An Entrepreneur Since Birth
Alright, buckle up. This is gonna be a long one. I may be biased, but I think it’s worth the long read.
As Alexis has mentioned before in her previous blog posts, I have always had entrepreneurial spirits. As a kid, I kept myself busy. From playing on the computer to starting my own business to becoming my sibling’s teacher, I did it all.
Let’s start with playing on the computer. Although I did play a lot of games like Webkinz and Club Penguin, I also spent a lot of my time creating PowerPoint Presentations. I know it sounds weird, but I would just make random PowerPoints about all of the Disney Princesses or make slides to my favorite songs. I remember doing this around age 8 or 9.
Another thing I would do in PowerPoint is create Jeopardy games. I loved how all of my teachers would use them during class so I would make them myself. I remember doing one about my family and forcing them to play it after I was finished with it. At first, it was hard to figure out where all the links needed to be in order to create the game but I caught on quickly. Ultimately, I loved designing and creating a presentation with links and transitions; it just intrigued me at an early age.
I also liked making word documents, but not quite as much as PowerPoints. Around the time I was 11 or 12, I really wanted a pet lizard. I begged and begged my parents but they always pushed it off, so I decided I would create a formal report about all the possible lizards I would want. I started off with a table of contents and listed the type of lizard, price, and the page it was on. It was ordered from most expensive to least expensive. Then, inside the report, I found and listed detailed information about how you care for each lizard and all of the supplies you would need for each one. I think I had about 6 or 7 lizards that I detailed information on. Once I was finished, I handed it to my dad proudly. He was impressed with the packet, but still never bought me a lizard. I might be slightly bitter about that to this day. (Not really, of course.) Two years ago, I found out my dad kept the report and that is why I can remember it in such detail. Overall, I just liked being on the computer and figuring out how the programs worked.
Moving on to the next topic, I started my own company when I was around 11 or 12 years old. I named it well: Ali Inc. This was an all service type of business. At first, it started as just a simple menu of items, such as making lunch or dinner, watching a movie, “hiring” a butler or maid, and receiving a tattoo. But, it eventually expanded into creating debit card accounts, a library checkout system and tutoring. Obviously, a company can’t run and function off of one person so oftentimes Alexis would help me with the administration type of things. I would also “hire” my siblings to do tasks that the other sibling would order. Once they completed the task, they would get that money added to their debit card so that they would also be able to order services through Ali Inc. I used Excel very heavily during this time by keeping track of four debit card transactions and all the library books that were being checked out (and by checked out, I mean they would pick a book up from my bookshelf and I would enter it in Excel). I was so innovative during this time because I would babysit my siblings all summer long. I couldn’t drive anywhere so I had to make it entertaining somehow. I think the best thing about creating my own business was making all of the documents, menus, and cards. I created my own logo and put it on everything (branding at a young age!). I made the debit cards by cutting out pieces of cardboard and taping paper on the front and back. I would use box tape to cover the entire outside of the card so it looked more official. Now that I think about it, I probably used so much paper and ink from my parents and they never mentioned anything about it. Ali Inc. had taught me a lot and kept me and my siblings entertained for years.
Now moving on to the last topic of being a “teacher”. I get it, most kids play school or teacher, but I think I took it to a whole ‘nother level. I had a lesson planning book and would plan out my lessons for each class I would “teach”. The planning was very extensive with PowerPoint presentations, self-made worksheets, and timing preparation. Along with that, I signed up my students(siblings and friends) and I for an online schooling system that is similar to Google Classroom (we didn’t have that back then), I don’t remember the exact name of it but I would post assignments and grades on there. And as if that isn’t enough proof I was serious about this, I had also put up a white board in my room and set up a whole classroom with a coffee table and bean bags. The table had name tags taped to where each person would sit and a bucket of markers and pens. After a while, I had rearranged my room and we moved the classroom upstairs where I would present from our TV and use white boards on their desks. To organize all of my teaching supplies, I had a bucket with all the worksheets, teaching guide books, markers, pencils, glue, scissors, whiteboards, graded papers, etc that I would keep in my closet.
As summers past, my siblings did not want to play school anymore So, instead of letting them do their own thing, I would create a daily schedule of games, fun things we could do and a chore chart so we would never be bored.
All in all, I took everything I did seriously and was very intentional about how I spent my time. In the moment, I was just having fun and defeating the boredom of summers at home. But now that I look back, I am amazed and honestly shocked that I spent so much time planning, preparing, creating and teaching. I think if anything, you can tell I was going to be a leader or some sort of business owner in the future.
To add some proof to the pudding, I asked my family to share something they remember about Ali Inc. or when I would play school.
“When we had the “tattoo parlor” and attempted to make tattoos on ourselves with Crayola markers and mom got mad at us for marking up our arms and legs because we were going to get “ink poisoning”, those were the days.”
Meghan, 17 - younger sister
“We were probably the only people voluntarily doing homework over the summer.”
Alexis, 19 - best friend and Co-Owner
"Ali Inc. was your first step into the world of running your own business! You were born to be a leader that people want to follow."
Nicole - Mom
"You kept them entertained and busy. I am sure they[my siblings] learned a lot from you."
Scott - Dad
I hope you guys enjoyed this little adventure into my past, let me know if you think I really went above and beyond or if any of you did these things as a kid!