I started "working" at a young age. I was ten years old when I first understood the value of a dollar. I knew that if I wanted something, I had to pay for it and for me to pay for it, I had to make money myself. Like any young entrepreneur, I started small.
My father — to his credit — is a pretty good mechanic. I was raised around cars. I remember a great deal of classic cars being parked out in the driveway: everything from old Chevelles and Monte Carlos to step-side Chevy pickups and Corvettes. My father raced them. My father would have me strip the interiors out of these cars so he could come in after me and weld in a roll cage, battery box, and fuel cell. In fact, I was 12 years old when I pulled my first engine. It was a 400 small-block Chevy out of a safety-orange 1969 Chevelle.
A lot of my time as a young lad was spent at dusty race tracks on hot summer days. My first entrepreneurial endeavor? Bottle picking. Parched spectators would come in droves to these race events, leaving their bottles and cans for me to come around and scoop up. Depending on the size and duration of the event, I could easily pick 15,000 cans! At ten cents a piece, this turned out to be big money for a ten year old!
My parents divorced around this time. This would further enforce my belief that if I wanted the 'finer things in life', I needed to work. My uncle also worked on cars and did mostly body work. I'd go to work for him doing odd jobs for the next five or so years, doing general labor work and auto body repair. This didn't financially satisfy me enough so I quickly picked up a paper route and started my first business with my good friend Marc.
My entrepreneurial spirit was born out of necessity. Do I regret it? Absolutely not! It instilled in me the values of an entrepreneur and the value of a dollar and most importantly, the work ethic that drives me to this day.