Posts Tagged ‘Lemonade Stand Economics.’

My problem with authority – Just shut up and read!

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Call me a trouble maker, call me a pain in the ass, call me what you want… (and many people have), but I don’t want to punch in every morning and I sure as hell don’t want to be told what to do. I would make the perfect employee, right?  Of course not!  Most regard the rebellious employee as a “bad” employee. I can hear the supervisor now, “If you can’t follow the rules then you don’t belong here.” To which I say, “You’re right!”   

I have had an issue with authority as long as I can remember. Parents, teachers, bosses, you name it. I towed the line in school. I sat when I was supposed to. I read what they told me to read and did well on the requisite test that followed. I walked through the regimented school day like the students on the conveyor belt in Pink Floyd’s movie The Wall. I did it and I hated it. Throughout my life, I’ve had jobs where I did what the boss told me to…and hated it, but I never let the boss know that. Again, I towed the line knowing the time wasn’t right to unleash my rage against authority.  

Some of you might be sitting there saying, “Suck it up buttercup! That’s the way life is!”  If so, to you I say, “Look and listen carefully, maybe you can hear my middle finger shouting back at you.” (Did you already forget you are dealing with someone that has an authority issue?)

Many people with an authority issue let that same issue ruin their lives. They end up in bag groceriestrouble at school, lose their job, and too often they end up in trouble with the law. The rebellion toward authority eventually gets them labeled as a troublemaker and once you are labeled it’s hard to shake that label – in high school and in life. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way…

I will be the first to say that my authority issue is a huge contributor to my success. My authority issue contributes to my confidence, passion and a determination to prove others wrong…on a scale that is off the charts some days. I hate being told what to do, so I do it my way.  My way consists of taking what I have learned from others, improving all aspects and then adding a big dose of Geof and making that new way mine.  Is it hard to break out of the archaic social and economic systems surrounding us and sucking us in? Absolutely.Does it take enormous effort to live your life on your own terms? Absolutely. Is it rewarding when you finally live life without a boss? Hell freaking yeah!

If you are a student or have a job with a boss (or both!) and relate to what I just said, here is my advice. Be smart. Learn as much as you can now. Stay out of trouble. Trouble now can devastate your opportunities later. Tow the line until the time is right. Then unleash the power of your authority issue. The resentment against authority and rage of towing the line for so long can serve as some serious jet fuel for being an entrepreneur. That’s how it was for me.  NOW is my time to cash in on my authority issue. You will get your chance, just be patient and when the time is right…don’t punch in.  

Oh crap! I forgot to save money for college!

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Our first team-written blog. A quick 1-2 punch of advice from the illustrator and author of Lemonade Stand Economics that will help those who are starting college soon…without a financial plan.

ROBERT (21 year old college junior and student business owner)

“I wish I had this book when I was in high school!” is what I have heard at least a thousand times while illustrating for Lemonade Stand Economics. I hear it mostly among my college friends complaining about student loans and how they are too deep in now. I really want to say, “Stop whining! It is not too late.” robert edited

The reason I like Lemonade Stand Economics so much is not because it has a great plan for high school students. I stand behind and am proud to work for Lemonade Stand Economics because of the lessons the author Geof White gives to young entrepreneurs. I am a young entrepreneur. I have faced all the stresses and overcome many strange obstacles. I learned how to interact with customers, organize finances, make (& correct) mistakes and everything in-between. The book  illustrates some of these obstacles and talks about how telling the world you are paying for college can really help your sales. The book explains just how much work it really is and the importance of confidence and dedication. Geof White knows what it takes to make money as a young entrepreneur because he did it.  And I’m doing it too. Actually, there are lots of us around the country making blankets, selling popcorn, mowing lawns and scooping up dog doo to earn money. (Yep, not kidding.)

So regardless if you’re 12 and debt-free or 23 and swamped in debt, it is not too late. You can start something. You can skip the mistakes I made and start making money now. You can also address some of the mistakes you’ve already made and tackle that debt NOW – before you graduate. The debt isn’t going anywhere till you do something about it. It’s never too late to try something new to get rid of it.  What do you have to lose?

