Saturday, December 3, 2022


Did you have a business as a kid?


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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Kevin Cullina
1 year ago

Selling Sno-Cones

1 year ago

Mowed lawns since 12 years old. Delivered newspapers on my bike. Hired out to weed bean fields and put up hay. Still mow lawns for neighbors if they are on vacation, or just need help. Haven’t tried to lift a hay bale in decades ….. and decades.

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 year ago
Reply to  KellyR

Hey, Kelly. That reminds me of about 45 years ago when I hired the young neighbor boy to weed my strawberry patch. I showed him what to remove and what to leave. When he told me awhile later that he was all done, I went out to inspect the newly weeded strawberry patch. The space was totally bare – he had pulled everything up. He was so proud of himself that I didn’t point out that he wasn’t supposed to pull the strawberries in addition to the weeds. I paid him, of course, but I didn’t hire him again for yard work. 😆 Have a good evening. 🙂 –Diane

Candelario Medina
1 year ago

I started my money lending business while in 5th grade. I would lend my lunch money to other kids so they could purchase snacks at recess from the school. I would give the kids one week to pay me back at 20 percent interest. Obviously the toughest kid in school got loans at no interest. He made sure that the other kids paid up. I would be hungry at lunch time but I was making money. It all ended when my Dad found out.😢

Robert N. Cordy
1 year ago

As a 10 yr old (in 1946) my parents and I lived in California’s Mojave desert where my Dad owned a small hog ranch. I had no siblings and no neighbor kids to play with. To help keep busy, and make some money, I trapped chipmunks and sold them to a shop in town. He put them in a small wire cage and sold them to tourists. I was paid $1 for each chipmunk. I made my own traps from plans in a Scout Handbook. When we moved to the city the following year, I mowed neighbor’s lawns, had a newpaper stand at a local market and finally scored with a paper route.

1 year ago

Yes. A bait shop. Spent hours catching small frog for fishing as many nights on a golf picking up worms also minors from the river. Mowed, shovel snow (camp roofs in winter). Bus drive would drop me off at my starting point in the village and work my way home shoveling sometimes not get home until 10 at night, do homework shower and to bed. But all those dollars felt good in the pocket then to the bank.
Those were the days and no IRS man. I think the 60s/70s were the best years even the viet nam going on. I cherish those care free times.

Last edited 1 year ago by Skip
Tommy Molnar
1 year ago

One short-lived business we kids had (in Chicago proper) was sifting dirt we shoveled from an empty lot. We bagged it and walked the neighborhood hauling our dirt in a “Radio Wagon” and ringing doorbells. Folks must have felt sorry for us because we sold quite a bit of that stuff. And of course, we shoveled snow in the winter.

1 year ago

I lived in NY in a neighborhood my brother and I were the older children in the neighborhood so we shoveled snow out of their driveways and sidewalks. I also did quite a bit of babysitting. Later as young teens we shared a paper route, of course, girls couldn’t have a paper route of their own.

John Koenig
1 year 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
1 year ago

Sold hen eggs from my 4H chickens.

1 year 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.

1 year 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 1 year ago by Paul
Ken Andrews
1 year 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.

1 year 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
1 year ago

Started mowing lawns in 1980 at age 14.

Jesse W Crouse
1 year 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.

1 year ago

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

1 year 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
1 year 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.
1 year 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
1 year ago

Delivered the Yakima Daily Herald and mowed lawns

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