In my opinion, one of the worst and most destructive trends in Western society is that entrepreneurship has become a lionized mysterious pursuit.
There's nothing magical about it. You get some inputs (your time, knowledge, resources, goods, whatever), you add some value to it by improving or rearranging the inputs, and you sell them for more than it cost you to get them. Profit.
"Oh, but it's so hard! And I have no money! What will I do?"
Okay. Here's a can of Club Soda (actually, two cans of club soda, to be precise):
The price of a can of Club Soda is 4500 VND, which is about 25 cents USD.
No matter how poor you are, you can find 25 cents if you live in Vietnam, or $1 if you live in the USA. Then you buy a can or two of club soda. You go somewhere where it's hot and people are thirsty - a tourist area, the beach, the park, whatever. You sell the can of Club Soda for 10,000 VND for a 100% profit. You go back to the store. Buy two cans. Sell those.
Maybe you mix in other kinds of soda, juice, snacks, whatever. Maybe you try to buy the stuff in bulk to get it at a lower cost. Maybe you go to a business that's already selling successfully and offer to buy cases of soda and deliver to them, still cold, for a small markup and they sell it. Maybe you find some space that's open and offer the owner a percent of the profits to let you set up a table there and sell.
You can do this. It ain't so hard.
I have no idea why this isn't taught in schools. Anyone can sell. You get some inputs, you do something to make it more valuable (transporting the good somewhere where it's more desirable, in this case), and you sell for a profit. BAM, value created. The person is happy they get a cold drink, you doubled your money. There's many times I'd been on a beach or at a park that I would have been very happy to buy a drink that had been marked up in price a little bit.
I plan on doing this with my future kids. We'll go to the discount store, buy some sodas and snacks, go to the beach and sell. They can learn how to pitch to people, build their confidence and defeat insecurity, how to handle rejection, how to give good service, and they learn how to make a profit by helping people have what they want. You can do this. Anyone can do this. Find some inputs, make them more valuable somehow, sell them at a profit. BAM, you're an entrepreneur. Feels good, huh?
Said this way, it can even be a project in kindergartens. Mainly to build a little character, help with insecurity and confidence.
The business part is straightforward. The guy with the gun who says you can't do that without a licence and paying me 10% because I have the gun- that is the problem...
I got quiet a bit of knowledge out of this post! Demystified the whole buisness thing really. Thanks a lot!
> It amazes me how much opportunity is just sitting there, waiting for people to pick it up. Sometimes I wonder if we’re actively trained not to take risks – maybe by school? It seems against human nature.
Actually I think that not taking risks lies in our human nature. The ones that defy this nature are the few that succeed! I think people just generally think too much rather then actually do something, I myself am cursed by this as well. I always catch myself thinking "what if?".
> Cheers! I hope you find some good stuff that serves you here :) Thanks for the comment.
Yeah, so much good stuff around here! Thank you!
Do you have any posts on passive income? Lately the idea of passive income has been floating around in my head. Your blog, for example could be a great source of passive income if you wanted it to be (some people are against posting ads on their sites).
Another example would be writing a book.
Do you have any thoughts on that? It seems to be very intense work and focus up front, but then afterwards, you make money while you are sleeping.
Just had a smart conversation yesterday about this. It's been something I've been thinking on for a while.
There's a bit of a problem with long term habit change. If you're working on something that takes a while to achieve, you spend a lot of time falling short of your target and aware of it.
So, let's say you were currently drinking a lot of soda, and you want to quit.
You start replacing soda with other drinks, trying to order different things at restaurants, buy other things, turn friends and family down when they offer you a soda, get a bottled water instead of a coke at the movie theater with popcorn, etc, etc, etc.
Sometimes you go to a barbecue or a cheap lunch with pizza, and the only drink is soda. You try to just have nothing those times.
three wifi flight passes for $6.50 each
Buy three (or more) flight pass codes for $6.50 each, and sell them for more to passengers on the flight.
I like little exercises like this (like when I hacked a Vegas cab line), because being a salesperson is uncomfortable. Creating value can be a scary, anxiety ridden process. You have to talk to people you don't know, who aren't expecting to talk to you, and often whose first reaction isn't welcoming. You have to overcome all these obstacles and get them to see the value you're bringing.
That's why while making $20 off a couple of passes isn't a material amount of money, it's very material in the skills you need to use and hone to sell other, more expensive services or goods.