Think Different Theory

The Making of Josh Forti – Part 1: The 9 Year Old Who Sold Lemonade


In this episode, and the next two, I’m going to tell my story all the way from age 9 to current age. This episode covers from around age 9 to age 14, which is when I got my first job.

My goal with these episodes is to help you all get to know me better and understand where I came from and see that I’m not special.

I am preparing to roll out “Mini-Series” of content here on the podcast where we do X number of episodes on a specific topic. The first mini Series will come out the first week of March (Episode 33) and will be 6 episodes long over two weeks. It will be called “Designing The Life Of Your Dreams” and so I want you all to really know me and my story better so they can see that is exactly what I did.


When we look only at the success a person has, we sometimes think they’ve led a charmed life, or that they possess natural abilities that others just don’t have. As we dive into my backstory in this episode, I hope you enjoy hearing the lessons I learned from my first few business ventures as a kid, and how that helped to shape me into who I am today.

Here are the key topics discussed in this episode:

  • The purpose of sharing my story (3:30)
  • My struggles with a money mindset early on (7:21)
  • How I made my first money (8:30)
  • A key lesson from my parents  (9:15)
  • Moving across the country and starting over (19:30)


Be sure to follow me on the below platforms:

Subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, or Stitcher.

Instagram @joshforti




February 25, 2019


Be sure to follow me on Instagram @joshforti

You can find the transcripts and more at

You can find this episode plus all the previous episode here

Be sure to grab a copy of The Mindshift Playbook here

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One of the biggest questions that I get asked most often, it probably the most often actually question that I get asked is, Josh, how did you get started? How did you go from farm boy that knew nothing? That was this crazy kid that had no social media presence at all or online presence at all to where you’re at today. And so I really want to address that story in the next couple episodes of the podcast because I think it can help a lot of people. And it’s a fun story. It really is. So let’s dive in.


Here’s my issue. I want to find the answers to life’s biggest questions. Things like how do I become happy and live with purpose? How do I make more money doing what I love and what does it mean to be truly successful in all areas of life? My name is Josh Forti, @JoshForti on Instagram, and I ask life’s biggest questions and share the answers with you. My goal is to help you find purpose, happiness, and open your mind to new realms of possibility by helping you think differently about everything you do know. And understand on this podcast we think different, we dream bigger and we live in a world without limits. This is a new paradigm. Welcome to The Think Different Theory.

01:16 What’s up guys? Welcome back to another episode of The Think Different Theory. My name is Josh Forti and we are on episode number 30 of The Think Different Theory. So welcome back to the show and I have an exciting podcast here for you today because in this episode we’re going to kind of go back and pull back the curtains and and go back in time, several years actually years and years back to my origin story and basically how I got to where I’m at today because one of the biggest questions, if not the biggest question, there’s probably is the biggest question that I get asked on a weekly basis or a monthly basis, whether it’s on Instagram or when I meet people at events or when I’m speaking is Josh, how did you get started? How did you go from this crazy farm boy that didn’t have texting, didn’t have Instagram, didn’t have social media at all, or even Internet until you were 18 years old to where you’re at today.


What does that story, what does that look like? And you know, how do you do it or how did you do it? And I think that it’s a cool story because my purpose in sharing this is not to boast in any way because you know, I look at my story and I look at where I, what I’ve done and I go, oh gosh, I have so much to do and so much you still yet to accomplish. But I do think it’s important for me as an influencer, me as someone with an audience and you as you grow, even right from the beginning to share your story. And I share my story a lot. I teach through storytelling and you know, I do a lot of personal branding and so I want you guys to get to know me a little bit better. And once again, not to brag, but to show you that it’s possible.


And I think that as we go through this story, you’re going to look at me and go, Oh Dang, like you really were clueless. And the fact of the matter is, I really was like, I had no idea what I was doing, but my story is just a story of someone that was overwhelmingly excited to even have the opportunity to, go out and do this. And just the story of someone that never gave up. And as you’re going to see here, I really don’t have any special talents. I’m not the smartest kid. Uh, my, my grades in school weren’t not exceptional. A’s and B’s and C’s with, I think I had like one A grade. Um, and then the rest were like B’s and C’s. So nothing too crazy or exceptional. I was homeschooled my whole life.


