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Thinking Outside The Box
What is up everyone?!? Mike Rosko here! I’m super excited for this blog post because it’s a continuation of the previous post!
Now for those of you who have listened to my first two episodes of my podcast, you understand that the two stories I told were crucial points in my life, but at the time I didn’t realize how much of an impact they actually had on my life.
I asked you guys to go think back to a time you had your first epiphany that had an impact on how it shaped you today. Epiphanies are literally life changing. Again, you might not realize it, but they’re huge.
So this post is going to be a sequel to the last episode, where I got my first business experience. So if you happened to miss yesterday’s post, I recommend maybe going back and listening to it that way you’re not like completely lost.
I mean you don’t have to, but it’s kind of important because it leads up to this blog post, which is how I essentially expanded my very first business, if you want to call it business…
So let’s get started. So for those of you who read yesterday’s blog post, I essentially started my own business in school selling NBA and NFL stitch jerseys that I was getting from China. Well, my friend’s dad was getting from China.
Anyway, explained to you how I messed up my first sale. I mean, I was so excited, you know, but I messed it up… But what I learned from that experience was incredible. That was the first time I realized how much the customer matters, even though, my “customer” didn’t care about getting a refund. The point was that I needed to deliver high quality products that would please my customers. If I’m going to sell something, I need to put the customer first.
Anyway, this episode is going to be about how I expanded the business. As you know, I already started going up to people who I knew there were huge sports fans and asking them, “Oh, if I can get you a nice stitched jersey, who do you want? Blah, blah blah.” But I obviously had to be to discrete about it. This was in school and there were rules against this kind of activity.
When I Was First Introduced To The Retail Space
Around this same time, I was finally able to get a real job at a supermarket when I was 16 that way I can make more money. I wanted more linear income and I had already cut off babysitting. As soon as I was hire, I immediately started working 40 hours a week. I didn’t care that I had school, I just, I wanted to make more money.
And this was the first time I got a glimpse of the retail space. Now obviously back then I didn’t view it as a big deal. I just viewed it as I can finally just make money.
While working at my super market job, I continued selling the jerseys to the kids in school on top of making money at my job. But of course I wanted an expand more…. I wanted more… I mean I wasn’t selling THAT many jerseys, but you know, I was still making some decent money off of them while making money at my job.
Introduced To A Whole New Platform
So I remember one morning I went into school and I remember talking about my job and I remember asking my friend, where he worked. I was just curious if you had a job or not, because he was a year older than me. He replied, “Ah nah man, I don’t have a job yet.”
So in my head I’m thinking like what, why? But I said to him, “Oh, but wouldn’t you want to make money?”
He’s like, “Man, you know what I’ve been doing to make money? I’ve been going to stores like Target, Walmart, Marshall’s and I’ve been just buying products at a lower price and selling them on eBay at a higher price and making money off the products I sell.”
I’m like, “Wait a second… Oh my, that, that’s such a good idea. That actually works?” I continued, He chuckled and said, “Yeah of course, if it didn’t, I wouldn’t be doing it!” Immediately I replied, “Hey listen, can you teach me how to do this?!?”
Remember, this was kinda during the time where selling on eBay was a fairly big thing. But this is what opened me up to the online platform…
Like rather than trying to sell stuff physically to people, eBay gives me an option to sell it, anybody in the nation…
So I was like with loads of excitement, “Oh man, you gotta teach me this way!!!” And he’s like, “For sure dude. I’ll come pick you up today after school, be ready by 3 o’clock sharp and I’ll show you step by step the process of how I make money selling stuff on eBay.”
The Process Begins!
So I’m sitting in school day, I’m so excited cause I can’t wait to learn this new opportunity that I’m about to learn. So the end of the school day finally arrives, it felt like an eternity…
He picked me up at my house 3 o’clock sharp like he said and we go to Walmart… As soon as we walk in, we immediately we go to the clearance rack and I’m looking at all this stuff and I look at him and say, “People actually buy this stuff dude?” I mean it’s not bad product, it’s just the clearance rack was a mess, so it just looked unappealing.
And he’s like, “Yeah, you’d be surprised.” So my friend starts sorting through all of it like a machine. Placing the stuff he wanted to buy on the left and the product he wasn’t interested in on the right. He’s talking to himself, “Oh this will sell for five bucks, this will sell for 10, this will sell for this, this, this.” This kid is a machine…
I’m thinking, wait what? Like what is going on right now? And he can see the strange look on my face and he says, “Oh yeah, I’ve been doing it for so long. I just know what’s what and what will sell for what.”
