Proud Parent of a Hustler

Proud parents everywhere use their vehicular rear-ends to shout-out their Honor Roll offspring. Others like to mention extracurricular activities like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and little All-Stars who play games with balls. Me? All that stuff is great. But I want people to know that I’m the proud parent of a hustler!

That’s right! While other kids are playing video games probably, or on Snapchat maybe, my boy is hustling. He’s a little businessman. He’s taking risks. He’s finding opportunities and breaking them wide open. Sometimes he is nickle-ing or even dime-ing. My boy is only in middle school, but he’s already making coin.

ABH (Always Be Huslting)

Hustling is a skill, no doubt. It’s a skill that most of us 9-to-5ers sadly do not have. We’re so used to someone else paying us to work that we may not even know how to hustle. It’s uncomfortable.

But I believe that hustling is the most future-proof skill in the world. Technology will never make it redundant. You heard it here first. This is why I’m proud that my kid is a hustler.

So what is my middle school son doing to get ahead, you ask? He’s selling candy bars in middle school!

Yeah, that’s right. Middle school, it turns out, is a huge untapped candy bar market. I didn’t realize this myself. It’s not something I would have thought about, because I’m just a corporate drone. This is all my boy’s intuition. It’s his opportunity, and he’s figured out how to exploit it.

A Deep Dive on the Middle School Candy Bar Market

The middle school candy bar market is truly massive. Here’s how it works: You see, kids like candy bars. Meanwhile, parents are understandably reluctant to send their kids to school with a lunch pail full of Snickers. This is where the opportunity comes in.

It may not seem obvious to everyone, but this is easy stuff. It’s like printing money. All you need to do is to head over to your local CVS or Rite Aid, where they often have high-quality candy bars on sale. Find the biggest discounts. Don’t just buy your favorite candy bars, buy the ones with the heaviest discounts. It should be 30% to 50% off.

by Joe Wolf on Flickr

Buy as many of those discounted candy bars as you can afford with your allowance or your birthday money. My son doesn’t have an allowance (aka “basic income”), so please don’t think that’s a requirement here – it’s not!

This is a risk of course, because you’ll lose your shorts if those candy bars melt or are crushed in your backpack before you can unload them. You need to be careful with the merchandise.

Next, bring your candy bars to school, mark them up, and let the sales begin. My son finds that a 75% to 100% markup is the sweet spot. After the big discounts he got at CVS, even a 100% markup is a reasonable price for the middle school market. Go much higher, and you lose some customers.

Most middle school kids are happy to buy a candy bar per day – every day, if they can. They have seemingly endless appetites for those things. At the same time, many middle schoolers have allowances burning holes in their pockets. They’re like noveau-rich; they don’t know how to manage their wealth.

All this adds up to a corporate marketer’s dream – the middle school candy bar market. It’s juicy, and my boy is all-in!

Rules & Regulations

Now, my 13 year-old son doesn’t have the resources to compete with the ground game of big corporate sales & marketing teams like Hershey’s, Mars, or Nestle. They have skills, experience, and deep resources, and they salivate at the middle school candy bar market.

Fortunately, for my son, he doesn’t have to compete with them. This is where school rules come to his aid.

See, most middle schools have rules preventing the sale of candy bars and other junk food on school property. If you’re a middle schooler just looking to buy a candy bar with your allowance, these rules can be understandably frustrating.

But the rules are also generally effective at keeping the big corporate marketing teams off campus (other than the Girl Scouts, of course – they’ve found a loophole with their ubiquitous cookies…).

This creates an opportunity for a young hustler. You’ve got an eager, captive audience, and no competition (other than the Girl Scouts). What else can a hustler possibly want?

Skirting The Rules

What my son has found in his ventures is that most teachers don’t really care if you’re selling a few candy bars here or there, so long as you keep it quiet. They know it happens, and they don’t want to get involved. The teachers just need some plausible deniability. So don’t cause any controversies. Don’t rock the boat, and you’ll be fine…. these are real life skills here!

So teachers are no problem. But what about the parents? Lots of proud parents don’t want their children buying candy bars at school. This is why schools have rules against it.

I get it. I wouldn’t want my kid buying candy bars at school either. Fortunately, he doesn’t… he sells them 🙂

And do I think it’s a good idea to encourage my son to break school rules? You bet I do! Full stop. There is a place for rules and for authority, but I want my children to challenge them when appropriate. Some rules are OK to break. Some authorities should be questioned. A young man needs to learn to think for himself in today’s world, rather than just follow the rules.

The Ultimate Extracurricular Activity

Hustling is the ultimate extracurricular activity for your high-achieving child. It an essential, future-proof skill that will pay dividends for decades. You might do better studying software engineering, but it’s always a good idea to have a side hustle too. And amazingly, they don’t teach a wink of this to all those Honor Roll students. I cannot understand why not.

So when I found out my son was selling candy bars at school, I was a bit overcome with pride. He found the opportunity, took the risk, and is making bank – about $15 per week – all on his own. No, it’s not enough to retire on, but it’s a damn good start. It’s more than I made until I was about 20. Good job little buddy! I’m the proud parent of a hustler!


Jojo Bob

Title Photo by Found Animal Foundation on Flickr

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