When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Christopher Gonzales’ life is a living example of this proverbial phrase.
As a divorced dad of two teenagers, Christopher had to leave his construction career after an injury on the job. He now suffers from spinal cord damage which also caused bulging and herniated discs.
Because his injuries make it painful to move around in ways most people take for granted, Christopher isn’t able to work. He relies on his monthly disability checks. Financially, things were tight.
To keep himself busy, Christopher explored various new hobbies: painting, drawing, and woodworking. He saw a sports logo one day and thought he could carve it. So he tried it!
One piece can take him about nine hours from start to finish. Depending on how intricate the design is.
He started to make more and more. His friends took notice, and they began to ask him how much they could buy them for.
The more Christopher sold, the more spare change he had. Just a few were enough to cover a month’s worth of gas money!
Christopher knew his teenage daughter, Alexis, was active on social media so he rounded up a few of his finished pieces and asked her to share with her friends. He was hoping to just add a few orders.
“I told my daughter to put it on Instagram and see who wants it and give it to them,” Christopher said. They had no idea what would come of it.
Alexis not only posted it on Instagram, but she also tweeted it. She asked people to Direct Message her if they were interested and if they weren’t, to re-tweet. She also let people know that her dad could recreate other designs — that it wasn’t limited to only sports teams’ logos.
The tweet went viral. It’s now been retweeted over 200,000 times. Alexis said she woke up the next morning with almost 7,000 DM’s.
Now Christopher, along with the help of Alexis and his son, have created a system for orders and shipping. This accidental small business provided about $1,000 in less than two weeks!
He’s careful to not overwork himself due to his injuries, but he’s motivated to fulfill people’s orders.
Christopher told BuzzFeed News, “I would say I’m not gonna get rich from it — I won’t become a millionaire. I’m probably not buying a Rolls Royce. But I’m pretty happy. I might have money to go out to dinner every weekend. Is my car going to be empty of gas? Probably not. Am I gonna be watching a football game and have something extra for celery? Probably.”
Celery that’s been well earned. Christopher attributes his success not to the power of the internet, but the to “the power of positive people.”
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