So, my purpose in sharing this story is to inspire you that are out there right now to go out and really know that you can do it. And what’s cool about this is I’m getting ready right now to come out with a series. And it’s interesting cause when we’re playing around with The Think Different Theory, I’m, I’m brand new to podcasting, I’m brand new to the whole, this whole realm. And uh, there’s really not anyone out there that’s really doing what I want to do with the podcasting world. And so what I’m getting ready to do right now is we’re going to announce kind of like a mini-series where it’s going to be a set number of podcast episodes, like maybe like six episodes. I, in fact, I think the first one is six episodes. Exactly. Um, we’re, we’re going to go through it and pick a topic and each one of those episodes is going to specifically build on each other.


So it will be like, you know, episode number 30, I think, I don’t know when it’s gonna come out, but let’s just say like episode number 35, you know, a lesson one of six of, you know, however many episodes that we’re going to do are one of six of building blank or, you know, working on blah or, you know, whatever that thing is. And teaching a very specific lesson in the form of audio. And because I think that this is a very powerful, a lot of people, uh, that I’ve interviewed and that I’ve talked to when it comes to podcasting, they listened to podcasts in the gym or they listen to podcasts in the car. Those are primarily the two places that I’ve found that people listen to podcasts. And so my goal is if I’m like, okay, if I can come out with know 20 minute clips on how to go and do something – 20 minute podcast episodes on how to go to do something that’s really gonna be able to help people because they’re going to be able to just plug it into their ear and, uh, listen to that 20 minute clip at the gym or on their car ride and go through that for six days and hopefully become a transformed by the end of it and go out and be able to apply that to their life.


So I do have a question for you though before we dive in and get started here. Where do you listen to podcasts the most? Is that in the gym? Is in the car, is at home, is that at work? Where do you listen to the most? If you could just do me a huge favor and hit me up on Instagram at Josh Forti and send me that message, that would really, really help me and just say, you know, Hey Josh, uh, I listen to podcasts most here. I was listening to episode La, uh, you know, and this is where I, uh, I’m just want to listen to what most, that’d be awesome. Or send me an email at, that would be not perfect as well. Just let me know that here. That would be awesome.


But I say all that because we’re gonna be going in and doing these series and I think it’s important for you to kind of better know me a little bit better, know my story and know where I came from and what I was able to do with my life so that you can actually believe that it’s possible for you as well. And so that you know that I’m walking the walk. I’m actually applying what I teach here and what I put out on my podcast here. And this podcast is really my way of documenting my journey through life and, um, what I’m doing, what I’m currently working on. So each one of these series is either something that I’ve learned in the past or something that I am currently learning right now. And I’m very, very excited for that. And so I try to share a lot of very real and very raw content there.


So let’s dive in. This is the story of me. I think that’ll be two podcast episodes long and you’re going to get part one and part two. And I’m super, super excited about that. So let’s dive in. All right, so let’s back up. Let’s back up all the way till I was nine years old. So this would have been 16 years ago. That’s crazy. Holy Cow. I’m 25 years old, but when I was nine years old, I had my first ever business or my first ever form of generating money outside of, you know, rubbing my grandfather’s feet for a couple bucks. Right? Um, so back at that age, I was young, I was ambitious, I had blonde hair, and basically I had way more energy than my parents knew what to do with. And I’ve always had, I didn’t call it the entrepreneurial mindset, but the mindset of success.


I knew that I wanted to make a lot of money and that I wanted to be financially free from a very young age. And growing up my parents, we didn’t like, we didn’t have a lot of money and my dad worked very, very hard and I love my parents dearly. They were the best when it came to money managing. So they instilled a lot of really, really good things into me like hard work and, you know, being respectful of people and you know, my beliefs and my faith and a lot of really good things. But money wasn’t something that was, was plentiful around where I grew up. And so, you know, money was hard to come by it. And so I had a very limited mindset when it came to money, but I knew that if I got started young, you know, I was determined that I was going to be a millionaire young, that I was going to change the world.


