Musings of a serial Merchant I
I was still a freshman in university when I was bitten by the bug of trade. It had been mere happenstance and didn’t recur till my first year out of university. Between then and now I have sold at least 10 different products. No, let me recount that. Roughly 18 maybe even more.
“Hmm, this looks good my friends will buy.”
“What can I think of that people will buy?”
“You have an eye for xyz, you should buy and resell.”
Oh the life of a business person with little or no clarity as to the purpose of trade and enterprise!
You can’t even begin to imagine the frustration of stocking inventory and trying to convince customers to buy. Money down the drain, morale shot to the gutters, and yet at the next stop there’s another item that looks great to retail. It’s like I never learn my lesson!
Some other person would have given up less down half way in my shoes. But no, not me. Even while I worked, I still ran my store. And of all the things to sell to my colleagues in the office….
“Can you possibly guess?”
I’ll hold your curiosity on that one. As I recall now I can’t help but laugh a little.
“Really? I actually sold that within the walls of a Consulting firm?”
What can I say? I have business woven into my DNA. I don’t fight it anymore, I have earned my stripes and I have learnt plenty! Now I know to catch myself before jumping into a venture and walk away if doesn’t pass the litmus test.
Business is fun, but no joke when you keep losing money.
So unlike me, when you want to begin, definitely don’t follow the ‘bang wagon’ of the latest selling product or latest business model.
One of the most important and easiest ways to determine viability of a business is that it is something you are interested in, something you are the first customer of, something that fills a gap in your own life.
Tim Ferriss, author of the 4 Hour Work Week calls this ‘scratching your own itch’.
My OmolashO kids’ retail store was the second longest standing one of all my ‘itches’, and you know why? I was also in the baby making business for that span of time and shopping for kids’ clothes was right up my alley. I loved every bit of it right up to seeing kids rocking something I had handpicked in a store across the Atlantic.
When I buy something a little pricey at times, I’d just tell myself,
“If no one buys it one of my kids will wear it!”
Simplistic as this may sound, when you look at some really big businesses, the owners started by ‘scratching their own itch’ they were just trying to fill a need they had need for and it,
Diving into a venture you have no healthy interest in, a business you yourself won’t use the product of or have no convictions about is kind of two faced.
It’s only a matter of time…
So my friend, if you are bitten by the bug of enterprise,
Scratch your own itch!
Your Soul Sister,