Many people have a block around making money as an entrepreneur so I’d like to share my own story about how I started out as an entrepreneur.
I was a 4-year-old when my parents split up. Mom worked in a lumberyard to take care of us – it was really hard work. I didn’t realize we were poor until I was around 12. It was at that age that I noticed that kids were dressing differently than I was. To save money, Mom bought my clothes at the local five and dime or discount department stores.
When you’re that age, what you’re wearing often defines how cool you are – or at least how cool you are perceived to be.
While Mom was buying me jeans for the discount store, all the other girls in school were wearing jeans from the local boutique. Those boutique jeans cost a lot of money. Those jeans were designer brands with nice labels.
I decided that I wanted a pair of those jeans.
My Mom said to me, “Lisa, I can’t afford those jeans. If you want those jeans, child, you are going to have to find a way to make enough money to cover the difference between the jeans I can afford and the jeans that you want.”
With that, I decided I was going to get a job.
The Bank Street General Store was as good a place as any and I went in and told them I was looking for a job and they hired me. They hired me to work the cash, keep the store clean, stock shelves – all the fun stuff.
The day after they hired me…they fired me!
They fired me because I was a 12-year-old and I didn’t have a Social Insurance Number so I wasn’t able to legally work for them.
This meant I still had a problem – I still wanted those jeans, and I still needed the money to buy them.
The solution – the flea market!
I went through all my old toys, all the things that I didn’t want anymore, and all of the crafts I had made. I was a knitter and also crocheted so I had a lot of hand-made things to sell too.
I went next door to my Aunt and asked if she had anything I could sell – I was shameless – I asked everyone in the neighborhood for things I could sell!
It’s not clear if it was because I was a cute kid selling all her worldly possessions or if I was a really good salesperson, but I sold every single thing I had my first day at the flea market. On your first time at the flea market, they gave you the table for free so I had no overhead.
I walked away with a wad of cash and I bought those damn jeans!
There was enough money for the jeans AND enough money to pay for a table at the next flea market. I had started my first business – I was an entrepreneur!
I kept collecting things, I kept making things, and I kept bringing them to the flea market to sell. I did this until I was “legally” able to get a job.
The point of this story is really simple. I was a 12-year-old and I didn’t have any preconceived notions about my ability to sell. I did not have the “what ifs…” I wasn’t worried if no one liked me, or if no one bought my stuff, or if I wasn’t a good sales person, or what if I’m asking too much money. None of that garbage was running through my head. I was uninhibited by my mindset and I knew what my goal was – a pair of jeans.
Kids get tunnel vision when they want something. I did what I had to do, to get those jeans. I didn’t realize I was setting myself on a lifetime path as an entrepreneur.
So, what about you?
You’re an adult. You’ve got resources. You’ve got all kinds of things that you can do to make money. What can you do to make that happen?
Leave me a comment and let me know, what steps did you take on your path as an entrepreneur?