Simple Startup Stories
Learn from students who have gone before you. Each of these case studies highlights a business that was built using The Simple StartUp curriculum. See what they did right, what mistakes they learned from, and how you can take these lessons and apply them to your own business.
Small Business Series
Join Rob as he interviews small business owners who are willing to share their story with you. You learn how the owner got started, how their business works, how you can start a similar business of your own, and one challenge that the business is facing which we want your help with solving!
If you are a small business owner and interested in being featured, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Leonard joins Rob to talk about the esports industry and how Meta Pro Gaming is filling a gap in the market by providing a video game academy for players interested in joining teams, perfecting their skills, getting coaching from top college coaches (that's right, colleges are into this too!), and learning the life skills of being on a sports team. Take a look at how the business operates and help Chris to figure out how to recreate an Arena atmosphere at home during this virtual only season of life. Leave your suggestions for helping Meta Pro Gaming overcome their challenge in the comments section of the video! You can find out more at www.metaprogaming.gg
Are you interested in learning how affiliate marketing works? Do you have several books that you love to recommend to others? In this small business interview, Rob and Elle, from www.bookshop.org, chat about how to get started as a online book seller and affiliate marketer.
Learn what mistakes are made by sellers, ways to increase traffic to your stores, and how the whole commission-based selling model works. This can be a great addition to your blog, podcast, YouTube Channel, or social media profile, OR a standalone business idea. If you want to reach Elle, you can email her at email@example.com
Jon Lewis from Mr. Jon & Friends joins Rob to talk about being a musician and kids entertainer. If you you are a music enthusiast or musician, and you are looking to learn how to turn your interest into a business, then this is a great episode for you! Rob and Jon talk about how he got started, how a musician makes money, ways his business has had to pivot in recent times, and someone could get started today. Jon also lays out a challenge he is facing and needs help with right now. If you have a solution for Jon, please leave it in the comments below! If you'd like to learn more or contact Jon, please go to www.mrjonmusic.com
Savannah joins Rob to talk about her non-profit business, Lagniappe For Laura, which is a Christmas tree ornament business that produces custom, hand-painted ornaments from branches of fallen trees that came down during Hurricane Laura in August of 2020. Savannah is a teen entrepreneur who saw the devastation and destruction left behind by the category 4 storm, and decided she wanted to help out. Her business generated over $1400 in sales and this was then donated to families in need over the holiday period.
Follow Savannah on Instagram at www.instagram.com/savannah.mcrr
In case you didn't know (like me) a lagniappe is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase, or more broadly, "something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.
In this video, Simple StartUp Challenge alumni, Marina, joins Rob to talk about her handmade jewelry business, Jewelry by Marina. They discuss how she got started, what goes into a jewelry making business, how she stands out from her competitors, and why she set her prices at the point she did.
They also discuss Marina's experience in the Simple StartUp Challenge and how it helped her get her business off the ground and profitable. For more information about Simple StartUp Challenges, check out: www.thesimplestartup.com/events
Visit Marina's Etsy store
Follow her on Instagram
I am running the Simple Startup Program for a group of 8 kids at the moment – all virtual. Their ages are 10 – 14. I have one student who just created a video advertisement for her product. She's a 10-year old girl whose business is selling slime! We have other kids working on different businesses such as baked goods, board games, meme greeting cards, Kombucha, and tutoring.
I’ve been an entrepreneur/running businesses for over 10 years, have an MBA, etc. I think this is an excellent program and a great way for kids to learn about business and how to start their own business! The feedback from students and parents has been great! Great work and thanks for putting it together!
-Dave McKeegan (May 2020)
My partner and I´s business was to make variety packs of homemade greeting cards. We made card designs for different holidays and occasions, and then sold them as a collection to help busy people who don't have time to go to the store several times a year but want to be better about sending cards. We also had the option to include stamps as part of the purchase.
The Simple StartUp workbook was definitely worthwhile, it gave us students a chance to think of how we would really start a business as we became older and if they chose to. This workbook is a great experience for anyone who is looking to start a business in the future.
-Alexia (April 2020)
My group and I made face masks that would go over the other medical masks, keeping them cleaner for longer. We made a profit selling the masks to a local nursing home and to other private buyers.
I found the the Simple StartUp very interesting. Not only was the advice being given great for starting your own business, but also great for becoming a better worker and even just bettering your overall mindset and lifestyle.
-Nicole (April 2020)
I started a small local business called Fellow Shopper and I was asking neighbors if they'd like me to buy and deliver their groceries for them. 80% of the people I asked agreed and were willing to help me on this adventure. I made $317.50 in a month and a half and all I was doing was buying their groceries for them and they paid me for it.
It was a very worthwhile project that made me think about expenses versus profit, and how to make a profit from your business while providing something worthwhile for the customers.
-Noel (May 2020)
"The Simple StartUp project was one of the most usable and realistic projects I have ever done. It truly does show that if you put in the work, you will eventually reap the benefits. My partner, Robert, and I spent weeks developing a marketing plan, figuring out exactly what products we would like to sell, and how we would market them. We both were, and still are, very involved in the agricultural industry so we decided to do something related to that, because it is something that interested us both. Our idea was fairly simple, a wooden box with two horseshoes as handles. We sold them at our school’s annual plant sale, and we made a very decent profit, and we honestly had a good time doing it. This project made me aware that sometimes you have to get creative to save money. Instead of buying new horseshoes, we cleaned up used ones. It took more time, but we made a bigger profit. Why spend more money when it isn’t needed? I would love to own my own business someday, and this project really did help me understand what it is going to take."
– Hannah (May 2019)
"During this project I learned so many things like how to cut glass by scoring and sanding, designing logos, and selling to the public. Coming up with the pitch and then standing up on stage to present our company to the judges was a huge learning experience and one I will not forget. We managed to finish in 3rd place in the county competition which came with substantial prize money for me and my team members. Who would have thought that selling soy-based candles in custom cut glass bottles/containers, would be so difficult but also so profitable!”
– Hunter (May 2019)
"I learned from this project that you have to divide the work evenly, make sure everyone has a fair amount, and then make sure it actually gets done. I learned that starting your own business can be a lot of work, but it was great for me because I was broke at the start of the project! I learned to manage my time better and make sure I get more done in a shorter space of time as well as how to work within a group effectively. I plan to always have a side hustle business moving forward."
– Robert (May 2019)
"I learned that every person had something different to bring in terms of ideas, and each person had a quality that another didn’t have. Learning how to market our product and then how to talk about it to customers and judges was a new skill for me. I enjoying learning how to price our products so that we would first breakeven and then start making a profit. Making a budget for our business was definitely one of the most challenging parts."
– Mady (April 2019)
When working with others in a business you learn how to be a better communicator. We actually had a business and had people who wanted to buy our products! We sold multiple products and made a profit. I think if I were to continue it in the future, my business would grow.
-Brandy (April 2019)
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