I made my first hundred dollars selling trading cards, at the age of 10.
I had wanted to buy the cards for months, $15 for 60 6X9cm cardboard pieces. My dad could hardly believe it! he thought it was extortion, however he has never witheld anything from me. I vividly remember my father reluctantly handing me three crisp $5 notes. I had hit the jackpot... until I realised that 60 cards wasn't going to be enough.
Knowing there wasn't any more funding to be had from my family, I decided that I would have to make my own fortune, especially when I heard that rarer cards could be worth up to $200. Very quickly, I became more interested in the buying and selling of cards than collecting cards.
I began to trade common cards for rarer cards, and scout for potential 'clients' (other kids) who were rich and wanted certain cards. I began to make frequent trades and sales of cards, at times up to $80.
I thought I was a millionaire, a ten year old with a few hundred dollars! I rolled my earnings into more cards and saved some, and my collection and wealth quickly grew.
This was my first real experience with making money, and I didn't understand at the time why my friends were mowing lawns, cycling their way through paper runs, gathering cans or working at the local pizzeria for 'small' sums at a time, what took them months to earn, I could earn in one day. At the same time, I respected and admired their consistent effort, especially those who woke up early to go on paper runs.
This experience taught me a few important lessons while I was young.
- Look for the demand.
- When something is popular, look. Don't touch. (a valuable lesson for my later forays into the stock market)
- Working hard and long doesn't necessarily make you any more money than other 'jobs.' But it is more consistent and stable.
- Work can be fun, especially the adrenaline rush of deal making.
This was the beginning of my experiences with money, and why I've always tried to look for something different. I've learned that I am not satisfied with the act of earning or receiving money.
Income I make must be an exact, direct extraction of my hard work, blood, sweat and tears. That's the satisfaction and contentment I feel that I made something happen.
Kanye West said it best. Good money's earned.