Meet an Idea Girl: Madison Crawford

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Meet Madison, the 5th grader from Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, Canada who combined her love for dogs and baking into one awesome business. Learn how this idea girl made her fun hobby into a truck that sells dog treats. Read on for our interview with her.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR HOBBIES?

I have attended Atlantic Cirque school of Circus Arts for the past 6 years. I love being high up on the silks doing acrobats! I also enjoy spending time with my friends and my dogs, London and Cooper. I love to travel with my mom and my brother. My favourite trip was to the Amalfi Coast, in Italy.

WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM JOB?

To have my own 2 Paws Up store and make dog treats for lots of dogs.

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEA OR PROJECT THAT YOU ARE WORKING ON. 

2 Paws Up Dog Treats is my business that sells homemade dog treats. Right now, I make a special Rescue Bone. Each bone has a special word, Adopt, Foster or Rescue. I give a donation from the sale of each dog bone to local dog rescues in our community! Helping dogs makes me so happy. 

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR IDEA?

I came up with the idea for 2 Paws Up after my mom bought our family a Golden Retriever, Cooper, for Christmas. My mom was buying so many treats for training him. I love to bake, so I asked my Mom if I could start making my own dog treats for him. I started making treats for him and since he loved them, I thought maybe other dogs would love them too. I took over my moms kitchen and baked a bunch of treats and took them to the Doggie Expo last year for the first time as 2 Paws Up. My treats were a hit and we just kept going! My dream was coming true.

WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED SO FAR AND HOW HAVE YOU OVERCOME THEM?

It's a challenge for me getting up early some days to sell them at the Farmer's Market. Sometimes I want to sleep in, but then I remember that dogs would not get to taste my healthy treats if I stay in bed, so I get up early and go.

WHAT ARE SOME GOOD THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED SINCE YOU STARTED YOUR IDEA?

I was on Global News last year, which was so exciting! I even got to bring Cooper. My dog treats are available at Playful Paws, which is a doggy daycare in our community. My mom bought our family another Golden Retriever, we named her London. (I was inspired after my Mom took me there and knew if we ever got another dog, I wanted her name to be London). I have met so many doggies in the past year, it's amazing! I also met so many nice people at dog events, markets, and from dog rescues. Joyce Treen, MLA of Cole Harbour, Eastern Passage, recognized 2 Paws Up in a members statement in November. I got an award for it!

WHAT DO YOU STILL NEED HELP WITH FOR YOUR IDEA? HOW CAN WE SUPPORT YOU?

My mom bought a camper trailer for me to go to dog parks this summer selling dog treats. It is going to be a 2 Paws Up Dogtreat truck. We just need a special hitch put on my moms car to pull it.  I also hope we can get a 2 Paws Up website someday. 

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNGER GIRLS THAT HAVE AN IDEA THEY WANT TO MAKE HAPPEN?

My advice is to follow your dreams! You can make it happen. You are great and I know you can do it, just like me!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA?

 Follow your dreams!

If you know a girl with a story like Madison's, nominate her to be our next featured idea girl using this link.

8 Tips to Finding a Mentor

So you've got an idea, a plan, and the drive to make it happen. But then you realize what you want is an adult to help you navigate the crazy world of, well, adults. Sometimes it can be difficult to communicate your ideas without the help of an adult. Having a mentor can be an extremely beneficial opportunity to get an adult's perspective and further your idea. A mentor is an experienced and trusted person that has a certain area of expertise. They can help you through the difficult parts of developing your idea, as well as celebrating the good parts. We've come up with 8 tips to helping you find that mentor.

1. MAKE SURE YOU'RE ON THE SAME PAGE.

Setting clear boundaries and expectations is crucial to any professional relationship. Determine things like when and how often you'd like to meet, what specifically you would like for them to help you with, and what you expect from this relationship. By making sure you're on the same page in the beginning, you'll be able to find the right mentor for you and help you get what you want out of the relationship from the beginning.

2. BE OPEN MINDED.

You never know who could help you the most. Be open minded about all of the possibilities. Maybe the best mentor for you is someone you would have never imagined, but you'll never know until you go in with an open mind.

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3. STEER CLEAR OF YOUR TEACHERS & PARENTS.

Parents and teachers are incredible resources, and you should most definitely use them. However, it's best if you steer clear of using them as your mentor. There are so many more people out there with resources other than your parents and teachers. Mentors are there to offer a different perspective than what you're usually given.

4. USE YOUNG TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.

Sometimes it can be hard to get adults to take you seriously because you're young. (This blog post has advice from other idea girls for how to overcome that.) But at the same time, you can use being young to your advantage. You can offer your mentor a unique perspective, too, so be sure that they understand what you bring to the table.

5. USE SOCIAL MEDIA.

Reaching out to adults that you admire on social media is a great way to break the ice and connect with them. Most professionals are on Twitter and sometimes Instagram, so responding to a tweet of theirs or sending them a direct message will help you initiate a conversation.

