My sister inspired me to be an entrepreneur.

Just as she ‘inspired’ me to become a vegetarian by making animal noises when I was eating meat, as a child, she ‘inspired’ me to want to run a business by not letting me use the toy cash register for our lemonade stand.

We were hitting it big selling our lemon-aid and gummy worms. Picture the scene – It’s the 1980s and a hot summer day in a small Iowa town. Main Street sits quietly with one shop, a Post Office and a Tavern. This particular summer, road works were being carried out just near our house. Just across the road, hot workers see an oasis complete with card table, pitchers of lemonade, a hand-crafted sign and a cash register. Not only did we quench their thirst, but we provided that much needed burst of energy with our gummy worms. What a professional operation. This was our most successful lemonade stand ever. The hot workmen were lining up to buy our wares.

Because I was ‘too young’ my sister insisted on handling the cash transactions. There were buttons to press, and she was tucking real money into the drawers of her toy cash register. But what really made me green with envy was the satisfactory ding that the cash register would make when she pressed the button to make that drawer open. It was all I could do to not push her out of the way just to get one chance to make that drawer ding and put that money in. Dear readers, I kid you not, I was not allowed to handle a single cash transaction; quality control was far too important for our ‘big break’ in the lemonade trade.

Growing up, my sister always day-dreamed about strange and wonderful ideas for businesses she could run. She used to play ‘restaurant’ with me and entertained our whole family for years with her entrepreneurial fantasies. I followed her lead to become a baby-sitter when I was old enough. Like her, I got a part-time job as soon as I was old enough. My sister might not have let me use the cash register, but all those years of listening to her wonderfully creative business ideas did inspire me to become an entrepreneur.

That’s the thing about having a cool big sister, for me, she defined what’s cool. She made me want what she wanted and like what she liked. Now, I handle the cash transactions. Thanks sis.

Who inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

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