It was called ‘JJ Bugs’, and the service I provided was, well…. BUGS! I was between the ages of 7 and 11, and I was totally ENAMORED with insects and bugs!
Why did I say “insects and bugs”, you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked, because they are two completely different beings!
In order to be an insect, it must have the following: 3- part body (Head, Abdomen, and Thorax), 3 pairs of legs, and usually a set (or 2) of wings. Bugs, on the other hand are commonly arthropods or arachnids, more than 6 legs, etc. Bugs are sometimes Insects, but Insects are NEVER Bugs…
But I digress!
The point is, I made it my full-time job to learn everything there was to know about insects and bugs (along with many other species in nature), checking out books at the public library, studying the creatures in the field under a magnifying glass, capturing them to bring home and study further alongside my checked-out references, breeding them (the praying mantis is one of the most prolific insects, typically producing 300+ babies in a single egg-case!), and on and on. I became a Harvard-level Entomologist.
The point is, I made it my full-time job to learn everything there was to know about insects and bugs (along with many other species in nature), checking out books at the public library, studying the creatures in the field under a magnifying glass, capturing them to bring home and study further alongside my checked-out reference books, breeding them (see the praying mantis below, one of the most prolific insects, often producing 100-200 babies in a single egg-case!), and on and on. I became a Harvard-level Entomologist.
“An entomologist is a scientist who studies insects. Entomologists have many important jobs, such as the study of the classification, life cycle, distribution, physiology, behavior, ecology and population dynamics of insects.”www.aboutbioscience.org
It was a hobby.
It was a passion.
It became my obsession.
I recalled hearing someone once say in regard to one’s career, “You should do what you love, and love what you do”, and suddenly that day, I realized that I had found my dream job.
So naturally, at the ripe age of 10, I decided it was time to monetize my hobby and turn it into a business!
Over the next several weeks, I did some market research, which involved studying and memorizing various restaurant menus in my town, taking notes, and determining which of the menu layouts was most visually appealing, and so forth.
Well… that was really all the ‘Market Research’ consisted of.
There was no ‘and so forth’.
Shortly, within a couple weeks, I had written up an Amazon-worthy pricing guide, detailing the different varieties of bugs I would peddle, each with it’s own price point.
I think each product listing even had a small blurb next to it, describing how that particular critter would benefit the buyer.
Example: “Are you proud of your garden? The hard-working ladybug will eat some 50 aphids a day. If you’re lucky enough to have ladybugs, their larvae will eat their weight in aphids each day for you. This month – 3 ladybugs for only $5!.”
After a few rough drafts, I decided upon a final proof.
I was my biggest critic; maybe my only critic.
But I was ready to GO!
Finally, I asked my grandfather- a teacher at the local high school- to make some copies of my price list, so that I could begin distributing them to customers and start taking orders.
Around this time, our mailman had nicknamed me “Bugs”. Being a mailman, his exploring area was HUGE compared to my limited, few block area that I was allowed to explore without a chaperone. Envious of his range, I regularly asked him, “You see any good bugs?”
GOOD BUGS!?! LOL
Most of the neighborhood eventually referred to me as Bugs.
I loved it; I was in heaven!
Some time went by. The dog days of summer were in full force. People were inside, enjoying their AC. I was in the driveway, with a folding card table and a chair, and even a plastic cash drawer. Ready for the customers.
They never came.
Perhaps there was too much competition in the neighborhood, or perhaps I wasn’t experienced enough in business, but that summer, an empire was NOT created.
Nor was an empire created the next year.
In hindsight, I realize there wasn’t a demand for my supply in the market that i lived in, and at 10 years old, I simply didn’t have the ability to branch out and explore other markets!
But dang, did I learn a lot about bugs!!!