6. SAY "PLEASE" AND "THANK YOU".

Never under estimate the power of the magic words.

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7. DO YOUR RESEARCH

Know who you're asking to be your mentor. What have they done in the past? Have they made a major career change? What do they do now? What's the company that they work for like? What wisdom can they provide you with? A simple internet search will do, but be sure to know who they are before you start a conversation with them.

8. BE PROFESSIONAL.

Professionalism is key for making adults take you seriously. If a kid can communicate with them in a professional manner, it catches their attention. Learn how to craft an email, start a conversation in person, and present yourself in a manner that makes it clear that you mean business.

If you're looking for a mentor and aren't sure where to start, feel free to contact us and we can help.

 

Affirmations For Your Middle School Girl

Teaching your daughter affirmations can be an incredibly powerful tool for developing her self-confidence. Oftentimes, girls are complimented on their appearance and not on their abilities. Instead of telling a girl that you love her hair or dress, tell her that you love other things about her personality or abilities. Teach her to affirm herself and her confidence will take her far. Here's a list of affirmations to teach your middle school girl. Have her repeat these in the mirror or when she wakes up in the morning for a little pep talk.

"I can learn hard things." 

"I am a problem solver and I will find a way." 

"No one can make me feel inferior without my consent" - Eleanor Roosevelt 

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"Failure is great feedback."

"You have to be a beginner before you can be an expert." 

"What I tackle, I conquer." - Richard Gilmore from Gilmore Girls

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"I will only compare myself with the best version of myself." 

"I will show kindness, even when it seems hard." 

"Sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn." - unknown

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"I am allowed to feel my feelings." 

"I will be compassionate to myself and others." 

"No one looks stupid when they are having fun." - Amy Poehler

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"I am a girl who has lots of ideas." 

"I will accept my flaws."

"Feel the fear, do it anyway." -Susan Jeffers

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"It's okay to be sad." 

"What I have to say matters." 

"Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure." -Bob Bitchin

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"I believe I can change the world." 

"It's okay to ask for help." 

"It takes guts to be kind." -The Smiths

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"Baby steps will move me forward." 

"I will speak up, even if my voice shakes." 

"Girls support girls."

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"I can accomplish anything I set my mind to."

"I accept what I cannot change." 

"This too shall pass."

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"I am kind, I am smart, I am important."

"I am thankful for everything in my life."

"Just do it."

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Meet an Idea Girl: Shelby Gogulski

Meet Shelby, the 17-year-old from Jacksonville, FL who owns a company that makes customizable, interchangeable jewelry. She sells these designs at her family's boutique, Yourself Expression, where she also helps select other items for sale. Read more from our interview with her to see how she made her idea and passion for jewelry a reality.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR HOBBIES?

I love to read and research travel destinations I want to visit someday. I also work a lot and play soccer.

WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM JOB?

I want to work in the entertainment/fashion industry.

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEA OR PROJECT THAT YOU ARE WORKING ON. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH IT?

I own a company that makes interchangeable jewelry so that YOU can create what you love to wear or are passionate about. I didn't invent the interchangeable jewelry but did expand and grow the idea. I was playing with boots and made interchangeable bows to have the same pair match everything I wore.

WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED SO FAR AND HOW HAVE YOU OVERCOME THEM?

My age puts me in a kid category when I actually make things for women and companies have a tendency to brush my collection aside since it is run by a teenager.

WHAT ARE SOME GOOD THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED SINCE YOU STARTED YOUR IDEA?

So many things have happened in such a short amount of time because I try. I was on Shark Tank in May 2016, The View in February 2015, launched my collection on Carnival Cruise Lines and Sea World this year.

WHAT DO YOU STILL NEED HELP WITH FOR YOUR IDEA? HOW CAN WE SUPPORT YOU?

Branding and exposure is the hardest part of what I do and I just want to try and grow that. 

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNGER GIRLS THAT HAVE AN IDEA THEY WANT TO MAKE HAPPEN?

First of all, don't slow down! If you think too long about an idea someone else will have already done it. Then when you have an idea, find a perfect name that you love and that is easy for people to say (I made a mistake there but we did re-brand each collection to be catchy). Then lastly buy the domain to that name so it makes it real for you and others. You are serious and will grow from there. Domains are just $10 and right now I have probably 50 of future ideas I want to work on. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA?

"But what if I fail? Oh but darling what if you fly!" I take the meaning to be that you only fail when you don't try. 

If you know a girl with a story like Shelby's, nominate her to be our next featured idea girl using this link.

