My First Job: Liberty Bowl Drink Vendor

Jay Myers

Everyone has to start somewhere. For me, my first job was walking around and selling Cokes/sodas to fans at college football games for the University of Memphis at The Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium during my freshman year of high school in 1970. It might not have been glamorous but it taught me some valuable lessons about hustling and how to spot "business opportunities."

For starters, I learned in order to make more money you had to learn how to hustle but to be smart about it. At first, I wasted a lot of time running back getting a new tray every time I ran out of drinks and then waited in line with everyone else trying get our trays refilled. Time was truly money in those days and I quickly learned that one tray at a time was NOT the way to go. That's why I quickly changed my strategy and began to stack multiple trays at a time (as many as three) versus just taking one. While the other guys were running back up the stairs to the concession stand, I was able to just stay out there and keep selling (even if my arms were hurting pretty bad from carrying three trays at once).

Also, there was a real opportunity to make money on game nights but the secret was to find as many “partying” customers as you could. Many people came to the games with their own liquor in those days (and probably still today). But what they usually didn't bring with them were mixers! When I could spot these customers in the crowd, it was a great opportunity for my Coke/soda business and I would focus my efforts on these customers. Most of the time, they were enjoying themselves so much that they usually forgot that they tipped you $5 for $2 worth of cokes. I remember making $40 in one hour that night which was great money in that business. In the second half, I decide to celebrate my victory and instead sat down to watch the rest of the game (Tennessee versus Arkansas).

Jay Myers is the founder and President of Interactive Solutions, Inc., and author of Keep Swinging.

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