Wait, what? How does that work?
I’m going to tell you the story of my very first business endeavor, and how it lead me to create a business and e-commerce of my own.
When I was a kid, buying and selling any kind of thing in school was illegal, if you know what I mean.
And I was a dealer.
My thing was those trading card games, more specifically Magic The Gathering.
The only moment we had to trade our cards was before the classes started, because the battles took place during the lunch break, so usually the kids from the black card market arrived early to make the deals.
But in order to make the magic happen I had to deal with four variables:
As a 13-14 year old kid, I had to be home at night so I just got a few hours after school to find and select the good stuff from my suppliers, and yet manage to deal with the official work, the homework.
I had to be careful to not get caught by the teachers, report to the boss (A.K.A. my father) and the guys that forbid others to move the stuff around since they were the only suppliers.
My income was limited, my risks were high and my working capital was small judging the size of the operation.
My clients knew about the stuff they were buying; they not only wanted the best but also wanted good prices.
And how our little Magic dealer overcame all of that?
I had no car and the place I went to find suppliers of special Magic cards was close to a school friend’s house. My alibi was going to his place to do homework and study.
Finding the right cards is just like buying stocks; it is a matter of demand, price, liquidity and market timing. They can release a new edition and your card prices drop, or if they make it unique or collector status it spikes up.
I didn’t have a lot of cash as a kid, so a simple mistake would take me weeks to recover my capital back. I always took the process of finding the good stuff with the card collectors very seriously.
Also the rich kids used to buy those cards packs in bulk, which was a package that came with twelve random cards. They had quantity, but I was the one with the rare goods, the one who always painstakingly dug up the gold nuggets.
I had 30 minutes tops every day to capture, convince and to make them loyal customers at school. Not only was the time of my operation extremely short but I had to, of course, avoid the chaperones, teachers and others.
If I got caught selling stuff in my school that would result in a very big suspension, therefore a very, very big and awful grounding.
But not only my physical integrity was threatened by my boss, A.K.A. Daddy; If I got suspended I would lose days of precious trading.
Something that we have to consider too is that if I didn’t do the homework, my grades would also be affected and then someone would call the boss; and again, he would kill me.
So I intelligently delegated.
I was making at least a hundred bucks weekly so I decided to incorporate a new cost: paying one of the nerd kids to do my home work.
With that I had a A+ homework guarantee, which would boost my overall grade, making me study less, therefore I would have more time to trade and to look for products.
Also I would have the nerd kids put in a good word for me around the block. They were my best and biggest customer base.
I used to pay 20 bucks tops or give them a product or a discount, thus I had 80 bucks of profit.
If I did things with the orthodox way I would make less than 30 bucks weekly due to those three variables.
So in my three years of trading I made 50 bucks more weekly, 200 more monthly, 1200 yearly and 3600 more before I reached junior year.
But you know how things are; you don’t choose the thug life, the thug life chooses you.
As I got older, the trading card games were no longer the best thing there was, and my customer base got severely smaller.
I had to adapt. Fast.
So I took a bigger risk. A new trend was around: gym supplements.
It was a risky shot. In those times, people thought those things were steroids and going to the gym wasn’t a big thing at all.
Darwin said adapt or perish. Adaptation is evolution, so I evolved.
And if you want to know if that evolution worked out for me, I advise reading this other post of mine here.
So sometimes in life you will hear many things, about what is right or what is wrong, what is good and what is bad for you.
Honestly, at that age I had no idea that I was gaining a skill that I would rely on to afford my very existence. How would I know it would be that important?
As a matter of fact, if I’ve heard what people said about my attitude, I would have given up on one of the things I appreciate most in my life: the true ownership of my life.
I wish that later on, I wouldn’t have listened to what other people judged better for me. That was my worst mistake when I had to make decisions.
The whole message of this article is to listen to your intuition
If we pay attention to ourselves, we will see that our most impressive talents are right on our faces and we ignore them all along.
Make your life it happen in your terms. Own it.