Several years ago, I was a full-time bartender in Austin, TX. I had dreams of getting into the movie business, I was a slavee to my job at the restaurant. I quickly realized that the rat race I lived in wasn’t allowing me enough time freedom to pursue my creative interests.
I decided that the only way I was going to be able to regain control of my life and achieve my dreams was to start collecting income-producing assets and move to Hollywood. (Read Three Steps to Success for Creative Geniuses for my strategy.)
The First Piece in the Puzzle
Since I didn’t have any money, I started small. I saved $250 to buy a bulk candy vending machine and the candy to fill it. I used my connections to place it in the lobby of the restaurant I worked at. (Read How to Start a Bulk Candy Vending Business for details.)
I watched it every day, but resisted checking how much money it had made until about a month later when it was about halfway empty and I couldn’t wait any longer. When I opened it up late one night, after closing down the bar, quarters spilled out everywhere onto the floor! I quickly rushed home and counted up the money: over $100 in quarters!
With the success of my first location, I began using the profits it generated to buy more and more machines and finding locations around Austin. My improved financial situation allowed me to buy a piece of real estate. I was finally getting closer to my goal of time freedom.
Then, in the summer of 2006, I reached the point that I had been waiting for. I had saved up enough money to move to Los Angeles and pursue my film career full time. To make things even better, I found a man who was selling his L.A.-based vending business on eBay and bought it with capital from my existing business.
Hollywood, Here We Come!
Even though Austin has a thriving independent movie scene, L.A. is still the only place to be if you really want to go for it. Most people have to live in one city or the other, but we were about to get creative.
Everyone wanted to know what I was going to do with my vending business when I moved to L.A. They were shocked when I told them that not only was I keeping it, but I wasn’t hiring anyone to run it!
How I Lived in Two Cities at Once
You see, I worked all my locations so they could go about two months before needing service. I had built up enough locations to pay for plane tickets, rental cars, and lodging to get me back and forth.
Even though these expenses cut deeply into my profit, they allowed me the freedom of living in two places at once. I was able to keep my ties to the Austin film community.
I love Austin, and it gave me a nice vacation away from the congestion of L.A. at timely intervals. I kept in touch with my old friends and enjoyed the time I spent there.
Business for Opportunity, not Just Money
I look at business as more than just a way to make money. I see it as a way to allow the opportunities and circumstances that I want in my life. I would have kept my candy vending business in Austin even if I was just breaking even after travel expenses. The perks that it provided me were worth something more than money can buy.