GEOF (42 year old business owner, father of two, author and former student entrepreneur)

Does this sound familiar?  “I graduated last month! We had a big party. After four great years of high school I am headed off to college in September. I am soooo excited! I put a lot of thought into where I am going. I toured the campus, chose a major or two to consider, and even wrote down how much it’s going to cost. Oh crap!  I worked at my job all year but, well, I kinda forgot to save much. I planned on saving for college,  I really meant to…but life just happened and now I don’t have anything saved.  Now what? WTF am I going to do?!?  September is in four weeks??!?  Is it too late?  How did I even enjoy my graduation party when I don’t have enough money for school in the fall? FML.”  

If this rings a bell, I have some advice that may help. Geof cropped

It’s NEVER too late to start.  So you got a late start on saving for college…so what?  You are not the only one. Being unprepared financially for college is actually quite common. Don’t let the lack of time scare you.  There is still some time to earn.  Before you start classes…during the semester…and next summer, but get started NOW. Don’t have this same panic in 11 months.

Earn as much money as you can- as fast as you can.  The first decision to make is – Are you going to do something about this situation or are you going to hope it goes away on its own?  Money only falls from the sky when you make it fall from the sky. I call it “shaking the money tree.” Some people shake that tree like crazy and make some serious bank. Others work for minimum wage, earn very little and feel sorry for themselves. Because time is short, you need to earn as much as you can in the shortest amount of time. Then lather, rinse, repeat until freshman orientation.

Be frugal! BE AS CHEAP AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN BE. Sorry, that’s what happens when you don’t plan. You need to KEEP and save as much money as you can this summer. This means don’t spend it as fast as you make it. When you do spend money this summer…spend it wisely. You are a smart kid, you know what is wise and what is not.

The summer is the best time to earn some cash for college. At this point you are saying “Well, how do I do that?  How do I earn as much as I can?” My answer is this. Go read Lemonade Stand Economics ( – and read it fast!  I wrote it just for you.  

What your grandma’s smile really means

Monday, June 24th, 2013


You gotta love your grandparents. Sweet wrinkly old people that send you a five dollar bill in a card every holiday. We laugh at their ways… in a loving way. We roll our eyes at them sometimes. It’s hard to imagine your grandparents when they were young. Were they wild or reserved? Did they work hard or were they slackers? Maybe they were just like us? You will never know because you weren’t there to see it. The stories they tell you may have been affected by time and memory, again you will never know.

Sometimes these sweet old people give you advice on life. To which you listen and return a smile and say, “Okay, Grandma.” You think your grandma is smiling back because she loves you.  And she is, but she’s also smiling back at you saying to herself, “Darn fool, I know you are smiling at me and blowing off my advice so I’m gonna fake a smile right back at you!”

Your grandma’s advice may be antiquated and not remotely relevant to your life in 2013, but the fact is that she knows more than you. Maybe not about texting or Call of Duty, but the way her generation lived could be some of the best financial advice you will ever receive.

Your grandparents lived in a time when the only debt incurred would be a mortgage on a house and maybe, and I mean maybe, a car loan. Your grandparents would save up and pay for everything. Simply put, they lived within their means. They spent less than they earned. If they didn’t have the money for something they went without.

Then came your parent’s generation – MY generation. WE grew up with borrowing and debt as the norm. Need a car? Get an auto loan. Need furniture? Take the 0 down, 0% payment plan. And credit cards? Yeah, most of your parents are carrying a pocket full of them, often with big balances. No one saved up to pay for anything ahead of time. We just whip out the credit card and worry about paying for it later when the credit card statement comes. What great role models for their children – YOU!   

Your grandparents have watched their children struggle financially. They see the stress not living within your means will bring. They smile at you because they love you, and they smile at you because they know you don’t really listen to them, but you should.  

