Not every child has an imaginary friend, spent every waking moment on their bike, or established complex back-stories for their stuffed animals. I was one of those kids who liked thinking about ways to make money. While others daydreamed about flying to the moon and being superheroes in alternate universes, I played “store” with my cousins. At the risk of sounding boring, all I really wanted was a job so I could have my own money. I looked forward to school fundraisers, and worked hard at selling enough candy bars to score a free school trip to one of the nearby theme parks. And in the 7th grade, I got the idea to sell candy to my fellow classmates. While it didn’t make me rich, there were a few early lessons I learned about money and entrepreneurialism: 1. Understand profit margins After scouring the shelves at a neighbourhood supermarket, I decided on selling sherbert-filled Pixy Stix, caramel apple pops, and fun-sized chocolate bars, all relatively low-priced products. I looked at the cost of candy against how much they were being sold for. For instance, back in the mid-90s, I could get a small box of 36 (three Stix in each package) for about US$3. As I sold each for 25 cents, I ended up raking in about US$9 for every box I sold, which ended up being a US$6, or 200 per cent, profit. Not too shabby. I did some simple maths for the other types of sweets I peddled, and made sure that I earned at least a 200 per cent profit, if not more. When the prices of the candy went up at the store, I hunted for alternatives. While I knew I could just up my own prices, I knew that my fellow tweens didn’t have a tonne of disposable income, so that idea was nixed. 2. Research the competition While there weren’t any other kids selling candy, there were vending machines in the school cafeteria that sold large candy bars. I made a point to sell my wares for less than the vending machines, and also to offer different types of sweet treats. There were certainly slower times, like after Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and during the holidays. I also noted that it could be slightly tougher to sell during school fundraisers, when students were up to their ears in candy and maybe more focused on selling their own. During these slumps, I still sold sweets. I figured that if I stopped selling, my classmates might forget that I was an option, and I would lose my steady customers. 3. Plan the sell I’d make my products easily available. I sold it right outside my locker, between lessons, during lunch, and before and after school. Besides trying to be relatively discreet about it lest I get in trouble, I tried to make it as convenient as possible for my classmates to satisfy a craving. I offered flexibility and different options for someone to shell out a quarter or two to satiate their sweet tooth. 5 tips to help you shop less and save money It was also important to listen to what my classmates wanted. They were the customers, after all. When one of my friends suggested I add Starburst and Skittles to the mix, I tried it out – and those turned out to be bestsellers. 4. Re-invest the profits After I sold a box of Pixy Stix or went through a bag of chocolate, I would take some of my earnings and put that toward replenishing my supply. That way I was never drawing from my weekly allowance, or from money gifted to me during Chinese New Year or my birthday. Even as a middle schooler, I didn’t feel great about pulling from other sources of money to put toward my small operation. I felt it was best to use the funds I was earning from candy to keep it going. 5. Save for a goal After setting some money aside to buy more candy, I put the rest toward the big 8th grade trip to Washington, DC. While my mom helped pay for part of my trip, I raised the rest of the money, partly from selling candy through a school fundraiser and partly from my own endeavours. While my enterprise wasn’t terribly sophisticated, and I probably didn’t make more than a few hundred dollars throughout the school year, it taught me a lot about what it takes to strike out on your own to make a few bucks. These early money lessons have stayed with me throughout my life. Jackie Lam Jackie Lam is a personal finance writer and is based in Los Angeles. This article originally appeared on Business Insider This article was curated by Young Post . Better Life is the ultimate resource for enhancing your personal and professional life.