“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Recently I blogged a list of ten things you probably didn’t know about me. To refresh your memory, here is number nine again:
My first entrepreneurial exercise was a stall selling lemonade and flowers out the front of our suburban home in Brisbane. I was eight and I got the idea from a Nancy Drew book (Nancy was a fictitious child sleuth in the USA, and my personal hero for a number of years!). We were never paid pocket-money as children, so it seemed like a good idea. I picked flowers from the garden and tied them into pretty bunches, mixed lemon juice, sugar and water into a big jug, wrote some signs and then sat there all day waiting to make a sale. Late in the afternoon the elderly neighbour from across the road came out her front door and crossed the street to my stall. I sat up expectantly. ‘Silly girl. Pack that up and go inside,’ she said. ‘We don’t do things like this in Australia.’ That night I prayed with all my might that I would wake up in America the next day. Obviously, that particular prayer was never answered.
Yesterday my husband and I drove into Bangalow from our little farm, so that we could buy a few supplies now that we are home again after our time away.
Our farm is at the bottom of a very long dead-end gravel road, and on that road there are only eight houses. As we drove up the road two kids jumped up from a seated position on the grass in the afternoon sun and began brandishing oranges at us. It was an odd thing to do, and we’ve driven right past them before I worked out what it was all about.
“I think they’re having some kind of roadside stall,” I said to Ben. “We’d better stop on the way home and buy some of whatever they’ve got. I like to support budding entrepreneurs.”
A big goofy grin broke out all over my face. The likelihood of there being any customers for the boys’ stall was practically zip. But here they were, enterprising and hopeful. How could I not stop?
After we picked up what we needed in town we headed home, and sure enough the boys were still sitting there. But now they had dragged out a bench and table, and there were three of them.
Of course we pulled over.
The enterprising brothers and a visiting friend had picked fruit from their backyard trees – oranges, limes, grapefruit and mandarins (clementines). These are actually pretty hard-sell items in our neck of the woods. Everyone around here has groaningly full citrus trees right now, including us.
They’d also made some artworks to sell – felt-pen pictures on the backs of printed pages they had recycled.
I bought 12 fruit for $3 and secured a lovely artwork for a forty cent donation – plus I got to shake hands with the artist (who blushed madly but couldn’t stop smiling!).
Back at home I put the fruit in my bowl, and secured my new art to the fridge door with magnets. There is no way I will ever become a cranky judgemental old lady like the one who tried to crush my own lemonade stand dreams.
Long live the entrepreneurial spirit!