Lessons from Our One-Day Cookie Company

One of my joys of entrepreneurship is occasionally letting my kids skip their after-school program to have playmates over after school. Monday afternoon was such a day for my daughter K and her friend D.  The two girls schemed for this event for a week.  They planned to wear matching outfits, bake cookies, and go door-to-door in our neighborhood selling them.  When K initially informed me of the agenda, I admit I was completely resistant. 

I was surprised at my resistance.  Shouldn’t I have been excited that the Joy of Entrepreneurship could be catching on in my next generation?  Then I remembered my secret truth: selling scares me.  Oh, yeah – that. 

Determined not to let my fears get in the way of my kids’ growth (just as I do everything I can to push gently through my fears for the sake of my business’ growth), I chose to wholeheartedly endorse her idea.  Here’s what I learned about selling from K and D’s foray into the one-day cookie business:

  1. Believe in your product.  The kids sampled both flavors (sugar and chocolate chip!), so they knew first-hand how delicious they were and could speak to  prospective customers about it.  Note for Brilliance-Based Businesswomen: recognize and be able to articulate your Brilliance and its value.
  2. Knock first on the doors of the people who like you best.   K didn’t methodically go up and down the street knocking on every single door.  She started with the neighbors who know her.  With each big sale, she and D felt more confident going to the next house.  Note for Brilliance-Based Businesswomen: networking is great, but start by selling your services within your existing community. 
  3. Buddy up.  K can be shy at first, but D felt comfortable stepping right up to ask for each neighbor’s business. K handled the money.  Eventually they felt ready to trade roles.  Note for Brilliance-Based Businesswomen: if you can’t bring a friend or team member when you talk to your prospects, work with a mentor to learn the ropes until you feel comfortable going at it alone.

I’m proud of myself for supporting my daughter to experience something that scared me a bit.  Do I see the irony in having this fear of selling, when I teach entrepreneurship skills to women?  Absolutely!  But we all teach what we’re here to learn.  It’s part of our Brilliance.