When I was younger, I experimented with programming and some web development but never really got far with it. It took a few years until I started freelancing (in my teenage years). The reason for my freelancing interest was simple: I could do it, there was demand, and it generated some measly revenue in terms of a few haircuts, chiropractic adjustments, (and many disappointments).
The true start of my programming career (beyond HTML+CSS) was when my close friend Raphael Caixeta and I reconnected half a decade after not talking. He was a web developer with many successful websites such as qwiknumbers and alwaysreview & faqtory . Having been featured on Mashable just a few years into his career, and selling his web properties at a nice profit, he was the business guy with the right skills at the right time. And it was a right time for me, too.
When we started talking, I was currently working at a department store doing menial work. I worked 30+ hours a week and went to college at the same time. The end-sum of my month was nice for a 19 year old but it was nothing compared to what he did. I remember one night when things truly changed for me. I had just gotten my minimum-wage-30-hour-a-week paycheck and was celebrating with a cheap cigar, browsing the web.