My advice:  If you do have a grandparent that is still alive (and many of us don’t), I suggest you sit down with them and talk about money. It will do as much for them as it does for you in terms of spirit and connection… and if you listen carefully and learn, not only will your financial life be less stressful, you will have the satisfaction of knowing your grandmother’s smile is simply full of love for you. Let your cousins have the, “You’re a fool” smile.  

The reality of life after graduating with $50,000 in debt

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

A guest Blog from Sarah at

When my husband and I first met in 2008, he was finishing his education at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), a private college with tuition costs of over $25,000 per year. Needless to say, he graduated with a ton of student debt – over $50,000 to be exact.

He also carried about $5,000 in credit card debt and a $20,000 auto loan… giving him a grand total of $75K in debt the minute he left college. (Holy crap, right?)

My husband was very fortunate in the sense that his paid internship turned into a full-time job upon graduation. Few people are given that opportunity these days. Still, even with both of us working full-time, shelling out $1,000 per month (minimum) towards his debt was an incredible burden for both of us… both financially and emotionally.

What exactly does it feel like to be that heavily in debt?        9694511_s                                                 

Being heavily in debt means working three jobs and cutting back on every possible expense, for the sole purpose of making loan payments. Yes, we have found ways to have inexpensive fun… but knowing that your entire paycheck goes to bills and loan payments is an incredibly unfulfilling way to live.

 It means not being able to take risks – like changing careers, starting your own business, or taking time off to travel the world – because the thought of losing even one paycheck makes you physically ill.

 It means putting off major goals like buying a house, having children, or saving for retirement… while listening to constant reminders from friends and family that “your biological clock is ticking.”

 In short, being in debt means putting a lot of things on hold until that burden is gone. (And yes, some graduates will still be paying off their student loans well into their 40s.)

Four years after graduation, we have paid off my husband’s credit card and auto loan in full. We’re definitely proud of these accomplishments, but still have a long way to go. Despite making all of the minimum payments on his student loans on-time, we have made almost no progress on that front because the majority of our payments go to interest. (Example: One private loan started at $7,000 and is still at $6,975 after 40 payments. How is that even possible?!)

 In summary, if anyone tries to tell you that student loans are “good debt” or “an investment in your future,” ignore them. Even if you are fortunate enough to land a great job the minute you step off-campus, having a significant amount of debt right out of college is a burden that you don’t need.

 Yes, tuition costs are rising well above the rate of inflation. Yes, it’s becoming more and more difficult to pay for college on your own every year. However, it can be done – and the sooner you start planning, the better.


To all those people who wished they had done things a little differently

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

I get asked all the time, “What is Lemonade Stand Economics about?” to which I say, “It’s a book that teaches high school students how to work for themselves and pay for college without the  loans by earning far more than minimum wage.” When an adult asks me that question 9 times out of 10, I get the response, “I wish I had that when I was young.”  It’s like a proclamation of relevance for the saying, “Hindsight is 20/20.” However, when I tell students what the book is about I get a different response. I almost always get, “That’s cool.”  Half the time I think they are saying that’s cool to the fact that I published a book – regardless of what it’s really about. blog pic

The difference between the response, “I wish I had that” and “That’s cool” is pain. High school students have no concept of real financial pain – YET.  Maybe they see their parents struggling to pay bills, but they do not know the relentless pain of bills coming month after month in your own name. Adults, especially parents, know this pain. They know how hard it was to pay for their own college education (and now a house and a car and braces and property taxes…) and they know how painful it is to see that student loan bill arrive each month for 15 years…That’s 180 times that student loan bill arrives after throwing their mortar cap in the air at graduation. To throw salt in the wound, often when parents react with the “I wish I had that” they have children who are approaching college age much more quickly than they anticipated.  

To all those people who wish they had Lemonade Stand Economics to read back when they were in high school, to all those people who wished they had done things a little differently to make paying for college easier, you can not go back and change your history, but you CAN change the history of a high school student in your life. Don’t let your son or daughter, nephew or niece grow up to say, “I wish I had that.” A copy of Lemonade Stand Economics costs less than $15 on amazon and can change the life of a high school student this summer. Right now.


