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Patrick Hessert Headshot
Walter Hessert Headshot

A Million Dollar Road Trip

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I became an entrepreneur when I was seven. On sunny summer days I wasn't allowed to watch TV and my mom had a saying: "If you're bored, I have work you can do." So, to avoid cleaning the garage, my brothers and I sold lemonade on the corner. We even had a credo: Tips Accepted. There is a reason lemonade stands pop up like Starbucks in the summer, they're inherently fun and, thus, inherently better then chores.

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When I graduated from college a year ago I was bored, and I could hear the HR reps saying, "If you're bored, I have work you can do." My search yielded job offers, but nothing that inspired me. The job I wanted didn't seem to exist, or I couldn't find it. Either way it appeared I had two options: take a job that, to me, seemed like a chore or find a way to do something I love. Maybe I haven't grown up yet because I still have the same aversion to chores.

Seventeen years since my emergence as a lemonade tycoon I have begun another venture with my brother Walter, the Million Dollar Road Trip. We didn't create a startup simply for the sake of working for ourselves; we set out to invent the job we wanted, a job that incorporates our passions and hard work and yields a product to be proud of.

Walter and I have created a mobile cross-media advertising business. We are traveling the country for an entire year and selling one million dollars in advertising space on the exterior of our Airstream trailer. With our trailer plastered in ads ranging from two square inches to two square feet, we will have a mosaic of American small business. Our goal is to be the most valuable marketing vehicle on the road and to create a lasting icon of entrepreneurship in this country.Traveling around and seeing America sounds like a rare job. Actually it hardly sounds like a job at all, but the reality is I could have driven across this country as a trucker, musician, bus-driver, public speaker or any number of professions. Call me greedy, but that's not enough. I want to take a road trip on my terms. I want to see the sites, meet the people, hit the highways (and the back roads). I want to stay too long or too short and, sometimes, change direction.

There is no career quite like ours and no template for success. Walter and I have given ourselves the autonomy to use our heads and try our ideas. As in any startup, there are long days and short nights -- but it's better than cleaning the garage.