Living on a busy road has been pretty much a thorn in our home-owning sides ever since we moved in. There are frequent delays pulling out of the driveway especially during rush hours, there's the noise which sometimes exceeds 'background' level (particularly when some jerk is laying on their horn at 11 p.m.), and of course there's the safety issues for Junior as he can't play ball in the front yard and needs a grown up to help him cross the street.
This weekend for the very first time we discovered a silver lining. On a lark Junior announced yesterday that he wanted to start a lemonade stand. We applauded the idea and provided him with a tv tray, folding chair, pitcher full of lemonade, paper cups, cigar box (with 8 quarters to make change) and piece of cardboard/blue marker which he used to make his sign. Because I had to be somewhere at 5:00 I took note of the fact that he opened for business at 3:05 p.m. After helping him set up, I plunked myself down on the living room couch in anticipation of reading 'The Three Musketeers'. I intended to check up on him every 15 minutes or so to see how things were going but no such interval occurred. Junior barged in after two minutes and announced that he needed to make change for a $5. Ten minutes later he ran in announcing he needed more lemonade. We fortunately had another can of frozen lemonade handy, which he proceeded to go through within 15 minutes. Grandma and grandpa planned to stop by that afternoon, so we leaned on them to bring another can of lemonade, which they provided. For the brief interval that he was out of lemonade we gave him some colored ‘freeze pops’ and he proceeded to sell all five of them at $1 a piece (he was charging 50 cents for lemonade).
It was 93 degrees outside and at 4:07 Junior announced he was “too hot and was tired of selling lemonade and wanted to watch Donald Duck instead”. We counted up his proceeds and in 62 minutes he made $23.50!! That’s roughly how much I make an hour! Based on what I observed, it seems his average customer was probably middle aged women and I'm pretty sure a healthy percentage of his sales were owing to the 'aww isn't that cute' factor. At the same time he picked up a fair amount of pedestrian and bike traffic. Coupled with the hot weather it all worked admirably in his favor.
As a youth I recall operating a lemonade stand for one afternoon. I don’t recall exactly how much I made but I’m pretty sure you could have counted customers on one hand. When I was a little older, I used to mow a couple of the neighbors’ yards for $5 a piece which seemed like a lot of money at the time. In addition, I remember doing a couple of fundraisers: one time I sold popcorn for YMCA Indian Guides and sold magazine subscriptions (with no great success – I only got a candy bar or two as a spiff) during junior high.
How about you, were you a Captain of Industry as a child? What were your earliest money making endeavors?