My son has always been an entrepreneur.
I remember from a very young age, probably 4 or 5, AJ running back from the park, little blue pencil box in hand. His little treasure chest was full of things he would collect and trade but this day was definitely outside the box. He was excited to tell me that he had an offer for a completely different service, “hey kid, i’ll give you a dollar if you let me wipe the crap off your face.”
Not sure if the encouragement to eat more donuts was needed or if he just discovered the missing tier of services where people actually paid you to wipe your own face! You could see he was turned on by the entire new business model he discovered.
His blue box morphed into bags of lemons the next season as he played “lemon arbitrage” between neglected trees and soccer mom wallets.
As he grew older, he hawked juice and danish to rush hour yuppies that caught his gaze as they waited for the community gate to slowly open. Pinned down for 5 long seconds, breakfast habits slowly changed.
When AJ turned 12 he heard a Scout Master was moving and calling it quits for fund raising. He swooped in and bought 50 giant American Flags all mounted on poles at, I-don’t-want-to-move-these prices. I helped him design a flyer and next thing you know. “$60 per year, 6 major flag holidays, we put up your flag and take it down for you. Show your neighbors you are a patriot.”
It helped that in the photo the kid holding a flag much bigger than themselves held it up like he just stormed the hill of Iwo Jima.
He quickly had $3,000 per year coming in and a Father that had to serve as the delivery truck. Time to be alone with him, it was fun.
High School came just as the Governor of Arizona decided to scare those that were enterprising enough to cross the border but not creative enough to do it legally. Door hangers, yard workers, pool guys…seemed to disappear.
AJ stepped in and started a window cleaning business to fill the void. Now at 19 years old, he is very busy. The look of his Yelp page and the 4.5 stars, he seems to have plenty of work. He now employs college students who need some extra cash and plenty of upscale restaurants to keep them busy.
Check out “Streak Patrol” on Yelp. Only Penny R. gave him a 1 Star but looking at her reviews for other venues, 1 Star seems to be her favorite weapon to get even with the world.
AJ sent me a video today about a man that started a car wash to give his son purpose. His son has Autism. It was a beautiful reminder that we all have talents to share even if our weaknesses seem so obvious.
AJ is now inspired to find someone with autism to help him clean windows. I am so proud of my son having the courage to help others find purpose and meaning in this life when life seems so meaningless at times. I hope this video inspires you as well.