The Shanghai Venture

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The idea came to me when I was sitting in class and thinking about how I’m going to generate revenue in my current situation. My professor was speaking about creating as much contact between you and your customer base as soon as possible so you don’t spend your time creating a product/service no one wants and having a rude awakening when you take it to the market. When I was in Shanghai a few weeks prior, I had gone to a market place and purchased a few beautiful scarves and leather wallets/purses. The items were beautifully made and the people I gifted them too were extremely happy I had brought them such beautiful gifts. So I have a product, beautiful Pashminas and leather goods. Another thing I realized at the market place was the power of bartering. Our tour guide had explained to us that we should always try to get the price of any item we buy at the market to at least 30% of its initial stated price so I had decided to try and outdo that amount. I did not fail. Some of my purchases were as low as 8% of the originally stated price. So I have my buy low strategy. Its certainly not sophisticated. But when’s the last time you got someone to give you a 92% discount? I decided I’ll try bringing a sample amount and selling it in the U.S. Β I was sitting in class contemplating how I can make this happen when I realized that I now have something I did not have before, free time. Why not just go get it myself? Thanks to the many travel sites out there, I got a round trip ticket to China and hotel accommodations for less than $1500. On spring break, I’ll be off to Shanghai to buy a curated sample of the items I plan on selling here and bring them back. I plan on putting my professor’s advice to practice and creating as much contact between me and my desired market as soon as possible. My main outlets for these markets will be social media, local pop-up shops and personal orders of which I’ve collected a few thus far. If I succeed, I will make a decent amount of profit which I can put back into this venture after replenishing my savings. So I booked the ticket and reserved a hotel. I got back in touch with the tour guide we had in Shanghai and explained my plan to her. She seems interested.

Most people are looking at me like I’m crazy. You left a cushy management job to sell Pashminas and leather goods on Instagram? Uh Yeah. I’ve worked in regular 9-5 jobs since I was legally able. While the stability of this kind of income is comforting, I’ve come to realize that I cannot build wealth by doing that alone. No matter how disciplined of a spender I become, frugality will only complete one part of the equation. The idea is to live beneath my means, increase my revenue and invest wisely. Acting on my business ideas is the only thing I haven’t tried thus far. So now, while I have time, and I’m in between jobs, I will try this out and see where it leads me. Here goes!

Am I sabotaging myself?

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A few weeks ago I intentionally counter offered a job offer by demanding a 20% increase. It was for a job that’s similar to the one I recently resigned from so it would have been easy to do, albeit soul crushing and meaningless as well. I knew they would not agree to the amount I requested but I did it anyway. As predicted, they came back with a response along the lines of ‘we don’t want to pay you that amount because we can find a fool that would take this job for less’ and I was more than happy to send them a letter of declination right then and there. I thought this was a one time event until I got a call from a recruiter late last week who wanted to schedule a phone interview. It again, was for the same kind of job I just left. Β I agreed to it and during the interview provided some not so great responses to the questions she asked me. This time it wasn’t intentional. I was not trying to be careless but something inside me just could not care less. Its almost like my subconscious was coming forth to block me from going back to the mind numbing world of cubicle farms and corporate speak. I want to make money and have a career on my own terms, doing something I love and talking about things that are actually interesting for a change. Β So to start my journey, I’ve decided to focus on a few things.

First, taking courses based on my interest. No more piling on electives to finish by the end of the year so I can have the ‘MBA’ title. I am now focusing on taking courses for their intrinsic value for once. So I’m giving myself an extra semester to get into electives that interest me. The current plan is to take interesting marketing and finance electives. Luckily, these classes have the potential to make me money so Yay!

Second, re-focus on my real estate hustle. Β A career in real estate doesn’t strike people as the most sophisticated of careers but at the end of the day, if done right, it will make money. Until I become financially independent and/or find other ways to generate revenue, and probably even after that, real estate has the potential to be my bread and butter. Β To this end,I’ve scheduled a few productivity coaching sessions with my broker, started to read books by successful realtors and started to talk about my business more to potential clients.

Third, more certifications, namely the Certified Financial Professional certification. This is currently my dream job. I want to talk about personal finance, wealth management and financial independence for a living. In order to make sure that I am professionally qualified, I am going to take this certification course and get the necessary hours under my belt.

My February goals are:

Work 20 hours a week on drumming up business for my real estate goals.

Continue to exercise at least 4 days a week.

Begin my consulting side business (currently waiting for the paperwork and my first assignment)

Find one more WFH side hustle

Find 3 ways to reduce my expenses and implement them.

Here we go…