I grew up in a house on the seventeenth hole of a golf course, which led to the development of my first side hustle when I was just three years old. I used to dance around and act cute to help my older brother sell sodas and cookies to tired and hungry golfers in our backyard. As we grew up, I helped man our toy cash register and shout “snacks, drinks, and golf balls for sale!” when we ran our mini business on the weekends. We made enough money to supply our occasional purchases together including Legos, toy helicopters, and Hess cars. The connections we made with the golfers made us the most popular (and adorable) salespeople on the entire course. We were more appealing than the actual snack cart!
When my brother and I were no longer cute enough to sell our sodas and cookies, we graduated to doing lawn work for our parents and picking up miscellaneous jobs around the neighborhood like pet sitting. Around the age of ten I started taking house sitting and cat sitting jobs on my own, which I took the money from and put straight into my savings. I may have purchased a few games for my Nintendo DS, but for the most part I’ve remained a sort of penny pincher.
Spring Cleaning + Poshmark = Full Wallet
When I got to seventh grade, I grew out of most of my clothes. I started putting them in garbage bags as most people do, but then a friend of mine introduced me to an app called Poshmark. Poshmark is an app that allows any user to sell clothes and accessories to buyers across the nation. I was skeptical and a little afraid of dealing with buyers from across America, so I let my friend sell my first item for me. I still remember packaging that dress carefully in tissue paper with a little thank-you card and dropping it off at the post office.
After getting the buzz of making a sale, I downloaded the app, grabbed a bag of clothes, and started listing. Every item of clothing in sight was fair game if it hadn’t been worn in a long time or just wasn’t my style anymore. People started giving me their clothes to sell and it wasn’t long before I made the first few sales that got me rolling. Business blew up in the following years, leading me to my current statistics of having over 250 sales and close to 220,000 followers as well as the status of Posh Ambassador. Poshmark is the reason I opened a checking account and had my very own debit card when I was just 14.
Poshmark has given me an amazing opportunity to meet tons of friendly buyers and sellers (and fellow dog-lovers). I am a member of a fantastic community of people and my experience with providing customer service has translated well into my ordinary life. Furthermore, the money I’ve made has allowed me to understand both the importance of saving money and treating myself when I should, such as making the first big purchase of my Xbox or the replacement of my broken earbuds a few months ago. I also budget a small portion of money to purchase materials to make thank-you cards on my Cricut machine or tissue paper for wrapping each item.
You Do the Math, and I’ll Help
While I was still running my Poshmark business, I became old enough to start what might be considered a “normal” teenage job such as babysitting or fast food work. I did not have the time or desire to do either of these, so when a job was offered to tutor a seventh-grader in Language Arts, I took it immediately.
When the pandemic hit, things got real. The news that I was willing to tutor got out very quickly and I picked up three students, tutoring each twice a week. A few months later, I picked up another two students, one of which requested virtual tutoring. Having this many students is very time consuming, but has also been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I spend between four and six hours tutoring every week, plus one of the parents of my students has asked me to watch her kids on the weekends.
My calendar is a rainbow of events, including the schedules for my six classes, band performances, piano lessons, and tutoring gigs. I fit my homework somewhere in between all these things, and yes, I do sleep more than eight hours every night. In addition to learning how to cater education to individual students through my tutoring experience, I’ve learned that hard work and time management really does pay off quite nicely.
Cats, Dogs, and Limos, Oh My!
Since it’s my senior year, I have been taking any job I can get in order to have a cushion of savings for when I go to college.
I would say the most unconventional ways I have been able to make money have involved my piano teacher. He asked me to house-sit at one of my lessons a couple of years ago and take care of his two birds, cat, and chihuahua. This would happen almost every month, which was a great boost to my savings. This year, he bought a limo, which I have been helping him get ready for gigs every week or so.
The first time I helped out, we reinstalled the mood lighting on the inside of the cabin. I also cleaned and polished the leather, vacuumed, and removed all of the paraphernalia from previous parties. The second time he asked me to come by, I decorated the inside for a birthday party by blowing up balloons and hanging a banner. So now, I’m not really sure if I’m a car detailer, event planner, or both.
Either way, I can now cross “be in a limo” off of my bucket list.
The desire to shop online has only grown since the beginning of the pandemic, so I am projecting a summer of sales before departing for college. I aim to continue my Poshmark business in college, even if it means shipping items from my car. My awareness of how the clothing industry impacts the environment has further pushed me to keep my business running because I am part of the movement to upcycle and/or recycle clothing, which promotes sustainability and gives items another life.
I hope to continue tutoring, maybe even in the later years of college because it is a really wonderful thing to know that I am helping people reach their goals in education and in life in general.
In the fall, I will probably attend Elon University. I was accepted to be a part of their 3+1 Business Program because of my Poshmark side-hustle, so I hope to continue my motivation in business and entrepreneurship there. Though I am undecided as to what I would like to do upon college graduation, I know that my side hustle will always be worthwhile if it means having a little extra spending money to buy a new pair of shoes or a much-needed vacation.