He was eight years old, and Jack Bonneau wanted a Lego Star Wars Death Star set. Bad.
With more than 4,000 pieces in all, it retailed for $400. He asked his dad for the cash. His dad had a better idea. “Why don’t you pay for it yourself.”
He and his father, Steve, decided to peddle cups of lemonade at the local farmers’ market throughout the summer. It worked. That decision has led to a four-year journey that saw Bonneau launch Jack’s Stands & Marketplaces, a lemonade franchise that has helped other kids start their own business in the process.
Two years later a 10-year old Jack Bonneau from Broomfield, Colorado appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank to pitch his lemonade stand and marketplace startup. His pitch highlighted how other kids could start their own entrepreneurial journeys. Bonneau shared ways they could operate drink stands or marketplace locations, all while learning business strategies, entrepreneurship, logistics, and profits at a young age.
The Sharks liked Jack’s idea, and they were impressed with his young entrepreneurial motivation. However, most of the Sharks felt he still needed to grow the business more. On the episode, Sacca offered Bonneau a $50,000 loan at 2% interest from guest shark Chris Sacca. Bonneau accepted Sacca’s loan.
Free Enterprise caught up with Jack in between running his business, working on a new healthy lemonade flavor while going to social studies (“I like learning about the ancient Egyptians and how the world has grown from then,” he says) and giving speeches to school groups across the country to see what he’s learned. Here’s what he had to say.
‘It’s OK to fail.’
“It’s OK to fail as long as you get back up and try again. There were so many farmers markets I went to and I would hear no all the time. And there were a lot of times where I wasn’t motivated to go, but you have to fight through it. The worst that’s going to happen is someone will say no. If you hear ‘no’ find out why, try again and make it better. You can get better to get more people to say yes. But hearing ‘no’ is the worse that will happen.”
‘Be Curious and Look For Help’
“The coolest part of owning my own business is the chance to learn something new every day. It’s amazing! It only works because my parents have helped me so much, and I haven’t been afraid to ask for help when I don’t know something. There are so many teachers and mentors who will help you if care, and if you just ask.”
‘It’s Worth It.’
“It’s a lot of work, but you will learn so much more than you ever thought. At first, I just wanted money. And now it’s about so much more. I’ve met so many great people, learned to do things I never thought I could, and have been able to help people.
“I tell other kids, just do it. Don’t be skeptical. You can do anything. You really can.”