Meet Student Voice, Taylor

In this period of unprecedented events, I know millions of kids who are ready to share their voices. Join me in listening and giving them a platform to speak.

“I started Succulent King for a few reasons, but the greatest achievement I have in starting my company is to be able to give back. Besides hiring employees as we grow, I am still independently running and managing daily interactions. I stay busy, but I never will give up advocating for student wellness and education.” — Student Voice, Taylor

By Alexis Glick

As a mom of four, and the leader of a philanthropy whose mission is to create healthier school communities in partnership with our nation’s schools and our nation’s youth, I feel more strongly than ever that “the youth voice” is not being heard. Whether it be the unrest in our nation around race and inequality, the fear of living in a COVID-19 world, or the consequences of food insecurity, job losses or other vital topics of importance to them, young voices need to be heard.

At GENYOUth, we can’t do what we do without the student voice. We are privileged to support 38 million kids daily in 73,000 of our nation’s schools because our programs are created for and with KIDS. It’s their voice that curates, defines, and elevates the work we do. Our society will only grow stronger if we uplift, empower, and amplify the voices of this next generation. For the foreseeable future, I will turn over this platform on Medium to them, in addition to my Twitter and Instagram feeds. These students have asked one thing from all of us: LET US SPEAK! We should be honored to do so. I am now pleased to share Taylor’s voice with you:

My Guide to Students Emerging from the Pandemic as Successful Entrepreneurs

On Friday, March 13th I left school to enjoy the weekend and was excited to return the following Monday to open my locker. However due to the global pandemic, COVID-19, the only thing I ended up opening on that Monday was a world full of opportunity and time to start my entrepreneurial career.

Hello! I’m Taylor, I am 14 years old, live in Florida, and the founder of Succulent King. When the world suddenly stopped, schools closed, communities stayed inside fearing a virus, I knew I had TIME to figure out how to start a business.

My entire life I have focused on my future. I have always had a deep passion for horticulture and helping students. I independently started Succulent King to be able to increase the agricultural connection to people all over the country! Succulent King is a licensed nursery that ships to all 50 states. I spent many hours, and my hard earned money, to market and get my business off the ground. I chose to start a nursery because I have always had a deep interest in horticulture, I also researched and found a huge market opening for succulents and cacti!

Running my new business, I personally reach out to customers, market and make connections with potential customers, and process all transactions. Recently, I hired student employees part-time just to keep up with company growth! I manage and train each employee about operations and proper business ethics. I have been able to make so many connections with students through conversations and have even been able to provide funding to many educational and nonprofit projects.

I really had no help — and no idea — where to begin, so I just figured it out. So I thought I would take advantage of this opportunity to share some extremely important tips I have learned from starting a business!

Finding a mentor

Research shows that 70% of mentored small businesses survive past the five-year mark, nearly twice the rate of non-mentored businesses. Having a mentor to guide you, identify struggles, and work to solve business issues and help you grow will take your business soaring. While being new at “being your own boss” you have resources at your fingertips!

Taking advantage of social media

As a student, I am sure you have heard of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. These social media platforms are not only good to post selfies, but can build your business from the ground up! Facebook services 1 Billion, yes, with a B, active users and many users are shopping daily on the platform! All these social media platforms have features for business promotion and shopping, so you can begin selling and reaching many potential clients.

Keeping your company soaring

Entrepreneurs of 2020 like myself are entering the business career while the economy is at an all time low! Even for those, a part of Gen Z, who do find work, research shows their careers and earnings will be impacted for decades. It is important now to begin taking the step to becoming your own boss!

These three aspects are extremely important when starting to become an entrepreneur. This is not something that will happen overnight but you’re capable of creating the next big thing! There will be challenges, and stresses, but it will always be important to remember, do what you love! Students are the future — Your voice and action will impact generations to come! Never be afraid to fail and always put the TIME into something you love.

I started Succulent King for a few reasons, however the greatest achievement I have in starting a company is being able to give back. Besides from hiring employees as we grow, I am still independently running and managing daily interactions. I have been so proud to use and continue to fund community events, fund student educational events, pay off school lunch debts and support No Kid Hungry! I stay busy, but I never will give up advocating for student wellness and education.

Taylor is a 14-year-old incoming high school student from Florida. Taylor plans to attend college, major in political science, and eventually hold public office. Taylor believes we are all living in an unpredictable and historic time that will never be forgotten! Students will now control the change needed to provide a better — and safer — future for the generations to come. Throughout Taylor’s involvement with programs all around the country, and starting his own business, Succulent King, which serves the entire United States. Taylor has been fortunate to always advocate for change. Listening to student voices, and making changes across our nation, he successfully has written $40,000 in grants in support of student meals, wellness, and education through GENYOUth’s student entrepreneurship program, AdVenture Capital, and many other organizations. Taylor is excited to guide students to learn about student entrepreneurship through his eyes by independently operating a business, and showing how he gained relationships from his entrepreneurial journey around the country, all while using his 14-year-old voice to make a change! For more information about Taylor’s business, Succulent King, you can email him at: Succulentkingfl@gmail.com