Starting a business wasn't part of Simon Yeo's plans when he attended a technology day camp three years ago.
But, while he was learning about graphic design, Yeo—now 15 and a ninth-grader at The Field School in Washington, DC—created a logo for a fake plant care business. He was watering plants for a vacationing neighbor that summer, so it wasn't too far-fetched of an idea.
He liked the way his logo turned out, and decided to order some business cards and hand them out to neighbors in Chevy Chase Village. And so, Simon Plant Care Inc.—serving the Chevy Chase Village area—was born.
The business specializes in watering gardens in the spring and summer and cleaning them up (i.e., leaf removal) in the fall, as well as snow removal in the winter.
As a high-school student, Yeo has a few extra challenges in running his business that adults wouldn't generally face. He can't, of course, do gardening work during the school day, and as an athlete (he's on his school's cross-country team as well as the local Rock Creek Velo cycling team), he has sports practice in the afternoon.
"Sometimes I will have four gardens to water [in an] afternoon after getting back from practice and then have to study for a test the next day. Running the business has definitely helped me with my time management skills," he told Patch.
And, as Yeo is often away during the summer, he lines up members of his five-person team to water clients' gardens.
Currently, the business picks up clients mostly through word of mouth. "We have some posters in various locations around the area and have started to go to local events to hand out information. Our website has also been very helpful in helping us grow. In September, we were featured in Chevy Chase Village Life Magazine, and that acquired a few new clients," Yeo told Patch.
Prices are very reasonable. "We tend to start at $5 a day for plant care and adjust it based on the size of the garden and amount of time it will take to water," he added.
Post-high school, Yeo hopes to work in the technology industry, perhaps starting his own technology company. He's also interested in traveling, graphic design, web development and marketing. "My favorite subject would probably have to be history, but I wish more schools offered business-oriented classes because I think it would help prepare kids for the future," he added.