From 4th Grade ‘Help’ Desk to Entrepreneurship: Lessons Learned
In the landscape of childhood memories, those moments shine like stars, guiding us on our life’s journey. For me, it was a fourth-grade endeavor that laid the foundation for a future filled with innovation and problem-solving.
In the 70s, things were freewheeling in the teaching sector. Teachers were experimenting with new ideas, open classrooms (the classrooms were literally open to each other), and new ideas on how children learn. I, as a then 4th grader, saw an opportunity in this sea of change. Inspired by the character Lucy from Peanuts, I hatched a plan with my teacher (Mr. K) to set up a ‘help’ desk where fellow students could seek advice for a fee. It was a charming and innocent display of budding entrepreneurship.
Throughout the school year, the ‘help’ desk buzzed with activity. Classmates flocked to the desk, bringing their queries and seeking solutions to various predicaments. From homework woes to friendship dilemmas, the ‘help’ desk provided a safe space for discussions and advice. This initiative not only helped classmates find answers but also ignited a spark for me- I was an entrepreneur feeling the thrill of owning my first business..
As the school year came to an end, the ‘help’ desk had accomplished more than just answering questions. It had managed to generate earnings – a feat that only a true entrepreneur can appreciate. With the hard-earned funds, my teacher and I decided to treat the entire class to popsicles. It was a sweet ending to a project that had sparked a fire for me..
Years later, I reconnected with my 4th-grade teacher, Mr. K. We reminisced about our ‘help’ desk venture and had some good laughs. It became evident that this seemingly simple project held valuable lessons that would continue to shape my path.
Through my teacher’s support of my crazy idea, I learned the importance of exploration. Permission to think outside the box fostered a sense of creative thinking that would become integral to my entrepreneurial journey. I started a remote accounting firm before it was ‘cool’ to be remote. I was looking to change how accounting processes were done for small businesses, which required innovative thinking.
The ‘help’ desk provided a platform for problem-solving and discussions. This experience taught me the significance of creating a safe space for individuals to seek guidance and find solutions. When we talk with our clients, we never judge, as the entrepreneurial journey is not easy and rife with trials and tribulations.
Solving classmates’ problems brought a sense of fulfillment. Here, I discovered the profound satisfaction of helping others navigate challenges – a sentiment that would inspire me to work with entrepreneurs.
From a humble ‘help’ desk to a lifelong entrepreneurial spirit, my journey serves as a testament to the power of childhood experiences and the power of great teachers.
It reminds us that the seeds of entrepreneurship can be sown at the most unexpected times and places. Whether it’s offering advice to classmates or founding a startup, the lessons learned from that fourth-grade venture continue to resonate in every entrepreneurial endeavor I’ve undertaken.
Thanks Mr. K!