Monday Morning Momentum™ with David J. Pollay – March 30, 2009
Our challenging economy has a lot of us speculating about our future. If the big companies aren’t hiring, is this the time to consider starting our own businesses?
But, many of us are also asking, “Am I really cut out to be an entrepreneur?” The challenge is to figure out the answer. One way to find out is to look to your past. Have you ever wanted to run your own business? Have you ever done anything entrepreneurial? You may find that you’ve had an interest, but that you haven’t yet explored it; now may be a good time. Here’s what I found when I combed my history.
When I was seven years old, I rode the bus to school. The trip took about an hour. The ride was predictable, the kids were the same, and everyone was bored. One particular ride I noticed that some kids seemed excited by the littlest things other kids had. No matter how insignificant the object seemed – an eraser, a sticker, a pen – kids seemed to want it. That’s when it struck me; I had my first business idea.
The birth of a business
That night after dinner I looked for all the little knick-knacks I had in my room. I collected everything. While much of it was not particularly exciting, I remembered that “kids are interested in other kids’ stuff.” I also needed a display case. So, I emptied my old, tattered cigar box, and place everything in it. And then I put fifty pennies in the box in case I needed to make change for my customers.
The next morning I grabbed my book bag, my jacket, and my cigar box. I kissed Mom goodbye, waved to my little brother, and ran out to the bus.
Open for business
I climbed on board. I said hello to the bus driver, and waved to the kids as I walked five rows back to my seat and sat down. I then looked around. It was time. I put my cigar box on my lap, and tapped the shoulder of the boy in front of me.
I said, “I have a new store. Do you want to see what I have?”
“Sure,” he said.
I held up the cigar box. I flipped open the top. His eyes lit up. He moved across his seat, came back around, and sat down next to me. He looked through my box and found a sticker he liked.
“How much?” he said.
“2¢,” I told him.
He said, “I have a nickel.”
I gave him the sticker and he passed me the nickel. I then handed him three pennies. “Thanks,” I said.
Looking at his sticker, he smiled. “Cool.”
My first referral
He got up and went back to his seat. The girl across the aisle saw him admiring what was in his hand.
She said, “What’s that?”
“A sticker,” he said.
“Cool. Where did you get it?”
“From David. He has a store.”
“Oh yeah?” She turned
around and looked at me.
She cut across the aisle, and moved in next to me. “Can I see what you have?”
And that’s how my business began. I made 27¢ that first day.
That night I looked for more things to add to my store. And the next day I opened for business again. And that’s how it went for the rest of the week. By Friday, almost every kid on the bus had bought something. My take for the week was $1.14. I was thrilled! The kids were happy. I had fun. The effort was worth it. I liked being in charge. I had my first business.
In 2002, thirty-one years later, I opened my second business. This time around I started my own training and seminar company, The Momentum Project. While this business is more complicated than my first, and the prices are higher, the idea is the same: I get to do what I love and I’m in control. I’m in charge of my creative and economic destiny. I enjoyed being an entrepreneur when I was seven, and I love it now.
How about you? Is there something entrepreneurial in your past? How about your future? Now might be the time to act.
Copyright 2009 David J. Pollay
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David J. Pollay is the creator of The Law of the Garbage Truck™. He is a syndicated columnist with the North Star Writers Group, creator and host of The Happiness Answer™ television program, and an internationally sought after speaker. David’s book, Beware of Garbage Trucks!™, is due out this summer.
David is the founder and president of the consulting and seminar organization, The Momentum Project. He is also a founding associate executive director of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA). If you want to reprint one of David’s columns, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s David’s full bio.