Air-soft entrepreneur has a blast making money

Staff writer

Aaron Woelk, 15, did not start out trying to make money with his air-soft gun hobby; he just wanted a gun that worked so he could shoot his friends, all in fun, of course.

“I had been saving my money for a while, looking online, and learning all I could about them before I bought my first one,” Woelk said. “Then I bought one and it broke right away. I tried to fix it, then figured out I could make more money just selling the parts online and using that to buy a new one.”

Without realizing it, Woelk’s air-soft business in Goessel was underway, and before he knew it, he had a whole bedroom at his home full of air soft guns, broken air-soft guns, pellets, and lots and lots of parts.

“It’s just a blast, something fun to do,” Woelk said. “My friends and I get together and plan strategies, ambushes, and just have a lot of fun hunting each other down; but no one gets hurt. These things just shoot little plastic pebbles, and we all wear safety goggles. I make sure everyone’s goggles are on before I say, ‘go’.”

Woelk started buying and selling air-soft guns and parts in October 2011. Since then friends at school and online have learned to come to him with mechanical problems.

“Everyone online knows me and we trade parts a lot,” he said. “That is really how I make the money. I can buy broken down or jammed guns for $50 to $60, take them all apart, replace the broken parts, and then resell them for $100 to $120.”

Woelk admitted however, that it was not really about the money.

“I’m saving what I can for college, but really I just do this for fun, and I make multiple trades for parts I need more than I really sell.”

However, Woelk found that his air-soft gun hobby could also bring in money through planned battles.

“People just didn’t really have a place to shoot these. So I organize events where I charge $5 per person to come out and use my equipment,” he said. “It’s much cheaper than other places. In Derby and Wichita you have to pay at least $10 per person just to go shoot air-soft guns on a range.”

Woelk said his friends were very supportive of his hobby and offered their pastures as places for the group to get together and battle.

“Last week we had eight people, Tuesday there were more than 20 who wanted to come out,” he said. “Everyone is always asking when we are going to do it again. It’s just so much fun, a great stress reliever from school.”

Woelk is a typical busy student at Goessel High School. In addition to being a mostly straight-A student, he plays percussion in the school band, runs cross-country, and plays basketball. He also works part-time as a dietary aide at Bethesda Home in Goessel.

“It’s always hard to find a time when we can get together,” he said. “But I enjoy working on air-soft whenever I have a free moment. It just something I like to do. And I can pay for it with all my trading and parts sales.”

Woelk works with both gas and spring powered air-soft guns. His future plans include going to an official air-soft war games course with his friends, but for now, a local pasture is great for playing with air-soft guns.

The high school sophomore said making money is not hard when one enjoys what he is doing and is willing to work at it.

“It is more profitable than playing video games all the time,” he said. “I still do that, but this is actually more fun.”

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