WHEN IT COMES TO making money, there are two rules I live by. Lucky for me, I learned them early.
Like any red-blooded 12-year-old boy, I dreamed of owning a cherry-red sports car. One day I mentioned this dream to my dad's business partner and his former college football coach. "A Ferrari or something," I said. "A Ferrari, huh?" he chuckled. "You'd better get to work if you want one of those bad boys."
I told him I was working--I mowed a couple of lawns, picked up straggler nails at a construction site at a penny apiece for a grand total of $25 a week. Coach guffawed: "At that rate, you'll be a corpse behind the wheel! You need to make more money, faster!"
How? Here's Coach's Moneymaking Rule No. 1: "Find something scary. Find something most don't have the courage to do. The scary things pay the most."
That night I remembered a buddy talking about a local trade school that hired people to stake out bus stops, train stops and the mall to ask strangers to take a survey. Approach people who don't want to be bothered, I thought. That sounds scary.
The next day I stood at the busiest bus stop in my neighborhood with a 16-year-old boy (who wanted a Lamborghini) showing me the ropes. We approached strangers who pushed us, spit at us and at best pretended we didn't exist. One woman yelled at me to get a respectable job. "Go mow lawns or something!"
Trust me, I considered it. I wanted to quit more times in those six hours than I have the rest of my life combined. But when the shift was done, I had 56 completed surveys at $2 a pop--more than month's worth of lawns and nails. I could practically smell the leather of my Red Beauty as we walked into the trade school to exchange our surveys for cash.
But the boss handed all $112 to the Lamborghini lover. Seeing the shock (and fury) on my...