Financial curfews and crises dominated every end month at home; with mommy struggling in the queue at half past midnight to file in returns and daddy contacting our health insurer to guarantee grandma would get dialysis the subsequent month. It was almost normal for my parents to run out of cash, or any other form of money, when I desperately needed sneakers, or when my little brother jack needed a new video game, as lame as that sounds. My school attending days were full of challenges as there is no single day I was guaranteed to find some bacon in the fridge in the morning, or some bus fare when coming back home. This deficit inspired me, or rather necessitated, that I find my way through any course that could train me financially, or at least give me tips on how to file my taxes even a day earlier that the due date. I stormed in literary any business class and took like five minutes to discern whether the ideas the instructor was skillfully throwing around could make me dodge the inevitable bullet that was awaiting my kids, was I to turn out like my parents. Economics was tough and somewhat boring, finance was too complicated for my 'delicate' brain, and I roamed in almost all business classes before I landed on this one sure thing, entrepreneurship. I mean a course that taught me how to make money? Pull over because I am about to board this train or bus. I wasn't sure how fast it could take me to accomplish my goal; to get out of 'broke-town.'
Entrepreneurship was a theoretical class, and this worked for me. The vast ideas on how to make gold out of crap, how to save a dollar or less each day and end up with a multi-billion company, how to maximize on coupon shopping and save up enough to own a grocery store. I could go on and on, but the idea is, every time I was in class, seated, listening to Professor Gregory, my mind was actually in an office with a window and an ecstatic view of all of Manhattan ordering my employees around, all as a result of coupon shopping. This was like some miracle-training course. The input and the output never added up, and that's the mystery I was so much craving to encounter. In college, I realized that all the theoretical skills needed to be beefed up by some financial statements, market knowledge, and economics, and although these compliments weren't my best suit, I took crash courses of them and the little knowledge I acquired was enough for me. Now it was the practical bit I was on to.
As part of our high school final year project, we were required to come up with a business proposal that utilized waste products to produce recycled or entirely new market products. Well, this was becoming more real than the class-time fantasies and illusions. There was a one million dollar prize to the groups that produced the best idea, and one of the sponsoring companies was to adopt the concept, actualize it and give full credit to the winners. This made the race even more frantic, and we could come up with all sorts of ideas, from making jewelry using waste plastic cans, gas from the bad oil in kitchen waste sewers and so on. We missed the million dollar prize, but we were a million times more confident, more skilled and ready to face the entrepreneurial world.
Then there was the college experience which presented yet another financial challenge; the general mentality of looking epic always put me on toes to buy new jeans, a new phone, and I was now aiming at owning a drive. Judging from my financial background, and by that I mean mom and dad, you can extrapolate their graph and find me right within their fiscal deficit gradient. I had to do something or else I could be wiping the wealthy teenager's shoes to save a cent or two. I made a micro-business of lending my lunch money to the extravagant students and demand a 20% interest when they gave it back. I had a two-day policy, and anything past that attracted yet another 5% penalty. You will be amazed at how much profit I could cash weekly, and I made a saving habit using those boxes you can only put money in and not out unless you break them. This business had no leverage, and I was never sure I could get my money back. Therefore, I had to be resilient or else it would have been better if I started up a charity organization. I was always on my debtors' backs after the two days period, and the nuisance I was paid off as sometimes the day could end up with a " jeez its only twenty bucks dude, keep the change."
There is this one beautiful morning I woke up from a dream of having fulfilled my car wish. I rushed to my mini-bank, took the kitchen meat tenderizer, hit it so hard, and my mind was like, wow me. It took me like ten seconds, and I was done counting the money. My two months savings couldn't even buy me four pairs of snickers! This was the darkest of days, and for the weeks that followed, I took my lunch too seriously, and even aimed at compensating the times I had to sacrifice to save. It didn't do me any good either, and I resorted to yet another plan. When we all gather together amazing things happen, people say. I pulled quite some strings, which included email addresses and phone contacts of my high school project buddies, all the three, scattered in colleges around America, and suggested a pool of ideas on how to make our tomorrow better. For once, this one worked.
I have been to hell and back, seen good, bad and worse days alike, but the day I stepped into the entrepreneurship class is the day I started a new page of my story and a new chapter of my life. As of now, we are looking at a million dollars of savings from my business partners; I call them that these days, and me. Before I wear the graduation crown sometime soon, I hopefully will already be wearing a managing director badge. Life is not one big package but an accumulation of the minute and sometimes unreasonable efforts towards a goal, no one ever believed you could achieve. And yes, I finally landed on the ride I was ever crazy about. It's no big deal now.
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