What It's About
Seeing the coins drop, a government employee starts her own vending machine hustle.
Words of Wisdom
Lakinya has some important advice about seeking help, "When I first started I struggled with finding a location for my vending machines. If I could change anything, I would have found someone to mentor me to guide me down the right path.”
There are over two million vending machines in the USA but with a population of over 320 million, there’s also plenty of room for growth.
Notes from Chris
Episode 1485Lakinya Francis works a government job in what she describes as a fairly serious environment. That seriousness was a big part of why she began looking for something different. Lakinya noticed the ‘vending machine guy’ who came around twice a week to restock the machines. With that amount of regularity, she thought, he must be making fairly good money. So she began researching exactly how the business worked. So here’s an important fact: it turns out that many vending machines are privately owned by individuals rather than large companies. Lakinya was ready to be one of those individuals. She put her coin in the slot, and waited for it to drop. She also knew from reading that a good location had regular foot traffic and a high turnover of people. Of course, finding a location and having the business owner agree to host her machines there are two different things. Many businesses she approached said no to her offer, which went like this... Lakinya would stock the machine with products, as well as install and maintain it for free. In exchange, she’d keep whatever profit she made on top of the original purchase prices. At first she struggled with the rejection. In her mind, it was a no brainer for the business. To convince them of this she added a few more key points to her pitch. She sold them on the benefits to their customers and employees, stressing that they’d have to do literally nothing to maintain the machine. Furthermore, Lakinya would include them in the product selection process so businesses could be certain the vending products would fit their demographic. She sold the whole concept behind the business name, iKrave Vending. She’d taken herself from novice to expert and felt confident she could teach others to do the same. Using the iKrave name, she created an Instagram account and began posting helpful tips for those interested in vending, by tagging them as business-related posts. (You can follow her if you’d like @iKravevending.) She also interacted with many business-related accounts and eventually built up a small following of her own. By pitching to that audience, Lakinya now makes almost as much from her consulting as she does from her vending machines, which still generate her twenty-five hundred dollars per month. Not one to let things fizzle out, Lakinya is expanding into different types of vending machines. First, beauty products which have a much higher average purchase price. Then, the launch of a new live bait vending machine in Key West, the first of its kind. From soda fizz to fish, Lakinya shows vending machines make so much cents.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Learn more about Lakiya and consider starting your own vending hustle from her website, iKravevending.com/.
- Soda-licious! Nike Manager Creates Fruit-Infused Balsamic Beverages: When he can’t find a non-alcoholic beverage worthy of greatness, this Nike manager learns to create, package, and sell his own line of fruit-infused balsamic sodas.
- Couple Crumbles Debt with Gourmet Cookies: In search of a side hustle, this husband and wife team bake their way to sweet success.
- One Man’s Trashed Mash is Another Man’s Cash: What starts as a collegiate adventure in getting around the legal drinking age requirements leads to a mission that turns trash into cash.
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