Necessity Breeds Entrepreneurship:
Necessity Breeds Entrepreneurship:
Necessity Breeds Entrepreneurship:

Necessity Breeds Entrepreneurship:

By, Jerry LoCoco

Barbara Corcoran @BarbaraCorcoran dynamo with @ABCSharkTank posted a simple question on Twitter: “What was your first entrepreneurial endeavor.”  Key the memory flashback music!

There I was thirteen years old, full-blown Kurt Cobain blond locks to my chin, living with my mother who was in the midst of a severe battle with drug and alcohol abuse.  Generally, we did not have food in our apartment, the good days involved Saltine Crackers and margarine, sometimes peanut butter. The bad days, we had absolutely nothing in the house to eat.  Not, “I don’t feel like eating the three day old leftovers” type of “nothing”, but the type of “nothing” where someone actually uses the world “literally” correctly! Meaning there were many times where we literally had nothing, absolutely nothing to eat.  I write these words not for pity, but merely to convey the scenario that led to two of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned in my life. Lesson 1: personal responsibility through entrepreneurship was how I would as a thirteen year old address one of the most basic needs in life, the need to eat.  Lesson 2: God Is Good All The Time, All The Time God Is Good! By employing these lessons I would turn a horrible situation into one of God’s greatest gifts.

Necessity Equation: Sour Gum: 99 Cents/Pound + 5 for a Dollar = Profit (Food)

Life and Business Lessons Learned Well Before My Classmates

I remember the day my friend and I went to the grocery store.  The time of the year was around Halloween, early October, and sitting there next to the main candy aisle was a glorious bin of individually wrapped sour gum.  99 cents a pound for these delicious little treats! Why the heck would kids choose sour gum over sweet? Well to be entirely accurate, the gum was primarily sour with an ever so subtle sweetness . . . I digress! Within five minutes of standing in the candy aisle, we started and finished a business plan and initial purchase; MBA professors and their 50 page business plans be damned!  We tested the market with a 99-cent purchase and sold the pound of gum five for a dollar. $21 dollar gross profit on a 99-cent investment, not bad for 1993! The best part, I ate lunch that day, not from money my parents gave me or from a free lunch program, no I ate lunch that day from the fruits of my God given ability to innovate and the need to eat. From that moment on, personal responsibility and entrepreneurship were forever ingrained in my life.  #Andiamo

 

Life and Business Lessons Learned Well Before My Classmates

Entrepreneurs constantly evolve and as a result learn new lessons every day.  I quickly realized many business lessons and concepts well ahead of my classmates.  Actually much of what I learned, I didn’t see again at least in an academic context, until college. For example, I quickly learned the difference between gross and net profits. I leveraged and made supply and demand work for me and I learned how to identify specific needs in the market.  Price sensitivity, word of mouth advertising, profit motive, and the idea that opportunity exists if you’re willing to buck the status quo (within reason here, I sold gum not drugs!!) and do what others are not willing to do, were all lessons that came out of this business.

 

Public School Missed an Opportunity; Even in that God Blessed Me:

After around two and a half months, school administrators found out about what expanded into a full-scale candy operation (#GoBigOrGoHome); evidently the janitors didn’t appreciate the extra work my business created for them.  The heavy hitters brought me into the principal’s office (#NotMyFirstRodeo) and asked me to open my bag, there for the world to see: my merchandise and profits. Was I scared? Yes. Was I proud? Heck yes! Shoot, I had more money in my pocket than my teachers did! The result?  Two weeks in school suspension. The assistant principal never asked why I sold gum/candy in school, never thought to determine why I would take such risks. But there is another lesson and fact about entrepreneurs: God made us resolute and stubborn. In my mind, I should have received an award.  While my classmates received an allowance for picking up their room, something children should do anyway (#Literally) I (through God’s grace and blessings) hustled and created a business in the midst of personal tragedy. At that point there was nothing any principal or administrator could tell me, I knew who I was, I knew that taking responsibility for my life was the only way I would overcome, I would never give up personal responsibility, I was forever changed.

Sorry Ms. B I Know What Time it Is; Final Lessons:


There I sat, in Ms. Bankston’s in school suspension for two weeks.  No watches, no clocks, no talking, just homework. As part of the punishment, the hitters decided that it would make the punishment that much more fun to keep the kids from knowing the time.  Well, lets just say there were two people in that room who had the time, an entrepreneurial story for another article! But in the midst of punishment, I spent the next two weeks catching up on homework and I read “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which was the beginning of a lifelong passion for literature.  Finally, I learned that particularly in defeat God provides great lessons, lessons that set us up for future success. Sitting there, reading a good book, catching up on homework, pocket full of money, full belly, fully aware of the time, an entrepreneur fully responsible for my life I realized: God is Good All The Time, All The Time God Is Good!  #Andiamo

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