I was going to do all these things but I had no idea how, but when I was nine years old, I had this idea and we lived in a little town in California in the mountains called Wrightwood California. You can look it up there. It was, it was a nice little town at the time. I think it’s a little bit more run down now, but um, we lived in this house and uh, it was at the top of the mountain or the top of this hill so that it was more of a resort town or like, yeah, I kind of like a resort town and so there wasn’t a whole ton of people that lived in it and there was like a main road that went through the town. And then I lived at the top of the hill. All right.


So like the road went through and then you take it, if you’re coming into Wrightwood, you’d go left up the hill and you go to the top of the hill, you take a right. And we were up there like it was almost like a dead end basically where we were up at the top of this mountain and uh, every now and then though, like at that dead end there was like a hiking trail. So every now and then people would like drive by our house and they would go like to like take a walk or take a hike and a, I was like, you know what, there’s people there. I wonder if I could get some money from him. And so I went and I set up my first lemonade stand and you know, I started selling lemonade during the summertime and that was my first ever, you know, way of making money.


And my parents were awesome. They, they went through and they didn’t pay for anything, so they would, they would spot me the money to pay for the ingredients. And then out of the profits that I made out of the cookie, all right, out of the lemonade that I sold, they would take, they would actually take like the cost from that and make me pay them back. And it was just great training and great lessons in business. And, um, you know, if you have kids and our audience part, you guys probably don’t have kids, but when you do have kids, I highly recommend doing that. So, I went, so I went and that business didn’t last very long because then winter came and people don’t buy lemonade. And I wasn’t going to sit out in the cold, uh, at a table in winter. But I had this mindset, I was determined and bound, determined to continue to make money.


And so on the weekends I convinced my mom and, and dad to, to let me go down to the little store. So we had one little store in Wrightwood called Jenkins. I think is what it was called. And I remember Jenkins because they had the best grape juice and I know it was just Welch’s but for me as a kid, that was my favorite juice in the whole world was Welch’s grape juice. And so I convinced my parents to let me go down to Jensen’s and stand out front and sell something. And so I’m like sitting there and I’m like, okay, what can I sell? You know, because once again, like I, I’ve got this, you know, entrepreneurship gene that I didn’t know I had at the time, the success gene of just kind of being ambitious and wanting to make money.


And, uh, you know, this is all about kind of building the life of my dreams. I really had this vision in my head that I was going to be successful and I was going to do whatever it took to make that happen. And I was very money focused at the time and I believe that I was very money focused because it was always lacking in our family right now. And we never knew hunger, like we never went without. But, um, you know for me like having $100 in the bank was just an astronomical amount of money. So I convinced my parents to let me sell a hot chocolate down at Jenkins. And so I would go down there, I’d make up these little hot chocolate things that I would stand out there and sell them and I remember this one lady recommended that we sell cookies.


She’s like, man, if you sold cookies, I think that would be a hit. And my mom makes the best chocolate chip cookies. I mean, like fresh hot out of the oven. They’re the best thing in the entire world. I loved them. And so I would go and I would once again get the ingredients, my parents would pay for it, and then they would keep a record of how much it costs. And I would make the chocolate chip cookies and I’d pull them out of the oven and I’d put three in a bag and I would take hot chocolate and I’d go down to Jenkins and I’d sell them. And I would usually sell out in like the first, like 30 minutes. All right. Like, and I remember there’s one day it’s like etched in my mind forever. I was down there and it was just a blizzard.


It was a blizzard and I have actually still have the bag that I carried these chocolate chip cookies in and I had them all in my little bag and I had these little patches of hot chocolate and it was so cold and it was so blizzardy that we, we had to stop selling hot chocolate, but I sold out of all the cookies and there was one lady and I’ll never, I don’t remember her name, but I remember her saying out, standing out there and her telling me, she’s like Josh. And I don’t remember if she actually said my name or not, but kid or Josh or whatever it was, you keep this up, you’re going to go really, really far in life because you’re learning things right now that you’re going to apply later on in the future. So keep this up. Your parents are doing good, well done.


