Learning the Ropes of Entrepreneurship with Past Gravity Guests

We’ve gathered some of the most informative and inspiring voices to appear on the show since we launched almost two years ago into this fun compilation episode featuring their tales of childhood entrepreneurship. It turns out that people drawn to business often start young and you can learn a lot from them, even if they were only just starting to learn things themselves. 

First up, Claire Coder, Founder and CEO of Aunt Flow, kicks us off with her adorably exploitative neighborhood beer stand. She puts an interesting twist on the classic lemonade stand, like the one set up by Mikey Sorboro that we also hear about.

Then there are the classic tales of buying low and selling high. It’s a simple principle and one that David Schottenstein learned young by dabbling in stocks before moving to Cuban cigars, and that Rob Dube discovered by reselling snacks from the drugstore. 

Next come the kids who started creating their own products and selling them, as you’ll hear from Howard Getson, Joe DeLoss, and Scott Donnell. Scott’s experience of selling beaded gecko keychains was enough to inspire him to launch MyFirstSale.com to empower and educate all kids to start their own businesses.

CEO of Beam Dental, Alex Frommeyer, made a point of learning how finance works at just five years old and a 12-year-old Chris Olsen (of Drive Capital) caught a banking error that spurred him into the world of money much earlier than most kids have an appetite for.

And don’t worry if you can’t relate to these specific examples. You don’t need to have actually started a business as a kid in order to have learned something that stays with you forever. Jeni Britton Bauer tells us how the contrast between her feelings and experiences in childhood shaped her professional future. Nick Nanton talks about what he learned from his parents as a kid that he’s passed on to his own children. Bold Penguin’s Ilya Bodner was simply raised around entrepreneurs and absorbed their passion and drive, while Debbie Penzone took the stigma she felt when she was younger and used it to become President and CEO of PENZONE Salons and Spas here in Columbus. 

No matter what specific form it takes, most of us have a tale of inspiration – when lightning struck us and we realized how the world of business works – and more often than not, these moments of growth happen young. 

Lessons for intentional living:

  • If nothing else, this episode proves the degree to which commonality exists among us. So many of my guests shared similar life experiences – often profound and impactful ones. We should never feel like we’re going through things alone because the shared experience is often far more shared than we realize. It’s rare that your experiences aren’t relatable – even useful – to other people.
  • The spark of entrepreneurship often seems to take hold early on in life. If you feel that spark, whether it’s in childhood or your senior years, embrace it. It could be the best decision of your life. What do you have to lose?
  • Just because many people had these important moments of clarity or experiences in their youth doesn’t mean that you have to have one to succeed. For every successful entrepreneur with one of these stories, there’s one without one. And if you really think about it, there will always be moments of inspiration and learning, even if they didn’t spur you to go and launch your own company while you were still in school.