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Entrepreneur Madison Gorn Discusses How Young Entrepreneurs Can Find Success


Everytime Madison Gorn, the 20-year-old founder and CEO of Maddie Girl Marketing, passes a lemonade stand, she stops to purchase a drink and to talk to its young owner. “I love to do it because I am always so impressed by the initiative it took to make the lemonade and to then sit outside for hours, selling it,” she says. “Other kids are inside, playing video games or doing whatever, yet here are these girls and boys, working to earn money. I love to see that kind of effort, and it reminds me of what I did as a young girl to get my own cash.”

Madison’s days of babysitting and doing odd jobs to have money in her pocket are long behind her. At Maddie Girl Marketing, she designs and runs customized digital marketing campaigns for small and large businesses, including Target, Sephora, Ulta, and Bed Bath & Beyond. As Madison finds success in an industry that has traditionally been dominated by people who are, let’s face it, older than she is, she thinks frequently about young entrepreneurs, who just like her, have a dream in their heart and are ready to set the world on fire with it.

“I get a lot of questions from high schoolers in particular about how to start and run a successful business,” she reveals. “One thing I always tell them is that age is no excuse for not trying. If they have an idea in their mind, they’ve got to act on it. I was only fifteen years old, a sophomore in high school, when I started Maddie Girl Cosmetics, and despite a whole host of adults telling me I was too young to run a company, I did it. Okay, yes, I made a ton of mistakes, but every entrepreneur makes them no matter how old they are. I learned from mine, changed what I was doing, and grew my first business into a cash-machine that generated thousands of dollars for me.”

Madison often advises young entrepreneurs to make sure they truly care about what they’re doing. “I’ve seen so many people who have been in this industry for years fail simply because they don’t really like what they’re doing,” says Madison. “You’ve got to have a passion for your job in order to really make it. I absolutely love what I do. Every day, I get to help to shape the next generation of business leaders around the world and see their own success stories unfold. It’s immensely rewarding for me, and there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.”

While many companies started by teens have only one or two employees, they will need to grow eventually. “It’s fine to start small, but when you start to expand, remember to find great people,” Madison recommends. “You’ll have to sort through tons of applications to find the one person who is right for the job, but that tenacity will be worth it. At Maddie Girl Marketing, we’re a family. Every employee has been chosen for their skills and experience as well as for their genuine commitment to providing excellent service for our clients. The result is we’re a real team, and it makes our marketing campaigns even stronger.”

Madison also suggests that young business owners deliver more than their clients expect. “It’s sadly true in the working world that many companies don’t achieve what they promised to their customers, so going all the way to the finish line can be an accomplishment in itself,” she thinks. “Why stop there? Why not go further and provide even more value for your clients and really help them? At Maddie Girl Marketing, on top of our regular services, which include social media marketing, branding, podcasting, and app development, we have one-on-one meetings with our clients and teach them how to effectively market their businesses themselves. We give away some of our secrets, I suppose you could say, and our clients really appreciate that. It has strengthened our relationships with them and has grown their businesses.”

Lastly, she advises entrepreneurs to remember to never spend all the money they earn. Instead, they should think about investing some of it into their businesses so that they can grow. With this piece of advice, Madison smiles, remembering a little girl on her street who was selling lemonade one hot summer. “I told her the same thing, that she should consider spending only some of her profits on movie tickets and putting the rest back into her stand.” Madison pauses for effect. “When I drove past the next week, I saw that she was selling not only lemonade but ice cream from a cooler, and she had a line a mile long. Now that’s the heart of a true entrepreneur!”