How Selling Lemonade Changed How I View Money

I think most people have some ”a-ha” moment about money while in their transition from childhood/student life to adulthood. For me it was a story I read in Reader’s Digest last year (although I have no idea how old the copy was). We have copious amounts of copies of Readers Digest in our waiting room at work. I don’t often read them but when patients don’t show up or cancel last-minute sometimes there isn’t much else to do.

I am very much paraphrasing the ideas of the article and will probably not get all the details right, so I apologise in advance, the main point of the story remains intact though.

It was a story about a young boy, who at a young age (something like 6 years old), decided he wanted to make some of his own money while his parents hosted a yard sale one summer morning. With the ”initial investment” from his parents of about $5.00, he set up a lemonade stand selling glasses at 0.50/cup. He ended up making something like $20.00 that day alone. He explains that he re-paid his parents and put his $15.00 profit in his piggy bank.

Over the next few summers he continued selling lemonade at every opportunity, always saving his profits. It wasn’t until he was something like 9 years old that he told his dad that he wanted to get out of the ‘lemonade business’ and buy a lawnmower. His parents had no idea that in the past few summers their son had made, and saved, hundreds of dollars selling lemonade. Enough to buy a nice self-propelled gas lawnmower which will help him on his next entrepreneurial endeavor.

Let me explain how smart and business savvy this child was. He took his lemonade profits, bought the lawn mower but had no intention of wasting his childhood away mowing lawns, instead he would hire someone older, stronger, and more experienced to do the work for him all while making a profit himself.

He reached out to some older kids he knew and offered them a summer job mowing lawns. He would provide the lawnmower, gas and nail down a few regular clients in the neighborhood (ensuring job security) but the older boy would do the work. He charged $25.00-$40.00/lawn depending on size and paid the older boy $15.00-$25.00/each lawn. Between the regular clients and the occasional cuts for people who were on vacation etc, they young boy profited something like $3000 for basically doing nothing (other than being the mastermind behind the operation) and the older boy made even more. Win-win situation. He was 9 years old!

He did this for the next few summers and eventually bought a few lawnmowers, hiring someone to man it each time, and carved out quite a name for himself in the lawn care industry in his community.

I don’t remember the story-ending details, and I don’t want to make something up, but I feel like this kid went on to university (totally paid for between his savings and scholarships to a business school). At the time the article was written, he was something like 20 years old and on his way to being a millionaire by the time he was in his late 30’s due to smart investments.

I was flabbergasted when I read this story about the sheer intelligence and savvy mind of this kid. How does a young 6-year-old even think about such a business model? Most kids are playing with toys and concerned about what their friends are doing for the summer, not how to start-up and maintain a business.

And this is how selling lemonade changed how I view my money and forced me to look at what I’ve accomplished financially in my 28 years on this earth (which, sadly is basically nothing).

Has a story every changed how you view money? What do you think about this story?

_________________________________________________________________________

Lemonade Photo Source

Lawnmower Photo Source

Scared.

Have you ever been scared to try something for fear of failure? This isn’t normally an attribute I’d apply to myself. I’m usually the uber determined type who, when I put my mind to something attacks it with everything I’ve got. Not necessarily a bad thing, but can be mentally and physically exhausting. Some might call it stubbornness, I like to think of it as great determination.

I consider myself to be a hard worker and can honestly say I have had few failures in life, I just don’t let it happen. I keep trying over and over until I get the end result I want. I can apply this to school, having the life I want, budgeting, having a baby, literally every aspect of my life. I’m not saying I haven’t made mistakes, I think mistakes are a necessary part of life that allow a person to grow and I think it’s making the biggest mistakes is how one really discovers the person the are, but everyone knows learning from mistakes is a hard life lesson to learn; which is why I’m scared to fail.

When I was a kid I took sewing lessons after school, I use to be pretty decent if I remember correctly, but once the lessons stopped so did I. This is something I wish didn’t happen but kids are kids and none of my friends were into sewing, nor was my mom or sister, so I didn’t want to be the kid who sat inside all day sewing to my heart’s delight while my friends were outside playing. I didn’t make a conscious decision to stop, it just happened.

I didn’t realize, or appreciate, the importance of the skills I had once learned until I moved out in my early 20’s and whipped out the sewing machine to hem some pants; I had totally forgotten how to even thread it! Tactile skills like sewing are similar to learning a new language, you need to use the skills once in a while to maintain competency and I had forgotten pretty much everything.

Why I’m scared…

I want to get into sewing again. More specifically I’d like to start a modest side income by making items to sell, specifically baby ring slings. I’m a big advocate for babywearing, have a ring sling, adore it, think I could probably pull it off, but if I don’t….I’d fail. If I’m going to embark on this (and this is something I’ve been thinking about for years, well before I had a baby) now is the time. I have 6 months before I return to work. Between sites like etsy.com, a possible self hosted website for sales and my farmer’s market, I genuinely think I could pull it off. All this, only if I can manage to create a quality product. There’s a huge market out there for babywearing and people like choice, so I think I could carve my little niche in our local market at least, I’m not looking for worldwide recognition or anything!

In order for me to do this, I first need to get back into sewing. I can’t just whip a quick product out, I’m a perfectionist and if my name is going to be attached to anything it has to be perfect. I have to practice and fabric is expensive to practice on. I could probably overcome this by purchasing used bedding at a thrift store to cut apart and practice on until I was satisfied.The second hurdle is initial investment. For me to do this project I would need to put money into it to make my initial few products to sell, but what if I don’t sell? I’d fail at a ‘dream’ and be out money which would just bother me. Not to mention the time factor. Although now is the time, with a baby, husband, family and blog I all love, it will be hard to put the hours into it I know may face me.

Having said all this, I really want to try. I think I’ll get the sewing machine out and see what I can accomplish before diving head first into it. I’ll keep you all posted with any progress I may make.

I think attempting something and failing is better than not attempting and going through life never knowing how great I may be.

Have you ever embarked on something that scared you? How did it work out?

_________________________________________________________________________

{Ring Sling photo source}

{Quote photo source}