We all knew that one dude in college, or maybe, you were that one dude. He was the go-to person for good pot, and he seemed to be doing really well with his business. But, he only sold it to a few people. You had to know someone and have that person vouch for you before he would even talk to you.
Once you were approved, you were in. Yet, despite his lack of interest in expanding his empire, he always seemed to be in demand. (And, for the record, I use "he" just because mine was a guy. Feel free to replace it with the pronoun of your preference.)
My dude ended up walking away from that life, graduating and getting a day job, but I always thought of him when I would take a business course. I can't say for sure, but I'm fairly certain my guy never took a business course in his life. Even without those classes, he was able to grasp some key fundamentals that made him such a success. Had he been legitimate, he probably would have turned into some sort of small business media darling.
I learned three incredibly important, yet simple rules from him that I used when I started up my own side gig, which eventually went full-time. I know many of us are out there trying to make it as entrepreneurs, so I think we can all learn a few things from our successful pot dealer buddies.
Here are three lessons you learn about business from your pot dealer:
1. Know your market, and keep it small.
The dude never advertised, as the laws in the state where I went to college were not lenient when it came to pot. Yet, he was always in demand and always had his loyal clientele. His success came from knowing his market and sticking to it.
He knew expanding to entice other people would have led to nothing but problems. The same goes in business. Pick a niche and stick to it because trying to please too many people will lead to headaches and possible financial loss.
2. Stick to what you know.
Harder drugs? Nope. Hallucinogens? No. Dude sold pot and pot only. This helped him develop his niche and become known for his quality pot.
He didn't feel the need to try to expand his product selection, and neither should you if you start a business. Pick one product, develop the hell out of it and then decide if it's worth it to expand to other products. Most of the time, it isn't.
3. Give it away for free.
The first hit is always free, right? This is so brilliant. Offering first hits for free helped him to develop trust with his clientele. He gave them a chance to experience the quality of his product, and the same should go with you.
Give so much value away for free that people begin to know, like and trust you. Only once they trust they're not getting ripped off will they want to buy your product. There are so many stories of people offering to pay others for things they've giving away for free. (Pat Flynn would be a great example.) So, you shouldn't be afraid to give your best stuff away. Offering value for free on the first go-around only helps further your business.
So, here's to you, college pot dealer. Thank you for teaching me the three fundamental rules of business. If you're starting a business or looking to grow your side hustle, take these three lessons and consider them hard and fast rules. While they were discovered through less-than-legal means, they apply to anyone looking to trade value for cash.