How I made money, lost money, got my butt kicked by Jackie Chan and I’m still moving forward… My name is Sam Parham and this is the story of how I became an entrepreneurial jack of all trades.
What follows is a brief timeline of my business endeavors from youngster to age 29. I’m just getting started but I have learned that there is no replacement for lessons learned through personal experience. I’ve made a ton of mistakes along the way, but I’m growing better with each one. Here’s how it’s all gone down.
From a young age in school, I would buy bulk DVD’s from a local second hand store. I designed myself a brand with a hardcopy catalog and set to selling DVDs to my classmates at the beginning of each class.
After finding out about Costco, I then bought bulk bags of candy, re-packaged them into smaller packets and added them to my school catalog for double margin profits.
School wasn’t the only market though, and I soon began breeding ‘stick Insects’ at home with my brother Mark. We contacted the local pet stores and began supplying the stores with stick insects as our collection grew.
My entrepreneur hustle had begun – I had set out to create my own measure of success.
Fast forward to college. I needed money to get through school, so I wrote a 30 page detailed plan to help people get a flat toned stomach or ‘6 pack’. I listed it on eBay at $9.99, the orders rolled in, and I emailed my customers their ‘eBook’.
This soon paid my way through University, where I took my passion for Parkour / FreeRunning to the next level.
Being a young parkour/freeRunner wasn’t enough, so I co-created a company called 3RUN with a team of Parkour stunt performers and took the business international. Before long, 3RUN had me traveling the world, producing commercials with Yohan Blake in Jamaica, performing alongside BOB in China and winning Guinness World Records in China.
Under my influence and alongside my business partner, the company expanded further, offering a full Parkour curriculum for students in our purpose-built 3RUN Academy in Basingstoke, UK. We also built a full clothing line for FreeRunners and Sports Enthusiasts.
Then I became a stuntman.
From there, I began performing in feature films from World War Z with Brad Pitt, to Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise. In another movie I even I got my butt kicked by Action hero Jackie Chan.
This is where the value of investment comes in.
So many people that earn money find ways to spend it… and often they spend it fast! Sure, I bought my dream car at the age of 26, and I might have blown the engine up after 6 months, forking out another $20,000 for a replacement engine. BUT, I also invested in properties and more businesses. After all, you have to speculate to accumulate!
I used these investment opportunities to build additional income for myself. First, through rent on my properties, then through investments in a lucrative investment portfolio. Additionally, with my now business partner Scott Fidgett, I invested in some exciting new electronic transportation devices we saw while performing in China and theAirWheel.com was born.
The first thing we did was buy 40 Airwheels, took them to the Gadget Show Live Exhibition and sold out in the first weekend. I invested everything back into the company, and fast forward 2 years, The AirWheel has AirWheel Hover Boards and Electric Unicycles in the hands of Justin Bieber and Chris Brown just to name a few celebs.
Trips to Vegas and more business trips to China became common but the business, never stopped.
We had no idea about running an electronics distribution company, but we found our way into over 100 stores in the UK alone and owned a local warehouse with a delivery staff and technician team all in place.
But the hustle never stops, and the grind never ends. The electronics company soon hit a huge bump in the road out of nowhere with issues of fraud from customers and supply end issues, which knocked a lot of our profits.
We picked the pieces up and did what had to be done. Rebuilding isn’t easy, but such is the real test. After all, it really is only when you go from hero to zero, that your mental is truly tested.
While these processes continued, I headed to LA to pursue more opportunities.
I teamed up with another global Parkour brand (WFPF) and began to take performance teams to San Francisco, Las Vegas and Chicago. With many more projects in the pipeline, I made good use of my time while remotely managing my other projects and businesses.
Most recently with my investment in “The Best Private Hire Taxi Company in the UK” – according to TSI Awards – Go Green Taxis.
If you can’t tell, like to diversify and not pull all my eggs in one basket.
The two things that have always resonated with me when it comes to being an entrepreneur, is to always grow from strength to strength!
I’m only 29 and I’m just getting started. Like I said at the start of this article, there is absolutely no replacement for lessons learned through personal experience. I’ve made a ton of mistakes along the way, but I’m growing better and stronger with each.
So, what have I learned?
In business and entrepreneurship, you often hear people say that you have to find something that you love in order for it to grow into a success. And while this can be very true for many, it can also be the case that opportunities present themselves that at first you don’t have love for, but they can grow to become that!
Afterall, its unlikely that the top toilet paper manufacturers had real love for toilet paper when they started out! I’m sure they have fun with it now though!
Even more important is your personal mission.
You have to stay focused on your ‘why’ – why are you doing it? What is it all for?
When I was faced with the chance to buy another Audi R8 or buy a new Mercedes SUV fully kitted out with disability mods for my father, who suffers from MultipleSclerosis, it was a no brainer. That’s the ‘why’ right there… to give back to the people that matter most. New disabled friendly Merc fully spec’ed out on the drive way.
The keys from my experience so far have been:
- Never give up.
- Don’t feel like you have to focus on just one thing – sometimes its OK to be a ‘jack of all trades’.
- Create different revenue streams.
- Residual income is key – Make your money work for you while you sleep!
- If something doesn’t work out, its OK to drop it and try something else.
- Find like minded people to collaborate and work with.