And she bought me out of the rest of the cookies. I think it would. There’s like three or four packs left. All right. And I remembered that. I remembered that piece there and I still remember it to this day. And I remember going home and feeling good about myself and kind of applauding for my next thing. But I had in my head, I had this vision, I had this very clear thing that I wanted to do and I didn’t know what that was. Right. And so I guess clear, it’s not the right word, but I knew that I wanted more and I knew that, you know, this entrepreneurship thing was for me or, or this, you know, wanting to run my own business – I had never heard of the term entrepreneurship at the time – but wanting of this business was for me wanting a business, wanting employees, wanting to build this whole, you know, this whole basically empire of whatever that was at the time.


And I didn’t know if it was going to be cookies or if it was going to be lemonade, and obviously it turned out to be another of those, but it was very, very driven at the time. So fast forward, I’m just kinda trying to go through and kind of give you guys some background about me. But fast forward, uh, to the time when we moved across country. So my parents, we, we lived up in the mountains of, uh, of California and my dad would, would take a 45 minute to an hour commute down to work in the suburbs of La each and every day. They just wanted to get us out of, uh, out of the city and, you know, upward with a little bit quieter. I was homeschooled my whole life and so I got to watch my dad work really, really hard every single day and driving down and come back up and learn a lot of life lessons there.


But my next business didn’t really happen until after we had moved across country. Now, many people don’t know this about me, but my family is a little bit crazy. I love my parents to death, but my mom and dad felt that God was calling them out of California. And so, uh, my, my parents one day decided that it was time and that we were going to leave in September. And so my dad quit his job. He sold the house and he purchased a semi truck and he purchased a semitrailer behind that semi truck and we literally loaded every single thing that we had into the back of that semi truck. And we sold the house and then we bought an Rv. And so my dad packed us all, all eight of us kids into the back of this RV and we drove across country, put a trailer on the back and we drove across country and we were headed towards Vermont.


We had no house lined up, we had no anything lined up. And long story short, we ended up in Indiana. We never made it to Vermont. And that’s where my parents reside now. And then my dad flew out and drove the truck back out as well, and we had all of our stuff. And so once again, I was dead set and determined. I was like, I am not going to let you know, life pass me by. I’m not going to go and you know, uh, you know, work for somebody else or let the fact that I’m young stop me from making money. And so we lived in a house in New Haven, Indiana for exactly one year. So my 11th birthday, uh, was while we were driving out, actually took place in Washington. Uh, but as we were driving out to Indiana, we had a my 11th birthday and on February 4th, we moved in to the New Haven house and we were there for exactly one year, 365 days to the day is how long we were in there.


And I started a bread business, a bread baking business, and I also started a snowplowing business, or snow shovelling business, in the winter time while we were there. And so, uh, literally we pulled in, it was in February and I got right to work right away. We unpacked and you know, got settled in and started making friends in the neighborhood. And my older brother went and he’s actually the one that kind of inspired me to go out and take advantage of the neighborhood. My older brother went out and he started a lawn mowing business in the summer and so he would go around and he, you know, saved up as much money as he could and would, you know, push lawns. He was trying to buy a laptop and a, so I went out, I was like, well, he’s mowing all the lawns.


I can’t do that. What can I do? I didn’t let that stop me. So I went and, um, I knew how to bake bread. My mom makes bread from scratch and my sisters do now as well, and it’s awesome bread. And so I knew how to make cinnamon raisin bread really well. That was the best one in the family at making it. It was 11 years old at the time. And so I literally went on the computer and I printed off a little flyers and I went around door to door and I handed out these flyers for these loaves of bread that I was going to be making fresh, made a homemade bread or delivered right to your door. And I sold it for $3 a loaf and $3.50 a loaf for the cinnamon raisin bread. And once again, I paid for the ingredients up front myself.


I ground the flour from wheat. Literally we had a grinder there. So I would grind the wheat into flour and I would make bread from scratch and I would go and deliver it door to door to door. And the reason I tell you all of this was because even when I was young, I was, I was completely average. All right. I had no special talent except for hard work and my, my parents and just encouraged us all the work hard. And you know, I love my family, but I was the hardest working one out of any of them when it came to business. And my older brother took a different route in life. He got more into politics or whatnot, but I watched him work really, really hard towards his goals. And he went out and he worked on political campaigns and you know, he volunteered at a bunch of different places and did all sorts of really cool stuff.


