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I made $6,000 Per Month as a 16 Year Old

When I turned 16, I took two jobs. One was at a local grocery store from around 7 am to 3 pm, and the other was at Taco Bell from 4 pm until closing.
I was able to work these long hours since I was homeschooled, and as long as I kept up, my parents weren’t concerned about my long working hours.
However, my body didn’t like the lack of sleep or the long work hours, and after three months, I promptly had a massive breakdown. Initially, I quit my job at Taco Bell, but I knew working for peanuts at the grocery store was never going to get me anywhere.
It was the holidays, and I had seen some adults in a neighboring city painting Christmas scenes on business windows. I had some artistic talent and thought it would be a good way to make some extra money.
I wasn’t far off and was able to get quite a few businesses in my town to pay me for snow-covered trees, Santas, and snowmen on their storefronts.
The adrenaline of starting a business, especially at only 16, was something I still can’t quite articulate, but I tell you, it was amazing.
I did realize very quickly, though, that my new business had one major flaw.
You may have already guessed it, but if not, it’s a little thing called seasonality.
January rolled around, and there were no windows to paint. No holidays coming up besides Valentine’s Day, and most businesses didn’t really need hearts on their windows.
As I was thinking about what I should do, one of the businesses called me and asked if I would come wash the paintings off.
They offered to pay, and I figured if I cleaned everyone’s windows, I could get work for another month.
I still hadn’t thought about the potential expansion of my business until one of the owners commented that they would be willing to pay me once per month if I would come back and clean the windows on a schedule.
The light came on.
If I could clean windows every month for multiple businesses, I could have a consistent income year-round.
I knocked on a lot of doors and had a few turnaways. I also had a lot of people say yes, and in a short time, I was making a whopping $6,000 per month as a 17-year-old. (That was a lot of money in the ’90s.)
Now I’m telling you this story not to brag or to give you any great ideas about starting a window cleaning business. I mean, yes, it’s a good business, but there are a lot of days out in the heat/cold that will make you rethink your decision.
I learned some serious lessons that have carried over into my life even now, and I thought I’d share them with you:
Business is actually very easy as long as you are selling something people actually want. I grew up in Arizona, so windows were dusty all the time and needing cleaning constantly. Businesses wanted people to be able to see their sale signs, so the need for a cleaner was obvious to them.
Having a product or service people want to buy multiple times instead of just once has its obvious benefits. There are a lot of businesses that sell premium products only once that would prove this somewhat wrong, but from an ease standpoint, having a multi-purchase per customer business is never a bad thing.
Nothing really beats referrals and people liking you. I had no idea why people hired me so much, but I imagine a lot of it was because I was getting referrals and because I was a nice kid who was knocking on doors looking for work. Kind of an unbeatable combo.
I miss those days as a teenager when I had no bills and a lot of money coming in.
Looking back, though, I most appreciate the lessons I learned growing that first business of mine from nothing into something pretty great.
I think we all ought to look back at the lessons we learned when we were younger and appreciate the hard-earned ones along with the easy.
Growth really comes from some of the most unlikely and sometimes hard things, but in the end, it’s always worth it.
Have a great weekend!

Published By:

Author: Joseph Stevenson

I’m a brand advisor for 7-8 figure solo-prenuers, entrepreneurs as well as larger public companies. I’m the guy companies come to when they feel stagnant and inauthentic. I’ve been able to help thousands of businesses find their niche, market for customer needs and explode their revenue. I have close to 20 years of experience in online marketing and brand building having worked with companies throughout the US and in some other major countries.