Don’t listen to the money naysayers

When I was a kid, we would often go to Hodges Lodges…which we affectionately renamed to “Hodges Garages” due to the lack of upkeep around the places.  It was a small plot by a beach that had several cottages that my parents, aunt and uncles would rent out for a week…who would all bring their kids…and it was a bit of a madhouse keeping everybody occupied.  I was the youngest of four sons, and I couldn’t swim as well as any of them yet or really do much of the “big boy” stuff that they were doing.  Some kind of handicap or allowance had to be made in order to include me in their activities.  So, not being one to impose on anybody, I typically found myself just wandering around…doing my own thing.

I was once tasked with going to the general store to pick up some sundries for the family.  It was about a quarter-mile away, so I had a lot of time to think about things on the way there and back.  I remember seeing a little basket on the counter of the store that held some interesting looking rocks…much like the ones I had gathered in one of my previous solo adventures.  I thought “Geez, if they can sell rocks and make money…why can’t I?”  I spent the entire walk home thinking about this whole business I could make and all the money I would make that week on vacation.  When I got back to our family’s cottage, I dropped off the groceries and then located my rock stash.

I selected the best ones that I had gathered, and set them out on the wooden beam that blocks cars from hitting cottages.  I wrote out on a piece of paper my prices for the rocks and found a little coffee tin to keep my money and tips in.

I was open for business.

Some time passed before kids started to wonder what I was doing.  Within short order, I generated a bit of intrigue about my rocks…for whatever reason.  I assume kids just like rocks?  Then, those kids who needed money began asking their parents for money.  Since I can only assume the parents replied to their request with, “You’re buying rocks from the kid next door’s store?” …now I had parents walking over to my store with a bit of interest.  Now, with 25 years of hindsight, I believe they were just being nice to me and playing along…but then?  I was a boss.  I was running my own rock business and I was getting real money.

When it was time to close up shop for the day, I took my money and went back over to the general store for some well-deserved candy.  It wasn’t until much later that I realized you profit more by keeping the money…but whatever.  I needed my sugar.  I walked back to the cottage ecstatic that my idea had worked and more importantly, my hard-work in selecting the rocks had paid off.  From that point on, I spent my mornings collecting rocks…my afternoons selling them…and my evenings buried in candies.

So, what did I learn here?

If you want to do something and it’s not hurting anybody, just do it.  

Seriously.  Worry about the bullshit later.  If I had internally debated about it and consulted with my brothers, a few things would have likely happened.  Most likely, they would have laughed at me and told me my idea was stupid (I know this because they said it was stupid as I was just about done setting up).  A little less likely, they would have “helped” and did minimal work for a cut of the money.

Maybe I should have consulted my parents first before I turned their cottage’s front lawn into my business area?  The likely outcome there is that they would have had trepidation letting me sell worthless rocks to kids.  Maybe it would have caused too much attention than they were willing to have.  Maybe they would have felt a little embarrassed and apologetic that I was out there bilking other people’s kids for money all afternoon.

I did it right, though.  I setup and went full force with it immediately.  What did that get me?

Before anybody could tell me otherwise, I already had my business humming away.

What were they going to do?  Shut me down in front of the other parents?  Dash my hopes and look like bad parents or brothers?

Nope.  At that point, its success was already undeniable.

Purchases are highly emotional

Do you think those parents, god bless them, gave their kids money for my rocks because they thought the rocks would look good in their living room?  That they would be a wise investment for the future?  The answer is obvious here:  no.

My rocks were bought because I was just a cute little kid who was trying to entertain himself.  They just wanted to spend the money to please two kids.  The one buying it gets a fancy new rock and the weird kid selling them gets to feel like he did something fun with his day (and gets candy!).  Possibly a little bit of pity was involved as well.

Translated to 25 years later…I bought my phone because I have an emotional attachment to my hobbies.

When I started camping on my own, I bought tons of gear out of various fears.  Fears that I would be too cold…couldn’t carry enough water…or that I would be bored….or hungry.  When I walked into that Eastern Mountain Sports or logged into REI, I was out there using my money to ease my fears.  “I won’t be cold, I got this amazing fleece and sleeping bag!”  “We’re going to eat like KINGS at camp now that we have this food dehydrator!”  Both are actually true stories.  Money did ease the fear and make me warm and well-fed.  Just like the parent buying the rocks did make two kids happy.

 

I’m straying from my topic here.

My store worked because, and I didn’t know this at the time…because a lot of purchases are emotional.  I unknowingly was a success because, basically, I was pressing that button on people.  If I didn’t just jump in and disregarded opinions, I don’t think I would have been as successful as I was.  As successful as a temporary, pop-up rock store run by a six-year-old could be.  The lesson there is that I had no idea what made my “business” successful until it was already underway.  Now, I’m not saying that you should forego all research into whatever adult business you’re getting yourself into.  But, you never can predict everything 100%.  Shoot for 80% and let the 20% materialize in luck and/or readjusting your direction as you go.

Naysayers can be found anywhere, but they aren’t everywhere

When I tell people about Perk, they’ll inevitably ask how much I make off it every month.  I’ll give them my figures and how much I’ve made in my “Perk lifetime” which, currently, is about $1500.  And for doing it for over a year, it’s really not much to brag about…but it’s just a fun/stupid subject to talk about.  Some people I tell will get in on the game.  Some will think it’s interesting and funny but never really spend the time to get started.  And some other small minorities?  They’ll shit on it.

“Yeah but how much electricity costs are they generating every month?  I bet you just break even!”

“Sure, but what about the phones eating up your bandwidth limits?”

“Uhh, yeah but you have to pay for the phones first”

As if I haven’t thought of all this.  I have numbers on how my electricity the phones use.  I don’t have bandwidth limits.  I paid $65 for 5 phones to make $1500 – I think that’s a good deal.  I wanted to tell that person this.  Surely destroying his arguments would make him see the light.

But then I realized…he’s just a naysayer.  Some guy who probably thinks it’s a good idea, but wants to justify to himself why he’s not going to replicate it.  I’m not going to say I don’t care, because, well, I’m taking the time to write up a whole naysayer article right now.  How can I not care?

The larger truth is, sometimes you just have to do whatever the fuck you’re going to do and nod to people who think it’s dumb.

Then, every time you start to question yourself, remember that you have people to prove wrong.

Somebody…

…thinks you can’t retire in 10 years?  Do it in 8.

…thinks riding your bike in the winter is crazy?  Get out there in the snow and talk about how thrilling it is.

says you’re not going to be able to do something?  Do it and then do it even better than advertised.

 

At least try it, because if you don’t, you’ll have regrets.  Worse, they’ll be caused by somebody other than you.

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