Tim Truax has been investing his free time in a small business he owns and manages.
He has clients, expenses and, of course, income. In that way, his job is similar to peers who mow lawns and prune shrubs. But rather than cutting branches and blades of grass, Tim wields his blades on sheep.
He runs his very own shearing business, Truax Shearing.
Tim, a junior at Pitman High School, started down the road to his business when he began showing sheep nine years ago. His older brother had shown sheep, so Tim wanted to try it, too.
As he grew more knowledgeable, he began branching out to other aspects of sheep showing. In 2011, a family friend asked him to shear three sheep, and he jumped at the opportunity.
As his business developed, Tim learned techniques and gathered advice from clients.
As he's sharpened his skills, he's seen Truax Shearing grow quite a bit. In June and July, Tim sheared about 115 sheep for 17 customers. He now has about seven regular clients who call on a yearly basis. Subtracting expenses, Tim had a $1,100 profit from May through July.
Through his business, Tim says he's learned important life lessons. He knows it's important to manage time well when on a job, so he has learned strategies to work more efficiently. Tim is fully self-reliant in his business. He is in charge of scheduling jobs, communicating with clients and getting the shears sharpened.
Tim plans to attend California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and the University of California at Davis to study veterinary medicine.
"I believe that my business is preparing me to learn hard work. It's also making money going toward attending these colleges," he says.
Tim's advice for those interested in showing sheep: "Start ASAP, ask for help from me or other exhibitors you know, and learn as much as you can. That is how I became involved in the industry and its rewarding experiences."
His tips for those wanting to start a business: "Have a game plan, know what you are going to do price-wise and how you are going to run your business. Try to avoid disorganization and spending money."
Mark Borges is a freshman at Hughson High School and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom Program.