$100 Made in One Day

I'm about to tell you how I made $100 in one day when I was 11 years old.

Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it's kind of cold outside during the winter. And by the way, growing up, we didn't have a lot of money.  We had no money. I was actually being sponsored by a family from Haiti.

So it's December, it's Michigan. Normally, you've got five feet of snow. For some reason it was 35 degrees. I even pulled my bike out.

Let me tell you about my bike. It was really a Schwuffy. Half Schwinn, half Huffy. It was a bike that I kind of put together. Back wheel was a 26-inch dirt bike wheel. But inside of it was a 29-inch 10-speed inner tube. And then if I did a catwalk long enough, the ride would be really smooth.

Every once in a while my chain would pop. Most of the time you've got your right leg in the air, you're putting all this pressure on the pedal trying to catch up with your friends who've got really good bikes. And then the chain, boom, comes loose from the sprocket. But you don't have enough time to react. Both of your feet hit the ground. And you're lucky if you've got a boy's bike because now you've got that bar to catch you. In retrospect, I'm just amazed that I've got kids right now!

Then my cousin comes over on a BMX Predator, completely chrome. It had snake-belly tires on it that were red. When the tires would roll, it would hum at everybody like, "Oooh, look at me. Look at me. Look at me."

His bike was so awesome. Kids were lining up so they could lay down and just see the predator fly over them. Everybody would be under the bike like, "Whoa." Bang. I got on my bike, on the Schwuffy, all the kids scattered like roaches when you turn on the lights. Nobody was there. Ain't no ice cream truck. Where you all going?

I said, “you know what, enough is enough.” I scrumbled up the courage ... Scrumble's a word, you just gotta look it up. But not right now because you might get confused. I scrumbled up the courage to approach my dad, "Excuse me, father." That's what I would say whenever I had a request.

"I want you to buy me a Predator."

My dad was like, "How much is a Predator?"

A Predator was $200 at the time. And when he was done laughing he said to me, "If you want that bike, here's what you do. If you come up with half the money, I'll put in the other half, and you can get the bike."

I'm 11 years old. Something welled up in a brother like, "We about to do this thing!"

The next day I wake up, it's seven inches of snow outside. I start knocking on doors and asking people if they want their snow shoveled. I went next door to this lady who was 97 years old.

I'm like, "Excuse me, ma'am. Would you like me to shovel your snow for you?"

She said, "Yes I would."

I had on the snowsuit, so I'm shoveling, shoveling, got all of the snow off, knocked on her door, and for real, she gave me 60 cents and an orange.

Here's what I learned, you gotta negotiate beforehand. Get my shovel, go to the next houses. I'm out all day. I come home exhausted. And I made $91.

I remember my dad looking at me saying, "You know what, son, that's close enough. Tomorrow we're gonna go get that bike you want."

And the first thing I thought and said to my dad was, "I ain't spending all this money on no bike. I worked too hard for this money."

My dad looked at me, he was like, "Exactly."

I took $20 of that money and I put it on my Schwuffy. I got a brand-new inner tube. I fixed some brakes on the back of that thing. And the bike was so much better. In fact, Devon challenged me to a race, the whole neighborhood was there. We raced around the block. Guess what happened? Yeah, that dude smoked me like it didn't make sense. He literally ran circles around me. My chain popped two times. It was really bad. And I understood from that point on, the more work I put in to what I already had, the more valuable it became.

So here's what I want you to run with. What do you have already around you that if you put more work into it, it will become more valuable? Now I'm not just talking about things. I'm specifically talking about relationships. If you spend all your time on social media, flipping through Instagram and Facebook and whatnot, what you're really doing is you're looking at somebody else's grass noticing how green it is. And in doing so, you're not watering your own grass. A bird in the bush is better than two hands. You know what I'm talking about.

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Michael Jr. Productions

He's brought laughter to such stages as The Tonight Show on NBC, Jimmy Kimmel live & Comedy Central. You can also see him in Sony's new film War Room. Please welcome…. Michael Jr.