Encouraging entrepreneurial success on Saipan, Tinian and Rota, CNMI*!

*Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory.

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Someone stole my fruit

The only way to take control of your life, raise your standard of living and move beyond merely surviving is to create your own unique product or service that you offer to increasing numbers of people in exchange for the things of value that you desire. This simple formula applies to countries as well as people. A self-sufficient economy has its own products or services of value to export to the world. Similarly, a self-sufficient individual has something of value to exchange in the global marketplace. That thing of value is based on your natural talent, skill, or interest—in other words, your passion!

Based on the great response to last week’s column, here is some more poetic and practical motivation for all current and future Saipanpreneurs!

Someone stole my fruit
and left me little I could trade
Now selling off my time’s
the only way that I get paid

Someone took my land
and now there’s nothing I can till
No crops that I can harvest
and no silo to refill

Someone swiped my seeds
and gave me paper in its place
And now I’m chasing symbols
in this sorry sad rat race

Someone changed the game
and then we all played right along
And now we swap what’s left
for just a promise and a song

Someone pulled the wool
but hope’s not lost though so it seems
I’ll make my mind the fertile field
and sow it with my dreams

Yes, someone stole my fruit
but by my sweat and my own hand
I’ll harvest wealth with talents
and make value on demand!

Years ago, while growing up in Jamaica, I would often help my grandmother sell the fruit and other items she grew and raised on her land. Every day people throughout town would knock at the gate, stopping by to purchase ackee (Jamaica’s national fruit), mangos, eggs, chickens, even ice (not everyone had a refrigerator) and other items she typically sold. Practically every kind of fruit in Jamaica was growing on her land, and I learned life-long lessons of value and exchange helping her sell those fruits to customers.

In many societies, and in the United States as recently as the early 1900s, many people survived by selling or bartering their skills, their land, things they grew, created or otherwise owned.

It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that people here flocked to the cities to work for big business on assembly lines—giving up their independence and freedom to factory owners and the government.

Industrialization, with the promise of a better standard of living that the machine age offered, essentially robbed those people of things of exchangeable value (land, crops, cattle, etc) and left them with the only thing of value required to keep the wheels of industry going: their time and energy spent on a passion-less assembly line.

With nothing of value like land or livestock to pass on to their families, many people then, and their children today, are trapped in a system that has them producing products for someone else to sell. They are forced to work more and more, but through sliding-scale tax laws, are left with less and less for themselves and their families.

Well, in the Passion Prophet’s prophecy, I foresee the day more and more people wake up and realize that the only way to prosper in a capitalistic society is to return to a way of life that rewards their own efforts to bring products to the marketplace and produce, produce, produce!

Having a job alone won’t make you wealthy. Prosperity comes from creating a product (a service or object just like my grandmother’s fruits) that you can exchange for other things of value like the little pieces of paper we call money.

The more you produce, the more you can control your own standard of living.

Yes, even in this high-information, high-tech world, you still need some “fruit” to sell, or you’ll forever be a slave. Find out what fruit you’ve been blessed with, uncover the seeds of its success that lie dormant inside you, plant them in the fertile soil of your mind, till them using your talents as tools, and reap a harvest of value you can exchange with the world!

Someone stole your fruit, my friend. It’s up to you to get it back!

* * *

And what’s more…

These days there are less excuses for not following your passion. One reason it’s easier today to turn your passion into profit has been the development of the single most powerful business tool of the 20th century: the Internet. The Internet is the great leveler.

It is the level playing field that we’ve all wished existed. It offers the consumer more choices, it offers the business owner a global pool of customers, and it offers the entrepreneur a means of competing with bigger businesses.

The main reason the Internet makes it so much easier is the concept of the “wide thin” market. In a recent article, Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes Magazine, states: “Sufferers of rare diseases, start-ups in Africa seeking funds, instrumental surf-music enthusiasts—each is an example of a market that is skinny in the local market, but, globally, inflates to a profitable mass” [Forbes, May 17, 1999 Issue]. In other words, if you were to set up a traditional retail outlet selling your particular product to a niche market, you would be limited by geography to just those people within a reasonable traveling distance. With the Internet, however, everyone from Cancun to Canada with access to a computer and a modem can browse your website and order from you. Your potential customer base is everyone, everywhere at any time!

Even former U.S. President Bill Clinton declared himself a bona fide e-shopping convert. “…online shopping has significant benefits,” Clinton said. “Not just for consumers and large established retailers. Online commerce also opens a world of opportunity for local artisans and small entrepreneurs.” He added, “One of the key reasons our economy [will] continue to thrive is that we’re making the most of new technologies.”

The unifying effect the Internet will ultimately have on our society may be beyond our comprehension. According to visionary Andrew Zolli: “We are on the first letter of the first word of the first sentence of the book of global interconnectivity.”

Don’t let the story be written without you!

* * *

Until next week, remember, success is a journey, not a destination!—Walt

(Walt F.J. Goodridge is author of 12 books including Turn Your Passion Into Profit. Walt offers coaching and workshops to help people pursue and profit from their passions. Originally from the island of Jamaica, Walt has grown several successful businesses in the US, and now makes his home here in Saipan. To learn more about the Saipanpreneur Project and Walt’s philosophy and formula visit www.saipanpreneur.com and www.passionprofit.com. Send article suggestions, entrepreneur nominations and feedback about this article to walt@passionprofit.com.)

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where is saipan

Located in the western pacific, a short flight from Guam and 3 hours from Japan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a popular tourist destination rich in history, culture and natural resources. Saipan, just 5 miles wide by 12 miles long, is the largest and most populated of the 14 islands making up an archipelago that stretches 400 miles (north to south) along the edge of the Marianas Trench.

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