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Best Job Ever – Newspaper Boy!

No Seriously, It Was!

The foundations of my life disciplines and skills were rooted at an early age that began with a humble paper route.

It changed everything for me.

6-days-a-week before sunrise, I delivered newspapers to the doorsteps of ~50 homes for the Schenectady Gazette.

For 7 years, until I left for college at 17, this wasn’t just a job but an early education in life’s critical skills.

Here’s what I learned that still serves me today:

1. Daily Discipline and Work Ethic Matters

Every morning, rain-or-shine or in Upstate NY – SNOW! there was a duty to deliver both for my customers and myself.

Whether dodging angry dogs (specifically a German Shepherd on Hoover Rd) or battling the cold to ensure every house had its paper, the discipline of consistency became ingrained.

Daily discipline matters in life. Do something daily and you will improve. It becomes part of you.

Don’t bet against the one who shows up and outworks others.

Fast forward to today: My cold plunge, exercise, family time, prayer, and VERVE’s morning review are my daily must-haves to feed my soul.

2. People and Relationships Matter

The paper route was my intro to the importance of customer service. Recognizing tipping patterns taught me lessons in adding value.

If a customer tipped BIG ($1.25 payment on a 90¢ weekly paper equating to 35¢ tip weekly), then I delivered exceptional service. If they were the exact change types/no tip (give me the dime back from my $1 bill), I educated them on the monthly envelope system and picked up their $3.60 payment from the mailbox to save time.

The good tippers became my add-on service customers mowing lawns in the summer ($5-7 per lawn) or shoveling snow in the winter ($ varied for the amount of snow).

My customers were policemen, teachers, and friends’ families. Many impacted and influenced my life positively due to the relationships I had built.

3. Customer Service Matters

Every customer is different. The paper needed to be delivered inside the screen door, on the side porch or where it wouldn’t get wet (unless you had the German Shepherd on Hoover Rd – that paper could end up anywhere on the property). But delivered before 6:30am or customers would complain to the newspaper (or our house).

Find yourself in any business with happy customers, understand why they are happy with your value proposition, and then you will find a way to grow exponentially.

4. Dream and Think Big

From the age of 11 on, I had $ in my pocket BECAUSE I WORKED.

My First Big Goal was to buy a car to drive at 16.

And I did. I saved and bought my first car in high school with my paper route money – for $600.

She was a BEAUTY.

A 1973 Buick Century in Pine Green nicknamed The Rust Bucket.

My dreams and goals are now bigger than The Rust Bucket but the principle is the same.

Think BIG. If you dream it, believe it and have Faith.

Deliver the paper daily. Go after your own Rust Bucket!

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