I like to think that I was somewhat precocious when I was a young kid – as an extremely avid birdwatcher (and amateur naturalist in general), and painter – but what’s interesting, is that I never really had the entrepreneurial bug back then. Ok, well there was the one summer my older brother and I sold golf balls and nightcrawlers (both gathered from a local golf course). But that’s it!
Nevertheless, the ‘bug’ did eventually hit, and now I just can’t help but be inspired when I learn about young people starting up their own businesses. Ryan Reynolds is certainly no exception!
I first learned about Ryan while recently checking through some links that had been submitted to our Worm Composting Business Directory [UPDATE: directory is no longer active]. The name of his business, “I’ve Got Worms”, caught my attention right away – I never cease to be entertained by the phrase (ever since watching “Dumb and Dumber” for the first time), and as you can see, I even make use of it here on the site (look left – haha). Believe it or not, I’ve even been working on a video series with the same name!
Great minds think alike, I guess!
Naming aside, what REALLY caught my attention when I visited the site was that fact that Ryan is definitely NOT your average worm farmer! First and foremost, he started his business – based in Provo, Utah – back in March, when he was still in Grade 1!!
But I don’t want to steal the poor guy’s thunder here – long story short, I got in touch with Ryan ask him about his business and see if perhaps we could put together a write-up about it for the blog. Here is what he had to say (along with some pictures he sent me):
I started I’ve Got Worms! because the street I live on is too dangerous for lemonade stands. I’ve always wanted to find ways to make money so when my mom told me about composting worms, I was excited! My investors (mom and dad) helped me out with the start-up costs except for my hard earned $1. They gave me a loan at 0% interest on condition that I payed all that money back before I kept any for myself. I got my worm bin finished March 5th, the same day my worms came (2 pounds to start out). I’ve never seen that many worms before! Holding them is weird.
Since then, I’ve been able to pay off my investors and reinvest in my business so that now I have a bin full of worms that are just growing (I can’t sell any of them because I’m trying to get enough so that I can just sell my own worms) and another bin of worms to sell.
My favorite thing about my business (besides the money!) is I get to help the world be a little cleaner. I love recycling cardboard and newspaper for my neighborhood and I love helping other people start vermicomposting too. And we’re already getting tomatoes that we grew in vermicompost and they’re the best I’ve ever tasted (oh yeah, I trade vermicompost for my mom’s time whenever she has to help me with emails or phone calls or anything. She says it’s a great trade and by the looks of the garden, I’d have to agree!).
Ryan cutting cardboard for new bedding. He uses a shredder for the newspaper but then rips or cuts the cardboard. It takes him a while to get the bedding done for a vermicompost starter kit, but he listens to books on CD while he’s working so it’s not too bad.
My least favorite part of my business is touching the worms. Well, not the worms exactly but the bedding. My hands get so dirty because the vermicompost sticks to them when I’m mixing the bedding or checking on my worms or sorting them, but it’s worth it. Mom laughs at that because she thinks most boys don’t mind getting their hands dirty but I still don’t like it. And sorting the worms for sales is pretty hard too. I like it best when my friends or mom have time to help me. I’m thinking about saving up for a worm sorter, but so far I sort everything by hand.
Ryan holding a few of his worms.
The funniest experience I’ve had with my business is when we first started, we didn’t know that you have to leave the lights on at night so the worms won’t get out. Or maybe we knew but we thought the worms were doing OK without it. Well, the next morning we went down in the basement where my bin was and there were worms everywhere!! Luckily we saved most of them. Now we always keep the lights on them for a few days when we get a new shipment.
Ryan checking on his worms. He says they look great!
Oh, and another favorite thing about my business is handing out business cards whenever I’m out with my mom or dad running errands. I love how surprised people are to see me and find out that I’m the President of my own business.
Ryan posing with his latest batch of worms. He’s up to 12 pounds now and excited for his business to grow even bigger.
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Ryan for sharing his story here on the blog. I’m sure he will be a source of inspiration for many people – both young and old!
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