Tag Archives: entrepreneur

My Dad Taught Me Cash Flow with a Soda Machine

“I create. I take risks. I live my passion. I am an entrepreneur.”

—YSF Magazine

Today’s story is contributed by Rob Fitzpatrick.

After a brief, failed experiment paying me to do chores, my dad tried something really neat. It clearly took a bit of legwork, but maybe there are some transferable lessons for parents who want to lay an entrepreneurial foundation.

He gave me a vending machine. He rented the machine, found a location in a local workshop, and installed it. And then he told me two things:

  • That this would be the last time I was given an allowance.
  • And that if I wanted to have any pocket money next week, I’d better spend this week’s on some inventory.

I ran the machine for about four years, from the time I was seven or eight.

my cash flow


At first, my only agency was inventory management. We drove to Costco in his big van and I decided what to buy. Stocking an empty soda machine is easy: you buy four cases of each soda you want to carry. But then the Coca-Cola runs out first and the Sunkist is half empty, and nobody has bought even a single Grape Soda, and should I cut my margins paying more per-unit for individual cans, or do I buy full cases and find somewhere to store the extras? And why am I doing algebra on the weekend!?

Looking back on it, I’m certain this whole endeavor operated at a loss. Dad subsidized it like crazy so I would have a safe — but real —environment to learn in. READ MORE 

What My Father Taught Me About Being An Entrepreneur

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”

Author Unknown

Story contributed by Brad Handler*

Brad Handler entrepreneur

Brad Handler

My younger brother, Brent, and I are fifteen months apart. We grew up with a father obsessed with business and real estate. Any time we passed a lot for sale my dad would take his eyes off the road and wonder aloud if the parcel was a good buy. My mom had to remind him every time he had my brother or me in the car, to pay attention and not let his eyes wander. He was constantly looking for the next “big deal” in Denver’s real estate market.

Other kids would play catch with their dad but not us. The only competitive sport in our house was Monopoly. My dad, brother and I would spend long weekends in marathon games at the kitchen table. Dad would coach each of us on how to best build an empire. He’d then go off to work on Monday morning and build his. READ MORE