I was 20 and in school studying industrial design.
After finishing up courses for the spring, I had the brilliant idea of taking my school project to the market.
Confidently, I thought I was going to open up a stall at an outdoor arts market.
And so I did. All while thinking I’d get rich off of all the sales and retire early.
6AM, I got out of bed and hauled my suitcase containing all my market materials to the bus stop.
2 hours later, I arrive at the market and set up.
I met with the organizer of the event. With beaming eyes, I told him it was my first market.
He said some nice words and showed me around the venue. I got back to my stand and waited as people started walking through.
I stood by my work and waited.
And waited some more.
3 hours later, and only 1 sale.
Things were looking bleak.
By the end of the day, I only made enough to cover the vendor space for the day I was there.
Not a great sign, I thought.
So much for making money and retiring early.
The bright side is now I get to share this story and tell you that once you build something, customers don’t simply flock to your footsteps.
You have to build something valuable enough for customers to do that to you. And even then, you’d have to let enough people know about what you do so that you can stay in business.
For me, I was selling cute keychains. One of the most non-practical, frivolous things in the whole world. I still loved making them though.
Not enough people wanted nor needed the thing I was selling to sustain my business.