A.B.H. (Always Be Hustling)

Remember the first time you ever hustled? Maybe it was delivering newspapers at 4 am, a lemonade stand, or reselling action figures to your friends.

I was a late bloomer. My first real hustle happened when I was 18. A storm had knocked down a tree behind a building I walked by every day. It was big – at least 75 feet long. I called the property manager and negotiated a deal: I’d remove the tree for $275 if he provided a helper. Done. He didn’t know I was 18, had never done anything like that before, had never used a chainsaw, or had no idea where the cut-up trunk and branches would go. I just needed the money. Time to wing it!

So on the agreed upon day, I got up early, grabbed my step-dad’s old crappy chainsaw from the garage, walked down there and went for it. The helper assisted in bundling the wood and tossing it in the trunk of my old car.

Each time the trunk filled up, I would drive up the street and tote the bundles down to my family’s back yard. It wasn’t some suburban grassy back yard. It was asphalt with a dirt drop-off that sloped down about 25 feet to an old fence. I flung most of the bundles down that slope. I’d apologize for them later.

It took 10 hours but when it was done and I had a $275 check in my blistered, non-severed hand there was this feeling of accomplishment that was totally new. I had generated something valuable from just an idea, a little creativity, and hard work. It opened up a whole new world.

That feeling from my first hustle is still fresh and continues to drive my entrepreneurial spirit to this day. When I’m uninspired, I think about the tree, the chainsaw, and even the angry look on my step-dad’s face after he looked in the back yard.

Anyone else out there wanna share the story of your first hustle?

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