For Marcus Gram, moving to a new city and taking a chance on a new business opportunity was a move that has proven to be beneficial. As he works to create more opportunities for himself and others, his entrepreneurial endeavors are also setting his family up for the future. Since launching his vending machine business, Joyner Vending, Marcus has brought in over $7,000 monthly and has grown from 2 vending machines to 14. Learn more about Marcus’ growth with Joyner Vending, other projects he has on the horizon, and find out how he stays on task as a young entrepreneur.
Lela: How did you venture into the vending machine business?
Marcus: A friend of mine introduced me to the idea. I’m from New York, and I moved to Philadelphia to enter into the real estate business. I invested in the vending machine business as a way to get a few assets and use that money to purchase real estate property. Since then, I’ve grown from 2 machines to 14 machines. [By the time this is published] I will have 15 machines, and look to add 1-2 additional ones once school eventually starts.
Lela: What were some of your initial challenges when you ventured out to become an entrepreneur?
Marcus: My vending machines are located in places that are open 24/7. So, you never know when something may happen. Even if I’m busy, I have to drop what I’m doing to go handle issues because the longer you wait, the less money you’ll make. Most of my locations are in the Philadelphia area. So, that helps.
This year, business has fluctuated. Due to the places where my machines are located, such as apartments buildings and college campuses, business was astronomical in those locations. Then, as things started to progress with COVID-19 and students leaving campus and student housing, I went from about 500 people using the machines down to about 250. So, there have been ups and downs this year alone.
Lela: What keeps you motivated?
Marcus: Since I grew up poor, my motivation comes from wanting to change my life as well as my family’s life.
Lela: What advice would you offer to other young Black men who are looking to become entrepreneurs?
Marcus: Do not look at anyone else’s journey and compare their journey to your own, especially those in their early 20s. When I first graduated from college, I was 22-years-old. Some of my peers were doing better than me, but I never let that discourage me. Everyone’s success comes at different times. Just continue to keep your head up. If you’re paying attention to what someone else is doing and not staying in your own lane, you’ll lose focus.
Lela: What advice would you give entrepreneurs who would like to start their own vending machine business?
Marcus: I would recommend people take my vending machine course, get the ebook or schedule a consultation, which can be found here marcusgram.podia.com
Lela: You’ve gone on to expand your entrepreneurial spirit into merchandise and consultations. You even have a podcast called “Law of Investment.” With so many projects taking place at once, what are your tips for staying on task?
Marcus: Delegate! That is the one thing I have definitely learned to do is to delegate. I have burned out, made mistakes, and missed deadlines because I was doing too many things on my own. Being able to delegate has helped me become more successful. Now I can put more focus into other things. I’ve hired an assistant, a copywriter, and a project manager as I’ve continued to grow outside of the vending space. So, delegating and asking for help has definitely helped me stay on task.
Lela: Being an entrepreneur is a non-stop job. What do you like to do when you have some free time?
Marcus: Sports are back. So, I get to watch that on television. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, most of the things I like to do were shut down, such as going to the movies, bowling, etc.
In addition to watching sports, I’ve had more time to read. I like reading autobiographies because I like to read others stories and learn about their turning point. How and when did they become successful? I last read the late Kobe Bryant’s book The Mamba Mentality: How I Play. I took so many lessons from that book. One thing I learned is to always continue to work hard no matter how talented or successful you are. Continue to outwork yourself. When I wake up every day, I tell myself that whatever money I made yesterday doesn’t matter. I never want to get too comfortable with my success.
Lela: So, what are some of your goals for this year and long-term?
Marcus: One big thing is I’m closing on a few real estate properties in Detroit soon. In the next few years, I hope to have at least 10-15 investment properties. Additionally, I’m very excited about starting my own autism agency, which will be named We Care Support Services. The agency will provide job coaching for adults with autism, in addition to community and behavior services. We were just approved and are hoping to launch very soon.
My main goal – short and long-term – is to continue creating generational wealth for my family.
To learn more about Marcus’ vending machines and what’s coming up next for the young entrepreneur, be sure to visit: marcusgram.com/brothergram/. Additionally, follow him on social media @iambrother_gram on Instagram and @BrotherGram on Twitter.