Episode 110: ​​10 Lessons in Business from our Kid Entrepreneurs at Camp Luminary

July 25, 2022


We just came off the heels of Camp Luminary. It was the first of its kind, a camp for entrepreneurial parents and the leaders they’re raising to come together and to leave with a common mission and vision. A place for kids to be inspired and to really step into leadership and possibility and for parents to check out of business and to show up for their families! 

At the time of this recording, we’re a week out from having hosted our very first ever Camp Luminary, and we want to give you a behind the scenes and the 10 massive lessons that we’ve learned from some amazing kids. So, if you’re an entrepreneur these lessons are really going to serve you in helping to lift your kids up in leadership and help you to integrate business and family from these incredible lessons we learned from these amazing kids.


[2:49] The Challenge 

We are about a week out from Camp Luminary. We’re recovering physically, but our cups are so full, our hearts are so full. We created this container, this once in a lifetime experience that is the catalyst for change at home and in business and it was such a beautiful thing.

Today, I want to share some of the lessons I personally learned from incredible kids in attendance this year. We had kids from ages 5 all the way up to age 17, and we thought it was going to be a real challenge to coordinate the activities and messaging for such a wide age gap. But the way it all came together and how they served each other was so amazing. Each kid went home with messages and lessons; the older kids learned lessons in leadership and in guiding their groups while the younger ones witnessed possibility and engaged with the older kids. It was really a magical thing to witness. 

So, while the business owners were masterminding about integrating business and family and scaling their business for more freedom, the kids were given a challenge. We decided to take the concept of the traditional lemonade stand and to add a massive twist. They now had two other businesses to compete with in the same vicinity and they had to work with a team of people that they didn’t know very well to teach some key business lessons and principles as well as teamwork and leadership skills. So, we had kids of all ages working in tandem, we had three different lemonade stands, and they were given a couple hours to get everything ready. The adults were the customers and we had the freewill to go to whatever lemonade stand we wanted and buy the product based on a variety of different factors.

[8:10]   Knowing Your Worth, Listening to Your Gut and Thinking Outside the Box 

The first thing that we witnessed was them knowing their worth. One team realized really quickly that although they felt they had the highest quality product, they were the lowest priced and knowing their value, they quickly pivoted and tripled their price. And it actually paid off. There was no questioning if someone would pay these crazy prices. It was simple: this is what we’re worth, this is what we’re charging. It was awesome to see the confidence in these kids! 

The other thing was that although they were looking at competition, they learned very fast to tune out other voices. They had originally listened to someone who said that no one’s going to pay more than $1 for lemonade, instead of listening to their gut and it was later reflected that they knew it was wrong and they had done it anyway. And there was a lesson learned there and that’s when they pivoted right. 

Next, they learned they had to make it easy for people to buy from you. So, one group created a Venmo account to make it so simple for the adults to buy their lemonade. And it was a hit! They had multiple ways people could pay and it made it quick and easy for these kids to collect the money and they were also able to price higher because when people are paying with credit, they pay less attention to what they’re actually putting out from a payment perspective.

[10:52]  Being Unique and Adapting to Your Audience 

Before we started the challenge, we talked to the kids about having a unique selling proposition. We reminded them that they were all selling the same product and they had to make sure to stand out. So, one of the girls decided to rim the glass with sugar so that other future customers would notice this special touch and ask people where they got their lemonade, so they got their customers to do the marketing for them.

Next thing is that they started to learn and adapt to their audience. So, instead of just putting out a tip jar, one of the teams thought about who they’re selling to and what would make those customers want to contribute more money. So two teams put up different signs: one of them put up a sign that all donations were going towards a future business that they were starting and the other team put out a sign that said: Help Gunner (who is only five, and adorable and loves hamsters) buy his first hamster. 

One team wanted to be different, so they asked my brother Douglas to help them reach some mulberries for them to add to their lemonade, and then they talked about how it was a lot harder to get this product, that it couldn’t be found anywhere else, and they priced it accordingly.

[14:30]  Embracing and Owning Your Gifts 

Okay, I have to brag about my son Jack for a second and his friend Mickey. They were among the younger kids in the group and they decided that if they created a comfortable place in the shade for people to congregate and sit and then offer a discounted second glass, they could bring in more money from existing customers instead of having to go out and find more. So, they went around the camp and they were rolling logs from around the fireplace, working together to create an outdoor seating section and they brought in so much business!

One thing that I’m really proud of is that all of the kids claimed and leveraged their strengths. Through this challenge they started to own their gifts, which was not something they were doing at the beginning of the camp when we were going through different exercises. 

There was this one girl that kept to herself fully. She’s about 15 years old and she wasn’t talking to anybody, but when there was a task and a team with a goal and an objective, she took it and she ran with it. And I think the lesson for me here was really that sometimes we have to mix things up to see our kids shine. If you think they’re not taking initiative or they’re not interested or they’re not trying – try something new. Stop beating your head against the same wall with your kid. Explore something that makes them come alive, find their spark. And if you’re having trouble with that, we have a tool to support you. Go to luminaryleadershipco.com/spark and download this amazing free tool that can help you discover your kid’s unique gift.

[19:00]  They’re Always Listening 

We were a little worried at first that this would be too complex for the younger kids, but we soon realized that we weren’t giving them the credit they deserved. Every single kid ran with a challenge and walked away with some major lessons learned. Don’t over or underestimate lessons, some things really are simplistic in nature and need to stay that way to be drilled home and some lessons that we think will be over our kids heads, aren’t. Give them the opportunity to rise to the challenge. They’re always listening. 

These were kids of entrepreneurs and we were blown away by their creativity and their inventiveness and their ability to pivot and to be resilient and to market and to see opportunities. These ideas and lessons come easily to these kids. And it was so powerful to be able to get together as a group afterwards and talk about all the things that they did and really bring home the lessons they learned.

So, if this sounds like something you want to take part in next time, go ahead and get on the waitlist because we would love to serve you and your family. This is a very intimate event and it’s going to be “first come-first served” so get on the waitlist here luminaryleadershipco.com/campwaitlist that way once we open the doors – you will be the first to know. 

I hope you got some wisdom from these 10 things that we learned from our experience at Camp Luminary. We hope to see you there next year, but remember you can also try this at home. Make it a full experience, let your business be the classroom!

And if this episode spoke to you, make sure to subscribe and leave us a review! Come connect with me on Instagram at @elizhartke! If there’s a topic, a question or a guest you want to hear on the show, just reach out and share that. We do this for you so the more you tell us, the more we can serve.


*Photo of Camp Wandawega by Anda Marie

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