10 min 35 sec

High School Bootlegger Grows Up

After beginning his entrepreneurial career selling beer to fellow high school students, this enterprising Canadian becomes an electrician and rents music rehearsal spaces on the side.
International Music Reselling Service Sharing Economy Social Media

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What It's About

A serial entrepreneur upgrades from reselling beer to recording spaces.

Business Model
Skills Required
Communication & Coordination
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Scope out the competition—what are they offering, and at what price point? Can you do better and still turn a profit? Consider the type of customers you want to attract and envision the type of service you want to provide them. Don't lose sight of this image!

Fun Fact

You know those angry police officers mentioned earlier in the story? Now that Jacob is an adult, they tell him that his bootlegging operation was a pretty brilliant money-making move for a 16-year-old to pull off. Still, SHS recommends that you don't try this at home, kids...

Notes from Chris

Episode 957
For Jacob Pippus, his love of entrepreneurship started at an early age. Short of cash and wanting a ticket to an upcoming WWE wrestling event, this elementary school student was undeterred. He printed and sold a dozen "This sucks, I'd rather be skateboarding" T-shirts to friends at his school. Wrestling ticket secured.

His next venture was admittedly illegal but no less entrepreneurial. You see, in high school, Jacob learned how to brew his own beer. And rather than just share it with friends, he promptly sold it at skatepark out of the back of his family minivan.

The business was immediately profitable (surprise…) and he doubled his money with each batch. Not surprisingly, however, the venture was short-lived as soon the police showed up at his house to discuss reports of a kid bootlegger selling the beer out of a van.

Fortunately, he avoided further trouble with the law and, shortly after high school graduation, Jacob jumped on a plane to Costa Rica for his next adventure. He was soon offered a job at the hostel where was staying at, so naturally, he just missed his flight home. Soon he put his entrepreneur cap back on and opened his own information center with bicycles, scooters, and a dirtbike for rent. He hired two employees and life was good.

But after his short vacation turned into roughly seven years, Jacob, now 25 years old, decided that it was time to make moves to secure his future … so he gave up his life as a semi-retired beach bum and headed back to Vancouver, Canada.

It’s in Vancouver where we pick up the story. Back home, Jacob became an apprentice electrician and was also playing drums in the local music scene. Through his after-hours activity, he noticed something: many of the local rehearsal spaces were poorly maintained, difficult to work with, and expensive.

He rented a permanent rehearsal space that his band shared with another band, but that place wasn’t much better. When the second band unexpectedly moved out, the landlord promised to get a new one in there as soon as possible, but Jacob wasn’t worried. Instead, he saw an opportunity and told the landlord that he’d pay the full rent.

That’s how the idea for Red Brick Music Studios was born. Jacob was upfront with the landlord that he intended to make a profit, which was fine because the landlord was just happy to have a reliable, long term tenant.

In 2017, a larger space in Jacob’s building became available and he moved there adding a second, larger studio in the process. Today Red Brick earns about $1,000 per month profit and it only requires about an hour per week of Jacob’s time to manage and maintain … which is music to his ears.

He says he’s most proud of the community of like-minded individuals that he’s created and grateful that he’s able to give them a place to rehearse that they can not only afford to pay for but that they feel fortunate to be a part of.

After completing his electrician’s apprenticeship, Jacob plans to open his own electrical company. He’s also currently looking to expand to a second studio location in the Vancouver area that is just as automated and passive as the first.

For him, this will mean work weeks will become shorter and his vacations will become longer, time that will come in handy with a recent purchase of land he made down in Costa Rica. And of course, he’s planning to start a business there, too.



Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"Build a place that 'one ups' the competition, set a high standard, and be consistent with what you are providing your customers. Your clients or customers will appreciate that and remain loyal to you."
—Jacob Pippus #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau