What young (and old) entrepreneurs can learn about entrepreneurship from this 11-year-old CEO

Posted on Posted in 2016 Business Opportunities For You, What's Trending Now


This spring, young (and old) entrepreneurs learned a lesson or two about entrepreneurship from 11-year-old Mikaila Ulmer. Ulmer, who appeared on Shark Tank in 2015, was just 9 years old at the time of her pitch. After a compelling story about her product – lemonade sweetened with flaxseed, her great-grandmother’s recipe – Ulmer received a deal from Fubu CEO Daymond John for $60,000. The investment spurred movement in her business, leading to a four-state deal with Whole Foods to sell her lemonade, BeeSweet Lemonade, which was recently rebranded to Me & the Bees Lemonade.

Young entrepreneurs are on the rise, with a strong focus on millennials. Yet, this young entrepreneur is even too young to be considered a millennial. As a member of the “Generation Z” cohort, Ulmer is setting the stage for a successful career, while defying the odds and becoming an entrepreneur at a young age. Here’s what millennials and others in the entrepreneur community can learn from Ulmer’s experience as a young innovator:


1. You’re not too young.
Saying “I’m too young to start a company” or “I don’t have enough experience” can be a common phrase among young entrepreneurs. Eleven-year-old Ulmer is teaching many who may have doubted themselves that they’re not too young to make waves in an industry. If you’re solving a real problem and you find the right solution to the problem or the right business in a market with opportunity, it doesn’t matter how old you are. Rather than disqualifying yourself based on lack of business experience, consider the experience – and the passion – that you do have to make a difference. Your age, energy and optimism might help you in ways you never thought they would.


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2. Your experience can help you.
Ulmer was a normal kid until she was stung by a bee and had an idea to transform her experience into a solution. Now, she’s on a mission – to use her special family recipe and to help save the bees that are dying out. Of course, being stung by a bee isn’t pleasant, just as many of our life experiences are not pleasant. But following Ulmer’s example, we must think twice about the experiences we’ve had. What began as a simple bee sting led to her growing fascination with bees, and the combined experience and growing interest led to her booming business today. Taking life experience and transforming it into tangible solutions, innovations or businesses can lead to success in unique ways. You just have to be willing to be creative and find the correlations between problem and solution.


3. You’re not being “too ambitious.”
Being a featured product or business on Shark Tank is not easy – it is ambitious. Ulmer and her team pursued this ambition, ultimately leading to the funding that was fundamental to her present-day success. Though there can be many naysayers as a young entrepreneur, it’s important to remember that you have it within you to do something great, even if it seems too ambitious or far-fetched. The greatest success stories in the professional world usually spur out of risk – risking it all in pursuit of your dreams. This speaks volumes to the tenacity and drive of young entrepreneurs, and those who ultimately find success.

Ulmer has been experiencing continued success through her commitment to her company’s mission, apt for learning and her determination that her company can be something great. It’s not easy to create a product or business that people love, but Ulmer’s personality, personal grit and tenacity are leading her to continued success and multimillion-dollar deals.

You’re not too young. If you had an experience that changed you, if you identified a problem or if you think you just might have a unique solution that your industry needs – the potential is within you to succeed in bringing a new idea, product or business to the world.



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