I’m not sure why I’ve always had a fascination with money. I’ve always liked making money and I’ve always been careful with spending it.
It all started when I was in the 4th grade. I do not recall why I wanted money, but I tried to figure out how to make money. I assume it was for baseball cards or the like. I started selling candy to other kids at school. The bus driver even gave me the nick name, “The Candy Man”. I would go with my parents to Sam’s where I would buy laffy taffy and blow pops, then mark them up 100%. Looking back, I was proud that I was able to pull in $40 a week, which is a lot of money to a 9 year old in the 80’s.
Between the age of 9 and 16, my quest for money became more urgent. Once staff at my elementary school told me to stop selling candy to other kids (they didn’t like the competition 🙂 ), I started mowing lawns. In middle school and prior to turning 16, I also worked at my dad’s baseball card shop. I usually had to work for credit so I would use the credit to buy packs of baseball cards that were of high value to other collectors. I had the inside scoop on whether the good cards had already been plucked from a box or not and thus I was able to tilt the chances of opening a pack of cards with a valuable card. I then sold the valuable card either to my dad or to friends.
Once in high school, my first “real” job in was at a dollar theater. I started out asking people “would you like butter with that”. Yes, it was lame. I was covered in all sorts of neon colors because it was owned my Cinemark Theaters. My starting pay was $4.25 per hour which was enough to pay for gas and insurance on my car (which was REALLY expensive ~$200/month). I quickly moved to projectionist which was more up my ally. During my second summer of work eligibility, I had 3 jobs. I worked at the movie theater (my main job), at Winn Dixie bagging groceries and at RGIS as an auditor (REALLY boring).
That fall after I had maxed out my “potential” at the movie theater, I left Cinemark to bag groceries at Tom Thumb. I quickly became a cashier where I was pulling in $5.25/hour. I was only there for 6-9 months before starting at Flashnet (a 1995 internet provider) where I was a salesman. It was actually my best job during high school. I made $8.oo per hour plus commission. With commission and my base pay, I was making $12.00-$15.00 per hour. I’m not much of a salesman, but it made the job a lot easier since the calls were inbound and therefore the callers were already interested in signing up. It was just really a matter of services provided.
I had various jobs working for professors in college. My next business took hold in 1999. I started selling Pokemon cards through my website and Yahoo! Auctions. I had originally wanted to start a website for my dad’s business. Everyone, especially a business, NEEDED a website. It was the big thing. Well, my dad wouldn’t commit to move forward on a website, so instead I asked him to could order more cards than usual so that I could buy the excess (at the time a seller had to have a store front to be able to buy Pokemon cards from the manufacturer). My first internet business was born. I did fairly well considering I had a part time job and a full load of engineering classes. I pulled in around $12K in about a year. Unfortunately, I jumped into the business towards the peak of the short-lived popularity. It was interesting that most of my customers were overseas. That business lasted about a year prior to dying out. It was an interesting ride though, and thankfully that entrepreneurial spirit has persisted.
Do you have any childhood or college money-making adventures? I’d love to hear them!
photo by theritters’