About the Experiment
When I was 10 years old, my brother and I were looking for some ways to make extra money and our dad gave us this idea to paint addresses on people’s curbs in the neighborhood. We thought that it was worth a try, so we bought the materials, practiced, and decided that we would start on our spring break. The day came and when I asked my brother if he was ready to go, he informed me that he didn’t want to go through with it. Terrified yet determined to make a few bucks, I headed out the door. I would like to say that the story turned out better than it did, but in reality, I knocked on a couple doors, got turned down and went home embarrassed and disappointed…My first failed business.
Fast forward, 23 years later, I get this email from a blogger that I follow that wrote about how he was able to earn extra money painting curbs (you can read the blog here). What was really strange was that the day before I got the email, my childhood curb painting experience (or lack there of), had popped into my head. I thought this has to be some sort of sign, so I decided the following Sunday I was going to paint some addresses on curbs for my experiment.
Sunday arrived and I woke up excited to complete my mission – to start a business in 1 day and make a profit. I bought my materials at Lowes for around $35.00 (you can get most of the materials for less than $20.00 but I bought extra paint and stencils) which all fit nicely in a medium sized box. I got some practice on the curb in front of our house and a couple of my neighbors curbs. Around 11:00, I hit the street.
I knocked on my first door. Palms sweating and heart pounding, I was immediately transformed into a 10 year old again. The man answered and I nervously rambled my spiel. It was horrible, but it worked. I got my first sale. ..$15.00 in the pocket…whewhoo.
I kept going for a few hours and ended up with 8 sales for a grand total of
$77.00 (I reduced my price on a few of them to get the sale) for 5 hours of work. Considering it was my first day and I was extremely slow, I would consider it a success.
What I learned
Start Small, Think Big
Starting a super small business that has been done before is a great way to get your feet wet in business. Some entrepreneurs and artists spend years on businesses that never make a profit. This business was able to make a profit the first day, not too bad.
It’s a numbers Game
Although I was lucky and got my first sale at the first person I talked to, it doesn’t usually work like that. It always takes a certain number of nos to get a yes. Even knowing that, I was still discouraged after a few nos, but just when it felt like I wasn’t going to get another sale, I would get one. About 1 in 5 people I talked to bought from me which I thought was pretty good considering, my spiel was not too polished.
Anyone can do this
Pretty much anyone can do this. Say you need grocery money, go out and get a couple cans of paint, some stencils and cardboard, and voila you’re in business. Musicians, what a great way to pay for your tour. Hey, that might be another experiment.
Overall thoughts on the experiment
This experiment was a lot of fun. I met some nice people, provided a valuable service, got some exercise, and made a little cash. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.