“My mother had given me all that money and now they didn’t have what they need to pay their bills. It was a pivotal moment in my life.” A hunger to fund himself emerged; an entrepreneurial spirit that has been fostered by Buffer throughout his career. “I resolved never to ask my parents for money ever again. I would find a way to make money and keep making it. From that moment forward, I devoted my free time to conceiving, building and marketing a business…”
It’s hard to imagine how a business selling to fellow pupils could fill Buffer’s pockets with $800-$1,000 a month but that it did. His business wherewithal was evident with a deal the young salesman made with his gym coach at the time. “In my senior year I had cut a number of gym classes and used to go for breakfast at the diner across the street instead," Buffer explained. "I was in danger of failing gym, of all things. So, I built the world’s most beautiful necklace and presented it to the coach.”
Not even out of school and Bruce was already able to make deals through his business creations. What was initially a jewellery money-making scheme, grew into a job at a company selling office supplies over the phone. A 5am wake-up was more than most would do at that age to earn, but for Bruce this was a key step in his journey as a creative and fruitful businessman. Whilst attending business and film classes at Santa Monica College and keeping time for martial arts training and surfing, Bruce became a top salesman in a matter of weeks.
“I was making something like $500 to $800 a week, not the piddling $250 to $400 they had promised.” But his rise to the top of the business chain wasn’t without setbacks. “Everything came crashing down and I experienced one of the worst summers of my life.” Bruce discovered leaving a company to form his own and taking their top salespeople with them wasn’t to be without consequences: "I was working for the bosses, turning over these sales like crazy, when it dawned on me: I knew how to do this now. I could do this myself and keep all the money.”
After partnering with another of the company’s salespeople, Bruce set up his own shop. Not long after, Bruce would receive the news that would shatter his newly created business. “My attorney informed me that I was being sued for $1m by my former employers. Here I was thinking I was pursuing the American dream, but really it was built on distrust and lies.”
After making a deal to return to the company, along with 90% of the salespeople, Buffer eventually moved onto fresh projects. Having dabbled again in telemarketing, the sale of nutritional products and aiding his family in collectable shows, Bruce’s business career mixed with a family development that would set him up for life. “I was watching boxing matches on TV. More than anything I couldn’t help noticing the man announcing those fights. He was tall, handsome, and debonair. That tuxedo of his gave him a James Bond look," Buffer said. “Every time they flashed his name on the screen, I felt chills run through me.”