Click here to purchase Lemonade Stand Economics on Amazon

Click here to purchase Lemonade Stand Economics and support NFIB’s Young Entrepreneur Foundation



Robert’s Toolbox for Graduation

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

robert editedMy graduation party was a blast! There was a ton of good food. Everyone got their invites, so no family drama, and all my friends stopped over to say congratulations. It was so much fun that I almost (keyword almost) forgot all about the gifts. Later, after my family and friends had left, while opening my cards and counting the money, I noticed someone had given me an actual gift in a big square box. I ripped it open only to reveal a toolbox full of all kinds of strange looking garage type tools. At first I was like “A toolbox for Robert? HA! When would I ever use that?” At that moment, I wished they had given me money until…

When I packed up the car to go off to college, I deliberately left the toolbox behind thinking I would never use it. However my parents knew better (as begrudgingly I admit, they often do) and slipped it in a small corner between my clothes and jewelry supplies. When unpacking, I was quite annoyed that I had to lug that tool box up three flights of stairs to my room. After the year started, boy did my I change my mind about needing that toolbox. That freshman year I was making and selling jewelry. The clients and shows started asking for me to provide displays. They wanted unique suit cases and wooden boxes for my jewelry to be displayed on. I opened up the tool box and started making boxes, chairs and using the drill to make my jewelry even more interesting. I ended up having stores purchasing some of my displays for themselves… and my jewelry was selling even better.

When I first got this toolbox it seemed useless and dull, but it ended up being making me more money than any amount written on any of the graduation checks I received that glorious day. My future was better because of that toolbox. I always say that Lemonade Stand Economics isn’t just a book. It’s a tool. Lemonade Stand Economics is just like my tool box. It is not the most exciting thing to open on graduation day, but it is a tool that can help your son, daughter, nephew grandchild or friend when they need to get out of a tough financial situation – or avoid one –  in the future. It is the tool that will help them earn more than a check for $20 ever will. It is a tool that can change their life

I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Nugent for giving me that tool box. I know I probably did not write you the most enthusiastic thank you letter, but I hope you now know what a great and valuable gift you gave me.

Robert Felton




What do crazy teachers & scoliosis have to do with slapping your friend in the head?

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Ahhhh…high school. The great American institution where teens learn the basics of education. For some students high school can be a launching pad for college, while for others it’s the end of their formal education. Regardless of which path you take after graduation, there are four things that every high school has:      cafeteria blog

  1. There is the CAFETERIA, where yes, some greasy food is eaten and the occasional brown paper bag appears, but really the cafeteria should be renamed the “social hub” because we all know there is so much gossip and weekend planning flying around that Jerry Springer would be jealous.

  2. There is the GYMNASIUM where students are required to try sports they may not have  had the opportunity to try. You know, the sports that you never wanted to try in the first place. But it’s all good because at least you are getting that 40 minutes of psuedo-exercise on a Wednesday morning.

  3. There is the CRAZY TEACHER. You know, the one that dresses all funky, tries to be “cool” around the students and has that crazy look in her eyes. Don’t worry, of all the great teachers you have had over the years, this one will be the one you remember.

  4. There are the TEXTBOOKS, you know that 65 pounds of scoliosis you lug around to class each day. Each textbook is filled with useful information conveyed in the most dry, unexciting, nap-inducing way. Even the trees they used to make these books are unimpressed.  


I wish you luck with surviving the first three as I cannot help you with those. The fourth however I may be able to offer you an assist. I wrote Lemonade Stand Economics: A Refreshing Way to Pay for College to help high school students earn significantly more than minimum wage and pay for college without the help of student loans. Lemonade Stand Economics IS NOT A TEXTBOOK.


Lemonade Stand Economics is a series of real stories with relevant advice that will change the way you earn and spend. Are you okay with earning 3 or 4 times what your buddy is earning slapping sandwiches together? This book tells you how to do just that.  No happy “you can do it” horse crap, just real advice on how to earn money working for yourself as a high school student.  The financial literacy standards you’ve all come to love are in there, but you’d never know it. You will be too busy working and making money.   

