In this four part blog series I will be discussing my experiences as a young entrepreneur. If you’ve already read this blog, check out the rest of the series (forthcoming).
I started a landscaping business at 13 because I fell in love with mountain biking. Instead of waiting for birthday money to purchase a real mountain bike (which could take long) I wanted to buy it on my own quickly.
When I learned about mountain biking I started doing tricks and jumps on my Walmart bike that my parents had bought me a few years back. Even though it wasn’t meant for mountain biking, and I had to fix it often, I was having a lot of fun. But, I knew I wanted to get a real mountain bike eventually and that it would be a lot of work. This is what propelled me to go out and look for work until dark every day.
On top of wanting to get my own mountain bike I also wanted to have extra spending money for candy and savings. I had also been looking for a hobby because I didn’t have a lot of after school activities since we had just moved to California, and I figured that mountain biking along with landscaping would be a good one. Landscaping took a lot of my time because I was very motivated and also I found that I really liked being alone and doing my own thing. It was peaceful and afforded me time to think about things.
My parents also liked the idea of me taking the initiative and starting my own business to accomplish my goals. I wanted to be able to do this on my own to have my own sense of purpose. My parents supported my business because I had good grades in school and because I took care of our own lawn.
I chose landscaping because it was a job that didn’t require a lot of work or money to get up and running other than a willingness to sweat. I had been dabbling in landscaping for a while. My dad helped me get started by paying me to mow our front and back yards in Concord, California. I had also helped neighbors rake their leaves and pick weeds. My breakthrough came at my grandpa’s house when his neighbor approached me and asked if I would come by to help him rake his leaves. He paid me 20 bucks for an hour of work! It was at this point that I knew I had a business plan in mind! From then on I wandered around my grandpa’s neighborhood to find some more yards to rake. As I worked more and more one-time jobs I realized that gathering regular clients for repeated work would be more profitable and easier to manage (and I was right!).
More often than not, your folks already have landscaping equipment. Mine did, but, if they don’t, you only need a few bucks to buy a rake and go door to door asking for work. I didn’t need a lot of equipment because I started in the fall. You may have more upfront costs if you begin a lawn care business in the summer because you’ll need to mow, weed eat, and blow rather simply rake leaves or shovel snow. Even if you don’t want to start your own business you can still buy a ten-dollar rake from Home Depot to make easy money. In my case, I decided to invest the money I’d earned to upgrade my lawn care equipment. Check out the next blog, My Equipment, to learn about the one piece of equipment that was crucial to my success!