How To Be Successful At A Young Age

Success comes in many forms. For some, that may mean raising a specific amount of money for something. For others, that may mean spreading the word far and wide about an issue that's important to them. No matter how you define success, we all can agree that sometimes it's difficult for adults to consider kids to be "successful". We asked a few previously interviewed idea girls their secrets to success. Here are their answers:

HOW DO YOU GET ADULTS TO TAKE YOUR IDEA SERIOUSLY?

Adults take me very seriously because most of the adults that have supported me are mothers of  the daughters who have been through similar situations as myself and they applaud my story and visions for other girls. Most pass the word along to many other moms and families that support what I'm doing. Adults know that it starts with them, since we are kids and still need support of an adult. We can't do it alone. -Hyjiah Conde

One way to get adults to take you seriously is to show that you are serious. Just talking about it doesn't mean that you're serious. My mom and dad only act on what they see me act on first. -Jasiya Green

Initially I think that there were a few people who didn't believe that I actually baked the treats I do  because they tasted so delicious. I created a YouTube Channel, Goddess Food Factory, where I go through the whole process of baking a treat, so that they can see that I am really the one who's baking. I also posted a few videos on my Instagram feed. Plus, I do a lot of motivational speaking engagements and during the Q & A portion, adults will ask me about recipes. They are always shocked when I say the ingredients and measurements. To impress them, I'll also share a baking hack or two. -Simone Bridges

Explain to them why and how you want to do it. Look them in the eye and make sure you are serious about it so that they believe in you. Don't laugh or joke when you talk about it. Be serious! -Mikayla Pelt

To get adults to take my idea seriously, I physically show them what I am working on so they won't think I'm kidding. You have to actually do some work to prove to them that it isn't a joke or just an idea. -Kamryn Johnson

I make sure I know my products well, including how they benefit others, and know my ingredients and how to explain it all well. -Jammy Girl

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HOW DO YOU BALANCE SCHOOL AND OTHER ACTIVITIES ALONG WITH YOUR IDEA? WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER IDEA GIRLS?

The best advice is to take an idea, get suggestions, and when you see the suggestions take them as helpful and not personally. Don't let others' lack of interest dull your shine and excitement. You are capable of doing anything you want just listen to the good advice and smile at the ones that don't understand what you want to do. -Shelby Gogulski

Stick by your vision and remember to never let anyone downgrade your vision, because some will. Even if it's a small vision, small visions turn into big visions. Last but not least always lend a hand to someone in need. -Hyjiah Conde

I balance all that I have to do by setting a schedule and sticking to it. I even set my timer on my iPhone for certain activities so that I don't go over time. -Jasiya Green

 In our household, we practice Stephen R. Covey's 7 Habits, so "Work First, then Play" comes natural to me. Baking and cooking are my passions, so I enjoy it just as much as playing basketball or creating dance routines with my cousins. -Simone Bridges

I think school should come first for all idea girls because it is most important for our careers. Business comes second. You could also have a schedule for your business . For example we sell snow cones on weekends; that's the best time for us. Then when you get finished you can hang out with all your friends . -Mikayla Pelt

 I usually work on my idea after school and homework. If I am going on a trip to work on my idea, I do my school work while I'm traveling. I would tell idea girls like me to make a schedule, stick to it, stay organized, and never stop working on your idea. -Kamryn Johnson

I make most of my products during my school breaks, vacations, and some weekends. I also hired my 10-year-old brother as my assistant. -Jammy Girl

WHAT ARE SOME GOOD HABITS YOU'VE DEVELOPED TO MANAGE YOUR TIME?

I still struggle with this since I am like every other girl and like to stay up late and sleep in, but with the help of apps like Google Calendar and Remind Me I can stay on task and not make things chaotic. I also schedule meetings and calls during my peak times which are early to late afternoon. I am not a morning person at all! -Shelby Gogulski

I learned to block out negativity because I'm a positive person. I also developed good habits by being more structured and I'm way more vocal than I was four years ago when I started this journey. -Hyjiah Conde

Some good habits I've developed over time is actually using my planner. Before middle school, I'd get a cute planner for back to school and write in it the first few weeks. After being in middle school and now on my way to 8th grade, my planner has become so important to me. -Jasiya Green

Basically, I stick to my schedule, study, and do all of my chores first. This way, I have the rest of the time to work on what I want and that's my Goddess Food Factory bakery. I also create a lot of lists in my journal. I check off the things that I complete and work on incomplete tasks in my free time or the next day. It helps to guide me and to make the best use of my time. "Win, Win!" -Simone Bridges

To manage my time, I create a schedule. At the beginning of each month, I would look on my calendar to see what I have coming up that month. I would also talk to my parents for some good advice on how to start my business which includes research, creating a name, website, branding, marketing, networking, etc. Everything depends on what your idea is. -Kamryn Johnson

I try very hard to stay organized but that is hard. My mom has to help me with that a lot. My mom always says to "keep my priorities straight", so I have to get my schoolwork done first and then I get to create. -Jammy Girl

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