Um, but, and I, and I saw that example from him and he’s not special, you know, there’s nothing inherently special about him or about me or about any of my family, but our parents just taught us to work really, really hard. And that’s when my older brother did. And that’s what I did. And so ever since I was young, I had this, this vision in my head, in this mindset that said, I’m going to go out and the life that I want to create and I’m going to go out and not let my circumstances dictate how much money I make, I’m going to take every advantage that I can. And so I ended up selling bread for the summer and then in the winter time I literally went door to door and handed out flyers for my snow shovelling business.


And I’ll never forget my mom was, she helped me with the marketing side of it and putting together the flyer and it’s just amazing to me as I look back now how many things that I like know and teach now, we actually did back then. It was funny because my mom put on there, we got this like clip art of a guy who like was shovelling snow and had hurt his back. And so we said, don’t break your back in the cold. Let me come and snuggle a shovel, your snow shovel your driveway clear of snow. And I just went literally every single door to, I don’t know, probably 200 houses, two or three hundred houses and I printed off and I had to pay for the ink and pay for the paper and go door to door to door and you know, made a couple of hundred bucks over the winter time, get my workout in.


And just shovelling snow, shovelling snow and uh, baking bread. And I didn’t let my circumstances stop me and this created me, this created who I was today, not special skill sets. And I did this after school. I was homeschooled and my parents really didn’t let us go and do things in the daytime during school. And if they did, they didn’t let us skip school at all. Like we still had to go back and do our homework and made sure that we, you know, followed through with everything and actually did what it was that we were supposed to do. And then that led to the next house that we lived in, I moved from there in New Haven to Saint Joe, Indiana, where my parents currently live now to a 22 acre farm. And this poses a whole new problem for me. All right.


And this is going to wrap up part one of this story, but this posed a whole new problem for me because up until this point in my life I had been around people. I had been living in a subdivision of some sort or around other houses with close neighbors in close proximity so that I could go knock on doors. And so now we move out there and I’m 12 years old now at the time and my closest neighbor is over a half a mile away and so I can’t mow lawns. These lawns are huge and everybody has a riding lawnmower. I can’t go door to door because it would take for absolutely ever for me to walk from house to house to house and it wasn’t practical and I just, I couldn’t do it like they were half a mile, half mile apart. And so I had to get creative with different ways to go out and make money and go out and really design the life of my dreams.


But I remember from day one, from for all the way back when I was nine years old, all the way up until I was 2122 years old. When I ended up moving out of my parents’ house, I went and made this mental decision even when I was young, thanks to my parents to go out and really go and create my life and to learn as much as I possibly could. I hated books. I hated school. I hated reading. I hated learning. How I learned was by doing. And so my mindset has very much shifted that, you know, and I read a lot now more than I do. I read and then I go do and I learn and study and then I go do. But back then, the best thing that I could have possibly done for myself was actually just to go and learn and do it.


And by knocking on doors, literally door to door to door to these houses, and literally sitting out there with lemonade and chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate. I learned sales. I learned what people liked and what people didn’t like. And you know, it’s hard to tell a young kid no, but a lot of people did it. And so I got to learn those skill sets. And Gary Vee talks about, you know, pulling flowers out of the pot and going up and, you know, selling it to the people and say, Hey, I’ll go plant your flowers for you. But, you know, I had a similar hustle like that, selling bread, selling lemonade, selling hot chocolate, selling snow shovelling. I got creative with it. And so as I moved into this new house, I did had to go get creative.


And at this point I was old enough to really have my first job. And I ended up getting my first job at age 14 years old. And it was at a shooting range of a conservation club where they shot shotguns and I was the cleaner boy. And I remember it was a three mile walk to there. It was three miles up the road from where I lived. It was the only thing even remotely close. The nearest Walmart or major city was like 15 minutes or 20 minute drive away. And so I was the only thing you’ve been remotely close and they were only open on weekends. And so I had my mom take me down there. I figured out what I needed to do and found out that I needed to get a school permit from the actual, like school district that allowed me to go work.


And so I went up to the school district. I filed for that. And I got all the paperwork and I was down there every Saturday morning and Sunday morning at like 6:45 in the morning and it was a winter’s break. And so they didn’t really need help in the summertime. And I was, you know, working for my neighbors and uh, you know, doing farm stuff in the summertime. But in the winter when it was like 10 degrees outside, guess what? I couldn’t bike because it was icy. A lot of times my parents couldn’t take me because they were busy and I was 14 years old. I didn’t have a license. And so at 14 and at 15 years old, I would walk three miles to work and walk three miles back every day. Sometimes my parents would pick me up, but I was dedicated to making this happen and through those things and through those trials and errors that I learned and then I did those things, paid heaps and dividends in my life.


And I tell you this story, this sequence of stories as part one of my journey. In the next episode we’re going to dive into part two, which is actually how I went from that to where I’m at today. But learning these principles, I went and when after I left my parents’ home, I ran out of money. Guys, I literally didn’t have enough money to pay the bills and so I was driving for Uber and flipping stuff on Craigslist and like I said, we’re going to go into that more and I’m going to lay out exactly the framework that allowed me to pay for the courses and for the mentorship and for the coaching that I got to get to where I’m at today. And so I want to encourage you right now to think back. Maybe you’re in college right now, maybe you’re fresh out of college, maybe you’re a year into your entrepreneurship journey.


Maybe you’re a year or two into working your job in your corporate job and you’re not happy with where you’re at right now, wherever it is, chances are you’re probably not where you want to be at in life right now. Well, I want to encourage you to go back and look back at your life right now and think of all the lessons that you learned when you were younger that helped shape you to get to where you were at today. Because I think that it’s important to reflect and to look back and go, what was it that caused me to get to where I’m at? What were the things that my parents taught me or that someone else taught me that led me to where I’m at and how can I grow and really build off of that? And how has that influenced me?


And we’re going to talk more about that in detail, both positive and negatively. How those things can affect you. But I wanted to share this story, kind of paint more of this background so that you got to know me a little bit better. All right, so this is part one of a multiple part. I think there’s going to be two parts. Give you three. Who knows? I haven’t recorded them yet, but a part two and then maybe part three of my story leading up to the reveal in this rollout of a really cool thing that we’re going to be doing. Like I said, uh, to kind of helping you design your life and helping you ultimately become the person that you want to become and lead with passion, lead with purpose. But I knew at the time when I was very young that I was determined that I was driven and that I wanted to go create something that would allow me to have financial freedom.


And that’s what each one of these things taught me how to do and ultimately helped build what I have built today. And we’ll continue to build. All right, so never give up. If you’re young right now and listening, you know maybe I have some 16, 17, 18 year olds listening. Keep hustling. All right, keep learning sales. Keep going door to door. Now’s the time to mess up. If you’re in your twenties right now, you got plenty of time. We just wait until you hear tomorrow or I guess the next podcast episode about some of the mess ups that I made in my early twenties and ultimately the mess ups in the mistakes that I’m making now. I’m very, very excited about sharing this with you. I’m very passionate about this and I know this episode was a little bit longer, but when you understand that every part of your story ultimately shapes you and it’s what is going to attract people to you, all the sudden it becomes much more real and you value your story and your life so much more because you realize how powerful it is and how much it has shaped you to become the person that you are at today.


All right. All right guys. Looking forward to part two of the storyline that I’m telling you right now. On next episode. As always, hustle, hustle, God bless. Do not be afraid to think different. Those of us that think different are going to be the ones to change the world. And if you would, don’t forget, hit me up on Instagram please and let me know where do you most listened to podcasts? Do you listen to him in the gym, in the car ride home at work? Where do you listen to him? Hit me up on Instagram and let me know. I love you all and I will see you on the next episode. Take it easy fam piece.


Yo, what’s up guys? You’ve been listening to The Think Different Theory with myself, Josh Forti which I like to call a new paradigm of thinking and real quick, I got a question for you. Did you like this episode? If you did, I want to ask a huge favor. See, the biggest thing that helps this podcast grow and that will spread this message of positivity and making the world a better place is if you leave a review or rating and subscribe to the podcast. What that does is it basically tells the platforms that this is out on, that you like my stuff and that I’m doing something right. So if you could take like three seconds out of your day and subscribe, leave a rating and review, I would be forever grateful for you. Also, I want to hear from you. I want to know your feedback, your ideas, and your questions for future episodes. So be sure to hit me up on Instagram in the DM @JoshForti or via email