Clifford Harris is a fresh face around the StreetWise office, having only been working as a vendor since late February. But he’s been able to jump right into the job, namely because of his ambition and natural abilities as a salesman. He vends his magazines at 69 W. Washington near the Washington stop off of the CTA Blue Line. Clifford grew up in Philadelphia and came to Chicago to attend school at Harry S. Truman College. He currently studies automotive technology.
Why did you come to StreetWise?
My friends actually pointed me in this direction, because [the articles in the magazine] are uplifting and motivating. Before, not everything that I was doing to make money was leaving me with the best ideas about how I was going to spend my future. Selling magazines has a better atmosphere and it has a better culture and that’s something that I wanted to do.
And as a vendor, I invest my money in my magazines and I get to go out and sell those magazines. So what I’m doing is becoming my own boss. That’s something that I really wanted to do and [StreetWise] is the best way.
Tell me about what you’re studying in school and why…
I’m studying automotive technology, because being a car owner, I’ve had problems with my car in the past. And I think having a car [and knowing how to fix it yourself] adds to whatever business you’re doing. If I could fix the cars [that my business uses], that would add to the business. I’d also be able to better maintain the business operations.
How do you think selling StreetWise will help with your future?
I think selling StreetWise is going to help me meet people and do business. And it’s going to take me from being someone who just wants to get in the game and make money to somebody who has a long career in business. It’s a business and it actually has a great product. That’s the best thing.
What is your career goal?
My career goal currently is that I’d like to own a car shop and a car lot. Then I’d like to be able to help [non-profits or social enterprises] with things like food deliveries, for example. Say Salvation Army has a delivery and they have to use a car. They can use one of the cars from my lot or from my garage. That’s what I’d be using my car lot for. So currently, I sell StreetWise to make money, but I mostly fix cars just to keep me going.
Do you have any family in the area?
Yes, actually. After I came up here, I ended up dating a girl in college and we went on to have two children together. I have a son and a daughter. My son is Noel and he’s 2 and my daughter is Jorie and she’s 1.
What is it about you that makes you successful as a magazine vendor?
Patience… I have learned that when one door of opportunity doesn’t open, just keep knocking until somebody picks up. It’s patience, because I’m out there and I’m focused until somebody comes along to give me some type of [opportunity]. Until then, I’m going to keep selling StreetWise.