Well, August is here upon us and the dormitory rooms are as welcoming as ever, despite the limited amount of room space. I found myself puzzled by my roommate’s schedule. He would leave early in the morning before sunrise and then return about the middle of the afternoon. Then when the rest of us were heading out for dinner and to either the library or to an evening lecture or study session, he would be off again until late in the evening. Then he’d be studying until late – often after midnight.
After two weeks of this I had to ask what was going on. It was only then when he explained that he had a side business that he had operating; it was his way of earning cash to help pay school expenses. He worked for a few hours at a pet shop, where he helped take care of animals abandoned by their owners. Then after attending his classes or lectures he’d go walk pets for a number of customers – some of whom he’d first met while working at the shop. This usually took about 3 hours or so – he’d grab something to eat while walking the pets. Then he’d return home, study and get a few hours of sleep before heading out to the pet store for his morning routine. He even had cards printed advertising his dog-walking service – they had pictures of him wearing his classy athletic wear outfit he’d bought from 6 PM with a Groupon coupon for nearly 60% off – that he handed out to customers of the pet shop.
What was most interesting was the fact that he could set his own schedule – often working only three or four days per week, while looking after peoples’ pets. He could then dedicate the rest of his time exclusively to schoolwork or personal concerns. By establishing himself as a business entrepreneur in college he’d already begun to make the kind of contacts and business acquaintances he could use for his future career. By using Groupons he was also marketing his services to future prospective customers. And their satisfaction continued to result in expanding his clientele. In short, he was a successful businessman who was in the process of earning his college credentials.