A Toast to Hard Work and Stone Cold Success

As our Entrepreneurs and Start-Up Visionaries Create new Enterprises, it’s Important to Remember that old Fashioned Virtues of Hard Work Still Make all the Difference

By Mark Trowbridge

May 2018

This past weekend, I was driving through the Gables and happened upon a boy and his parents running an old-fashioned lemonade stand by the roadside. The young entrepreneur was standing on the sidewalk, waving wildly to beckon me (and others) to stop for a glass of frosty, tart lemonade. I thought as I pulled over that even though nearly two generations have passed since I was born, this is still one of the best ways to teach young people about running a business, having a plan, marketing a product, and earning a little pocket change. 

Add this enterprise to the list of typical first jobs like the local paper boy (and girl), the kid who cuts your grass, or the babysitter who watches your little ones. We all must start somewhere in business and a lemonade stand is as good a place as any. 

My first paid “job” was working for my dad in one of his Wendy’s stores in Northwest Ohio. I was 12 and had my own blue and white tailored uniform and station on the floor. I was responsible for pouring drinks and staffing the Frosty machine. I earned $5 for a full day’s work (plus all I could eat) and would leave my double-shift feeling satisfied and proud. I knew I had accomplished something and learned even more in the process (like being the boss’ kid was not an advantage). 

We all must start somewhere in business and a lemonade stand is as good a place as any

I never had a lemonade stand of my own, probably because I was already in the food service biz and had bigger dreams. But, I did deliver newspapers, cut lawns, rake leaves, and shovel snow. There was no rest for the weary in the Trowbridge household. Even today, working hard remains a valued workplace skill we can all embrace and a foundation I’ve built our Chamber upon. 

Recently, Tom Garfinkle, the CEO of the Miami Dolphins, told an audience of young people and business leaders that the way to be successful was to “work your butt off.” I could not agree more. That ideal will never go out of style. 

Today, entrepreneurs and start-up visionaries all have one thing in common: They are not afraid to roll up their sleeves, take risks, and work around the clock. It is the bedrock of their business model. And, fresh off the closing bell of the fifth edition of eMerge, I am more convinced than ever that even the most difficult challenges become excellent life lessons. 

These challenges go far beyond bumps in the road and hairpin turns. They are the lemons that ultimately end up in the most delicious and delightful lemonade.

Mark Trowbridge is the president and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce