It’s been a few years since I got interested in building my own small business. Actually, I launched my first “company” when I was 8 years old, it was 1991 in USSR/Russia. I decided to start selling my unused toys and games to my classmates. As far as I remember, I didn’t like the idea of them not being used. The sales were good, but I was sure they could be even better. To increase my reach I had to go to the outside world and I got myself a spot on a street market. Found a couple of carton boxes and put all my “products” on them. All price tags were carefully crafted using stencils I had at home. My shop was up and running very successfully till I received the first complaint from one of my customer’s mother. I sold him a small green military jet and apparently, he didn’t ask for his parents’ authorization to conduct the transaction 🙂 This turned to be quite a big deal in school as his mother told everything to our teacher. I got my first “yellow card” and learned a lesson – “All transactions have to be authorized” 🙂
Revenue was growing every day as I was getting better in understanding the customers and offering products that better fit their needs. Surprisingly, lots of people were impressed by my small “enterprise” and were just stopping by my booth to chat (which is not a common practice in Russia :). One of them was more curious than others and started asking more questions about what school I went to, teachers, etc. Being a naive young boy, I was quite open and told him everything. In a couple of days, right at the beginning of the class, our teacher asked me to stand up… And the public shaming began. It turned out that curious gentleman wasn’t very supportive of my entrepreneurial beginnings and after getting intel on my school and teacher went to the school and told everything to her. I clearly remember this moment and the only thing I couldn’t get – “Why is it bad?”. Still, don’t understand what I was doing wrong 🙂 I am really glad I had the support of my parents and just didn’t take the teacher’s “opinion” seriously. However, I had to close my business to prevent more serious punishment in school. It was a fantastic experience.
After that, I continued trying myself in different (legal) activities that could bring money. Finding and returning glass bottles for a refund, fishing and selling it on the streets, buying frozen red caviar and canning, buying car audio in Japan and selling, selling MP3 CDs online, multiple content websites, my own web design studio(s), and the list goes on. I may write more about each of these “adventures” and lessons learned later.
To summarize – I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset and tried many different things, and I also believe that sharing knowledge and experience is a valuable contribution to the community of startuppers. So, I started this website to share my personal learnings and experience I get while working on my own startups.
PS My name is Kirill Vechtomov and you can find me on Linkedin.