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Challenge: Back to School

Navigating School + Running A Business: Two teens share how they have done both during a pandemic

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Recently I connected with two teen entrepreneurs.

One is a teen I wrote about during the height of the pandemic. At the time, he was figuring out how to get sanitization items to people in need.

The other teen is a teen I "met" on instagram who was throwing large in-person events prior to Covid.

I was wondering how both teens handled the challenges presented during Covid, and also how they were navigating things as we begin to get back to “normal”.

NECESSARY PIVOT

Nikhil Rajgopal, a teen from San Diego, California, saw the need for sanitation kits during the height of Covid-19. He launched Daily Disinfect and spent many hours getting supplies, donations and making deliveries of the kits. Since launching in June 2020, Nikhil has sold 56 kits and donated part of the profits to Computer 2 Kids ($255). He selected that organization since so many schools were going online and didn’t have electronic devices to learn effectively (over 1 million in California).

But now that the need for sanitization items has decreased, Nikhil has to decide what he is going to do and how he is going to continue to make a difference. He shared with me that he is going to, “start a business that is focused around one of my passions which is basketball.” Nikhil finds a lot of joy on the basketball court and he knows other kids do, too. He also knows that not every kid has access to high quality basketballs and gear.

b25a8d23457143daa5de077ee46630bec5831e5c.jpgSo, he’s back to the beginning stages of creating and launching a business, “Currently I am in the process of setting up my new business that will deliver high-quality basketballs to kids who might not be able to easily afford them. I’m working on finding the right basketballs, working on my business name, and creating a logo.” Eventually, he wants to help revamp basketball courts that need some extra love.

Nikhil shared that he knows setbacks and pivots are inevitable when launching something new. Right now he’s enjoying figuring out ways to use his passion to help others and create a new business.

SETBACKS ARE SETUPS FOR SOMETHING BETTER

When Charlotte Wasserman was in middle school facing the typical social and academic challenges, she often looked up to older girls who would share advice that wasn’t outlined in the textbooks. “There’s so much stuff that isn’t taught. Stuff like what to do when you're faced with setbacks, how to gain true confidence, what does being authentic really mean? These are really important questions regarding topics that school doesn't teach you,” Charlotte shared. So, Charlotte decided to launch It’s A Girls Life in 6th grade as a blog for middle school girls that focused on these topics. She eventually went on to create and produce events for teen girls.

Then the pandemic hit. Now a junior in highschool, Charlotte had to decide what to do with It’s A Girls Life since in-person events were canceled. She ended up turning the in-person event into a virtual conference and over 150 middle and high schoolers attended from her hometown, Cleveland, Ohio. She also decided to launch a podcast focused on teen content and resources. Charlotte wanted the podcast to have a professional tone to it, so she brought in a certified teen life coach, Sarah Anderson. Together they provide the teen perspective, along with the professional perspective.

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Charlotte admits to making mistakes along the way, but she shares that she keeps “learning from every single mistake because every single mistake is an opportunity to grow and to improve.” Her goal is to keep growing It’s A Girls Life and eventually turn it into a non-profit. “I am currently waiting for the official 501c3 status. Through this nonprofit, I will continue to create programs, events, and content to connect, support, and motivate teen girls to live their best lives.”

If you’ve been reading my articles for awhile, you know that I’m continually impressed by teen entrepreneurs who somehow find a way to navigate high school stresses and the pressures of launching or running a business. These two have definitely figured out how to do this. I find their resilience and fortitude admirable, don’t you?

These teens are members of WIT - Whatever It Takes - a non-profit organization focused on providing tweens and teens access to entrepreneur education and leadership opportunities.

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