[Note: If you like reading ... well, keep reading. But if you're more of a visual-auditory learner, scroll down to the video version of the story, Keep Digging for Worms: The Movie.]
When I was nine I started my first business selling night crawlers on Cowan Lake, a small, quiet lake near Rockford, Michigan where I grew up.
To learn as much as I could on how to catch worms and care for them, I went to the library and ordered books from fishing catalogs. I also visited local bait shops and had numerous conversations with fishermen, friends and family.
At least twice a week I would mow the lawn and water everyday to bring the worms out at night after dark for air in the short grass. I would go out covered in Deep Woods Off armed only with a flashlight and an empty Maxwell House coffee can that would soon be filled with my juicy prizes. This was a win-win partnership with my dad getting a green, well groomed lawn and me getting all the night crawlers I could sell.
I stored the worms in an old wooden dresser I found and kept in the cool cellar. I filled each of the four drawers with a nutrient rich soil I specially ordered by mail that needed to be moistened and turned each day by hand to keep the night crawlers the most lively. I hand painted a sign in white letters that read "Night crawlers, 65 cents a dozen!" and shaped the sign like an arrow to better direct the customers down our dead end street around the far side of the lake.
Besides the night crawlers I also shared fishing tips picked from up from my customers. I learned where the fish were biting, what time of day was best to fish, how deep of water to fish in and what type of rig or lure to use to catch different kinds of fish. Fishermen and bait shop owners from all around our area bought their night crawlers from me. My business grew through word of mouth and my reputation for having the best, freshest worms in town.
I still keep "Digging For Worms" looking for the best, freshest ideas and tips around.
And now, check out Keep Digging for Worms: The Movie! (and let me know what you think of the "product-placements").