I played basketball in high school and still play today. I practice at the YMCA and I will not leave the court unless I hit at least 7 out of 10 free throws.
In high school, I shot 100 free throws everyday on a dirt court my Dad made behind our house. We had a very steep driveway so a basketball court there was out of the question. So Dad fired up the tiller and cleared a space in the woods then rolled a log across it to compact the dirt into a smooth court. Yes, the Jaunzemis clan is quite resourceful and bootstrapping was a way of life. OK, maybe we were squatting on land that was not ours, but Dad also taught me to take risks.
Like sports, entrepreneurship requires the same commitment to practice. Practicing is an action which is different from learning. Practicing allows you to know how the action feels mentally and physically. So you know what it feels like to make money, to win, to lose, to sell, to ask, to put yourself on the line.
Jason Fried of 37signals wrote a great article about this titled, How to Get Good at Making Money where he offered this exercise:
So here’s a great way to practice making money: Buy and sell the same thing over and over on Craigslist or eBay. Seriously.
Go buy something on Craigslist or eBay. Find something that’s a bit of a commodity, so you know there’s always plenty of supply and demand. An iPod is a good test. Buy it, and then immediately resell it. Then buy it again. Each time, try selling it for more than you paid for it. See how far you can push it. See how much profit you can make off 10 transactions.
James Altucher encourages exercising your idea muscle with the Ultimate Cheat Sheet for becoming an Idea Machine
Some of my exercises include:
- using the Amazon app to scout for books at the Goodwill which I then sell on Amazon
- listing things on Ebay or Amazon to exercise my online marketplace muscles
- re-listing the things my partner can’t sell on Craigslist to see if I can sell it with improved copy writing or photos
- attending business events just to practice my networking skills
If you want to practice buying a business, try this:
- sign up for alerts of businesses for sale on bizbuysell
- For every business you might be interested in make a list of five ways you would grow that business.
- For every business you read make a list of three people, businesses or investors who should buy that business (you don’t have to know these people, but think about who would benefit by buying it).
- Occasionally share the business for sale with one of the people on your list with a note explaining why you thought they would be interested.
- Keep doing this until you find one that you can’t stop thinking about, one you know you could grow with all the creative ideas you have.
- Now go pitch those three people on your list and ask them to invest in buying the business.
One of the most common questions I get about buying businesses is how do you get the money to buy your first one? If you practice this enough you could land an investor in the process.