Storytime! When I was in third grade I somehow managed to hustle over $500 within three months, which is a big chunk of cash for an eight year old. I lived across the street from my elementary school and would walk everyday. Some mornings I’d take my lunch money and stop at Shipley’s donuts then go into the local grocery store to buy candy. The big packs of Starbursts, Skittles, Hershey’s chocolate bars, were all 2 for .88 cents.
At some point, I got tired of the kids in my class asking me to share so the next day I bought twice as many and decided that they could have some… if they could buy some. The two extra packs I sold for $1 each, even though I’d only spent .44 cents on them a piece. I tried it again the next day, and then the next until I was buying candy $20 at a time. Profit always excited me. I would run home and empty my pencil pouch, where I was keeping all my cash to count up my earnings for the day and get it put up before my mom got home from work. Some nights I’d wait for her to go to sleep and sort coins out on a towel to cushion the noise, sectioning them off as they made dollars.
I’d use an old Lisa Frank notebook to tally up my sales and even had some sort of a spreadsheet formula going in a journal where I’d gross how much I sold of each item, using metallic star stickers to designate which were my best sellers to ensure I always had them in stock. I’d created a product book for customers to look through where I’d taped the wrapped of each kind of candy I offered to the paper with it’s price next to it.
Candy turned into snacks that turned into Sanrio pencils that turned into pretty much anything I could exchange for money. I had money rubber-banded in amounts of 20 and had all my coins rolled in coin rollers that I’d bought from the dollar store without my moms supervision. I had a big wooden entertainment center in my room with multiple shelves and the bottom shelf was filled with stuffed animals. Behind the biggest one I had a large kitten cookie jar where I’d stash all my money. This was quite an exciting life for a third grader.
One day while my mom was cleaning my room, I heard her yell my name loudly. I ran upstairs and turn the corner into my room to see my kitten cookie jar knocked over with all of my money rolled out onto the floor and of course her giving me the “explain or I’m gonna beat you” look. I immediately burst into tears. Not because I was worried about my mom wondering where I’d gotten all this money from, but because I absolutely did not want her to know that I had it. Nonetheless, I had to explain myself.
I lifted up my bed skirt and pulled out my journals, along with a tray containing cash and change, showing her how I’d been in business the last couple of months. She was so in awe of my full-fledged business of one that she decided not to whoop me even after all of my sneaky actions. I was a full-time third grade honor roll student with a side hustle. That just goes to show that I didn’t gain these skills, I’ve had them. It’s who I am. I found a need in my designated market and found a way to fill it while balancing my main responsibility of schoolwork.
Even as an eight year old I knew three major keys: one) there’s always an opportunity for business two) there’s always an opportunity to do more and three) no one needs to know you’re making money. Today I’m a full-time PR professional with a side hustle and still live by those same values. The reason I’m able to excel in both is because I’ve learned to balance what’s important. I take care of the things that I know are going to grow both my career and my personal brand. I printed the method I use on this Secure The Brand notepad to help you do the same. If it was possible for a third grader, it’s possible for you.