The Seeds Of Achievement - Part One
September 23, 2014
When I was nine years old, I had my very first "job." I went into business for myself selling seeds and greeting cards, door to door. It was an amazing learning experience that stays with me to this day.
INCREASING CASH FLOW
I learned of this incredible opportunity from the back of a "Boy's Life" magazine, the same magazine that had earlier "launched" me on a hobby of building and sending model rockets skyward. With my allowance spent on new tires for my bike, rocket engines and flameproof recovery wadding, I had much to buy and little to buy it with.
My parents were tapped out on extra funds, so I had to find a job to support my habit - launching rockets to sometimes 2,000 feet above ground level. My allowance was $3 per week, a big sum of money in those days. You could buy just about anything as a kid for $3 per week.
The allowance was fantastic. As long as I did my work around the house and kept my room clean, I could cash in each Friday when Dad got home from work. I would wait around for him and hated those weeks he got home late. I was wealthy each Friday on payday until about midweek when the cash ran out.
STARTING THE SALES CRAEER
After seeing the ad, I carefully clipped it out, filled in the information (along with my parents' co-signature as security for the seeds) and mailed it to the company. A week later, a box full of flower seeds arrived on the porch. I was actually a business owner! Nervously, I opened the box to see what I would be selling door to door. There were 100 packets of different kinds flower seeds. Any color you could imagine, and some multi-colored as well. It was exciting to say the least.
The metrics of the deal were great. Each packet sold for 25 cents. As the sales rep, I kept 5 cents per packet sold, a 20% commission. With one box sold, I could clear $5 profit! Add that to my allowance, and I was nearing the magical $10 per week number if I could sell a box of seed packets per week.
INITIAL SALES SUCCESS
The very next morning, I donned my best looking shirt and started out door to door, carrying my seeds for sale. My territory was the entire world; I had no competition. If I could sell the seeds, I made the commission. I started down the street and walked up onto the first porch. The woman was older, in her 70s and loved the seeds. She came out onto the porch and looked through all of them ,which took seemingly forever.
Then, she selected two packages and handed me 50 cents. She didn't know it, but 10 cents of that was mine! My first sale. It was a rush I can't explain. I couldn't have been happier. Walking to the next house, I started daydreaming which rocket I would be buying by the end of the week. House after house, I showed my seeds and they sold. It was a great product; people loved to garden. And loved to help a kid make a few cents too.
Sometimes a person would come to the door and buy two packets, one lady bought 15 packets! Later the next day, my grandmother was good for 10 packets. All of this success and I had not even tapped in to the huge number of relatives living in our town! I was on a huge roll and destined for the seed sellers hall of fame. First box - SOLD. Second order - SOLD. Third order - no problem. I'm sure the company started to take notice. This kid could sell ... destined for a career in sales! But a gathering storm was about to strike. It was all to come crashing down, and next week I will explain how the party finally came to an end.
Next week, we'll wrap up the seed story and lay out the success lessons learned.