Here's and AMAZING story from one of the students at the talk. I won't publish this studdent's name until I get the OK (or better yet if you read this, go ahead and post a followup with your name and any more info about your experience!). What a great story -- thanks for sharing. And I thought it was especially great that you modified your sales pitch after getting "no"s the first time. The things you convey in the story below are *exactly the same* as the issues you'll deal with later in life. The basic fundamentals don't change (profit = revenue - cost) so by learning and experiencing them first-hand now you'll have a huge head start over others.
Here's the great story I received from a TJ student:
Dear Mr. Odio,
Hi! My name is [withheld], I'm a TJ student and was one of the five people who volunteered to sell something over the weekend at your guest speech at FBLA last wednesday. My idea was to sell water bottles at local organized youth sports games. There aren't any concession stands at the game, so I knew that there would be demand for water. I was in part inspired by what you said during your presentation, about how you sold candy on the bus when you went to TJ. Since there wasn't any candy on the bus, people wanted to buy the candy. Since there isn't any water at these sports games, people would want to buy my water.
First, I went to Whole Foods on Sunday and bought ten bottles of water for 39 cents each. Then I went to the McLean Youth Athletics (MYA) website to see which schools the games were at and at what time. I knew that there were always games on the weekend, and around 3:00 is normally a prime time for games. Today (being Sunday) was perfect.
We drove to Chesterbrook Elementary, where there was a 3rd grade girls basketball game at 3:00. I got there around 3:30, and there weren't very many cars in the parking lot, but I walked in anyways. I saw someone, so I said "Hi! Would you a bottle of water for a dollar?" She said no. There was only one other parent there, so I asked her the same thing. She said no, too.
So I was a bit discouraged. But I was determined to keep going, and sell at least four bottles - that way I would make somewhat of a profit (10 cents). I went back to the MYA website to see if there were more games going on. I found a game at Haycock Elementary, where there was a middle school basketball game that had started at 3:00, and by the time we got there it was around 3:50. People were just getting into their cars, so clearly the game had just ended, but I figured I could catch at least one person walking out that would want a bottle of water. One parent walked out with a couple of girls with jerseys on, so I asked them if they wanted any water, but I decided to give them a brief spiel to make them want to buy the water, even if they weren't thirsty. So I said "Hi! I'm a TJ student, I'm part of the Future Business Leaders of America club. My idea was to sell water at sports games. I'm selling bottles of water for $1 each. Would you like to buy a bottle?" Well, it turned out that the parent was in FBLA when he was in high school! They bought two bottles of water.
However, it turned out that they were the last people there. I was more excited now, and I was still determined to sell at least two more bottles. So I went back to the MYA website, checking one last time if there were any more teams playing today. There were two 4th grade boys basketball games at Kent Gardens Elementary, one at 3:00 and one at 4:00. This was perfect timing, in my opinion, because I could catch the tail end of one game and the beginning of the next. We got there around 3:55, and when we got the gym, I gave the first parent I saw the same spiel I gave last time, and it worked! I sold bottle after bottle after bottle. I ended up selling six bottles at that game! In fact, one person there was actually a retired teacher. It turned out that she used to teach Latin at TJ, so she was happy to buy a bottle. A lot of parents really liked the idea, and I might go back some time to sell water, or maybe even some food!
I had a really great experience doing this. I made a profit of $4.10 (excluding cost of labor and transportation), doubling the capital expense. Even though I didn't make very much, it definitely inspired me to sell even better things in the future for even more.
I really enjoyed your presentation on wednesday, and going out and actually doing something made it that much more powerful. I was interested in coming to your speech at first because I love programming, apps, Apple, business, and technology, and I would really love to someday run a technology company. When I left the presentation, not only was I more motivated to work towards my future goals, but to start doing things now. I've had lots of ideas in the past, but I've never actually acted on them. Your presentation taught me to just go for it... and that no is not an option!