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How My Bored 9-Year-Old Became a Quarantine Entrepreneur

Four months into the quarantine, my daughter asked to bake some scones. That set her life — and our family’s weekends — on a trajectory we could not have predicted at the time. Now that her baking business is going gangbusters, Jasmine is harnessing her ADHD energy, creativity, and interpersonal skills for greatness. And we are so proud of her.

Jazzy's Sassy Scones

One day, out of boredom while sheltering in place, our 9-year-old daughter found a recipe on a box of baking mix for shortcakes and asked if she could make a batch. At the time, we had no idea that this small moment would make such a huge impact on our lives.

Now in its fifth month of business, Jazzy’s Sassy Scones has logged more than $6,000 in sales! The whole thing has been a whirlwind, but what’s surprised us more than anything: Jasmine’s ADHD has been a key ingredient in her success.

The Genesis of Jazzy’s Sassy Scones

Back in July, after exhausting all that Amazon Prime and Disney Plus had to offer, Jasmine wanted to bake something.

“Sure,” I said. “I’ll come help.”

“Nah,” she said, “I got it.”

I first considered whether a fourth grader should really be using an electric hand mixer and oven without adult supervision. But I was so thrilled one of my kids was doing something NOT involving an electronic device that I gave her the green light.

Jasmine, bless her heart, took forever in the kitchen. Several times Laurie and I peeked in on her, saw the mess that had once been our counters, and offered help, but she wanted to do it all. And a few hours later, she presented to us her creation: sassy scones with chocolate chips. After we had all sampled them and fallen in love, she said, “I should start a business and sell these.”

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So Jasmine, Laurie, and I worked on some summer-themed scone recipes. Laurie developed some great branding and packaging, and I set up kitchen operations so we could bake in bulk. We advertised on our neighborhood Facebook group and got quite a bit of interest. Unfortunately, we didn’t keep records of how much we baked or how much we made in sales. We figured this was a one-time thing. But the following week, interest grew, and we scrambled to keep up with the demand.

Her New Business Routine

Jasmine loved every minute of it! Saturday became baking day, and she woke up at 6 am ready to bake. I was shocked at how capable she was at understanding the math involved in baking in bulk, and how great her instincts were regarding quality. She followed the recipes exactly, but if the base was a little off, she would fix it.

“Dad, this batch feels dry. Should I add a little more milk?”

After running around in the kitchen for a couple of hours sifting flour, chopping cold butter, and zesting oranges, Jasmine would rush to the bedroom to get dolled up for customer pick-up. The branding is all purple, so Laurie stocked her closet with purple dresses, onesies, and sweatsuits, as well as her uniform: a white apron, white chef’s hat, and white face mask, all with the JSS logo.

Our Little Marketing Maven

A few weeks into her endeavor, we were contacted by “Good Morning America,” which interviewed her over Zoom in September! She loved talking about her business and was surprised by a big gift from KitchenAid!

[Additional Reading: Certain ADHD Traits May Benefit Entrepreneurs, Study Says]

Once sales started to level off, Laurie found opportunities for pop-up tents at outdoor festivals. These have been wildly successful. We’ve spent our entire weekend at these festivals. Friday nights we bake and package, and all-day Saturday we greet customers and drive sales.

Of course, having a 9-year-old business partner isn’t always easy. When people ask about the “sassy” part of the name, we tell them about how on a weekly basis she fires her brothers for, well, anything. They might not put the money in the money box according to her instructions, or they might take a bathroom break, or they might make a face she doesn’t like. Some weekends, we can reel this in with minimal drama, but other weekends we pay them extra for putting up with her petty breakdowns. We call this “Petty Cash.”

Channeling Her ADHD Into the Business

While she might have a bad attitude with siblings from time to time, she always has a good attitude about the business. She had a blast opening her first savings account, and she loves hearing about the current balance. She takes a genuine interest in sales and the impact that expenses, like the grocery bill, have on profit.

The other day, I was working on an excel spreadsheet that included functions and formulas for weekly orders. “How’d you do that?” she asked. I showed her how to do an autosum, how to format the cells for currency, and how to save the document on Google sheets for easy access anywhere. “If you move that column over there, you can see it better on your phone,” she said. I mean seriously, what 9-year-old wants to have a 15-minute conversation about spreadsheets?

My favorite part of this adventure has been watching her interact with customers. I think some people find her on social media and think, ​Her parents must be driving most of this.​ But once they meet Jasmine, they see she is very much the little Girl Boss!

It’s fun watching people be blown away by her professionalism. She’s friendly and polite, and she keeps her cool when they throw her a curveball like they can’t find our PayPal or Square account. She’s especially friendly when customers bring their young ones and she poses for photos with those who seem starstruck by our little celebrity.

She is now doing boxing videos and online reviews for a dozen subscription box baking companies. She loves talking about how kids can work for their goals now — and not just when they are grown up.

The Energy That Propels Her Business

Saturday mornings have become a blur, as Jasmine runs from the kitchen to the sales table to the prep and boxing area. I think her hyperactivity makes her adept at dealing with the constant demands and complications we encounter on a daily and even hourly basis. And by Saturday evening, we’re all completely exhausted. Laurie and I spend the evening with our feet up trying to rest and recover, while Jasmine still has some gas in her tank.

“Can I make you guys popcorn?” she asks. “Or I can scoop you some ice cream?”

Jasmine can hardly contain her appreciation for how we help and support her, so she scoops us ice cream, then, after ten or so hours on her feet, she finally sits down to watch a show. That’s when Laurie gets a message from a customer who forgot to pick up their order asking if they can they come by now.

“Ok!” Jasmine says. “I’ll go get my apron, so I’ll be ready when they get here.”

Raising an ADHD Entrepreneur: Next Steps

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