What 20s? Most of the people you know are still broke in their 30s, let alone those who struggle in their 40s. There are 2 ways in growing your money: you save or you earn. It has always been a goal for me to be financially stable. I started when I was still in grade school and back then the struggle for money was real. My parents, which was at the end of their 20’s, were still broke and were raising a family at the same time.
My Early Battles
Age 8, I had a classmate who has a computer, an internet, and a printer. Back in 1998, it was difficult to have access to those kinds of resources. That year, it was a trend to have a ‘Song-Hits‘, a magazine-type of publication, which would have lists of songs and their lyrics, as well as their guitar chords. With those in my head, I was thinking of utilizing my friend’s resources. So I had him cornered and talked him into the business. Lyrics were spread on the internet it can be easily be found, a problem we have faced was the knowledge about formatting or designing a book, so we printed our product on a single, regular typewriting paper instead. Back then, song hits were priced at 60++ PHP and we were selling our product at 3 PHP a sheet. We would only print one to save cash then photocopied them, sold the copies at different classrooms and almost most of them bought a copy, singing while going home with their service (Some of them started borrowing few sheets then write a copy of their own, they were breaking our business down). Some would request for a song and a translation, we gave them a special price at 5 PHP for every bundle of lyrics (Still Single Page). It was a hit as I recall it, I always had enough in my pocket back then. That is why I developed this part of me becoming a non-dependent to my parents financially. Let’s face it, at the age of 8, it was really hard to ask for money from our parents.
Age 9, there was a new trend which was called the ‘Dancing Capsule‘. It was priced 5 pesos each—in which you can buy a full set of noodle meal (Pansit Bihon) back then. I bought one to dissect how does it work and viola, it turns out that every resource needed to make this amazing product was at my disposal. My parents and my grandparents opened a pet shop business, which sells supplements for fishes. The neighbor whose kids I played with has a bicycle shop that customizes and repairs bicycles. From those two shops, I created a dancing capsule on my own! The recipe for this kiddie-success was an empty capsule from our shop and loots from scattered bicycle bearings on the neighbor’s shop. Packaging-wise, it was not that attractive, but as it was a home-made product. It was set at a lower price to supply the demand for the kids back then. (I remember being punished because my uncle told my dad that I have a 20php and I am giving it to him for free, yes I was kind of showing off. After being reported, I was immediately scolded for like hours and in the end, I was forced to admit a stealing situation. I just did that instead of admitting I have a good business, as my business profit could be halved if they discovered what I am doing with the capsules I am asking )
Age 12, I became uninterested in people who had no interest in doing any business. But despite that, I still had to join them for intel about what trends and what products were they interested in buying. My mindset was of that, ‘how can their allowance be used to purchase something from me’. I would tag along with them as we cut class, only to end up in malls and end up buying CD games for their Play Stations. I rented out a console and started playing and with research and stuff, later I have heard that there is a CD priced from 800++ to 1k++ called ‘Game Shark‘. It was the talk of the town and was only released in a black CD format, which also made it expensive, which is software that would allow you to hack/cheat in any game available. So I, once again, cornered one guy that had the resources available. I bought blank CDs and some stickers, which did not cost more than 20 PHP a copy. I duplicated one CD and initially sold them to one. The feedback was good. Until eventually, it did not take long for the news to spread. We priced one copy of that CD for 300 PHP. 50 would belong to my partner for the CD burning service, 250 for me. Making him believe that my cut was also 50, because of the costing of the materials. So I explained deeper where the money is going. I told him that 50 goes to him and me, the other 50 goes to the costing of the materials, (which he does not know) and the other partner of mine in which has a copy of the CD. I told him that the guy only agreed to duplicate his game shark if he could get earnings as well. And that is 50% of the price we have affixed to the product. So everything went well for the first partner, thinking that since there is no available copy of the CD out there, it was only fair to give the 50% of the earnings to that one who owns the product. He was not aware that the 3rd party guy I pretended to partner with was no longer in the picture. I bought his second-hand original copy for 600 PHP and returned a duplicate. My bargaining statement was ‘he could still use and get the benefit of that CD and also get 600 PHP as well’. He was really satisfied with it. For 2 years it had been very great. Until our problem came when the CD burner burned out. And we have no money because the concept of savings was not yet introduced. Only the concept of having money and purchasing what I want is available at that time.
At 15, computer shops popped everywhere! Most youths I know became invested in playing online games and doing this internet thing. I played most of the games with a growing community of players. My thoughts were, ‘A game with a community is a game with currency’. At this point, I am doing 2 roles on MMO, which were Support and Merchant. I rendered services for support while creating and hunting rare items with my merchant. Good thing that creating deals with the market was easy. I developed a good bidding phase for the years of playing, I solely focus on getting rich in-game and selling game items into cash. I even sold my Play Station for a couple of rare items and sold these items at a higher price. I remember, it was really hard to sell that console (PS1) as it was an obsolete version; price it at 6k and it would become very expensive. Still, I managed to exchange them for Ragnarok Items then sold the items at a higher price as well. Got 9k overall on the trade. The game was becoming good, Boss hunts and rare items which were bought by the richest kid in town range from 4k, 15k and even up to 6 figures of money!
Making Money Online
There was even news about gamers killing in real life just because of a failed transaction. People became very wary of what happened and most of the parents and the media are in a rage because of this uncontrolled trend. The Internet is such a thing that only a madman will think or even try to control it. At this age, most of the players back then were the parents of this generation. These parents are more open about their kids playing computer games. Which is why the E-Sports was born and why a lot of gamers are now happily living with a lot of cash in their bank accounts and their parents not being too annoying.
Here, I also played different games which led me to study programming so that I can exceed the limits of these games. I created hacks and sold them for 2k PHP a copy per computer unit. On each computer shop, there would exist several units to be installed with this program. This would enable their customers to play 24/7 because of the advantages they could get. I was able to roam in different computer shops in different cities as I was invited while they purchase a copy of these said programs.
As technology becomes mobile, I adapted to the current necessity. The transaction of it became much easier and accessible for everyone, widening my potential customers. With a new mindset that, ‘These customers will become adults, I am too will be in a different offering, which of course they will be interested too‘.
;TLDR; My Thoughts
Overall, if your mindset is about earning and getting more in life, always go with the trend. A person won’t get wet if that person hides while the rain is pouring. In the struggle we find success. There is no glory in hiding inside the closet nor does being away from what your environment offers you. Create an intention to struggle so that you can identify what you are looking for. Yes, peace is what everyone wants, but if you do not know anything about struggle, you won’t find the comparison between peace and chaos. Because only in experiencing struggle will you be able to look and find comfort.
How about savings? Consider ‘savings‘ is your last bullet for yourself. This is a result of mental chaos which is also called savings. If you want to be financially free in your next years, then start creating sources of income now! Because in 5 years, a game-changing scenario will be brought into your life. Being comfortable waiting for your salary and save portions of it won’t give you satisfaction. The only increase that you will get by working hard is a minimal amount of money, age, and stress, nothing more. Take it from someone who lives a happy 20s life and entering his 30s, still financially awesome yet still engaging to higher opportunities.