The younger you are, the easier it is to learn and absorb information. While the traditional school curriculum in the United States features courses that are crucial for academic achievement, it often fails to teach other critical thinking skills that are vital and applicable in the practical world. The Epoch Times had an opportunity to speak with Leah Remillét, founder of The CEO Kid, who is teaching children how to think like a CEO.
Remillét is 38 years old, and lives in Leavenworth, Washington. Ever since she was a child growing up in Seattle, she had an entrepreneurial spirit. At age 8, she was selling stationery door to door. She would also host lemonade stands, and sell candy to other kids. One time when her parents were gone, she and her sisters made the executive decision to hold a garage sale.
When Remillét was in her early 20s, she started her own photography business. She and her husband were college students, and she wanted to figure out a way to earn some income. She saw a blog post for lifestyle photography, and she thought she could get into the ground floor of the industry. She had never picked up a professional camera but was nevertheless confident. She sold her laptop and purchased a used camera. Within 18 months, she had earned six figures. While her expertise wasn’t in photography, she understood business and was skilled at creating an experience for her customers.
Remillét now has three children, and business and entrepreneurship are often the topics of dinner conversations. From an early age, her children also developed an entrepreneurial spirit. When her daughters were 8 and 10 years old, they started looking for gumball machines at garage sales that were about $10 each, took them apart, and spray painted them gold. Remillét helped advertise the gumball machines on Etsy, and her daughters were selling the products for $125 apiece, making a $115 profit on each unit.
The Remillét’s decided to homeschool their children while they were fixing up their home to rent and purchasing their second home in Leavenworth. Naturally, the curriculum featured a business class in which each of her children started their own business.
One started a babysitting business; the other started an Etsy shop that sold wristlets and scrunchies for American Girl dolls; and the third started a drone photography business. Remillét taught them how to think like an entrepreneur and realized that other children could learn too. In 2018, she founded The CEO Kid, an online course to teach children business, entrepreneurship, self-reliance, and problem-solving skills, and how to think like a CEO.
The Epoch Times: When you were running your various businesses growing up, what lessons did you learn early on about business and entrepreneurship?
Leah Remillét: The power of experience. The experience that you create for your customers or around your product makes all the difference between how much they’re going to talk about the product or about you, and how much they are going to be willing to pay. Understanding the power of brand perception. Understanding that you can use what you have right now to earn money was also a really big insight.
The Epoch Times: What were some of the obstacles you encountered or mistakes you made while you were growing up and running these businesses, and how did you learn from them?
Ms. Remillét: One of the things that I really love about entrepreneurship and business for kids is that it is an opportunity to make mistakes when the stakes are really low. It’s such a great time to try things and to learn that setbacks don’t have to be defeat. One time with the stationery I lost the order form, so I had gone around, I had gotten all these orders, and then I lost the order form. I didn’t know who had ordered what, I didn’t know who to deliver to, so that was obviously a huge mistake, and one that I felt so embarrassed by. That lesson, it hurt. I can still remember it because it hurt, and so it helped me forever more to be much more careful about where I put things that were important. I definitely was a whole lot more careful with important things from that point forward, and making sure I knew exactly where I put them.
The Epoch Times: How does a kid learn how to think like a CEO?
Ms. Remillét: We want to first encourage their creativity, and then encourage their ability to problem solve, and to be resilient. To understand that as they make mistakes, as things don’t go quite the way they wanted, to keep standing back up. Reliance is a perception thing. It’s the perception of when something catastrophic happens or when a setback happens, that we either see it as an opportunity to learn and grow, or is it seen as something that is proof that we aren’t enough. Success is really often, I believe, correlated to the number of setbacks and adversities we have faced. The more that we get through those setbacks, get through those adversities, and choose to learn something from them, then the more we open ourselves up and prepare ourselves for great success.
The Epoch Times: Why aren’t business, entrepreneurship, self-reliance, and problem-solving skills taught in the traditional school curriculum?
Ms. Remillét: I think we’re becoming more aware that they need to be, but we don’t see them to the extent that they need to be there. I’m not really sure why, but I definitely want to change it. When our school system was structured, we didn’t have as many business owners or entrepreneurship as we do today. The school system was developed for a workforce that doesn’t exist anymore. These skills are part of our world today. They’re definitely critical to the world that we’re going into. Equipping kids with the skills to be creative problem solvers, to be resilient, to be self-reliant, these are absolutely critical. To come out and know how to create a budget, how to vote, how to earn money, how to do well at a job interview or to build a really good résumé, these are things that we all need.
The Epoch Times: How is The CEO Kid changing the way we prepare kids for the future?
Ms. Remillét: At this current stage it’s about bringing The CEO Kid into homes, and giving kids an opportunity when they’re bored. Instead of turning to a device and turning to something where they are consuming content, instead they can be utilizing their own creativity and building their own experiences that they can be really proud of.
The Epoch Times: What advice do you have for teachers and parents for kids who want to become entrepreneurs?
Ms. Remillét: The number one thing is to first let them do hard things. When we take the opportunities away from our kids to learn hard lessons, to do hard things, then they miss out on seeing how powerful they are. Don’t swoop in. Help them build their resiliency muscles by focusing and encouraging them through setbacks, through adversity, through hard things, by telling them “You can do this. I believe in you. Keep pushing. Keep working. I love seeing how hard you’re working. It’s amazing seeing your effort.”