So don’t put Lemonade Stand Economics in your scoliosis backpack! It doesn’t belong there! Carry Lemonade Stand Economics in your free hand…and feel free to slap your best friend in the back of the head with it once you enter the chaos of the cafeteria. It’s only 160 pages so it’s way shorter than any one of your boring textbooks. Heck, it isn’t even heavy enough to give a concussion. Now quit reading blogs and get back to class!



The most important job you will ever have

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Yea right – like your stupid minimum wage summer job is going to be the most important job you ever had. Right! Call me crazy — but I said it. And I mean it. The job you have this summer may very well be the most important job you ever have in your life! Just hear me out.


16525223_sThe summer after my freshman year in high school (I was 15), I took a summer job cleaning windows. My mom was friends with a friend of one of the owners. It was offered to me and I took it. I made minimum wage – a whopping $3.35 an hour – $135 a week before taxes. The money was nothing special – it was spending money for a teenager – but I did learn how to clean windows. So what? Unless I was going to clean windows for the rest of my life, this was just another summer job. At the age of 15 I had no idea what my future held. I knew that I wanted to go to college. I think I wanted to be an architect and like most 15 year olds, my life was consumed with music, sports, friends, girls, and whatever was shiny that day.


I would begrudgingly get up in the morning, get to work 1 minute before I was supposed to be there and fill up my bucket. The boss would hand out clipboards in crews of two and we were off to clean some glass. I always liked the summer mornings, the days always started off cool then by noon it was hot. I had an amazing tan, I mean I was working out in the sun all day- you can’t beat that! I was outside, I was moving from window to window, job site to job site. Window cleaning wasn’t the hardest “labor” job out there. There is definitely a skill to it, a precision actually, but its not nearly as physically taxing as roofing or hanging drywall. I would clean windows all day, go home afterward and do what every 15 year old does in the summer after work. Hang out with friends, play frisbee and try to get girls to notice my amazing tan. Sounds like the most important job I have ever had in my life, right??    


In the course of those days cleaning glass that summer I learned a lot…but I didn’t realize it at the time. Call it oblivion, call it being 15, call it what you want, but I learned a ton. Learning a skill (like window cleaning) that you can use for the rest of your life is NEVER a bad thing. I learned that showing up to work on time is more than important. I witnessed what the boss went through when guys showed up late and screwed up the day. I worked with guys who had to support a family on that same $3.35 an hour. From that I learned that I never ever wanted to work for minimum wage or anything close to it again.


Every job site had a customer. Learning how to treat those customers is a crucial aspect of any business, regardless of what it is. I learned that many people have a crappy work ethic. On the other hand many people have a fantastic work ethic. I also saw that benefits and satisfaction that comes from working hard. There were times I hated cleaning windows, hated a labor job, and hated the guys I worked with. Yet on other days I really enjoyed cleaning windows, getting to move around and exercise all day and some of those guys were really great guys and I’m a better person for knowing them. I also learned how something as simple as being in a bad mood can swing that perspective like a pendulum. I learned at least 100 other things at that summer job… but you get the point.


So why would I say that my summer job making $3.35 and hour cleaning windows when I was 15 is the most important job I ever had? Because it was. Today all of my income hinges on that one summer job. I never would have predicted it back then but now I own a window cleaning company. I don’t clean glass all day now, but I do enjoy the cool summer mornings as I hand out the clipboards. After they are handed out I write. I could have never written Lemonade Stand Economics without that summer job leading to me working for myself as a teenager earning far more than minimum wage and paying for college on my own.

So when you take that summer job this year, pay attention. It may be the most important job you will ever have in your life.

