Mark Cuban shares his first jobs, from selling garbage bags to working at a deli

Mark Cuban
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Mark Cuban started working odd jobs before he was a teenager.

"I sold garbage bags door-to-door when I was 12 years old because my dad told me the only way I could get new basketball shoes was if I had a job," the self-made billionaire said on a 2019 episode of GQ's "Actually Me."

He sold enough to get his kicks, but didn't stop there. In his teens, Cuban resold baseball cards, stamps and coins to make extra cash.

He also worked as a box boy, laid carpet and did other "random, random jobs," he recalled, including slicing meat at a deli. That gig didn't last long, though: "I was chopping chip chopped ham. I wasn't paying attention and this finger went right into the blade that was spinning around and chopped off the end of my finger. It went flying, I'm bleeding everywhere. That job ended like that."

Mark Cuban on a 2019 episode of GQ's "Actually Me."

In college, Cuban continued working various jobs, from hosting disco parties to giving dance lessons, to pay for his tuition. "I got paid $25 an hour back then to teach [disco] dancing to sororities," he said on a podcast with Jim Rome. "It was the best job ever."

After graduating from Indiana University, he moved back to Pittsburgh, his hometown, and got a job at Mellon Bank, but it wasn't for him. "A lot of my peers at Mellon were just happy to have a job," Cuban wrote in an essay for Forbes.

He wasn't: "I wanted to be more entrepreneurial. I took the initiative. I used to send notes to the CEO of the bank. I once cut out a magazine story about how corporations could save money by withholding Social Security and sent it to him. He sent me a thank-you letter back."

His entrepreneurial spirit would eventually serve him well, but first, it cost him a job. After Mellon, Cuban moved to Texas to work for a computer software company, but he got fired for closing a deal without approval from the CEO. That led to him starting his own computer consulting service, MicroSolutions, which he went on to sell to CompuServe for $6 million.

By 40, he'd cofounded another company called Audionet, which became Broadcast.com and was acquired by Yahoo for $5.7 billion. That made Cuban a billionaire at 40.

"Never stop learning. Never stop grinding," he advises young people just starting out their careers. And, "Never stop loving every single minute of your life," he adds.

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Mark Cuban: "One of the great lies of life is follow your passions"
Mark Cuban: "One of the great lies of life is follow your passions"