The entrepreneurial spirit of Americans is one of the many things I love about America and Americans.
I mean, who would have thought that you could make over $55,000 a year selling candy on New York’s subway.
Yet, this man, does exactly that.
His name is Alex “Tracks” McFarland and he earns over $55 grand every year, selling candy to subway riders!
He started his candy business when he was only 11 years old. 13 years later, he is making a living making his customer’s days sweeter.
And he is not alone– there are a lot of people who make good money selling candy. Sure, not everybody is making $150 a day doing it, but they make enough to justify doing it.
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One interesting observation during the recent economy downturn is that candy sales were still strong, and that is evidence enough that people still need to find comfort in food, regardless of what kind of economic cycle we are in.
All in all, whether it is a full time venture or past time hobby, selling candy can never be a bad idea.
It is time you capitalize on it.
Here is a quick guide on how to do it properly…
What will I learn?
Aim For a Decent Start and Target BIG
It took me a grand total of $10 to get into my first venture of candy selling. A few deals later, I had been able to increase my capital outlay incrementally, and were able to regularly take $80 worth of replenishment.
The growth of the business is going to be organic in nature.
It is natural that people don’t know you when you first get started. But as you prevail, you will slowly but surely build up a steady pool of customer base.
And as your experience grows, you will get to expose to more varieties of candy and more price effective sources.
One of my favorites is Costco, for simple reason that you can get your candy very cheap, and the variety on offer here is amazing. The price is just unbelievably cheap that you can regularly mark up your price by two times and the candy is still in hot demand.
So, it is going to be a gross profit of $80 from initial investment of $80.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t always work this way. Naturally, you’ll need to have good sense on what sells and what not.
Understand What the Market Demands
Even before you dig into your pocket at Costco store, have a clear mind on what is really on demand among the consumers.
If you lack this market foresight, I would encourage you to simply ask around, be it in your neighborhood or workplace, school compound or church.
List of Candy Bars
Among the various candy types, candy bars certainly make it to the top three of market’s favorite.
As a reflection of its universal appeal, there are so many candy bars to choose from in your neighborhood stalls and upmarket malls.
Kinds of Candy Bars
- Almond Joy
- Pay Day
- Heath Bar
- 5th Avenue
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- Milky Way
- Butter Finger
- 3 Musketeers
- Baby Ruth
- Kit Kat
- Nestle Crunch
- Oh Henry
Be a Business Savvy Operator
This is not just a sweet way for kids to earn money. This can be a real business. So you have to treat it as such.
In this increasingly affluent society, it is not uncommon for kids to carry around dollar notes with them as pocket allowance.
The strategy is to tempt them to spend away their dollar notes.
Instead of selling something that costs 75 cents, make that nice candy bar one dollar each (or $.50 each so that they can buy two).
The benefits are twofold; it is easier to sell, and you save the trouble of keeping spare change.
Keep Score at the End of the Day
It is inevitable that you will find ups and downs as you start this candy selling business.
Some days, the products move briskly and some other days, sales are simply dismal.
You can certainly dismiss this as simply luck, or you can be proactive and try to understand the story of your sale.
Is the sale better when you were in certain neighborhood, do kids have certain preferences (over packaging and/or flavor), or that certain timing of the day has direct influence of the sale? There is no strict answer to each one of this. But my point is that the more you know about your market and product, the easier it is for you to strategize your plan and subsequently execute it.
Buy in Variety
All marketers will tell you that variety is key.
Vary your purchase from the store, where you can enjoy mass discount.
At the same time, you can still charge your customers the same price, but they now get to enjoy rich choice.
Don’t jump to the conclusion that you have hit an easy winner with candy selling decision. While kids tend to have natural affinity towards candy, you still need to have your marketing message out.
Put out banner, stick your ad on bulletin boards, talk to people, etc…
Essentially you want to reach out to a as an audience as possible, if you are serious in your new venture.
Keep It Cool
Candy needs to be kept at an optimal temperature, which means it must be cool enough to entice potential customers.
If you can afford mobile fridge, great, otherwise an ice pack would do the job all right. Just make sure that the ice pack is suitably insulated so as not to let heat sips in.
Your daily grind does not start from the morning as you make your trip to school or church. Rather, you should make sure that all candy are properly prepared the night before.
The reward for overnight work is that it saves time in the morning, and you are less likely to forget stuff as you start your trip the next morning.
Adults Have Sweet Toot Too
Remember there is never one fixed path to reach your destination.
While schools may represent an obvious target, don’t lose sight of the forest because of the trees. Your products would appeal to just about anybody with a sweet tooth. Get close to your market and you will be duly rewarded.
Always remember candy’s universal appeal!
It may not even be remotely associated with bars and pubs, but my experience in approaching these patrons of such joints has generally been positive!
Another option worth checking out is the local movie theaters. Just set up a kiosk and you may be amazed with the kind of income it can bring you.
The logic is simple: buying candy at the movie theater is a costly affair, by setting up competition there you would be bringing choice to the captive audience. Not to mention that your cheap and quality candy would be an obvious welcome alternative to the bland and expensive products in the theaters.
Whether you choose to set up a kiosk or selling door-to-door, always check with the local authority pertaining the necessary license that allows you to do that.
The key criterion of success is strong will power.
Granted, you are likely to suffer from low business as you get started.
But trust me, things will brighten up if you stuck in.
Don’t get disheartened if it does not work in your favor initially, but just as much, don’t feel over cocky if first day sale is superb either, as you are still experimenting at this stage.
You may run into instances where a big group of students just decide to go “Dieting” or you are denied entry at the gate of the bars and pubs.
Obviously, this will hurt your sales.
Let those factors continue to drive you to work even harder and you just have to keep going, until you hit the level of income that you want!
Take a page from Alex’s (the New Yorker who makes $5500 a year with his candy business) book on dealing with obstacles. For example, here is how he gets most people to buy candy from him. He tells them “If you don’t spend a dollar with me, either you don’t have it or you’re a hater.”