Although my journey into entrepreneurship and marketing as a career was basically a happy accident, I had already entered that world as a kid and loved it.
Let’s turn back the clock to when I was 7 or 8 years old, my dad’s friend owned a video shop. Any of you remember those? R.I.P Blockbuster. This store, however, was a little independent shop instead of a massive chain.
Back in the day of the VHS, the video stores put these big cardboard cutouts in the window. These colorful pop-ups of actors and actresses were used to promote movies and the store was often full of them. When my dad’s friend’s store didn’t need the cutouts anymore, I’d take them and bring them home with me. Always for free.
I later had the bright idea to trade these cardboard actors with my friends. I remember my friends raving, “Steven Segal, Hard To Kill?! That’s amazing!!” I traded these free pieces of cardboard for toys that my parents weren’t well-off enough to buy me. It was a straight-up direct barter. I remember getting these electric cars, keychains, muscle men (this just proves how much of an 80s kid I am). Of course, this did not make my friends’ Mums happy (which made a lot of sense), but it in no way stopped me.
I was happy because a successful trade was realized. Value was provided on both sides. I was able to get my friends something they didn’t have access to and they were stoked about it. My cardboard cutouts became currency. I got toys, purchased with real money, for no real cost to me at all.
Sometimes it’s the talents and strengths that we tap into as kids that end up making the biggest difference in our lives. It’s that common sense we carry then, that should be translated into our lives later. Today, entrepreneurship, startups, and marketing are all huge parts of my life. I didn’t know it for a long time, but that little seed of hard work and a business mindset set me up to eventually be where I am today. Don’t let that seed die! Figure out your strengths and use them to do work that you are passionate about.