I have been thinking a lot about this website lately as I continually strive to improve its performance and readership. It has been a little over 3 months since I began the adventure, and this morning, I caught myself reflecting not only on the first few days of this website’s life, but on my entrepreneurial history as a whole. Upon reviewing my past, I realized that I was destined to become an entrepreneur all along.
Did you have an allowance when you were growing up? I certainly did not. I still had chores, such as setting the table, cleaning the dishes, mowing the lawn (actually, I only mowed the lawn for a short while… after running over a tree, I was no longer allowed this privilege), but no payment was given.
Since there was no allowance, I often had to be creative in order to accumulate some money. I think this really sparked my entrepreneurial streak.
Pay Phone Money
One of the creative ventures – check all of the local pay phones for spare change! This obviously didn’t yield a ton of money, but a few lucky machines could yield me nearly a dollar.
Many of you may refer to them as “soda cans” or “coke cans”, but I am from the north where we call our carbonated beverages, “pop”. Being from Michigan, we would receive 10 cents for every pop can returned! Now this gives a kid some incentive. I’m somewhat embarrassed about it now, but I used to hop on my bicycle with a plastic bag and go hunting for those cans. The local golf course, the ditch on popular roads, and occasionally a few garbage cans; these were all of my targeted areas!
You may think that I wasted my hard-earned money on candy or chocolates, but this is not the case.
At the time, baseball cards were incredibly popular. My wife may not agree, but I still call these cards investments. I loved buying a pack of cards and searching them for the well-known players. I carefully kept them in a box (I certainly never put any of them in my bicycle spokes), and expected to cash them in for big money later in life.
Perhaps you don’t agree that those cards were investments, but they did have the potential for return. I could have blown the money on candy, and the return would have undoubtedly been zero.
Aside from the cards, I did put some of my money toward another investment idea. My mom is great at sewing up items for craft sales and regularly received a magazine titled, “Oriental Trading”. For some reason, I was drawn to this magazine. It had items for crafting, but also had a variety of other products. While I was flipping through the pages one day, I saw these smiley face key chains – 144 for $10. I quickly did the math (I was always good at math, even as a child) and discovered that I would only pay about 7 cents per keychain, but could easily sell them for 25 cents at the local flea market (my mom regularly reserved a booth). So, that’s what I did. It was a small step, but I was so proud of that investment, and I think it was a great step toward my entrepreneurial life.
Lawns Need Mowing
While I wasn’t allowed to use our riding mower anymore, I could still handle a weed whacker. My sister and I offered our services to an elderly woman down the street. She paid us $12.50 each time we mowed and weed-whipped her lawn. Splitting the earnings 50/50, I earned a cool $6.25. It wasn’t a ton, but it taught me a lot about creating wealth. Money is everywhere; you just need to know where to look for it.
Did you have a entrepreneurial childhood? What are the things you did for money? Lemonade stand? Sell golf balls? I’m very interested to know!
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.