Thinking Small Entrepreneurship with a Big Mindset

The Entrepreneurial Kid

Once upon a time, way, way back, we used to dream of being happy. We dreamt of fire trucks, climbing trees, and hoping that we could just eat mac and cheese for dinner and get ice cream before bed time.

Once upon a time, we weren’t stressed out about money.

It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about those days. But today I hit the reset button at least for the day.

See, I get in this funk every now and then where all I can think of is business. How people make money, how to drive web traffic, how to do arbitrage (everything in business is arbitrage or knowledge brokering), etc.  I mean seriously! I was with my wife buying baby stuff and all I could think about what the profit margins of the store.

What happened to thinking about the smiles, the joy, the excitement of a new toy (just kidding, sheesh)?

So even though I couldn’t get my mind completely off of business, I did come across an interesting exercise.  Instead of always thinking about how to build something new, exciting and different, I thought of what I did as a kid, when I had no money at all.

I was innovative.  I recycled for money.  I bought supplies for lemonade stands and then franchised them around the neighborhood. I created and sold art. I did neighbor’s chores they didn’t want to or couldn’t do.  And it was great!

Then I started thinking about microfinance borrowers.  Some, even in San Diego, are taking out a $250 loan and running their businesses and their lives off that loan.

$250!  In San Diego, California!  Seriously?  How do they do that?

So, I’m now thinking small.  I’m thinking like a kid, or a microfinance borrower.  If they can leverage their $250 and make enough money to live on, so can we.  Yup, we have some things that make it a bit more difficult (a car, higher rent, etc).  But that’s not stopping me.

Now, if we’re going to do this right, we need to think about assets and scaling.  So, here’s a few Big Business Mindset things to remember for the task:

  1. Buy an asset: $250 could purchase an asset which could be resold later for more money.  I’m not very excited about this, because it doesn’t create cash flow. But, it’s an option.
  2. Buy low and sell high, but quickly: As I said before, all business is about arbitrage.  I’ve been thinking that product arbitrage is tough to come by these days because of the internet.  And it is difficult to find, but not impossible.  The trick here, though, is to buy and sell quickly to realize the profits as fast as possible.  I’ll take a $1 profitable transaction 1000 times a day over a $500 profit one time a day.  Think about that for a second.

So, now what do we do?  We’ve got $250.  How do we make it work for us as fast as possible without a high risk of losing it all (ie, gambling and the lotto are not options, they are not assets)?

Interested in playing along? Tell me in the comments what you think, or what you’re doing with $250.

Nate Ritter lives in Austin, Texas (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

2 Comments on "Thinking Small Entrepreneurship with a Big Mindset"

  1. Charline says:

    Hi there Nate. It seems not one soul read this or there would be comments. It seems that interesting to me. So, how about you give me a hint,please. Invest it? buy in bulk, wholesale and resale later? Just accidentally found your site and I’ve been here reading for about 4 hours. Hint?

    • nate says:


      Yea, it’s interesting. Sometimes I have 600 comments on one post. Other times, nothing. That’s ok. That’s the fun of having a personal blog… seeing what other people think is interesting and engage with.

      Anyway, thanks for reading! Personally, I would probably either buy raw materials and make something, or buy wholesale and resale later. It would probably be faster to do the wholesale thing, and you’d probably get some quick insight on the market (who’s buying, when, etc) by talking to the people who sell the stuff. But, you could probably make more money (if you don’t count your time) producing something fun and cool and selling it on Etsy or something.

      What would you do Charline?

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