Since owning one’s owns business was how I thought the whole world operated, I began to think of ways I could make my own money and I came up with a fantastic idea!
You see, I lived at the very top of a hill in the beautiful isle of Saint Lucia. My neighbours had to walk up the hill to catch the bus. The road was not paved. Some parts were muddy and some parts were filled with pebbles. I noticed that my neighbours used two pairs of shoes. One for the muddy road and the other for work.
They left their muddy shoes behind a big stone that was at the side of the road just before they got on the bus. When my neighbours returned home, they exchanged their shoes for the muddy ones and would then walk home.
I thought it was a great idea for me to open a shoe cleaning business. Many a time, I saw my neighbours hitting their shoes, trying to break off the mud that had dried throughout the day. I figured that I could charge each of my neighbours a mere 25 cents, to clean their shoes, and place them in a bag at my home.
Upon their return, after a long hard days work, they would not have had to worry about cleaning off their shoes. Their shoes would have been clean, in a safe place, away from the sun which in turn would prolong the life of their shoes and save them even more money.
But I did not dare open my mouth about my idea to my father. You know how strict some of our parents were back in the day? Well, my father was 1000 times that. He would have said a big resounding “NO!” He would say something like “You should have your head in a school book learning your lesson!” Then he would ask “What you want money for?! Uh?! What you need to buy that you cannot get from me?! Uh?”
Then during a family reunion, he would give the joke about the time Sasky wanted to open up her own shoe cleaning business. My aunts and uncle would have all laughed at me and call me names like ‘Sasky the Shoe Shiner.’ They would have even thought of how hilarious it would be to pretend to give me their shoes to clean.
So I said nothing.
But I know, I had a brilliant idea. I know I did and even if my idea was not as successful as I thought it would have been, I think this business venture would have left me with valuable business lessons.
However, there are still valuable life lessons for you and me to learn from it.
1. Go straight to the source.
I was a mere 7-year-old under the control and protection of my parents. I had to ask for their permission. If I did go straight to my potential clients they would have spoken to my father first to find out if it were okay. Maybe that would have caused him to think about my idea in a more positive manner. Maybe if they said nothing to my father then he would probably just see me cleaning shoes. By then, he would have seen my vision come into reality and may have had a change of heart.
The fact is, you are not a 7-year-old girl. You do not need permission to open up a business, so go for it! And in your business ventures, please, do not take no for answer. Skip the middle man and go straight to the source!
2. People will laugh at your visions.
So what if they laugh. While they laugh, you will be laughing straight to the bank.
3. Innocence is bliss.
See how I thought everyone owned their own business until I realised that they did not? See how it made me ponder about what business I could own? It is best to act on your dreams NOW before the world gets to you.
4. Surround yourself with like-minded people.
My parents owned and still own their own business. This made me want to own my own business too. Which goes to show that if you surround yourself with successful people, there is a great chance that you too will be successful.
5. Never give up.
I gave up before I started. What if I did not? What if I fought my dad? What if I found a way to get him to see things from my perspective? What if I asked him to assist me? What if I offered to rent a small space from him? What if? I will never know because I gave up. Please no matter what, NEVER GIVE UP!
6. Family – Your biggest Supporter & Worst Enemy
My father loved me and tried his best to shelter me from the harsh realities of life. Because of this, I heard “no” a lot. In your life, understand that your family discourage you at times because they do not want you to get hurt. Be careful about sharing your dreams with them.
Good news though! I eventually owned my business later on in my childhood. Hint: My parents knew nothing about it… But that is for another blog post. Until then, close that laptop, turn off your phone go open that business of yours!”
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