It started because he wanted to help his mom make cutesy door-stoppers to sell at the upcoming craft fair. Like most of us parents, she was busy doing her own thing and didn't want his help, so she told him he'd have to come put with his own idea. However, not put off by such a task, Jason O'Neill, a scholastic-type nine year old actually took her up on her push-off. He decided he'd create something to help kids who weren't as academically minded as he enjoy doing their homework better.
Jason came up with the idea of making cute little creatures out of Styrofoam balls, googly eyes, and pipe-cleaners that sit on top of a No. 2 pencil. The idea actually was really basic and simple. These "Pencil Bugs" as Jason affectionately called them came with a cute name and a birth date. He did that to help make them unique. They also came with a Certificate of Authenticity and care and training instructions.
The craft fair was a total bust. Totally surprisingly, to both Jason and his mom, people absolutely loved the Pencil Bugs! In fact, he completely sold out while his mom's craft creation didn't. (That's gotta be good for her psyche', huh?). Anyway, it eventually turned out that he started taking orders for more of these Styrofoam and pipe-cleaner creatures. Incredibly, the little craft fair idea grew into a business and Jason ended up making new Pencil Bug characters on a regular basis. He added matching t-shirts, and laminated bookmarks to the line up as well.
The business bug had definitely bitten. In fact, the bite was so serious that he even wrote a kids' book featuring the little pencil characters with plans to have a series of them. He then created cute Pencil Bug e-cards, and went on to write a book about business titled Bitten by the Business Bug: Common Sense Tips for Business and Life from a Teen Entrepreneur.
Jason's list of accomplishments have grown to quite a little list for a kid. In 2008, he was even chosen by Forbes.com as one of the top 10 role models for American kids. His skills at marketing are obvious, but he's also quick to share that he gets lots of help from his parents also. In fact, he states that without his parents help, his business wouldn't have worked. While Jason does get the spotlight on all kinds of websites, books, and television shows, his website lists his mom as his business manager. She put away her own door-stopper craft and helped Jason develop his own total potential. Because of this, Jason's life is forever different--in an amazingly good sort-of-way.
To learn more about Jason O'Neill's business or products, visit PencilBugs.com
Image Credit(s): Youtube