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Are you investing or consuming? Are you investing or consuming?
by Joseph Gatt
2021-01-26 10:49:29
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I was going to title this one “are you serving or showing off?” Notes and advice to those who want to turn their hobbies into a business.

-A hobby is something that you do for yourself, and that you enjoy doing for yourself. A job or a business is something that you do for others, where you serve others.

-Something a lot of beginner businessmen have trouble with: a lot of your clients are going to be people that you've never met, and who you know nothing about. Let me repeat this: in business, a lot of your clients are not your cousins, not your best friends, not your frat boys.

cons01_400-Let me illustrate this. In Korea, in Japan, in Arab countries and elsewhere, I've met quite a few people who do a decent job at providing a service for family and friends. Let's say they're plumbing or tinkering or making coffee for their family and friends. And they get all the respect.

-Now these guys will get all the respect from their family and friends. Then they'll start a business, and they're going to be confused, shocked, irritated, humiliated at how rude, impatient, apathetic and discreet most clients will be.

-That's why, to those who want to start businesses, I would suggest that they spend as much time as they can working with strangers before they start their business.

-Here's one final example before I discuss something else. This “coaching” and “counseling” thing is big these days (at least it was big pre-COVID-19).

-Now you had people give advice to their family and friends, and their family and friends appreciated their advice. That's a skill alright.

-These guys then start coaching businesses. But in the coaching world, the guys who are going to come to you are people whose names you won't know, whose background you will know nothing about, whose cultural values you will know nothing about, and who perhaps went through a life path you know absolutely nothing about. Unlike your family and friends, whose backgrounds you're familiar with, in the coaching business, you'll have to work with your clients from scratch.

-Now here's how that could go wrong. A “famous” Canadian coach in Korea, who coaches Koreans to get jobs in the United States, tells his Korean viewers that they should look for a job on Google rather than Naver (the Korean equivalent of Google). Now this Canadian guy does not realize that Koreans can't get a job without visa sponsorship in the US, and are more likely to find a job in the US using Naver, where American companies who want to hire Koreans and are willing to sponsor their visa tend to advertise. And the Canadian guy doesn't even know that there are Korean companies specialized in scouting US companies who want to hire Koreans and placing Koreans in such jobs.

-Changing the topic. To answer the old question of why so many sports stars lose their hundreds of millions of dollars they made during their short-lived careers?

-Most sports superstars make around 100 million dollars in careers spanning from ages 18 to around 35.

-These sports stars confuse “consuming” with “investing.” When you “consume” you buy something that is for personal use. When you “invest” you buy something that other people are going to use, and you have to sell it to them and make them happy.

-These sports stars often meet financial advisers who tell them that they can purchase huge amounts of real estate and that those sports stars can start a second career in real estate.

-What the financial advisers don't tell the sports stars is that real estate involves maintenance, construction, fixing, finding tenants, filling out paperwork, and dealing with neighboring annoyances (such as occasional street crime, gangs roaming the area, or annoying construction work, or roads that are not being fixed, or noisy night clubs opening in the area etc. etc. etc.).

-So the sports stars are going to be like “see this compound? I own it!” Not realizing that taking care of the compound is a lot of work. You're going to have to hire decent security, environment and hygiene staff to take care of your buildings, some apartments will have defects that you will have to fix, and then you're going to have to convince people to rent an apartment in the building and so on and so forth.

-Again, changing to the final topic. This turning your hobby into business nonsense. There's a saying that goes that the “best” drug dealers don't do drugs, the best bar tenders don't drink, and the best chefs eat sandwiches.

-Here's an example. There's this woman who liked to collect hats. So she started a business manufacturing hats.

-Problem is: tell me, reader, when's the last time you saw someone wear a hat in the streets? Baseball caps, sure. Winter hats, sure. Maybe a couple of people wearing berets or fedora hats.

-Point is, hats have been out of fashion since the 1970s, and the last US president to wear hats on a regular basis was Lyndon Johnson (Kennedy did away with hats, but pretty much every president before Eisenhower wore hats).

-So turning your hobby into a business is going to be very complicated. Hobbies involve serving yourself, a business involves serving others.

-Let's finish with musicians and Youtubers. If you want to play music or start a YouTube channel because you want to serve viewers and the audience (that is play music the audience likes, and record content the viewers like) then that's good.

-If you're the kind of musician who only plays the music that you enjoy listening to. Or if you're the kind of Youtuber that only produces content that you're interested in. And that you don't take the crowd's tastes into consideration. You can't go very far.

-I'll finish with a fun note. In the pornographic industry, actors and actresses are usually told that “if you're here because you enjoy sex, go get a boyfriend.” You get the idea.

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