Most kids have run a lemonade stand before. But Mikaila Ulmer is not most kids. The budding entrepreneur started her lemonade company, Me & the Bees Lemonade, at age four; went on Shark Tank at age nine and secured $60,000 in funding; and now at just 13 years old, she sells her products in Whole Foods and other retailers across the country. And this is in addition to her regular homework.
She hasn’t gone it alone — Ulmer credits her family with helping her build and grow her company. Her younger brother is the head of photography and #1 sales rep; her dad is the “Chief Worker Bee” and handles financing and operations; and her mom is the “Chief Marketing Bee,” helping with graphic design and social media.
Ulmer is proof that great things come in small packages, and that sometimes you just need to “think like a kid.” Kids don’t “think about the difficulties along the way, they just think about what they want to achieve.” At #CreateGood, she shared her other top tips for running a successful business.
1. Start a company you’re passionate about. “The more fun you have while running your company, the easier it’ll be.”
2. You can be sweet and be profitable. Ulmer started her company to help save honeybees (she was actually stung – twice!). She now counts herself as a social entrepreneur, using her business to do some good in the world and teaching other kids how to be entrepreneurs themselves.
3. You have to be okay with working hard. Running and growing your own business is not easy, and as Ulmer plainly states, “You are going to have to put some time in growing your own company.”
4. Set goals. “The more goals you set, the more goals you reach… and you’ll get motivated to set more goals.” Ulmer’s goals this month are to sign a contract with an agent for a book, create new flavors, and get into more stores both domestically and globally.
5. Remember to have lots of fun. ‘Nuff said.
6. Be creative. “You don’t want to have your average lemonade stand or your average clothing store. You want something unique that will draw customers.”
(Photos by Brittany Griffin / Brit + Co)