Join Date: Jul 2000
Bikes: 1959 Capo; 1980 Peugeot PKN-10; 1981 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;
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At age 18-24 (30 years ago), I combined summer jobs in stereo stores (repairs, installations, sales) and bike shops (repairs, assembly, sales) with self-employment in the same fields. I started by repairing bikes, stereos, appliances, etc. for friends and built up my business by word-of-mouth. The side benefit is that I gradually accumulated a nice collection of tools for mechanical and electrical work.
In parallel with possible self-employment, keep pounding the pavement, and be clean, respectful, and upbeat when you interview for possible jobs. Employers like positive, friendly, competent people with a good work ethic. You obviously like bicycles. You cannot succeed in a bike shop unless you also genuinely like working with customers.
A typical bike shop does half of its walk-in business on Saturdays. Offer to work one day per week, to help them through this peak period without straining their budget or existing staff. Prove yourself on Saturdays, and pretty soon you may be invited in to assemble and prep. bikes on Friday nights, etc.
One other thought -- use your time to practice your mechanical skills. After Kirk's Bikes went out of business, I was able to secure a position at Bikecology [Supergo.com], based on my demonstrable wheel-truing skills.
"Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069