I recently stumbled across a very cool and interesting, but slightly old article on Derek Jeter’s website, The Players’ Tribune. In this autobiographical piece, Arron Afflalo, a current NBA basketball player writes an awesome story about growing up in Compton and how he came up with his own way to make money which helped him stay away from gangs, drugs, etc. He also details how he grew up with a guy named Kendrick Duckworth… and how that young Mr. Duckworth grew up to become the great rapper, Kendrick Lamar. Below is an excerpt from the article. To read the rest of this piece, go to The Players’ Tribune.
“Glazed. Chocolate. Bear claws. Rainbow sprinkles. Every morning, you’d see me coming to school with the old-school pink boxes. When I was 13, I used to flip donuts in the parking lot outside my junior high in Compton. That was my first hustle. And it was a good hustle. My father worked for the L.A. city housing authority, so he would get me up at, like, 6 a.m. and drop me off at the bakery on his way to work.
I had the profit margins all worked out in my head. I could buy donuts for 50 cents apiece and then sell them to the kids for a dollar. I’d make 50 cents on every donut I moved. There were probably 50 kids who hung out in the same spot before the school opened. My market potential was $25 profit a day.
I mean, come on — everybody loves donuts.
There was only one problem: If I wanted to get four dozen donuts, that was going to be an upfront cost of $25. That was my first economics lesson. I needed liquidity, man. I needed $25 to make $25, and I didn’t have that kind of money. I was 13.
So I had to convince all the kids to give me cash for their donut a day ahead of time. So right before lunch, when everybody was hungry, I’d walk around with a sheet of paper taking orders for the next day. The deal was you had to pay me then, and the next morning you’d have a fresh donut waiting for you when you got to school. Who’s gonna turn that down?
Remember, though — this is Compton in the early 2000s. I’m walking around asking people to give me money. I’m asking people to trust me. I learned that I could get people from all walks of life — gang members, nerds, jocks, teachers, lunch ladies — to trust me with their dollar. It was a really valuable lesson that I’ve carried with me my whole life: If you’re a man of your word and people can count on you, it cuts across all lines.
But that was just the start of my business ventures. In my head, I kept thinking, How can I take this to the next level? How can I make $100 a day? Donuts were the startup. My empire came a few years later, when I got my Pentium III computer.
When I got to high school, it was the heyday of Napster and Kazaa. This was before the iPod changed the game. Back then, everybody was ripping songs from the internet and burning them onto CD-Rs. It was like the Wild West. Anything you wanted, you could get.
Everybody in Compton wanted the new 50 Cent album or the newest Jay Z track that was on the radio, but not a lot of people could afford going to Best Buy and paying $15.99.
To read the rest of this article, click the link above.
Always respect the hustle.