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Cultivating the Teen Entrepreneur

Teen entrepreneur, that’s what they called me.

All of my 8 siblings would get that title or something like that by everyone who met my family. The questions poured onto my mom and dad…

“Why are your kids so perfect?”

“Are they all this hardworking?”

“Are you all this creative?”

“How do I get my kids to be this way?”

All. The. Time.

News flash: we weren’t perfect. But what they were asking about was something they saw in us different from their kids. Our passion and drive to create art and build businesses when their own teens seemed more into video games and parties.

These questions were all a little weird to me. I didn’t know any different. To me writing, crafting, learning, making stuff was normal. My mom remolded our house constantly, made decks, shelves, and decorations. My oldest sister wrote books, my older brother animated movies and studied music and mathematics for fun, my other siblings did photography, graphic design, jewelry making, and sewing in their spare time…

Surrounded by all that, how can you not want to find your own way to fit in?

My mom and dad owned their business and would talk about how that worked a lot.

When my mom or dad came back from business-related trips they’d talk about how much they loved owning their own business, making their own hours, choosing what it all looked like. They also told us it took hard work. Self-employment obviously had its down-sides as well as perks, but that’s the only life we knew.

I remember being so proud and happy when I saw my mom’s book in the bookstore or saw someone walk up to my dad and ask him for tax advice.

I don’t think my family ever told me: “You should start your own business like us.” But when I said I might want to, they were all ready to help me. My mom with social media, my dad with business advice, my older brother with tech, my sisters with graphic design and work ethic… You might say I lived in the ideal home for growing an entrepreneur.

Before I even decided I wanted my own business, my mom was encouraging my natural gifts.

In our homeschool we had a daily routine that included every subject, but when I started doing things like doodling cartoons on my math papers or staying inside writing stories instead of playing outside, she bought an art curriculum for me. She went through so many writing curriculums with me to help refine my craft.

There was never a voice in our house telling me “Art won’t make much money so you can’t do it.” Instead my parents helped me brainstorm ways to make it marketable. My mom put a coloring book I made on her etsy shop. When I said I wanted to make comic books, she suggested subjects that might sell well and ideas where I could sell it. When she discovered an internet course on running an online business, she told us older kids about it, and we all took it together and got pumped and encouraged to swap business ideas with each other.

I finally realized my art and writing were what I wanted to do with my life, but more importantly that I could do it if I worked hard enough.

As I met more young adults my age, I realized many of them weren’t as lucky as me to have a family like mine who encouraged me to follow my dreams and talents by following their own. Every time I reach a new follower milestone or hear my book or video has inspired someone, I’m excited to share that news with my mom because I know she’ll be the first to say way to go and ask what apps or hashtags or target audience I used and share her own victories and journey.

I think if I’d been pressured to have a certain business that I didn’t care about, I wouldn’t have done it, but instead my family motivated me with the idea that I could in fact do anything I wanted as long as I studied and worked hard enough, and if I ever felt like it was too hard and I couldn’t do it, they were right there to say not to give up.

Waking up every day to a new kitchen remodeling project or a green screen set up with people filming promos, lego movies being made by little kids with stop-motion software, sewing machines going with new outfit alterations to a funky new dress, someone building a sound booth to record an album of classic-style worship songs, a short film being story-boarded for a Christian film festival…was an energy that was addicting and awesome.

So that’s how I got to be called the teen entrepreneur along with the rest of my siblings. I seemed to channel all that energy in a bit of a nerdy direction and make Star Trek comics, Marvel fanfics, fairy tales, but if I’m the nerd I decided I was going to be the best nerd EVER and make books, comics, and movies for nerds like me to inspire them to be whatever they want and to never be afraid to let the world see their epic talent.

Looking back I can see I had a pretty cool childhood, and I honestly can’t wait to raise my own little homeschooled entrepreneur family.


Hope Pennington is the homeschooled author of “Fairytale” a novel about a modern boy entering a fantasy world and saving the day with swag and snark. She’s kind of addicted to Jesus, coffee, and science fiction. She runs the YouTube channel “TheEpicPlace” where she makes sure every teen, nerd, fangirl, and geek knows that we matter and have the power to make a difference in this big world no matter what anyone else says. #WeAreEpicHeroes You can find Hope on Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler, Wattpad, and YouTube. And you can read more from her at The Epic Place.

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