Over christmas I was chatting to a few friends and the story of one of my early jobs came out.
I was bet that I would never talk about it in an email. (this post was originally an email leverage baby leverage!)
When I first left school I was working in a bank and I hated it. I discover then that I was not a 9-5 person.
One friday I bought a rucksack and a few bits and pieces and just headed off to Europe.
To say I hadn’t really planned it was an understatement.
After I paid for the bus and train tickets to the South of France I had about £30 (300 Francs in my pocket) so my number 1 priority was getting a job.
I actually got one before I left the station in London.
I bumped into a guy with my rucksack, apologised and got talking. It turned out his brother had a business in the south of France and he gave me his contact details.
(That bit sounds far worse than it is if I start with the facts… I met this guy in the toilets at Victoria station.)
So 48 hours later I arrive in Frejus on the French Riviera and get a job selling doughnuts on the beach.
It wasn’t a bad job and I got to keep 50% of what I sold I was earning enough to live on probably around 100 Francs a day which was $20 or £10 at the time.
I used to work for around 3 hours a day and spend the rest of the time chatting to girls on the beach and drinking cheap wine and beer.. I’ve had worse jobs.
Because it turned out I was quite good at selling doughnuts the owner moved me to St Tropez to work.
Pamplonne beach in St Tropez is the playground of the rich and famous, back then there were very few beach clubs so everyone was on the beach.
There was one part of the beach that no one wanted to go to to sell doughnuts .. the nudist section.
It was about 250-500 meters long and was usually very busy..and almost completely devoid of any beach sellers.
After a couple of weeks, on a particularly quite day in the world of doughnut sales I thought ..screw it .
I stripped down and went and sold doughnuts naked.
After about 15 minutes I knew i’d stumbled onto a goldmine.
I got requests for beer,coca cola and sandwiches. I’d found a captive audience that had a need I could fulfil
Within a few days I was self employed and earning 500-700 francs a day.
I also managed to keep my original boss happy by making him my sole supplier. (There is nothing worse than Doughnut wars!)
Within a month I employed 3 beach sellers and was earning up to 2000 francs a day ($400/£200).
Now I should say that selling stuff on the beach was totally illegal
But there is nothing quite so much fun as being chased down the beach naked holding a tray of doughnuts by 2 swearing Gendarmes.
At least It kept the people on the beach amused…
In 3 months I never got caught once.
So the moral of this story apart from.. Don’t make bets with me is…
If you think you see an opportunity take it you have nothing to lose and you might hit on a goldmine.
Mark “Doesn’t run like Bo Derek” Thompson
P.s. There a Storm Coming ..More Details on Monday
P.P.S Thats Pamplonne beach at the top!
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