How'd You Make Your Very First Money?


I bought candy and resold in smaller units to classmates for a profit in elementary school. Promptly lost all my profits in middle school “investing” in comic books. First real job was packing carry out orders for a restaurant while in high school.


The first time I can really remember making money because of a specific skill I had was when I was about 12 years old. My certain set of skills were smallness and climbing ability.
My aunt and uncle just bought some lake front property. It really had not been cared for the last 30 years and the trees were thin and grew straight up. Down here is Texas we get Spanish ball moss in all our Oak trees.
Well wouldn’t you know about 6 months after they bought the property a 100 year flood covered their house and the property. But my uncle being who he is made chicken salad out of some other chicken byproduct.
We took a canoe out and pulled off the Spanish moss from the trees and trimmed them from the canoe since the water was 15 feet higher than usual. It was awesome for a 12 year old boy who loved to climb and make money. He paid me $10 an hour. More money than I ever made before. Plus, I got a Bar B Que sandwich on the way home and a day with my favorite uncle.


It was probably babysitting for me… or maybe mowing lawns? Nothing too fancy haha… Although I do remember the first time i participated in a friends’ venture! he set up a mini-gambling ring in our middle school where we could bet $1.00 or $2.00 on the outcomes of NBA games. I think I lost around $7.00 in a week and couldn’t take it anymore… that was 7 weeks worth of allowance! :slight_smile:


I grew up in a neighborhood that was brand new with houses being built for years. I used to sell soda to construction workers mostly over summers out of a red wagon. It was a good business where I learned that you could turn a single quarter into two quite quickly with a little walking around and salesmanship.


I grew up at the seaside.
We used to offer the holidaymakers to take their deckchairs back for them… and get the deposit!
We also checked the beach as it emptied and took back any empty chairs that had been missed. (Some tourists were more interested in getting their train rather than taking their chairs back.)
And we also trawled the beach for empty lemonade bottles (more refunds!)

Remarkably lucrative - it kept us in ice cream. The lady who hired out the chairs was so impressed by our acumen, she paid us to help her on busy days - hence my first hustle became my first very unofficial job, I was about 12 or 13!


Awesome story. The flood you speak of sounds like the one that hit the Cuero, TX area around 98. That’s where we’re at. I know the Spanish Moss for sure. :slight_smile:


Great question ~ I cleaned garages . . . I know, random huh? Oddly I had this guy ask me if I would clean his garage . . . I think he felt sorry for me and gave me something to do. But I have to say that I did an awesome job . . . because word of mouth got around and I was cleaning all of the garages in the town. Lol!


We were at Lake Travis up by Austin. But this was the flood in 90 I believe. My relatives lived in Woodsboro near Refugio so I drove through Cuero all the time. :slight_smile:


Safeway here. Didn’t take long for me to learn what I didn’t want to do for a living.


My first hustles are in this post. J$ highlighted it and Business Insider picked it up too. Crazy!


Paper run! Not very original… Next up was working in a cafe, a call centre and tutoring.


My first side hustle was different to my first job (paper route). Aged 10 or 11 I used to go dumpster diving behind the local newsagents, liberating the unsold playboy magazines and selling them to the older boys at the local high school who were too chicken to buy them in the store.

I diversified into muscle car magazines, but this proved to be a hazardous pursuit as the older rev-head boys would as often beat me up and steal the magazines as pay me for them.

Before long I stumbled onto a far more lucrative trade, magazines targeted at teenage girls (beauty and boy band magazines). This line of business saw me much less likely to be mugged, as well as making me very popular with the ladies. I didn’t really understand why this was a good thing at the time, but came to greatly appreciate it as I got older!


Awesome gigs! Really got a kick out of the read. Wish I’d had your imagination back then. :slight_smile:


I can clearly remember now. It was a web scraping project when I made my first online earning. When I remember this my joys knows no bound.


The first money I remember making was, together with a few of my classmates, around the age of 10. We started a monthly newspaper and charged around $5 for a yearly subscription. I think we managed to hustle at least a few family members into becoming subscribers, and we made a few bucks each! I don’t know how much value we provided for the subscribers though, because if I’m not misremembering, the newspaper ended after a whopping two editions :joy:

Still, I’m sure some will say that two dollars fifty is a great price for the latest and greatest of the very, very local news!


I can’t remember the very first way, but the first major side hustle I had was when I started full-time babysitting for someone in my neighborhood at the age of 14. It paid $10 an hour and she was a nurse, so I worked long days and made around $400 a week. It all started because there was a bulletin board in the neighborhood and she left a flyer stating that she needed a babysitter. It was definitely great money!


Yeah, as a first timer $400 is a big amount of money I think. But with the passage of time when the increase then joys knows no bound.


I attempted to set up a Detective Shop in my backyard when I was 8. I was obsessed with Nancy Drew and assumed people would come to me to solve mysteries. I had 0 clients. Obviously, my advertising was to blame. Happily, my mom eventually started paying me to babysit my three younger siblings.


I was 15 at the time and very poor. Since my English was pretty decent, compared to what other Romanians knew, I started teaching smaller kids English and earn enough money for a new pair of jeans or some shoes.

After some years, I started getting interested in web design (started a karate related site in 2002) and in 2004 I had my first paying web design client - my current brother-in-law. He was the first to tell me I should make a business out of my passion, but it took me 3 more years to consider registering as a small business and 5 until I went full-time. I lost my radio dj job back then and going full time web designing was the only option back then.

Proved to be a great option after all :smiley:


Thank you so much for your story. Glad to know about it.