Ever wondered what the difference is between successful business people, and regular people? It’s the difference between making excuses, and having a business mindset.
People and Their Excuses
Over the years, I’ve heard so many people give me their own list of reasons (i.e. excuses) as to why they can’t start their own businesses.
You’ve probably heard these excuses yourself before. Excuses such as, “I don’t have the time,” or, “I don’t have enough money”, amongst others regarding age, intelligence, lack of knowledge, etc.
The sad thing is, I think some of these people actually believe what they’re saying is true. Interestingly, the same people will also answer, “Yes.” when asked if they believe you can achieve anything you want to in life.
It’s a shame, because these excuses hold people back from achieving amazing things.
The Business Mindset
Once you have an entrepreneurial, or business mindset, you begin to think differently. You learn to work with what you have, or find what you need, and program your mind to find solutions. You appreciate small successes, and constantly look for creative opportunities. Setbacks, obstacles, and failures become challenges. Possibilities are endless. You develop a monologue of internal responses to every negative comment in the world.
In reality, there’s literally, absolutely NO REASON why you can’t start your own business.
I don’t care how old you are, how poor you are, how dumb you think you may be, or how impossible it may seem.
I’ve personally started 3 different businesses over the years, all of them from absolutely nothing. One of them has a pretty interesting story, and I love to tell people about it, because it started with the least money yet became the most successful, and was the most wild and exciting ride, ever. This business was earning around $300,000.00 per year for over 8 years, up until 2015.
It was an amazing and exciting experience, that taught me more than any other job I’ve had in my life. I learned skills I would never have learned, met people I would never have met, and experienced so much, just thinking about it makes me feel good inside.
Allow me to introduce myself.
I’m Rick Lowe, AKA ‘tricklowe’, a British entrepreneur/businessman/salesman/whatever you want to call me. Basically, I’m just a guy with a creative mind, that loves to try out new ideas, and do new things. Having been involved in several businesses throughout my life, I currently own my own corporation, and enjoy building new brands the most.
This is the story of how I started with the change on the bedroom floor, and turned it into a highly successful business.
Let’s start at the beginning, as most stories do;
Tricklowe Goes West
I got extremely fed up of the miserable weather and rain in the U.K., and decided it was time for me to fulfil my lifelong dream as a skater, and move to Southern California.
After wanting to make this move for over 10 years, I found that I had a thousand excuses as to why I couldn’t. Finally, in 2005, the excuses were over, and it was time to head for SoCal once-and-for-all.
In the U.K. I worked in sales and direct marketing for many years, and I loved it, but I wanted to do something different. It was time fora new start, a new beginning.
The Power of Pocket Change
When I first arrived, I was staying with friends, as I hadn’t found my own place yet.
Checking emails and working on my web site, I noticed a lot of change all over the bedroom floor. There were quarters everywhere, there was more than a few dollars just laying around on the carpet. When I asked my friend what was with all the change on the floor, he explained that after work each evening, he took his pants off and the change fell on the floor from his pockets. He couldn’t be bothered to pick it up, so he left it there.
I asked if I cleaned the room and picked it all up, could I keep it? He said I could. Easy money!
Armed with a small Tupperware container, I went about my hunt for change. There was change everywhere, all over the room. I had quite a lot of change when the room was cleaned, and continued to pick up more whenever I saw it. I also threw my own change into it, just as a habit.
Within about a few days, I must’ve collected around $15.00 or so.
The Lottery Drawer, AKA The Motherload
One afternoon, my friend and I were cleaning out a storage unit where he had been storing some of his furniture from an old house.
When moving an old dresser, I found a sock drawer filled with pennies. Considering the pennies payment for the help, to which my friend agreed, I scooped them into a plastic bag, and dumped them with the rest of the change I had. My Tupperware was now too small, so I found a bigger container, to fit more change into.
I wasn’t working yet, and my friend’s boss needed a brochure for his company. As I was pretty handy with Adobe InDesign, I offered to design one for him. It would be a useful bit of cash to get by, until I decided what to do with myself.
At about the same time, my friend had started playing Airsoft.
It’s a game similar to paintball, in that it’s a war-game shooting human opponents with guns. Instead of paint, these guns shoot plastic pellets, and are much more realistic looking.
I went along with him to keep him company, and it was pretty fun, too. It was a good break from skating, and good exercise, too!
After playing a few times, my friend was hooked. He bought a gun for himself, a replica MP5, and bought one for me, so we could go and play war together.
It was a great deal of fun, and we had a blast.
After playing for a little bit, I learned how to upgrade guns to shoot better.
Having a pretty mechanical mind (my first job was as an electrician), I learned how the guns worked, so I could upgrade them for a minimal cost. We bought some parts and I upgraded our guns to shoot harder and faster.
Using resources like eBay, I could buy low cost upgrade parts, such as upgrade motors and springs.
Here Comes That Change
When I cashed in my change and found I had $36.00!
I bought a few extra upgrade parts as spares. The parts I bought on Ebay.com were way below retail price. They would come in handy as spare parts to repair other people’s guns if they broke, or if they wanted me to upgrade their gun for them.
