It was a chilling winter evening in Denville, NJ. I sat sitting outside drinking a wonderful fresh-brewed, Starbuck’s coffee (dark roast) and smoking an Organic American Spirit; ‘roll-your-own’, probably thinking about the women I would call upon returning to NYC.
My cousin’s youngest son, a handsome 13 year old, was apparently looking at my website while I was visiting with them. He approached me rather sharply and said: “Your website says you can make someone 3Xs the amount of money”. He looked at me challenging and unbelieving, making a smirk. Perhaps he thought me a bullshit artist.
He said: “How can you say that?”
“How much do you have on you?”, I asked.
“Ok, give it to me.”
“No way”, he smiled. “First, you have to tell me how you do that.”
“Ok. If you get me a marker, a regular piece of paper and a folder, I’ll show you.”
Less than 3 minutes later he pops out saying, “Ok. Here.”
“Excellent, what’s your cell phone number?” I asked. I wrote the number at the bottom of the page with his name, Johnny Coll.
He tried to read what I was writing, I held my hand up motioning that it was a secret, until it was finished. Children today hardly have an patience and want their dose of instant gratification (dopamine).
Starting writing at the top, I wrote:
“My name is Johnny Coll. I live at _ _ Shawny Trail. I would love to clear your driveway when it snows so you don’t have to do it. I charge just $10. per house and would only like to know if you want the snow piled on the right or the left hand side of the driveway.
I will also shovel your walkway for $5. more. I’m using the money to buy a snowblower to make it even easier and faster next year.
(917) _ _ _ – _ _ _ _
I placed the handwritten paper in the folder and closed it.
“How many houses are there within a 5 minute walking distance from here?” I asked.
“I don’t know, maybe 50?”
“Good,” I said and handed him the folder. He opened and read it.
His eyes widened: “No way! I have to do the work.“
I smiled: “What did you think I was going to do, rub your quarter and nickel together and make a dollar?”
We both laughed. He realized what we were doing now. Bright kid.
“Go out tonight and start knocking on people’s doors and ask them if they want you to shovel their driveway when it snows”, I said.
“Wait, how much can I make?”
“Well, 10 houses will be anywhere from $100 – 150 for maybe, 3 hours of work. If you get to do 20 houses it could be $200 – 300.”
“Wow! That’s so cool.”
“So that’s what I do for a living and now you owe me 1/3 of whatever you make.”
The look of shock on his face was priceless. I was kidding, of course. He asked me if I wanted the 30¢. I said “Yes.” I did take the money, stood and put it in my pocket.
“Okay. Now all you have to do is pray for snow.” I said.
I know what you may be thinking.
He’s a kid! How can you take 30¢ off him?
There were 3 good reasons to take the money.
1) When someone invests or pays for something, they place more value in it. Free has no value. Free always has a catch.
2) We love others not for what they have done for us but, for what we have done for them. He’s made a small investment in his business. I too, have made a small investment in his business and payment is payment.
3) That 30¢ was a lesson for both of us. I feared that I didn’t take the money, he wouldn’t have used the ad. It’s a Neurochemical thing.
I have the feeling that he won’t forget this for as long as he lives. I know I won’t. : ))
Okay. Not every business is as easy as shovelling snow nor is it as easy as starting with 30¢ start-up capital. The reason it was so easy with Johnny was NOT ONLY because he was starting from nothing; hat, coat, gloves and shovel from his parent’s garage but because he had no expectations where I was going with the idea.
Perhaps you are stuck with your business and phishing for ideas. Perhaps you are doing well and want to do even better. Perhaps you are in trouble and need a way out of the red and back to black. Perhaps you want to see what else I can do.
You can e-mail me and I’ll reply, usually within hours. BinkNyc@gmail.com