After spending a week out in Hollywood / Los Angeles, CA it’s time to get back to the day-to-day operations which I love so much. The red carpet and documentary screening was a great experience, but just experiencing life in California is always an experience in itself.
As entrepreneurs we are always looking at life situations and opportunities different from the average person. While out in California I got to experience some awesome entrepreneur hustle just while walking the streets in various cities.
I thought it would make for a good post and learning experience, so here are just a few of the few ways entrepreneurs are found on the streets of CA — from homelessness to aspiring musicians and everyone in between… it’s all about doing what it takes to make it through the day.
Aspiring Rap Artists in Venice Beach
Venice Beach is well known throughout the country for their basketball courts, strange audience of people and of course muscle beach. In addition to everything else going on, you will find a ton of shops along the beach that sell everything from sunglasses, food, memorabilia and of course medicinal marijuana.
Among the mix you will also find a wide range of aspiring rap and R&B artists who are pushing their music CDs to everyone that walks by. They will push the CDs in your face hoping you grab one and maybe even throw a headset on you for a few seconds so you can get a quick listen.
Of course taking their CD isn’t enough… they would also like to receive a cash donation to help them along the way.
Super Heroes Among Us in Hollywood
We’ve all seen the super heroes and people in costume outside of the Jimmy Kimmel Live studio in Hollywood. If you live in New York you will also be quite familiar with this crowd as well, as they now flood Times Square.
What many people (living outside these areas) don’t know is that these people are in costume because they are offering free picture, but then expect a cash donation once the picture is made.
One of the best costumes I came across was a guy dressed up as BumbleBee from Transformers. After talking with him for a bit and taking a picture, we talked about how he actually designs the costumes himself.
It’s hard to tell how much the individuals in costume make per day, but it’s definitely one of the most trafficked spots in the city.
Selling Water Bottles for Quick Cash
Speaking of Jimmy Kimmel Live, I was able to attend a taping of the show on Monday — which was a pretty cool experience.
While walking Hollywood Blvd a few hours before the show I noticed a guy that was walking around with a cooler and selling water bottles for a dollar each. (always a best seller, especially in such a hot area when other vendors are selling them for $2+ each).
When it was time to head over to JKL we were all waiting in line to get in for about an hour in the hot sun. Sure enough, the same guy with the water bottles came back with his big cooler case and started selling to everyone in the line. This guy probably made $50 in less than 10 minutes.
I was actually surprised the JKL people allow him to do this… try something like that in NJ or NYC and not only will you get tossed out, you will likely end up with a fine or in jail for not having a permit!
Homeless Kid in the Metro Subway
Before heading over to JKL that day, we decided to use the Metro Subway for a quick ride over to Hollywood Blvd.
Once inside I saw a kid with a sign asking for money and he said he was homeless and didn’t have a job.
I gave the kid a few dollars and talked to him for a bit about the area and how to get here and there. He was very informative and knew a lot about the area.
The funny thing I noticed was that he put the money I gave him in his pocket, while leaving just a dollar and some change in the cup in front of him.
This of course makes it look like he is not getting any donations from anyone else… increasing the chances others will give him a buck or two — but how much money is really in his pocket from donations?
(Reference: I know this isn’t always the case and that many people are homeless and hungry, but it’s always interesting to see articles like this one about a homeless guy that is making over $300 a day, while living in a $300,000 house)
CASH IS KING
Now you might be looking at a few of these examples and saying… big deal, a dollar here and there — but it actually is a BIG DEAL! The majority of the locations mentioned above are all high traffic areas and these people are dealing with PURE CASH, which means NO TAXES.
As much fun as it is to make a lot of money and pay taxes, it really does take a chunk out of what you take home.
For instance… if you make $100,000 per year, you are likely going to pay around 25% in taxes… which comes out to $25,000, leaving you with $75,000 in income after taxes.
If any of the individuals above are clearing $200 a day in cash (which I’m sure some are)… they are making $75,000 a year and not having to deal with any taxes.
Just something to think about the next time you see someone asking for money or donations on the street.
Keep on hustling.