Ever since reading The Millionaire Fastlane, I've been racking my brain to recognize the opportunities in our lives that often go unnoticed. At first, it was difficult, but actively striving to be creative and observant ended up rewiring my brain - now it's paid off! Doing so, I've come to realize that there are opportunities everywhere!
Getting paid to eat chocolate was just one of the many new-found opportunities I've discovered since! This wasn't an opportunity that required me to be a genius or to have a ton of money - all I needed was to pay attention to the needs of those around me! Please allow me to elaborate.
At my workplace, we have a shared kitchen. This is the central location which nearly everyone in the building utilizes or passes by at least once a day. In this kitchen, there are two vending machines - both of which sell soda.
While preparing my lunches every day, I've noticed a number of people who buy their drinks through those vending machines. However, there is no snack vending machine - meaning that there is a service which is not being provided. The desire for snacks was not filled by a provider. People desire snacks. Why shouldn't I be the one to fulfill the people's desire?
I did a bit of quick research and found that for about $3-4, I could buy 6 Hershey chocolate bars at Walmart before my 5% cashback rewards. If I sold each bar for $1, I could make $2-3 profit (roughly 45%). The next day I dropped by Walmart before work and bought 12 bars (6 dark, 6 milk - one of which was on sale for $1 off!)
Total Invested: $6.30-ish after cashback rewards
Before leaving the house, I had previously grabbed a small cardboard box, stripped it of any identifiable information, and used scissors to cut off the hanging edges, as well as one of the four side walls. I had also grabbed an envelope and, using a nearby Sharpie, written "Candy $1" on it.
Getting to work, I unwrapped the bars, put them in the cardboard box (now which was a display), and placed the cardboard display on the counter, against a wall, the envelope in between the box and wall so that the written text was visible.
The desire could now be fulfilled.
The Result - Get Paid to Eat Chocolate!
Then I checked periodically through the day, collecting money stored in the envelope as the bars sold. No one stole any candy, no one stole any cash. Everything went smoothly.
Out of the 12 bars, I sold 10 and ate 2, making that profit of roughly $3.50 AND getting the two chocolate bars for free! (Or, you can look at it another way - I was paid $1.75 for each chocolate bar I ate!) Tomorrow I'll be buying more chocolate and restocking my kiosk to keep this trend going!
Why was this small endeavor successful? Selling a few candy bars doesn't sound like such an impressive feat, but despite years of witnessing this need, nobody in the building other than myself did it. It wasn't groundbreaking - anyone could have done it, but no one did!
Even in this small success, there are elements of every success that can be taken away and learned from.
- I observed a desire that was being unfilled. Fulfilling it would nearly guarantee me success.
- I put in the slight amount of effort needed. No one else did. By putting in additional effort, you will beat average.
- The clients paid honestly for an honest product at an honest price. If the deal is fair, everyone leaves happy.
- People like milk chocolate twice as much as they like dark chocolate. (At least from my sample.)
Now, I don't mind saying that in my excitement with uncovering this opportunity, I got really excited. In fact, I even schemed up a plan to expand to the surrounding buildings, as well as in products! According to my estimate, I could make over $100 of profit each week doing this! However, at an expanded level, I think my workplace (and, more likely, the vending machine contractor) would frown on this activity. In addition to this downer, something that (at best!) can only make me such a small amount of money is not worth fighting a battle for or filling up my mental cache. I've got bigger fish to fry!
So, regardless of my confidence in the future success of this operation, I will not be pursuing this opportunity beyond selling a few bars from just that "kiosk" to make a few bucks to eat some chocolate!
But even though this opportunity won't go anywhere, it's all good! Success is a process and carries momentum. I was successful. I will move onto bigger projects and continue to be successful. Onto the next one!