Elementary school teacher and single father Jeff Callis wasn't
looking for a way to get rich. He just wanted to supplement
his income from teaching so he could support his children.
Now, Jeff works out of his home and earns a six-figure income.
Living on the coast of South Carolina, there
weren't many opportunities for supplemental or part-time work,
according to Jeff. After relocating to a different part
of the state, Jeff spotted the ad that changed his life.
While leafing through a magazine he came across a small black
and white ad for U-Spin vending machines. U-Spins offer
individuals the opportunity to work as independent bulk candy
vending machine operators.
Attracted to the design of the machines,
Jeff contacted the company. "I had a feeling that they were
a good company, forthright, honest. I invested in 10 machines
and it worked very well for me," he explains. Within a month
and a half, Jeff purchased another seven machines, and he now
has just over 200. "The rest, I guess, is a history of success.
I had gotten in to generate some extra income and it turned out
to be a full-time business," Jeff adds.
It didn't take long for Jeff to realize
that he may have found a new career. Within a couple of
weeks he saw the potential of the business. "I enjoyed teaching,
but I was ready to do something else. So within eight months
I had stopped teaching and had started doing this full-time,"
For Jeff, who calls himself conservative
by nature, the biggest challenge in starting his own home-based
business was self-confidence. "I think many people are [lacking
confidence] when it comes to finances. Regardless of our
occupation, we get very comfortable with and dependent on our
salary...and we probably have a lot of creative ideas that we
never really pursue because we're a little bit afraid to take
that first step and to put ourselves at any kind of risk.
That was probably my chief obstacle," he says. The beauty
of the machines, according to Jeff, is that from day one they
Jeff quickly gained confidence in his business.
He explains that once the machine is sold, it produces income
indefinitely. "You place your first 10 machines and that
income is there month after month. I gained the confidence
to invest in more machines," he says. As Jeff's confidence
grew, it was a simple decision for him to expand his business.
U-Spin offers two types of vending machines
- one with four selections and one with eight. Jeff estimates
that his four-selection machines bring in about $50 a month, and
the eight-selection machines make approximately $100 a month.
"I actually have some machines that do over $300 a month," he
Jeff was pleased with the support provided
to him by the manufacture. According to Jeff, they provide
vendors with an owner's manual which contains information on where
to position machines and things to consider when placing them.
"You can literally call them at any time and talk to any number
of experts who will answer whatever questions you have.
Their representatives are incredibly honest," he says. Many
of the representatives have had vending routes themselves and
know the details of the business and are very willing to answer
your questions. "I felt like I had a support network," he
The transition from teaching to working
at home was easy for Jeff. With only 10 machines in the
beginning, he simply kept the extra candy in a room in his house.
As his business grew, he eventually added a temperature controlled
storage room onto his house for his candy supplies. Jeff
says, "Since that was done, it's been very pleasant. It's
nice to be able to use your home as your office, and it's worked
Jeff remarried a year ago and now he and
his wife Barbara live in a suburb of Greenville, SC, with their
blended family of seven children. He and Barbara are anticipating
an income of $120,000 for this year. The salary has not
changed Jeff. Even though Jeff is experiencing success with
the business, he says he is still conservative. But he admits
to putting some new additions on his house and buying two new
vehicles, as well as providing two of his daughters with braces.
"We're able to live off of one income -
mine. With a family this large, to me that's quite an accomplishment,"
He enjoys the feeling of financial freedom
that he is experiencing through his vending machine business.
After living with a tight budget, he is pleased with where his
income is now. At this point, Jeff says that thanks to his
income, if an emergency arises it isn't so overwhelming.
"There's just a lot more disposable income. We haven't become
overly materialistic or anything. We're able to do things
that before we would have had to either save for a long time or
just forgo," he adds.
Vacation time is also an added benefit.
The entire family is heading to Sanibel Island, FL, this summer.
"It is the shell capital of the world," says Jeff.
He also credits his business for giving
him more freedom to be creative. He's now using his extra
income to develop a line of gourmet gumballs. "That's something
that I never would have thought of before and never would have
had the money to invest to make something like that possible,"
Jeff is delighted with independence he now
has, and appreciates the flexibility it brings into his life.
He admits that he loved to teach, but "I had a moderate salary
that I knew would grow by a moderate percentage every year," he
points out. "And as a single dad at the time, budgeting
was extremely important because I knew what I was going to have
every month and what I'd have to work from every month."
According to Jeff, owning his own business
has provided him with the opportunity and finances to do what
he does best - be a father. "The role in my life that I
take the most pride in is being a father, and I feel like this
business opportunity has enhanced that beyond anything I ever
thought possible," he shares.
Jeff has tripled the income he made
as a teacher, while substantially reducing the number of hours
he works a week. He's gone from working 40 to 50 hours a
week as a teacher to working about 25 hours a week with this vending
As for others who are looking into starting
their own home-based business, Jeff advises them to look at their
environment and the people who are already successful. "Many
of the people that you see who are being very financially successful
have done that themselves or to follow an idea that they had to
fruition through the marketing process," he says.
This former teacher has learned, "There
are so many different things that a person can do, and so many
ways to be successful. If you bring the same work ethic
and energy to working at home that you do working for another
company, but your financial rewards will multiply as well."
Business Connection - January 2001 - Article written by Carla