So I’m just thinking, alright, this is my first time. I’ll get the hang of it, you know, I’ll just keep watching him I’ll learn…
So then he throws the entire pile that was on the left into the shopping carriage proceeds to checkout, bags it up, pays, and leaves.
Then head to Target and he does the same exact thing. Heads straight to the clearance rack sorts through all the stuff and again he’s talking to himself, I want this, this, this, this. I’m like, not this again… He finishes up and we head back to his house. My friend immediately hops on his computer and he starts listing all the items and I remember thinking what is going on right now?
I was so confused…
This was the first time anybody ever introduced me to like how to sell on eBay. So I was like, Oh, what’s going on right now? I was so confused, but very intrigued at the same time because I knew there was an opportunity for this. I knew this was a third way I can be making money. You know, I was already selling jerseys in school and I already had a real job. So like if I could just add this onto my income and do this in my spare time I could be making even more money. I’m thinking, “Oh yeah, I’m going to do it.”
So anyway, I’m watching my buddy list the products. I had no idea what was going on…
And all of a sudden I hear a ping sound and he gets a notice…
It says, “Oh, you sold this product, make sure you ship now.” I’m like, “Wait, you just sold something already?!?”
He’s like, “Oh no, not a product I just bought, I bought the product that sold at least that last week ago.” But I was like, “Dude, that’s sweet, how much profit did you make off of that sale?”
He’s like, “Oh, I’ll make about $7 profit on this sale.” And that’s when I was just like, “Okay, this is what I want to be doing!”
At this time I had that one moment when I really recognized the opportunity and I was like, “Okay, yeah, I want to do this!”
So after watching him over multiple occasions and asking him questions after I had any confusion, I was finally ready…
So let’s just fast forward, I started selling on eBay myself. I’m like, okay, this is awesome. I now have three streams of income now. At the time I didn’t even realize it, but having multiple streams of income is huge. Like, yeah, I didn’t think anything of it. It was just like, okay whatever, I just want him make money this way, this way, this way. But now that I’m older and I’m more educated and I have more knowledge, that’s what you’re supposed to be doing.
You’re supposed to be building multiple streams of income so that you don’t rely on one income, thus eventually you want to stop giving up your time for money. You want to automate the entire process. So I was thinking like a millionaire and I didn’t even know it at the time.
So anyway, I did that for awhile. And then one day, I wake up and am just laying in bed staring at my ceiling am I’m like aloud to myself, “Wait a second, I sold jerseys in school, I sell products online. How come I’m not selling jerseys online?!?!”
This was when I was like, man, this is a huge opportunity. So I get ready and I’m like waiting for the bus. And for those of you who know me, I’m late for everything. Literally everything. Even if it’s just hanging out with friends, I’m always late. “Hey. Mike, be there at 7:30 and I’ll show up at like 8:30 hahah. I think this was the first time in my life where I was like, “Oh my God, I need to get to school! I need to get school.”
Like I’ve never like actually thought that until then because I just couldn’t wait to tell my friend about this idea I had. I was just so excited. I finally arrive to school and I’m searching everywhere for my friend before homeroom starts. But I couldn’t find him. I’m annoyed and wondering where he is. I couldn’t find him at the time, but whatever.
So I actually happened to pass him in the hallway at one point and I said to him, “Yo dude, come to my locker after school. I have this awesome opportunity. I just thought of this idea that I think you’re going to absolutely love!”
My First Partner
So you know, the school day goes on. It felt like a drag, it felt like forever. But anyway, it finally ends and he shows up in my locker…
I’m like, “Dude, this morning I woke up and was just laying in bed and I thought of the best opportunity I think we can have right now. You know, you have mastered online sales, you have mastered eBay. I’ve mastered flipping NBA and NFL Jerseys.
And there was like this pause for like five seconds…
He didn’t really understand what I was saying…
I was like, “DUDE… put the two together! What if we sold my jerseys on eBay?!?!
His jaw drops and I now knew he had the same epiphany that I had had. He was like, “Dude, there’s so much potential in this…”
I screamed, “YES!!!” I screamed it so loud that everyone turned and looked at me. So he’s like, “Alright, hey listen, I’m going to pick you up at your house and we’re going to go back to my house and we’re going to develop the plan. We’re gonna figure out how we’re going to do this because I am so excited right now. I just want, I want to start this right now.”
