Those of you paying attention to the GoodLooking way of operating have noticed that we don’t value secrecy. For example, when an investor requests information about our new business opportunities, we don’t send out non-disclosure agreements. We don’t have meetings to discuss how to protect our ideas. We seriously don’t give a second thought about people “stealing” our ideas. The reason is simple, opportunity is everywhere. In business, an idea is nothing, execution is everything.
I met a guy tonight who had saved $20,000 dollars. He kept saying how poor he is. And, he really is. He is poor because he hasn’t learned how to make money work for him. He has $20,000 and is worried he is going to lose it. I told him I could make $100,000 with that $20,000 in less than six months. He looked at me like I was some kind of genius who was born into aristocracy. It really blew his mind when I told him my first job was for minimum wage. My first job in healthcare paid $8.00 an hour. I wasn’t born into wealth and I don’t know of any magic tricks that will turn one dollar into five. That wasn’t a skill I was born with. It wasn’t a skill my parents taught me. They lived poor. They gave away nearly everything they owned to help others. They struggled to pay the bills. I know what being poor is like. So, then, how does one become rich when they are poor? Again, the answer is quite simple. Opportunity is everywhere if you know how to look for it.
I learned how to make money while attending law school. No, the University of Houston (go Cougs!) didn’t teach me that. I was blessed to be forced to drive three hours to Houston several times a week and found that audio books really helped pass the time. I would go to the public library, check out five audio books, listen to them while driving, and repeat that process each week. After three and half years of that routine, I probably listened to hundreds of books. Each week, I made sure I checked out at least one book about making money. It started with “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kyosaki. Then, “The Richest Man in Babylon.” Having been an avid Bible reader since the age of 13, I already knew Proverbs quite well. Those three books contain all the wisdom you really need to know to become wealthy. Out of the countless other books, I gleaned some good ideas and discarded a million bad ideas. What I hope you see though, is that I took advantage of an opportunity. Many people probably would have skipped law school altogether (not a bad idea by the way!) if they had to drive three hours. Others would have listened to pop music for three years. But, fortunately for me, I wasn’t a big music lover and I was really bored. I liked books. And, I saw an opportunity to learn about a subject that affects every part of my life that I wasn’t already familiar with. I still do that to this day. Each year, I figure out an area of life that I don’t know much about and make it my goal to read or listen to every book on the subject the public library has. I supplement that with magazines, the internet, meeting people, etc., but I don’t have to spend much money to take advantage of the opportunity to learn.
Back to the $20K. After I left, I thought about that problem. If I needed to turn $20K into $100K in six months, what would I do? Here are some options I came up with off the top of my head:
- Buy two rental properties at $50K each that need repairs. The down payment would only be $5K with the right lender. Put some money into refurbishing them, rent them out, and track the profit. After six months, I should have proof of rental income that would value the properties close to double their purchase price. That wouldn’t get me to $100K in profit, but I could take the profit and put it into four rental units and repeat until I reached that milestone.
- Even better, I would draw up a design for some software that has a market. I would hire a programmer or two to design a mock up. I would get feedback from potential customers. I would take down-payments from them to be the first in line to use the new software. I would pay the programmers to build an alpha version of the software. I would bring in my first 100 customers. I would then sell the software. The right market and the right buyer could easily bring in $1ooK off a $20K investment.
- Even better still, I would find a business that needs to sell quickly and put up to $20K into escrow to hold the contract to buy it for six months. I would then find investors to buy the business at the true value.
I know what you are thinking, “Those ideas are stupid. There is no way you could pull that off.” Lesson #1, opportunity is everywhere. But, it is only visible to those trained to see it. ReadJames Altucher’s post and see how easy #3 really is. Like I said, opportunity is everywhere.
I won’t bore you with a longer lecture. I wrote this post so you could see why GoodLooking has the business philosophy that it does. We truly believe that our ideas will change the world for the better. Some of our ideas we can’t even begin working on because we just don’t have the time. So, if you want to steal them, feel free. We want the world to be a better place. Compete with us. Join us. Opportunity is everywhere and we need more people to take advantage of it.