Did you have a business as a kid?

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

By Chuck Woodbury

Did you earn money as a child, maybe operating a lemonade or Kool-Aid stand? Or maybe you mowed a neighbor’s lawn. Did you babysit?

For this poll, let’s consider a “kid” or “child” anyone 12 years or younger.

If you check the biographies of famous business people, you will usually find a childhood business somewhere in their history. I know that as a kid I often operated a Kool-Aid stand, and I mowed and watered lawns, and I even babysat a kid named Earl once. I have no idea why I remember his name, but I do.

I don’t think I ever had more success running a business than I did running my Kool-Aid and lemon aid stands. My mother provided the beverage, napkins and even a portable table. I always had a great location along a busy street, with no rent. And there was no business license or other cost of goods (for me). It was all profit.

I recall my sister babysitting often. I have no idea what my little brother did. He was six years younger than me and I didn’t pay much attention to him.

What about you? Did you have a business of one kind or another as a child? If so, please leave a comment. Tell us about your business or businesses. We’ll put some of them together in a story for a future issue.

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John Koenig
16 days ago

At about 8, instead of a lemonade stand, I had a Coke~a~Cola stand. It was a Coke branded enclosure that would hold a 32oz glass bottle of Coke. Just before I turned 12, I got a job delivering The Herald Tribune (a morning paper in the NY Metro area) and shortly after that, got a second paper route delivering “The Tablet” which was a religious paper delivered on Saturday mornings. I also shoveled snow in the winter and swept the front steps and property of one of my Tablet subscribers. I also collected glass deposit bottles at housing job sites. At 16, I got bonded for Western Union and started delivering telegrams on weekends. MOST “kids” where I lived did NOT hustle. I really liked having money in my pocket that I had earned. I paid for two of the three bicycles I had as a child.

John I
23 days ago

Sold hen eggs from my 4H chickens.

24 days ago

As a young child, I picked wild raspberries and sold them by the quart to neighborhood ladies, who loved to make jam with them. As a preteen, I got a printing press (toy) and “published” a neighborhood newsletter.

24 days ago

Mowing lawns from age 12-16 in a small town. I was known as “that kid who pulls his mower behind his bicycle”. That alone got me several regulars. I had jobs literally from one end of town to the other, about 1 mile square. On one block I mowed every yard except one.

Last edited 24 days ago by Paul
Ken Andrews
24 days ago

I grew up on the family dairy farm so I believe I was paid before I was 12 years old by Grampa. I can remember watching him calculate my hours and writing a check but I don’t recall the amounts or the rates.

24 days ago

Didn’t have a business but did collect glass soda bottles (2¢ small bottle, 5¢ for big bottle) and shoveled snow for big bucks ($5 to $20 for driveways for garages that were under the house).  🙂 

Jeff Craig
25 days ago

Started mowing lawns in 1980 at age 14.

Jesse W Crouse
26 days ago

Yes, 2 paper routes at the same time thru high school. Did pretty well and bought my first car with the money. Also had to have enough money in the bank to pay for insurance and expenses.

26 days ago

During cooler months I set pin for bowling at a old style bowling alley

26 days ago

I sold greeting cards and stationary door to door. Back then, when my mother bought a dress it came folded in a box with a handle, which I used as a sample case. I repped two or three of the companies that advertised in Boy’s Life. When I wanted some money, I went around the neighborhood selling.

Jim Camp
26 days ago

I had my first job starting when I was 9 years old working in a service station and I have worked until I retired. Now all I have to is be a caregiver for my wife and homeschool a 9 year old. Hardest job I ever had.

John F.
26 days ago

After school paper route, lawn moving, weeding, snow shoveling, dog walking – basically whatever anyone in the neighborhood was willing to pay me to do. And on Saturday’s I worked in the family hardware store.

Oliver Larsen
26 days ago

Delivered the Yakima Daily Herald and mowed lawns

Einar Hansen
26 days ago

My parents had a camp on one of the finger lakes on private road with 33 other camps. So I started my own maintenance business. It started out slow, but then I ended hiring 4 friends to work with me. We got the camps ready for the season doing what ever the owners wanted us to do. From putting in docks, painting, mowing lawns, hauling trash every week to winterizing the camps for the winter until next season. I was only 16 and did it until I turned 19 and went off to culinary school, which was paid for by the maintenance business money that I saved for those 3 years.

David carlson
26 days ago

lawn mowing and snow shoveling. I also had a paper route Monday to Saturday.

John Armstrong
26 days ago

I mowed yards during school year and on my granddad’s ranch/farm in the summer. I started this at 8 years old.

E Step
26 days ago

No business, but I was raised working. Began about 9 years old hoeing cotton. Got paid 50 cents hour. Before I graduated high school that had gone up to 1 dollar hour. Yes I worked all summer on the farms but not a business.

26 days ago

Lawn mowing, chicken coop cleaning, barn yard mucking, ditch digging, bucking hay, junk yard parts flunky. Granted not really businesses but places worked as a teenager supporting myself.

26 days ago

I began working for my Father in his gas station at age 10. Also worked with my Grandfather on his farm and when October came, I picked and sold the pumpkins.

26 days ago

I had a paper route and mowed lawns.