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Four Lessons I Learned Selling Tamarind Balls In Primary School

4 lessons as a student entrepreneur

I was 9 or 10 years old, in primary school (St Andrew Anglican Primary School). I remember daily my peers selling different things at school during break time, whether it was candies, cakes, tamarind balls, or anything that kids in primary school would buy.

The school sold snow ice, so I purchased snow ice and a cake or something else every break time. One day I asked myself, why do I have to be the one always buying stuff? I wanted to get in on the hustle. A big tamarind tree was close to my house, so I picked tamarind and made tamarind balls. I asked my mom for one dollar to buy a pound of sugar, and it was game on.

I made my tamarind balls went to school with them the next day, waited for break time and pulled them out. Within a few minutes, I was sold out; I made about 6 dollars. I couldn’t believe it. That evening I was under the tamarind tree again, which started my tamarind balls hustle. Eventually, tamarind went out of season.

I learned something valuable from that experience, and it can be summed up like this, hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle.

I was roughly nine years old, so there was no way I was great at making tamarind balls; I didn’t get help from anyone. If any parent made tamarind balls for their kids to sell, it would have been way better than mine. But that didn’t deter me; I didn’t think, what if no one bought? Neither did I think I couldn’t make the best tamarind ball. I had an idea, and I could only think to execute it.

The critical lesson here is that it’s all about execution; you can have the best ideas, but it isn’t beneficial if you do not execute. You can have the best talent, but you may lose it if you do not use it. Hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle. So my four lessons are

  • Ideas are good, but the execution is the great differentiator
  • Make a commitment and stick to it- I was committed daily to ensuring I was under that tamarind tree to gather my raw materials to make my products.
  • Reinvest in your business and yourself- My mom made the initial financial investment of one dollar to buy sugar; after that, I didn’t need any money, so I reinvested in the business from the revenues made.
  • Don’t talk yourself out of it before trying- Sometimes we tell ourselves stories such as this isn’t going to work; no one will buy, I am not as good as others etc. These are just stories we are telling ourselves. I am not saying everything you try will work, but there’s one way to find out. Try it before talking yourself out of it.


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