A few weeks back I noticed that a friend, Isaac Cothran, had started a business when I saw his new Facebook page. I was so impressed that I contacted him immediately to see if he would tell us more about ‘Trailing with Isaac’. Starting your own business is a great way to earn extra money rather than getting the more typical teenage part time job…
Me: Hey Isaac. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Isaac: I love the Lord, and I strive to be a better person so I can bring glory to Him. I’m a homeschooled rising junior in high school who loves to hike, fish, run, bike, hunt, kayak… You get the idea. I’ve lived in the same house in Cashiers, NC, all my life. One of my goals is to go to West Point for college, and my favorite Bible verse is Psalms 37:4.
Me: How did you get the idea to start your business, Trailing With Isaac?
Isaac: There were two friends who were both in high school. Friend #1 worked a 40 hour week in the summer painting sidewalks for a gas company. Friend #2 played golf and didn’t work much at all because he wanted to play golf in college. One day friend #2’s dad told him that he needs to find a way to make as much money as friend #1, who was painting sidewalks. This was very disappointing for him because he thought he would have to give up golf. However, as he continued to talk with his dad, they decided he could teach younger kids how to golf and charge $50/ session, still play golf, and get to work with kids. When they did the math they found that he would be making more money and working less time then friend #1, who was still painting sidewalks. Friend # 2 is a grown up now and runs a reclaimed lumber business.
The father in the story was a man who I met in the coffee shop while I was doing my homework. He told me his story and encouraged me that work could be something that I could enjoy as well. As I thought about what he said, and explored options for me to start my own business, I finally settled on a hiking business for kids because that would put me in creation and with kids that I could influence in a positive way.
Me: Why did you decide to start your own business rather than getting a more typical teenager part time job?
Isaac: I wanted to work a job where I could make good money, learn something that will help me later on in life, have some time off so I could enjoy the summer, and maybe even have some money left to put aside for whatever the future might hold.
Me: Tell us about your business and specifically what you do.
Isaac: My business is a hiking business targeted at taking kids 8-12 on 5 different hikes around the area. The hikes range from easy to difficult. Once someone books a hike, I meet them at a central location and take up to four kids to the trail head. I provide them with custom made walking sticks (proceeds will support a trip to Haiti that a friend and I are going on. Any extra money will provide backpacks, notebooks, and anything else Haitians might need.) and I provide snacks as well. On the way I tell stories, show them a type of wood that smells like soda, look for crawdads and spring lizards, etc. Usually there will be a nice place to jump in the water and cool off.
Me: What is your business plan? How are you spreading the word about Trailing With Isaac?
Isaac: Well, my feet are just getting wet, and I’m still working out details, but business starts in June. Right now, I’m handing out business cards, dropping stacks of pamphlets at local stores and country clubs, and offering free hikes so I can hit the ground running.
Me: Do you have a long term plan for your business?
Isaac: I’m hoping to build on this and offer kayaking on the lake, mountain biking, and things along those lines.
Me: So. Let’s just say that I’m a city girl and I find myself lost in the woods with a pack of angry badgers on my trail. I don’t like spiders and I’m afraid of the dark. What should I do? Any safety tips?
Isaac: First of all, you need to stop watching movies like The Hunger Games and start watching movies like Jeremiah Johnson. I’ve actually never seen a badger. I have, however found a bear den and was growled at by the bear that was inside. Luckily my dog was with me and kept it holed up while I ran away. But if a angry pack of badgers IS on your trail, then find a creek and run down stream. Often times, your scent will get lost because it’s hard to track a scent in a stream. And spiders can’t swim. Eventually you will run into civilization, because everyone needs water, whether it’s to drink, or power electricity. If it gets dark, and you don’t have a way to start a fire, catch a bunch of fireflies, hold them in you hands and cup your hands over your eyes. That’s all I can think of for that one haha.
Me: It would be just my luck that there is some rare spider out there that can swim.. ANYWAY. Do you have any tips or ideas for others teens who are interested in starting their own business?
Isaac: Write down the things you love to do and find out how to turn that into money. If you love to do yard work, then start a landscaping business. If you love to surf, then be a self employed surfing instructor. If you love to babysit, then start a business and hire your friends to help you. If your passion is playing music, then teach it. If you love to shop, then take elderly people out shopping. There are so many things you can do, you just have to tap into them.
Me: Great ideas – thanks so much. How can people contact you if they are planning on a hike in your area?
Me: Thanks so much Isaac. You can also catch up with Isaac on his Facebook page! Please take a look and if you are in the area, give Isaac a call. It’s sure to be a lot of fun and he knows exactly what to do if you run across any badgers!
Do you have any ideas for starting your own business or have you already done so? I would love to hear about your ideas or about the business that you already have!