[Serious] Small business owners, who look too young to own the business, what’s your favorite “I AM the boss, lady” moment?

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

I ran a small non-profit for a while. It ended up being a kind of big deal at a local level, which I’m super proud of. I had a sticker of the non-profit on my water bottle. At a party, a friend of a friend had the same sticker on her phone case. I pointed to her phone, then my water bottle, and gave her a thumbs up. She walked over and proceeded to tell me all about the organization and what she thought of it and how she got involved etc etc. She talked for a few minutes before asking how I’d heard of it. I told her that I suppose I’d first heard of the organization while sitting in my kitchen creating it.


I’m 20 years old and started a small business earlier this year when I was 19 making art from trash I find on the beach. When we sell the art it helps fund an artificial oyster bed sculpture we’re attempting to make and install in the water to help filter pollution from the water. It’s called Cilly Sells Sea Shells after a nickname I got when I was younger. So about a month ago, I met a guy at an event in a gallery I had pieces hanging in (this place hangs a lot of different artists and host music events pretty often). We started talking and mentioned our majors (I’m environmental science, he’s marine biology) and he goes “oh you’re gonna love this.” He brings me over to MY OWN WORK and starts talking about it. Apparently his friend who worked there had told him about my work. I didn’t know what to say, so I just didn’t say anything while he talked about it. He said he loved how the pieces looked like glass and that they use stuff from the beach. Dude was clearly super into marine bio and talked about the science behind oyster filtration and all that. He had apparently been super interested in my project for like 2 months before he came to this and really knew his stuff. He picked up the big UV lamp that was underneath it and proceeds to show me how all of it glows in the dark. I pointed to my SELF PORTRAIT and said I liked how it glowed differently than the others. He looked closer and said nothing. At that point I had to walk away to greet an event organizer. Ten minutes later, a worker came up to me and said someone would like to meet me. Brought me up to the guy I was talking with earlier. His reaction was priceless.


I don’t have a particularly great story about it, but I owned a popular neighborhood coffeeshop for several years. I’d occasionally work behind the bar pulling shots and making drinks, and I lost count of the number of people who’d come in demanding free coffee or whatever because they “knew the owner and he always gives me free coffee”. It always went down the same way: “I know the owner.” “No, you don’t.” “How would you know?” “Because I don’t know you. That’ll be $2.50.”


This kinda fits: moved into a house across the street from a pretty upscale winery. First time I go out to mow the massive front yard with a push mower (all I had at the time as we only lived there a couple days) I notice there’s the old, dirty landscaping guy on a zero turn making the field next to the winery look immaculate. He crosses the street and ends up in my yard and says “lemme have a try at it” and saves me an hour of work with 5 minutes of using that beast of a machine. I go up to start small talk after and ask how long he’s worked for the winery. He says “oh, twenty something years. Since it opened actually. I own it.” My jaw hit the floor. He pointed to the massively expensive home down the street and goes “that’s my house.” He wasn’t lying. Don’t judge a book by its cover.


I run a small woodshop that takes commissions from locals. One guy came in looking to order something as I’m planing a piece of stock. I stop and ask him if he needs anything, the same thing I ask all my customers, and he says, “You can’t help me boy, let me talk to the owner.” Keep in mind, I started this company when I was 17, and that’s probably how old I was at the time. I also had hair down to my shoulder blades and a beard that hadn’t fully developed a mustache yet, so he was quite right in his assumption that I wasn’t an adult yet, but he left soon after I told him that, “Sir, I do indeed own this building along with everything inside it, and if you don’t think i’d be capable in helping you, you are free to leave.” He left.