So he picks me up after school and we had back to his house. It was kind of odd because the whole car ride was actually pretty quiet…
I think we were both just trying to think of like what’s the best possible way we can do this. Realistically, we both could have done on our own, but I think we both thought that it would be better if we combined both our skill sets together.
Plus I told them I would still sell them in school. So it worked out perfect. He was going to handle the eBay sales and I was going to sell in school.
Now keep in mind I still did the same method I did earlier for this with the physical sales, but, but we decided that it would probably be best if we did the wholesale method for the eBay sales.
So what we did was we did some research and figure out who are the top players, what were the most desired jerseys to sell. So what we did was we just bought like 10 of each jersey. Now, I don’t remember exactly what jerseys you bought, except I do remember us buying 10 Darrelle Revis jerseys.
So we actually did this for a few months. Everything was going well and now we’re making tons of money, especially for our age.
But then something happened….
Something that never caused either of our minds…
eBay has suspended his account…
We were like, Wait what? No Way!
We had this huge plan for so long and now we’re stuck with 9 Darrelle Revis jerseys and some other jerseys?
We’re freaking out…
Like what do we do when your account just got suspended?
Like how are we going to sell the nine jerseys?
How are we going to keep making money online?
What Had Happened
So apparently a buyer flagged us for selling them a fake jersey. Now at the time I didn’t know that my friend was listing the jerseys as 100% authentic. So that was a huge issue. We were selling jerseys from China that looked real, but they really weren’t real…
So the buyers thought they were getting 100% authentic stitched jerseys when they were fake. Finally, this caught up to us, the one buy was extremely unhappy…
So eBy ended up suspending my friend’s account. So this was like the actual, like first time we both actually hit a wall. We just didn’t really know what to do.
So we were freaking out for awhile, but then like we didn’t realize the solution was like right in front of us…
We Figured It Out
All we had to do, she’s the open account under my name, but we didn’t figure that out until some time pass. So keep in mind, you know, by this time, this was when we just first started college. We went to local community college. So selling jerseys was no longer a main priority to us even though the money was good. Our priority shifted to school.
So one day we just randomly figured out, oh, why don’t we just open up a new account under my name? And so he started doing it again but…
The same exact thing happened again…
My account was now suspended…
So we mutually agreed on stopping selling jerseys all together…
And you know, we had made a decent amount of money on this, you know, but maybe the opportunity is gone. I already decided to stop selling in school as well because I had college to focus on. So just like that my first business was gone…
Now he had some leftover jerseys that we unfortunately did not sell. It’s pretty funny because my friend actually might still have like seven Darelle Revis jerseys in his house still. But I have no idea.
But it was fun while it lasted. So we both just decided, you know, let’s just focus on college. Like we’re trying to get our degrees, we’re trying to land a good job, so let’s just focus on college.
No Fakes! Lesson Learned!
But you know, I realized, not at the time, that we did learn a lesson, don’t sell fake products no matter how high of quality they are.
I mean, personally I don’t mind wearing fakes that jersey. As long as they look real and look good the I don’t care. But that’s just me.
Keep in mind, there are people out there that get really mad if they think they’re getting a real product and you get a fake one.
And also it’s not fair to the brand. I mean the NBA and NFL, they built up their brand. They deserve the money because they’ve built up the brand.
Now when we talk about profit margins, that’s a completely different story…
But if you can build such a powerful brand like that, you’ll have control over your consumers.
Bottom line, sell real stuff, especially, we’re going to sell big name brand products. Just sell the real stuff, don’t mess around and sell fake products!
So in tomorrow’s blog post, I’m going to tell you a little bit more about my story and it’s going to be a little bit different than the first 3 blogs!
But I wanted to share this story because it was kind of like my first business. I learned how to build the foundation. I learned how to expand on what I built upon.
So it was awesome. It was a good time period. You know, I made a decent amount of money off of it and it honestly had a pretty big impact on as to where I am today. So I feel like it was really important to tell that story.
So I just want to thank you guys for reading this blog post, it means a lot!. And if you didn’t read the first 2 blog posts, go back and read them because it all connects to each other, and that’s what my next blog post is going to be like. It’s going to be a connector to all three of the previous blog posts.
So again, my goal is to try to put out a blog/podcast/YouTube video/Facebook Live every single day. So stay tuned for blog post #4 as it is coming tomorrow!
Thank you very much for reading. I really appreciate it and I’ll talk to you next time!