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10 Things We Can All Learn About Success from This 10-Year-Old CEO

No matter your age, there is something you can learn from this successful pint-sized entrepreneur!

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businessCourtesy Andris Renee Kinloch

Don’t let age get in your way

When she was only 7-years old, Gabrielle Goodwin, along with her mom Rozallyn, invented the Double-Face Double-Snap barrette to solve the age-old problem of disappearing hair barrettes. These became the cornerstone product of In just three years of operation, Goodwin has filled online orders to all 50 states in the U.S. and eight countries. Goodwin is a testament to the fact that age shouldn’t determine when you start your dream business. “Starting GaBBY Bows made me understand you can do anything at any age,” says the Columbia, South Carolina, native. Read more on other life lessons from CEOs.

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momCourtesy Ian Curcio

Dream big

The sky is literally the limit for Goodwin, who continues to make waves, most recently when she was one of three national finalists for the 2017 Black Enterprise Entrepreneur of the year. “My business taught me that when you dream big, your dream can come true.” As a result of the award, a children’s book about Goodwin and GaBBY Bows, entitled, Gabby Invents the Perfect Hair Bow was published by Entrepreneur Kid.

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CEOCourtesy Ian Curcio

Be insistent when you know your idea is a good one

Goodwin notes that she kept pushing the idea with her mom until they started the company. “I kept asking my mom about us making a bow that would stay in my hair,” she says. Shortly after, GaBBY Bows were invented. Can you answer this CEO’s favorite questions? 

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friendsCourtesy Andris Renee Kinloch

Thank your supporters

Goodwin always includes a handwritten thank-you note to her online shoppers and is equally as grateful to all of her friends and family who helped her on her business venture. Now, a lot of the connections she has made through other businesses have supported her as well. “They love what I’m doing and want me to keep going forward,” Goodwin explains.

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friendsCourtesy Black Pages South

Tune out the naysayers

It’s hard when people are negative, but that comes with any company’s growth. “I think their comments are feedback for me get better,” Goodwin notes. “I also remember that haters are jealous of you and want to be like you.” Find out ways we can all be nicer to ourselves.

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the realCourtesy The Real

Believe in yourself

One important element to her success? Believing in herself and her company. “I strive for my best every day so that my family, friends, and supporters can me proud of me.” Goodwin is an example that believing in yourself and your product will ensure that others believe in you as well.

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role modelCourtesy Juan Ochoa

Be a role model

As a 10-year-old CEO, Goodwin is an inspiration to other children (and adults). “I try to impress and inspire little girls to dream big and know anything is possible if you work hard to achieve it,” she says. “Most kids can’t imagine that I started a business at seven years old and have had lots of coverage in just three years. I do public speaking and have GaBBY Play Dates with girls in children’s shelters. I play with them and talk to them about entrepreneurship.”

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workCourtesy Juan Ochoa

Have a strong work ethic

Being a CEO at any age is a lot of work, especially when you still have to go to school! (Goodwin attends Escolores Magnet Academy at Harbison West Elementary School where she is a straight “A” student). “I work hard. We have A LOT of supporters who buy bows and post about me on social media.” Goodwin also does her fair share of traveling to support her business at trade shows, etc. Find out the secrets of Straight-A students you’ll want to steal.

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speechCourtesy Juan Ochoa

Interact with others

When traveling or in her own community, Goodwin knows the importance of networking with others. She also notes that with this, comes the need to be kind and loving.

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businessCourtesy SC Department of Commerce

Be innovative

Goodwin and her mother continue to come up with new ideas to support their clients’ needs. From understanding what colors are desirable to coming up with catchy names for the barrettes, Goodwin works hard to stand out. “We came up with designs named after things moms and dads call their little girls like Little Lady and Sweet Pea.” Further innovations involve social media campaigns and special pricing. In fact, Goodwin invites Reader’s Digest readers to get 20% off of GaBBY Bows with code RD20!

Julia K. Porter
Dr. Julia Porter has worked in Higher Education since 2008, following a career as a High School teacher in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a PhD in Global Leadership from Indiana Tech, an MA in English Literature from Brooklyn College, and a BS in English Education from Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI). She lives in Indiana with her husband, daughter, and rambunctious Australian Shepherd.