Translation of an article from the blog Expert™
Today is an unusual format: I am not going to tell my observations or a life story, but about a friend of mine whom I once mentioned in one of my stories.
Vadim could have been sitting in an office for an average salary, but as a smart and bright guy, he went the other way. He looked for opportunities, saw what others did not see, made money, lost it, and rose again. His brief biography is worth reading for everyone to understand: how to make money without working for someone, without having rich relatives and without resorting to crime, after all, his roots did not allow to live peacefully in Europe.
"You can work as a loader for a week for 100 euros or earn 850 euros in an evening."
Or how a Russian kid rose to leading positions in Spain without rich ancestors or criminals.
You're a stranger here.
In 1999, my family and I came to live in Germany," he recalls. - My father, an ethnic German, took advantage of Germany's return program at the time. That's how we got German citizenship. That path was possible until 2001. When we arrived there, the government gave us a choice of several cities to live in. We chose Braunschweig because our grandmother lived there.
Vadim learned German in kindergarten - he was never a typical barely proficient emigrant. Despite this, at school his peers saw him as a stranger and treated him accordingly. Vadim studied, but without interest: the subjects were too easy for him. Sitting at the back desk, he wondered what he wanted to be in life.
Future skateboarding star
His first thought was skateboarding! Why, Tony Hawk could do it-why am I any worse? Vadim skated like hell, winning city tournaments, dreaming of entering the international scene and finding sponsors. But injuries put an end to his career.
At 15, Vadim started his first "business. It grew out of a hobby: this time online gaming. Many gamers want to bend over everything that walks and breathes in the virtual world, but are not willing to spend hundreds of hours on "pumping their character". That's where Vadim comes in and offers to "grow the character" for real money. To simplify the work with clients, teenagers have even opened their own website.
I do not want to study, I want a full house.
You don't make a lot of money with this, so Vadim thought about a more traditional job. So he enrolled to study for a job as a translator. Studying was easy again, but the uni disliked Vadim and another Russian, Edik. Both became outcasts because of their roots. Vadim, became interested in poker: Edik was good at it and could teach him a lot.
Having mastered the basics, Vadim began to make money online and in live tournaments. In his competition in Braunschweig with 110 players the young talent took fourth place and received 125 euros. Then there was more: Vadim entered the top 100 best players in Germany and was invited to a prestigious poker hall:
I was surrounded by hardened players, but luckily I was winning more often than I was losing. When I made my fortune, I rented a car and lived better, not like other students.
Loader in Spain
Despite his success, Vadim knew that winning poker for life would not pay off. He had to think of something, and it would be better to do it where there was the sea and warmer weather. For example, at my parents' house, which they bought in the small town of Torrevieja on the coast of Alicante, Spain!
After taking the 1.5 thousand euros he had won, Vadim moved to the place of his parents in Spain. There he met another Russian guy, Artur: they showed the local muchachos what fun was all about. But trouble: hanging out in bars and clubs for a month, Vadim fucked up almost all his money.
What seemed to be the problem? If you don't have money, get a job. But he could not get an official job: he needed an NIE number. It took at least a month to get an appointment, and I needed the money now. Should I ask my parents for it? Alternatively, they would be happy to transfer it, but his pride prevented him from approaching his parents.
Vadim contacted the agency his parents bought the house from. Asked for any job they had, and they got him the job. A loader. Unused to physical exertion, the guy went nuts: to carry multi-kilogram crates for 11 hours a day for 25 euros. For the record, that's half the minimum wage in Spain.
Having received the promised 100 euros for a few days of work, Vadim bought food at the nearest supermarket. He had 30 euros left in his hands, exactly the amount required for the minimum bet at a poker tournament 6 kilometers away from home:
I came to that casino on foot and didn't get out from behind the poker table from 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. I was lucky enough to win 850 euros, which helped a lot to get through the remaining three and a half weeks until I finally got my tax number. My legs were sore from the long walk, but how nice it was to call my boss and supervisor in the morning and let them know that I would no longer be going to work for them!
Fuck working for someone!
When he got the opportunity, Vadim officially got a job at a real estate agency. They just needed smart guys who knew several languages. The only problem: the employer paid less than the market and could cheat on the promised percentage of sales. Well, young man, at least you get experience in real estate.
It was around then that I met Vadim. Every day we spent together, I shared my experience with him and showed him new opportunities that "simple-minded" Spaniards did not notice. One day his agency's database went down and sales stopped. The new friend complained to me about this, and I realized: the Spaniards don't know how to do IT. We had to get to market before another programmer got wind of it and cut off the greenbacks.
We spent all our free time and money on our real estate portal. I even paid for the flight and lodging of my programmer friend from Russia. In the end we created one of the most promising startups in Spain, but I only realised this at the exhibition. To get there we poured out our last savings:
The exhibition just blew up! - assures Vadim. - All the real estate agents were shocked by our idea. After the presentation we received a lot of calls, applications for registration. Our product was in demand. Soon we quit the agency and concentrated entirely on developing our project. A little later we officially registered our company.
And then it was on: Vadim and I drove around the agencies, offering them paid subscriptions to the service, ranging from 199 to 399 euros. In a couple of months, working together, we attracted more than three hundred registrations and more than 50 partners - beautiful! Only we failed, not having calculated our strength. Our server could not carry the load, I had to part with the programmer, who obviously could not pull all of my ideas and did not cope with the technical side. I went back to Russia to find investment and assemble a team of new developers. The shop closed and Vadim was out of a job.
Starting from scratch again
Vadim was not confused and got a job at one of the agencies he had previously sold subscriptions to. Fortunately, the new boss did not ask for his money back - that investment had already paid off.
This time Vadim did not sell, but offered to rent houses by the sea. They were really fucking popular with the people who came from abroad for vacations. Our guy was even amazed at how underdeveloped such a business was:
The system could be greatly improved, but for some reason the Spaniards didn't think twice about it; they were fine with it. After making a business plan, I went to this German guy and asked, "Do you have any short-term rental units?" He said he had six. I offered him my idea and a percentage from this business. Alicante Holiday was born.
So in three years, the company of three people has grown into a company with thirty employees, with four offices on the coast of Spain. Now they rent out 120 properties and next year they plan to become the biggest agency in the region.
Instead of the moral of this fable, I suggest listening to Vadim's commentary:
To be successful, you need to be different from your competitors and offer something of your own. You can work as a loader for a week for 100 euros, or you can make 850 euros in an evening. Opportunities to make money are all around us. Most people don't see them, and you have to take advantage of them.
This is not the end of the story, we are both sure it is only the beginning!