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Student Entrepreneurs: Building Businesses While Balancing Studies

Let’s learn about three PHS students who own successful small businesses while balancing their education and busy lives in the midst of it!

Here at Pasco High School, our students are set apart in their drive and determination to succeed in the things that they are passionate about. Each day, our halls are filled with students who have skillsets and knowledge that go far beyond what they learn in the classroom. Acting on these passions and talents has enabled our future generation to become successful entrepreneurs at such a young age. Today I am eager to introduce to you three bulldogs that you may or may not know, and we are going to dive into learning about what each of these students do!  

Alexa Rios Cardenas 

First off is a 17-year-old junior and in-home bakery owner, Alexa Rios Cardenas! I had the opportunity to interview Alexa and learned so much about her and the business she runs. Alexa has loved baking since she was little, however, it was only last year that she decided to take the jump and make it something bigger for herself by creating her Instagram account @madebyalexaaa, where she sells specialty baked goods including pastries, cupcakes, and cookies. When I asked her what her favorite part of her job was, she said that she loves the self-expression that comes with this area of work, and the fact that it also isn’t super common among teenagers is something she is proud of.  

Alexa is a teenager and has a lot going on in her life! In response to the question, “What is the hardest part of being a business owner?”, she said, “Advertising and time with school! I don’t give it a lot of attention and get guilty because I feel like I need to be doing more”. She explained how there are times of the year when school takes priority over her business, but she is always intentional about continuing to try new techniques and practice recipes when she is not busy fulfilling as many orders. For example, she is currently working with counselors to get cookies made for teachers at our school. When she does have more orders, she said that they are typically from her “regulars”- mainly coworkers of her aunt who help support her small business.  

Alexa said that her biggest motivator is her family- her mom to be specific. “She would always vouch for me and spread the word”, Alexa told me. As previously mentioned, Alexa gets most of her clientele from her aunt’s work, where she will promote her nieces’ business. Because of this, Alexa is motivated to continue pursuing this passion for baking alongside other career goals including interior design. I asked her what she thinks this business will look like ten years from now, and this is what she said: “I want to do something with it in the future, but also have a different career as well. Just to keep that skill within me so I don’t lose it. In 10 years, I want it to not be as home-based and maybe have a little bakery to work out of.” She values how this skill and interest helps her connect back to her younger self, and she doesn’t want to lose that as she continues to enter new stages of life.  

As a closing question for Alexa, I asked her what advice she had for other teenagers and students who were interested in starting a business. This is what she said: “Learning how to balance doing something you love while not letting it get in the way of things like education is important. Balance yourself and be productive with what you do. Just go for it. Some people hold back because they are scared or intimidated, but it’s your life and live your dreams. I didn’t want to start [a business] either because it is not common; I felt like the odd one out. You never know if you never try.” 

Alexa is such a sweet and respectable individual, student, and business owner! I am honored that I had the opportunity to interview and learn more about her small baking business, @madebyalexaaa. 

Alexia Ruiz 

Up next is an 18-year-old senior and florist, Alexia Ruiz! Specializing in orders ranging from bouquets for your loved ones, to corsages and boutonnieres for the prom, you can find her small business on Instagram @lexs.floral.arrangements!  

As I interviewed Alexia, I learned that she has had a love of flowers since she was little. This is mainly influenced by her upbringing! She shared: “When I was younger, I would help a family member of mine with decorating big parties when he would get hired, and I would help him create centerpieces and other party decorations too.” Having this exposure helped her develop a love that eventually led her to start her own business this past March- only two months ago!  

Many business owners begin their businesses to grow their abilities in a certain skill set, and this is what Alexia did. Her inspiration stemmed from wanting to learn how to make her corsages. She said, “I decided to make some so other people can enjoy and order them too.” Not only was this her motivation for beginning her new journey, but it was also the best part of her job. She loves bringing the vision of her customers to life, and bringing a smile to their faces when they see the final product is very rewarding for her. The downside she has realized, however, is learning how to combat procrastination. Whether procrastinating schoolwork to complete orders or procrastinating completing orders because schoolwork is piling up, this is a real battle Alexia, as well as many other young business owners, faces. Especially with being a senior and taking courses at CBC, she is learning quickly that balance is the key to being successful in her endeavors.  

In closing, I always love asking the question: “What is one piece of advice for others who want to start a business?” In response to this question, Alexia responded with this piece of advice: “If I had to advise teenagers about starting their businesses, I would tell them to go for it and take a chance just don’t fall behind in school”. Now, make sure that you reach out to @lexs.floral.arrangements next time you need any beautiful flower bouquets or corsages- she is ready and excited to help you!  

Bianca Garza

Do you have a special occasion coming up? Need a little pick-me-up as the school year ends? Or are you just someone who loves getting their nails done by a quality nail tech? If you relate to any of these, I know the girl for you! Finally, we are going to learn more about a PHS Junior and in-home nail tech, @nailssbyy_biancaa! (Bianca Garza)  

I’m sure we all remember the year 2020, right? Like many other teenagers during that time in quarantine, Bianca took up a new hobby doing her nails. This started out being something she did just for fun, however, as the next few years passed it became something much more interesting to her. She also explained how her mom wouldn’t let her get her nails done due to the prices of nail salons- which if you know much about nail salons, you know how expensive it can get- so she used that as motivation to take the initiative and begin doing nails herself!  

When I asked Bianca what the best part of her job was as a nail tech, she said, “My best part about doing nails is meeting new people and getting to know them and making them feel good about themselves.” As a nail tech, it’s important that you connect with your clients, and her response shows this is a highlight of her job. She gets to help people feel good about themselves and makes new friendships in the process. It is the best of both worlds! On the flip side, however, she said the worst part she is currently experiencing is feeling afraid to raise her prices and charge her worth. She fears that she would lose the clientele she’s worked so hard to gain as a result!  

Bianca is a student and teenager and like the other two student entrepreneurs, balance is a big issue. She explained to me that she sets firm boundaries on her availability for appointments; she can only do weekdays at 3:30 pm and weekends at 11:00 am and 3:30 pm. This can be hard, but it is worth it in the long run. Alongside keeping a strong routine, Bianca finds her parents to be a motivating force in her life. She said, “My biggest motivator is my parents. They push me to keep going no matter how hard it is and always remind me that they’re proud of me and my work.” This support and love have helped her move forward, and she expressed to me that she thinks she will still be doing nails 10 years from now because she loves it that much- and not working for someone else is a bonus.  

Bianca wants to share this piece of advice with anyone considering starting their own business while in high school: “My advice to other students who want to start their businesses is don’t rush yourself. It takes a while to get the hang of things and make sure it’s something you enjoy doing and most importantly don’t compare yourself to other people who are doing the same thing ”.  

Well, there you have it! 

I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about a few inspiring students here at Pasco High who are setting out to accomplish big things for themselves at such a young age- following their passions and turning them into work. If you have been thinking about starting a business, let this be your push to shoot for the stars and go for it! You can learn so much now in your life if you take a risk, and never know where it may lead.  






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