In Junior High, while growing up in Huntington Beach, California, Jeff bought Jolly Ranchers, Laffy Taffy squares for .05 each and sold them for .10 each or 3 for .25 at school. Business on the playground and black top was booming.
Then came the cinnamon toothpick craze of the early 80’s and Jeff was in his kitchen cooking cinnamon toothpicks in cinnamon oil and selling baggies for $1 for 10 sticks (while other kids were selling “other mind altering stuff in other baggies). He experienced his first “slap” when the principle called him into the office and told him no more selling stuff on school grounds. School was for book learning, not selling stuff.
As a teenager, Mills may not have known the word leverage, but he understood the concept.
Amazingly, he didn’t start out on Wall Street.
Instead, in 1999 he was working as a youth pastor in Minneapolis, Minnesota, earning about $32,000 a year with not much hope of ever earning any more. Debt weighed heavily on him from seminary and Bible College tuition, and from making some unwise choices with his credit cards. Mills resigned himself to never again being debt-free unless he won the lottery or ”figured out some super-Jedi investment technique.”
His knew his best option would be to take on a second job, but the ministry took most of his energy and even more of his time. Times were so bad at one point, Mills got a paper route and delivered newspapers at 4:00 am to 8:00 am 14 days a month, just to put an extra $400 on the table.