Teen Tips for Entrepreneurship - Page 3 of 3 - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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Kalissa’s Kakes

1029_Kalissa Armstrong 2EXCKalissa Armstrong, 16, launched her cake business when she realized that every week she was attending a different friends’ quinceañera, a coming of age ceremony common in the Hispanic community and is held on a girl’s 15th birthday. After doing some research on the city of Dallas where she lived, Armstrong learned that Hispanics made up 66% of the population and celebrated 20,000 quinceañera every year. So when she needed to start a business for school, Armstrong thought about her love of baking and decided this market was a prime opportunity to make a profit on  quinceañera cakes. Now charging $35 per cake she has earned profits of $850 so far for 2009 and plans to open up a bakery in the future.

But scheduling around a business can be tough for a teen entrepreneur. For her first quinceañera, the high school junior had to bake two dozen cakes that would be used as centerpieces. “It was very challenging,” says Armstrong who says the job took her two and a half days and required help from four volunteers. Although she says she has fun baking cakes she still knows that organization is a key recipe to her success. Here is her advice on how to make the dough without missing out on the sweet life.

Create a detailed schedule. Armstrong suggests that teens make a chart of everything they need to complete in a day. Include time for school and homework before planning to spend time on the business. Finally, add must-attend events with friends and family.

Choose a business that is fun. Armstrong doesn’t mind spending 30 to 40 hours a week on her business because for her it doesn’t feel like a job. She had started baking as a hobby before coming up with the business concept. She encourages other teens to start a business doing something they already love to do so they won’t have a problem doing it. “Once my business is up and running, my hobby will have just turned into a career,” she says. “For me, that’s my fun right there.”

Don’t let your customers down.
Some people will doubt your abilities because of your age. Make sure they know that they can trust a young start up, says Armstrong who is very aware of the importance that young Hispanic girls place on the success of their quinceañera. She compares their desires to how she wanted her own Sweet 16 party to be perfect. “Every time I make a cake I put myself right back in that place. I tell my customer…I will make sure your day is as perfect as my sweet 16.”

Further Reading

Part 1: Youth Use Entrepreneurship As a Pathway to Success

Part 2: Lesson Plans For Young Entrepreneurs

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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