What’s your excuse? If Roy can do it anyone can.
What has happened to our belief that we’re the lucky country? The land of opportunity? A nation of ingenious self-starters?
Businesses aren’t investing. Their raiding their own futures to buy back shares and give their current leaders a bonus.
It’s like we don’t think about businesses as intergenerational institutions anymore. For most CEOs their business is just a comfy leather seat to park your arse for a while, while you suck as much value out of the company as possible, like Dracula on a smoothie.
It’s like they’ve just given up. We can’t compete with China. All the good ideas are taken. Times are too tough to build profitable visions for the future. We just want to curl up here in our heated, gold-plated bathroom in the executive suite, and enjoy the ride down as the company grinds into the ground.
Lending to business is tanking and business confidence is in the toilet.
What ever happened to the digital revolution? The brave new world of global integration?
Last time I checked these were still incredible times to be living in. There is an abundance of opportunities only limited by our imagination. There has never been a moment in history like this, and so the business models of the future must be new, never-heard-of-before revolutions.
We need leaders with vision. Leaders with self belief and the ability to take risks.
We need leaders like Roy.
Roy is the embodiment of the potential of Australia’s future. So all you corporate scaredy cats, you’re as weak as piss. Time to pull the finger our, roll up the sleeves and straighten your tie.
Losers, say g’day to Roy.
This is a photo of me and Roy (that’s him on the left.)
I met Roy a few weeks ago. It was the Labour day long week end and I was having coffee and breakfast in a café on Brunswick street.
I saw this kid standing on a street corner, with a bunch of people buzzing around him.
I thought he was a busker or something, so I stuck my nose over some shoulders to see what his trick was.
He wasn’t busking at all. He was selling.
He was selling home-made peanut butter (he had actually made himself… on his parents nut butter press.)
He put it in some second hand jars, and slapped on a label he had made himself using InDesign on his parent’s computer.
He then had three home-made, handwritten posters which he stuck up behind him, and then put a tray of peanut butters on a stool.
And he’d made his first sale in the first 30 seconds.
‘How good’s this? I’ll go help the little fella out,’ I thought.
But I was lucky to get any at all. By the time I got to him he had moved 80% of his stock.
Within the hour he’d completely sold out. 25 jars at $4 a pop.
$100 bucks in an hour, easy money.
I was impressed. So impressed I asked if I get my photo taken with him. That’s not something I do that often. Not since the last One Direction concert at least.
I told how much I admired his drive and initiative. They’ll take you places, I said. Keep it up and you’ll be rich.
“That’s the plan,” he said!
That’s the plan? The kid is barely 12 and he’s already setting himself goals for the future. He’s already visioning the kind of life he wants to be living.
And he’s making it happen.
Now hang on Jon, no one’s going to get rich selling peanut butter.
Well sure. But this isn’t about peanut butter. This is about the entrepreneurial spirit that the young fella is embodying so well.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t about ideas. It’s about making stuff happen. Ideas are easy. Making stuff happen is hard.
And this kid is making stuff happen. And he’s probably already learned some powerful lessons about how to succeed in business and how to get ahead in life.
He identified a niche in the market and he figured out how to fill it. He probably also had to think about optimal pricing – a price high enough to make it worthwhile, but not too high to put customers off.
He also had to put some thought into branding and marketing. And he probably had to negotiate with stakeholders and investors (his parents).
And he had to take a risk. I think he was surprised as I was that he sold out so quickly. There was every chance that he could have wasted a whole day on that street corner and made nothing.
How many kids are wiling to risk wasting a good day off school?
And sure, the solutions he came up with to these problems reflect his experience and stage in life. Hand made posters as a marketing strategy won’t cut it in the real world.
But the point is he’s making a start. And we all have to start somewhere.
And few of us make a start when we’re 12 years old.
And I’d love to say this is some Current Affair fairytale, and that he’s parents were disabled chimney sweeps, struggling to get by.
But that’s not the case. His parents were both architects. By the sounds of it, they were doing pretty well.
But that kind of makes it all the more remarkable. He could have been at home, sucking on a silver spoon and playing x-box. He didn’t have to be doing this. He didn’t have to do anything at all.
But he did.
And his parents should be congratulated for raising such an enterprising young chap, and for supporting his dreams.
Not the dream of peanut butter. But the dream of making the most of all the opportunities life has to offer.
Thanks for the reminder, Roy.