realized; it cannot be substituted nor can someone else tell you what it is!

Your passion might be to be your own boss, or to be creative, or a desire for change.  Nothing else keeps you going, and your passion must belong to you.  Whatever the passion is, it's a "must!"  It's the passion that pushes entrepreneurs through difficult times with the necessary drive to find answers to seemingly unanswered questions.

Working with the 4-H animal science project members, I find that they have a passion for raising, showing, and selling livestock.  These 4-H youth, believe it or not, are running a business.  The life skills they are developing through these projects are skills that will help them in their next business venture as adults.  Skills such as decision making, record keeping, and marketing are all things that apply to an entrepreneur.
An enterprising youth shows off their market hog

The first step in the process for them is selecting a market animal (decision making) and then deciding where to house the animal, what to feed the animal, and also when to do routine animal health treatments.  Members keep careful track (record keeping) in their project record book of when things are done and if an expense or income might be associated with any of the activities.  The project book serves as the member's business plan as they use it to set goals and gauge their accomplishments and level of success of the project.

On of the most important parts of a successful market animal project is the sale of the animal.  By raising a market animal, they are part of the food supply continuum.  As the producer, they are responsible for providing animals with the proper care and environment needed to produce a safe and wholesome product for customers.  Members are strongly encouraged to reach out to potential buyers (marketing) and invite them to attend the auction and hopefully purchase his or her animal(s).

The 4-H animal science market animal project is just one example of youth entrepreneurship.  It goes without saying that a 4-H'er must have a mentor in order to fully do everything involved in raising a market animal.  That mentor might be a parent, 4-H leader, or friend.

In closing, think about what you or your children are passionate about and see how it fits into a possible long term life plan.  Serve as a youth mentor and help them develop their passion.  There are many ideas created by youth that have turned into famous products, such as Popsicle® which was created by accident by 11-year old Frank Epperson in 1905.  Although it took him years to develop, perfect, and patent his product, Popsicles® are a household favorite among my youngsters!
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