Leslie S. is acquainted with hard work. He grew up on and around farms in Waterloo, Iowa, where many of his family were farmers.
“I’m a farm boy,” Leslie says. His dad worked in construction until, according to Leslie, he retired “with a gold watch and 22 gold coins from United Concrete.”
Leslie has lived all over and worked many different jobs, including painting, carpeting, construction and the like.
Three years ago, Leslie decided to move to Nashville to pursue a job painting houses. He packed up everything he had and made it all the way to Tennessee only to find out that the job had fallen through. Suddenly, Leslie was without a job, running out of money, and in the end, he had no place to live. This was certainly not the life that Leslie had envisioned when he made the decision to come to Nashville to build a successful future.
He worked a few odd jobs but soon realized that he needed some guaranteed income. Given his history of hard work, he wanted some stability, predictability and opportunity for growth. That’s when he found The Contributor. The paper was exactly what Leslie needed to get his life back on track. By faithfully selling the paper, Leslie has developed a stable, recurring income.
In fact, selling the paper was for Leslie exactly what he wanted it to be: a jump-start to his future. He built relationships with customers and grew his base until he had a steady stream of money coming in, keeping him active, working and fed. After selling the paper for a while, he found a job at a hotel. The hotel paid him a stipend every week and gave him a room as part of his compensation. His work at the hotel and his work selling The Contributor overlapped some, but eventually Leslie decided that the hotel job would be enough to sustain him. As a result, he stopped selling The Contributor for a while.
That didn’t keep Leslie away entirely, though. He stayed in touch with other vendors and staff, and he was always happy to give advice to new people who were just starting out. He’d learned a lot as a vendor, including the ways in which selling the paper can mean the difference between sleeping on the street and sleeping in a bed.
Leslie was doing a good job at the hotel, but unfortunately, they had to cut back his hours. Of course, this meant that he would have to take a cut in pay. Thanks to the skills he’d developed operating his own microbusiness, Leslie knew exactly where to turn when this challenge came his way. He walked over to The Contributor’s vendor office, bought some papers and began selling again. Even when his hours picked back up at the hotel, Leslie decided to continue selling papers. For a while, he sold at night to people on Broadway. Now he sells mostly during the day, giving him the opportunity to save money and work toward his other goals.
It’s the working and the saving that brought Leslie to where he is today. He’s still selling papers and working at the hotel, but he also just bought a carpet cleaner and he’s working to build up a customer base for a new business cleaning carpets in people’s homes. Leslie’s come a long way from being homeless and unemployed in Nashville to having a place to stay, consistent income and the distinction of calling himself a multi-business owner.
“It’s all thanks to selling enough Contributor papers,” Leslie says. He adds: “For carpet, I’m trying to do a whole house for $70. Maybe you could put that in the paper.”
That’s Leslie’s head for business: never waste an opportunity to make a sale.