My First Business Startup Was My Failure

The difference between being hired and being helpful.

One summer in Northern California, I started my first business as an 11-year-old kid.

It was a partnership, really.

Me and my friend Toby Gerfen, pushed a lawn mower around from house to house asking for $5 to mow lawns for homeowners.

In about 2 hours that business partnership dissolved (along with lots of other things in the 100 degree plus heat of Redding California)

No one took us up on our offer.

So after two hours, I went home to sit in the air conditioning and left Toby to push the lawnmower by himself to ask for business.

Then Toby came to my house after about 20 minutes after we parted.

He had gone next door to the small apartment complex next to my house.
He did not get the $5 we were looking for.


Toby got a weekly deal to mow that complex for $20!

It never occurred to me that we were doing it wrong.

Homeowners thought mowing their lawn was part of the ‘pride’ of owning a home.

The apartment manager Toby asked, saw it as a burden to mow all the lawns.

It is the same lesson now that I learned as a kid.

If people don’t see their needs as a problem, they will never hire you.

No matter if you have a great 8-week program, lots of testimonials, an active Facebook group, or a lawnmower ready to go.

Find people who have problems you can solve.
Let them know you are there to serve them.
Sign them up.

Did this help you? If so, I would greatly appreciate if you commented below and shared on Facebook.

sterling sherrell

Sterling Sherrell’s Copywriting Blog

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“Your sales copy should not try to impress people with your skills, instead it should impress on them that you understand their needs.”

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  1. Toby Gerfen said:

    That was a lesson well learned . I remember it was super hot . Found this story and it brought back great memories in Northern California .

    Toby Gerfen

    May 19, 2019
    • admin said:

      I thought that might be the Toby Gerfen I knew. From Anderson right?

      May 24, 2019

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