Josh Lachkovic

#firstsevenjobs (and my first four failed childhood business ventures)

I rarely take part in many Twitter memes, but one caught my eye this weekend that I loved: #firstsevenjobs.

Most people’s sixth or seventh jobs were roughly in the fields they were working now. But it was the first few that were most interesting for everyone.

I only listed jobs which in the end made me some money. Here were a few of those first failed projects from working as a kid.

1. Girl pop group manager and booker

In year five, I remember a group of girls in our primary school getting together to form a band. I was their manager, which meant I tried selling tickets to see them sing at lunch times in the annexe in the courtyard.

Key learning
Most importantly: promotion — or lack there of. Turns out turning up and expecting money was not all it took. After lunchtime two, they decided to get rid of me and take their singing to the masses, (i.e. the football field). Turns out they pre-empted the need to connect correctly directly to their audience way before I did.

2. Record producer and manager

Not to be one kept down by the music machine, a then took on the recording and managing responsibilities of another friend. This time, we wanted to skip the small time playground and go straight to the big bucks.

In break times, we recorded our first demo. I recorded it and sent it out to Virgin Records. We never received a response.

Key learning
Pitching needs to be way more refined. I may have addressed the tape to Richard Branson, but the address I’m certain was a pretty generic one (Richard Branson, Virgin Records, London, the UK). Plus not nearly enough hustle.

3. Christmas lyrics book publisher

Fast forward to year six and I was quite the pro on Microsoft Publisher. As Christmas season approached, I decided to produce my first publication: a lyrics booklet for Christmas songs. The plan was to print them and distribute them at school.

Key learning
No-one actually wanted these, plus printing costs on my old HP Desktop were not sustainable for growth. I think I ran out of ink half way through the second print and no-one wanted either.

4. Retro video game consoles seller

My favourite job of my childhood and the only that I started myself that made me money.

In the early 2000s, there was a sweet spot on eBay when the vast majority of the public were scared of it or hadn’t heard of it. What this meant was you could go to a car boot sale, pick up a SNES or Megadrive for a tenner, boxed with plenty of games. Go home, tidy them up a bit and make a good 3–4x on your money. Not bad when you’re 12 and £35 affords you the latest N64 release.

Key learning
You’ve got to reinvest your money to make more of it. Playing Super Smash Bros was great, but then I wanted a new game and no seed money for consoles, I was screwed. Admittedly, I probably had the odd injection of cash from the VC of (grand)parents, to which myself and N64 game collection will be forever grateful for.

After project four, my job roles fell into more similar patterns: paper round, shop sales assistant, etc etc until the eventual career track took place. But my gosh did I have fun in those first failed four business ventures.

What were your early failed childhood business ventures?