11 December 2023

A 13-Year-Old Business Owner Strikes a Pact with a “Shark”

By Ronald Smith

Wow, you won’t believe this incredible story! Picture this: a 13-year-old kid making big moves in the business world and partnering up with a powerful shark. It sounds like something out of a movie, but it really happened!

Let me tell you all about it. This aspiring entrepreneur, who isn’t even old enough to drive, had a fantastic idea for a business. And guess what? They didn’t just keep it as a dream—they took action and turned it into a reality!

Now, hold on tight, because here comes the twist. This youngster’s incredible journey caught the attention of a powerful and renowned businessperson, often referred to as a shark in the industry. Yes, you heard that right. A real-life shark wanted to get involved with their business!

So, what happened next? Well, these two remarkable individuals sat down together and struck a deal. Can you imagine being in that room, witnessing this awe-inspiring moment? I can almost feel the excitement and anticipation in the air.

Now, you might be wondering, Why would a successful businessperson be interested in teaming up with a 13-year-old? It’s a valid question, but the answer is simple: this young entrepreneur had a fire burning inside them. They had an innovative idea and the drive to make it happen. That’s an irresistible combination!

This story is a perfect example that age should never be a limitation when it comes to pursuing your dreams. It doesn’t matter if you’re 13 or 30; if you have a passion and determination, you can achieve anything.

So, here’s to all the young dreamers out there. Keep pushing forward, believing in yourself, and taking action. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll find yourself making a deal with a shark too!

A 13-Year-Old Business Owner Strikes a Pact with a Shark

When I was young, most kids were busy thinking about video games. But not me. I was already brainstorming ways to expand our father-son business, Paper Box Pilots.

Just recently, we had the amazing opportunity to be featured on the ABC pitch show called Shark Tank. It was a big deal. One of the sharks, Kevin O’Leary, who’s a well-known name in the toy industry, offered us a whopping $35,000 for half of our business. And he wasn’t the only one interested!

Ever since I can remember, my dad and I have been creating fun decals for cardboard box planes. It all started as a way to entertain me and my younger brother, Milo. But then we had an idea. Why not print and sell these decals to other kids who love using their imaginations?

Last year, we finally made that idea a reality. We launched our official Paper Box Pilots website and started selling our decals. It has been an amazing journey for both me and my dad. Here’s what I have to say about it:

I had a great idea to make the stickers come alive again. We didn’t just print some for Milo; we got them professionally made and decided to sell them online so that other kids could have fun with our airplanes too. Dad has always wanted to start a business, and now that I’m old enough, we found something we can do together.

A 13-Year-Old Business Owner Strikes a Pact with a Shark

My journey with my son has been incredible. It has allowed me, Brian Cahoon, to explore my passion for entrepreneurship, while also giving my son, Noah Cahoon, a valuable education in the world of business.

But let me tell you, Noah is not just along for the ride. He is actively involved in every aspect of the company, from sales to design. In fact, he is the driving force behind our success. He may be young, but he is the true leader of our company.

When we appeared on Shark Tank, we had a big ask. We wanted to give up 25 percent of our company in exchange for $35,000 and mentorship. We knew that with their help, we could take our business to the next level.

A 13-Year-Old Business Owner Strikes a Pact with a Shark

At the end of it all, three ‘sharks’ took a leap at the chance. One, of course, was O’Leary, who has scored deals with big brands like Mattel Toy Company before. Another was investor Robert Herjavec, who offered $50,000 for half of Cahoon’s company after O’Leary’s offer. And then there was investor Barbara Corcoran, who threw in $35,000 for a 35 percent share.

Noah, a thirteen-year-old, was left to make the call all by himself, taking on the role of the company’s CEO while his father watched from the sidelines. With three offers put forward, Noah’s father turned to him and said:

It’s all up to you, as the CEO, to decide.

So, here’s the story: I had to make a big decision. Cahoon, that’s me, had to choose between money and experience. O’Leary, one of the sharks, offered me $35,000 in exchange for my knowledge of the industry. And guess what? I went for it!

Why did I choose experience over money? Well, O’Leary had some pretty amazing connections and tons of expertise. It was a tough call, but I knew that his knowledge could really help me in the long run.

Let me tell you, when I made my choice, it completely shocked the other sharks. They couldn’t believe it! But hey, sometimes you’ve got to take a leap and do what’s best for you.

And you know what? Looking back, I don’t regret my decision at all. Being a 13-year-old CEO and making these kind of choices is pretty cool, don’t you think?

A 13-Year-Old Business Owner Strikes a Pact with a Shark

Meanwhile, I have big dreams for my company. At Paper Box Pilots, we’re not just about creating paper airplanes anymore. We’ve branched out and started making cool stickers for cardboard box race cars and fire engines! Can you imagine how awesome that would look?

But that’s not all! We’re not stopping there. I have even more exciting news to share with you. We have plans to launch a brand new line of ready-made box toys. That’s right – you’ll be able to get your hands on some amazing box toys without having to make them yourself!

I’m so thrilled about all the possibilities that lie ahead for Paper Box Pilots. Stick around, my friend, because there’s so much more to come!