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4 Sales Lessons I Learned as an 8-Year Old Making $200/Day in Tips

So my dad is a genius – despite only going through an 8th grade education, he is living proof that true education begins outside of school!

Coming from absolutely nothing, he started a small Chinese restaurant in Eugene, OR in 1980. One smart way he decided to expand his reach was having a food booth on weekends at different festivals. This meant instead of a 1-200 people coming into his restaurant, he could sell food to 10,000+ people!

Growing up as a child of an immigrant family, we all worked at the restaurant and the festivals. One thing that we loved at the festivals was that our parents gave us 100% of the tips we could collect! My sister and I learned early on that if we did things right, we could make $200+ in a day! As an 8-year old, taking home $200 in cash was a pretty sweet prospect. (I’ll share what I did with all that cash in another article on investing 🙂 )

Although the money was great, what was even MORE impactful were the key sales and marketing lessons we learned at an early age as it was NO MISTAKE that we were able to make that type of cash so young. These key lessons are so incredibly applicable to selling even today. Let’s check them out!

1.) CARING is the BEST marketing strategy: Gary Vaynerchuk has said it over and over that this is the best strategy and that was and IS still spot on! When we served our customers, we always made sure we put the friendliest people up front as the customer-facing employees. My sister, Angela, did an awesome job with this. She’s friendly, smart, likeable, genuine, and helpful. We knew that if she was the face to the customer, it would drive up tips for us! Angela always made sure she showed a lot of CARE to the customers and it paid off.

This strategy is so critical today – in the world of ecommerce, showing CARE and that personal touch is what will separate YOU apart from anyone else or just purchasing online through an automated system! Caring allows you to gain more customers, retain customers, and grow the customers!

2.) Keep things simple with bundled options: Ever get overwhelmed because you had TOO many options? My dad was very smart – he checked out the other food booths and saw that many of them had long menu items that had 10+ offerings. What he also observed was that it took customers longer to decide due to too many options and then it took much longer to prepare the food. He also noticed that it required the food booth owner to have to carry more supplies and other supplemental costs due to the additional plate offerings.

So we offered 3 options. That’s it! Our customers would be able to come to our booth, make a quick decision, and within 3 minutes they had a piping hot fresh plate of 1-3! We could serve our customers faster, provide them fast but CARING service, and serve more of them than our competition! We’d outsell the rest of the booths while having the lowest cost of goods! What did this mean for 8-year old me? Yes, more customers and chances to earn tips with!

For you, when you are providing solutions to your customers – how are you presenting your options? Are you providing everything including the kitchen sink? Or are you simplifying it down to 2-3 options that you recommend as a professional? Keep it simple and help the customer make the best decision with less options.

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3.) Social proof is key: Nobody likes to eat bad food. Nobody. At a festival, one of the best ways to drive traffic to your booth was to make sure you had a line at all times! If you were coming to the food court area and there were 10 booths, you’d feel the MOST COMFORTABLE with the booth with the longest line, right? So if you combine CARING with SIMPLE OPTIONS, this allowed us to have a line. Then we could control the speed of the line by our pace. If we served too quickly, we could slow the cadence down to ensure there is clear social proof of our business!

For you, how are you providing social proof? This could be in the form of references or testimonial letters. Either way, show PROOF you are the RIGHT decision to remove any fear of buyer’s remorse.

4.) Brand is KING: One of the strongest plays for sales and marketing is creating a strong brand. Despite being new into the Eugene marketplace, we were building a strong brand of quality food at a reasonable price with great service. It was key that we were consistent with this.

To take it to another level, my parents decided to get special shirts (our uniform) that had the restaurant name on it (“Oriental Village” like in the photo above – yes, it’s not politically correct but remember it was the 80’s!), a dragon on it, and it was HOT PINK. Yes, HOT PINK – this also helped add to our brand as people would come up to us at every festival because of the shirt and the brand recognition! We became known as the Chinese family that wore HOT PINK shirts that served fast but quality food with great service!

For you, how are you building your brand? Your company will have a brand but YOU are also a brand that represents your company! How you dress, act, follow up, etc. with a prospect will either help or hurt you! Focus on creating a strong sub-brand and you’ll see opportunities pop out at you!

So there you have it 4 Sales Lessons I Learned as an 8-Year Old Making $200/day in Tips! These lessons are very applicable to today and will help you be successful in sales!

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And then leave a comment below with your questions, thoughts, and advice on the ideas above.


Marcus Chan, President / Founder of Venli Consulting Group, is an award-winning results and people-driven executive sales leader. Over the last decade, Marcus has been promoted 10X in 10 years and has been ranked in the top percentile of every company and every role he has been in.

He is passionate about helping others reach their maximum potential through high performance sales consulting and coaching. You can follow him on Instagram here for daily motivation! More information and a ton of cool resources are waiting for you here! 


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