A blizzard of distractions… in the spring

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Any of you that live in the north (…or the midwest…or the central states…or out east…pretty much anywhere except Texas, Florida and California actually…), have driven in a snowstorm. You know “The One.” The One you remember. The One that causes you to white knuckle at 10 miles an hour because you can’t see 5 feet in front of you. You are all hunched forward, tense, squinting and all you can see is white specks flying at you. You get to where you are going…eventually. I once drove from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to Marquette, Michigan in such a storm. A 3 hour trip took 5. And I was towing a boat for some reason, but that is another story…

My work day today was like that snowstorm. A blizzard of distractions. I went into this nice spring  day knowing I had a lot to do… but getting it done efficiently was not in the cards. I caused distractions. Other people caused distractions. The nice weather was a distraction.  “Nothing” caused distractions. My susceptibility to distractions was extremely high and the world seemed to be more than happy to take advantage of that fact. It was a Monday after a nice weekend of being outside and my head was all rubbery. So everything – and nothing – distracted me. Everyone has days like this. Especially for high school students this time of year …with sports, final exams, prom, graduation and the quest for a summer job looming in the not so distant future.

If a blizzard of distractions is keeping you from getting done what you need to get done, then give this a try. blog graphic 2 

  1. Get away from everyone. Change the scenery. People are very distracty. (Look that up in your Geof-tionary). Find that corner of your house or office where no one is or will be for a while and get something done.   

  2. Put on the headphones. Block out the world with some good tunes and concentration. When I write I listen to the Allman Brothers, but you make your own choice.

  3. Don’t check Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter or Youtube or Google+ or any form of communication that is instantaneous. You don’t need to see a kitten or inspirational quote right now. You just need to get some work done. Go ahead and go through your emails,  but none of the others.

  4. Keep hydrated.  Mental or physical, work is work. Keep a bottle of water with you. Not a Monster. Or a latte’ or a monster-sized latte’. Water. Plain, pure water.     

  5. Concentrate on one thing at time.  I know, Mr. Multitasker is saying to stick to one thing at a time. It is true. You will get more done by doing one thing at a time very well instead of doing several things at the same time. This is especially true on Days of High Distraction.

After my blizzard this morning, I ate lunch and got back to work. I shut my door and turned on the tunes, didn’t check anything on my computer, sipped my bottle of water and concentrated on working. The windshield became clear. I worked as I traveled in peace with the the Allman Brothers and enjoyed the ride. No more blizzard. No more distractions. I got tons of work done. I killed it on this nice spring Monday afternoon.

The butterfly effect and “lemon”osity

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

There is no time in your life more important than your teen years. From 13-19 it seems like every little decision you make potentially has a huge impact on how you live your life as an adult. Screw off in school and the next thing you know you are flipping burgers at 42. Study hard for every exam and become president of the company by 35. Smoke that first cigarette and die of lung cancer at 60. Because before you know it, you will be 42…or 35…or 60.

New Bitmap ImageI will share my experience as a teenager that had a huge impact on every day of the rest of my life. My work ethic – every day – is a direct result of the influences I had as a teenager. My mom worked hard, sometimes at crappy jobs. I saw her effort and it stuck with me. I worked for a couple window cleaners that knew no other way than to hard work every day. They taught me how to work hard and the benefits you get from it. But there is another part to work ethic. The part that makes the butterfly effect positive. All of my influences taught me that work can be enjoyable. It’s okay to enjoy the work you do. Even if it isn’t exactly what you want to be doing right at that second…or forever… you can find a way to make it enjoyable. See, when you enjoy what you are doing it doesn’t seem like work. However, if you hate what you are doing, well, it will seem like work all right. In the worst way.

As a teenager the decisions you make today will have an effect on your confidence in the future. It might affect how rich or how poor you are. How well you live, or how well you wish you lived. How stressed you are, or how relaxed you are. How you define success or what you value. How you treat other people or how they treat you.

But here’s the trick. You don’t always (or ever) know what or who will be impacted tomorrow by your decisions today. It’s been said – by everyone from Aristotle to Walt Disney according to and pinterest boards – “We are what we repeatedly do. Therefore, excellence is not an act. It is a habit.”

So maybe it’s not every little decision that needs to be agonized over, but rather working hard to consistently do the right thing. The smart thing. To consistently work hard and consistently have a good attitude toward work and life and other people. Be consistent with excellence. Be relentless with enjoying work and persevere with “lemon”osity.