Within a few weeks, a few people bought some upgrades from me while we were playing. Others had guns they wanted to get repaired. This started with just $10.00 here, $20.00 there. I reinvested this cash into buying more and more parts.
I didn’t always know how to fix the guns I was given to repair, but I was transparent with people. YouTube, Google, and Airsoft forums usually had the answers I needed, and I was able to repair guns to a high standard that my customers, friends, and fellow airsoft players where happy with.
Fast forward a few months, and I have a pretty fun hobby that’s growing, and I’m making enough money to support the hobby for free. Awesome!
My Seed Capital
After finishing the graphics project for my friends boss, I got paid for that.
It was a few thousand dollars, so I decided it would be fun to set up a business account, and use the money as an investment to get some wholesale accounts set up for the airsoft stuff. One of the main suppliers had a $500.00 minimum order, so we ordered a couple of guns, upgrade parts, and a big rice sack of the BBs the guns shoot (ammo, essentially).
We put the ammo into sandwich bags, in the same amounts the store sold them in (4,000ct bags), and priced them at a lower price.
The bbs we had bought were the best quality available on the market. They were much higher quality than the local store, and we could sell them at the fields for less money than the stores did. I also invested in a big rolling Stanley tool chest, using it to transport to and from the fields, to be used for repairs, upgrades, and selling bbs.
As the hobby wasn’t costing me anything, but in fact making me money, I started playing at more games in more places. I networked with all the players, and got to know the community. I fixed guns, I upgraded them, and special ordered guns people couldn’t find locally.
Now I’m in Business
As luck would have it, the only local airsoft store in our area, closed. There was then nowhere locally for anyone to buy airsoft stuff from, except for me. Now my $10-20.00 weekends had turned into $100-200.00 weekends.
Before long, I found I was working every day. I converted a small closet in my apartment to a workspace. I was super busy repairing guns, ordering and delivering guns, and going to fields to supply players with ammo.
Fast forward around 4 months or so, I came across a complete game-changer.
A chance meeting between a local land-owner and one of the Airsoft teams I supplied with guns and ammo, led to an opportunity to start an Airsoft field at an old paintball field. The airsoft team knew they didn’t have the time to do this. As I was involved in the local airsoft scene, they called me.
I set up a profit-share deal in lieu of rent with the landowner. This meant I had no overhead for the land. Now I was running my own airsoft games at my own field, doing gun repairs & upgrades, as wells selling ammo and guns.
This was the hardest I’ve worked in my life. I remember a time when we were building the field, and we were working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, for almost 2 months, just in construction.
‘Overnight’ Business Success
The hard work paid off, in ways I had never expected. Within just 20 months, the Airsoft field was one of the busiest in Southern California. My field was at capacity every single weekend, sometimes with more than 200 players per day. I had gross revenues of around $3-400,000 from that location alone.
The airsoft field was so busy, we were looking for another location to expand to. I found a great opportunity to run airsoft at another paintball park, on Camp Pendleton, in San Diego.
Now I had 2 locations, had incorporated, had a staff of 8 people, and was having a blast.
This business ran at around $500,000.00 in gross revenue in it’s busiest year. It averaged $300,000.00 per year during the entire time it was in operation.
This business was a gigantic success.
The Moral of the Story
I came from nothing, and I had nothing. It’s possible took something as simple as the change on the bedroom floor, an eye for an opportunity, and turned it into an amazingly successful business.
As with all businesses, there were a few weird turns, and mistakes along the way. It had come to a point where I had done all I wanted to do with it. Things were impossible to improve due to a few issues, and the player experience wasn’t anywhere near where it should be.
I’ll write another article explaining the mistakes I made, and how the airsoft business came to an end, as it has valuable lessons for all of us.
Shut it Down When it’s Done
At the end of 2015 I shut down this brand. There was nothing sad about it at all I went back to work full time in sales, which I’m absolutely loving. This was one of the best decisions I made in many years.
I can’t guarantee, and nor would I promise that any of your ventures and opportunities will be as successful as this one was for me. In fact, I’ve also had many failures myself. This story is just a fantastic example of how even just limited resources like some pocket change, a lot of motivation, and creativity, are all you need to make some amazing things happen.
There are of many examples of people like myself, that started from nothing, and became successful. Read ‘The Power of Broke’, by Damon Johns for some great examples of other people that have come from nothing. People such as Rob Dyrdek, Mark Zuckerberg, and more.
I’ve also known people that have started with financial backing from investors, yet they have failed. Quite often the extra money only amplifies the problems with the person running the project. A lazy person often takes the opportunity and throws it away, unaware of the work involved.
It takes work. If you’re doing something fun, the learning curve is an adventure, and it never stops being fun. Doing something just ordinary and earning a lot of money, can also be extremely enjoyable. Either way, work is always required.
If you’re considering starting a business, and aren’t sure if you can with your current resources, I hope this article inspires you to not give up trying, ever.
I Want to Hear From You
If you’re reading this, and it inspired you, I’d like to hear about it in the comments below.
Do you know of any friends this article may inspire? Please share it, and hope it finds them well.
If you’d like to share stories of yours that are similar, I’d love to hear about them.
Comment below, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or hit me up on social media via #tricklowe or @tricklowe
Thanks for reading.