Is This a Real Job? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     My school has a cooperative learning program that helps students have a job while earning credit. It’s a great program until you want to work for yourself, as I found out.

My friend Tyler and I have owned a lawn service business for two years. When I applied to the CO-OP program in our business name, we were shot down and told it wasn’t a real job. Why isn’t this a real job? What is a real job? Flipping burgers at Burger King for five bucks an hour? I don’t think so. What we do in our business is a real job. Tyler and I started with nothing and have built up a business that now makes $25,000 a year. I’d say that’s a real job for 18-year-old entrepreneurs, wouldn’t you?

Now we’re told we have to stop growing our business because of our school system, but I’m not going to give up because of a few stubborn people. We’ll figure out a way to continue working toward our dream of owning a growing business.

It also bothers me that everyone thinks our parents handed us this business. Wrong! We had to work our tails off to get what we have. Two years ago, we bought a $650 mower and a $75 trailer to rebuild. After 60 hours and $350 worth of supplies, the trailer was complete. The following spring, we started our business mowing 10 lawns and earning $300 a week. Wow, we were on top of the world. Only 16 years old and working one day a week to pull in $150 each!

Our business took off the following year. By April, we’d made more than we had the entire previous year, and we never slowed down. We were bringing in over $4,000 a month. Personally, I think this is more money than most kids bring in, but wait, I’m told at school this isn’t a real business. We certainly worked for that money, getting up at 5:30 to mow lawns for 14 hours; that was dedication. It sounds like work. It sounds like a real job, don’t you think?

B&K Lawncare continues to grow. We are creating a business plan to buy another business, Grass Work, that would add 36 lawns to our current 50 and add 55 snow removal accounts to our 25. This is a big deal. We’ve tried many places to get a loan for $30,000, but haven’t had much luck. Because we’re 18, we’re having a heck of a time getting the money we need.

It always helps to know people: one wealthy guy we mow for is considering loaning us the money. We would end up paying him more than if we went to a bank, but the payments wouldn’t start for a while. This would help us immensely, even though we’d be paying a higher interest rate.

This is the biggest decision I’ve ever made, and I’m not sure what is going to happen. As we look at the figures, this would be a smart move, but financially I’m not sure what to do.

Wait, you know what? We don’t have a real job, so this shouldn’t be an issue. I would consider our accomplishments a huge head start on everyone in high school. Running a business that brings in $25,000 a year before even graduating is a real job, and I don’t think anyone has the right to tell me it’s not.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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BloglessBlogger said...
May 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm
I would love to be able to do something like you! You already have an amazing work ethic that most adults need and you being a teenager while doing it is amazing!!!
 
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