Drug Dealers have usually always been looked-down upon within society, but if you take a closer look at some of today’s most successful entrepreneurs, they started out as drug dealers. Jay Z, P. Diddy, and 50 Cent all used drug dealing as a means of survival and reaching success. Some studies have also shown that successful entrepreneurs and drug dealers are actually cut from the same cloth. In a paper titled “Drug dealing and legitimate self-employment,” economist Rob Fairlie notes a statistical relationships between being a teen drug dealer and being an entrepreneur as an adult. Fairlie argues that the same characteristics that lead people to become entrepreneurs as adults also lead them to be drug dealers as teenagers.
With that being said, here are seven reasons why a drug dealer is a better entrepreneur than you are.
In the business world, a competitor can try to mess with you by offering lower prices or copying you. In the drug world, if you do things like accidentally selling in someone else’s corner, you potentially face pain and even death for you and your whole family. Dealing with situations like this while having to make sure your product is still good and your operations are running smoothly is something no startup entrepreneur will ever have to face. Take this Quora user’s account of his time as a drug dealer:
“I was threatened with knives. Once a guy with four spiked rings on his hand was a second from punching me in the face. I’ve had guns pointed at my head.”
As a startup founder, I think it’s safe to say that you’ll never have a gun pointed at your head, not literally at least.
Say you build a startup, what is the WORST thing that can happen to you? Losing money? Bankruptcy? Getting a bad reputation? In the drug world, you’re not only constantly facing death, but you also risk getting caught and jailed. For someone that goes into drug dealing with this reality in mind, you know you are going absolutely all-in with hopes of seeing success.
Many millennial startup founders today have a safety-net, whether it’s their parents or a full-time job to handle. It’s rare to see something that is truly risking everything in order to succeed.
Drug dealers have only one goal: to make money. This is the core of why businesses succeed and survive.
Because of all the stories of startups getting acquired for billions of dollars with no revenue, entrepreneurs everywhere think they than start a company without thinking about how to make money at all. In a past interview with serial entrepreneur Scott Gerber, he explained:
“…I need more than enough people that are 18-20-somethings that simply say, “I’ll figure out the money equation later.” And I think that’s the stupidest way to think about business because at the end of the day, less than probably 2% of people that start a business are ever going to see a dollar of real investment money.”
Having passion is obviously great, but you will need to focus on the bottom-line longterm if you want your business to thrive.
People may buy from you the first time, but if your drugs suck or they feel ripped off, you won’t get repeat customers unless you’re completely scraping at the bottom of the barrel. Every successful business starts with a quality product so you need to spend a ton of time perfecting it. In the words of angel investor Jason Calacanis, “product speaks.” So when you’ve actually produced a top-notch product, it will market itself.
Notorious drug kingpin Freeway Rick Ross was known for managing over 1000 drug dealers and was making $2 million a day back in his prime. How did he do it? He genuinely cared about people and always looked for ways to keep his subordinates happy.
“…when my guys would go to prison, I would try to go out and [try] to get the best attorney I could. I would try to bail them out of jail immediately, and do all the things that they needed to put their life back on track, because that’s the way I would’ve wanted for somebody to do for me.”
Being able to keep your team in check at all times while making sure they like working with you is a concept that many startup entrepreneurs today have yet to grasp. Take Clinkle founder Lucas Duplan for instance, he raised $30 million for his startup and is known for treating his employees like shit. One of his former employees goes as far as saying that working for him “was like going through an abusive relationship.”
Let’s face it, as underground as the drug dealing business is, there are tons are people doing it. What is going to separate you from everyone else? Take some notes from Freeway Rick Ross:
“People buy from people they like, so in the drug business people came and bought from me because not only did I have good drugs, but they also like me. They wanted to see me do good, and when people want to see you do good, they’re going to help you. They would rather bring their money to you because you treat them like somebody than go to this other guy who’s going to talk to him bad, cuss him out, slap them when they short. You know, my customers come to me and they were short, I would give them some on credit. And I think people appreciated that.”
This is customer service 101. Keeping your customers happy is not an easy thing to do, and I see many new businesses struggle with this. This is the reason Zappos is so successful- they make sure everything they do starts with great customer service.
When building a startup, it can be tough to budget out money for paid advertising. When it comes to drug dealing, you don’t have the luxury of publicly promoting it even if you had the money. So they have to resort to being more creative like researching and choosing the right places to sell, as well as networking with the right people to gain more customers. Lead generation is a huge challenge that many new startups have and I personally find it amazing how clueless entrepreneurs can be when it comes to it.