I just released my latest challenge. My staff set the rules this time. I was dropped off in London with no money, no phone and just wearing my boxers. I was challenged to make a month’s average salary (£3,000) in just 24 hours. This meant starting again from nothing and relying on my skills and the help of strangers to pull it off.
My aim in doing these kinds of challenges is to show that with the correct set of skills and training, anyone can make it. Of course, someone that is actually homeless will have a diverse range of challenges other than simply not having a home which, in some cases, may include alcohol/drug dependency and mental health issues. This is not meant to minimise any of these things. Rather this aims to inspire people by showing what is possible given the right knowledge and help from society.
In going undercover, I came away with some important lessons that I think will help anyone starting out. In this article, I am going to focus on 3 keys that can help anyone unlock success.
1. Offer value
I started out asking people for £1. I didn’t have much luck. But then I got a free sample of soap that was being given away outside of a shop. This gave me something to sell. I managed to sell the soap for £1. I then bought a bit of rope that I could use for magic tricks. My dad sold magic tricks and I worked for him as a teenager, so I know quite a few. This meant I could do magic tricks for people on the street for tips. With that money, I went and bought some balloons and made balloon animals for people.
Offering value, no matter how small, is the first step. Think about what other people want, rather than what you need. If you give other people what they want, they will happily give you what you need and more.
From the moment the challenge started, I was communicating with people. Even when I was only in my boxers, I needed to communicate to ask people for clothes. I then needed to communicate to sell my soap; to stop people to do magic tricks for them; and to sell balloons. Once I had made some money, I bought a cheap smartphone so I could join Facebook groups and message property investors.
Learning how to communicate with a wide range of people is essential in business. Learning sales skills is a good way to do this. If you can’t sell, it is difficult to do business. Build up this skill any way that you can.
3. No one is self-made
Throughout this challenge, I was helped by people. I was given a t-shirt by a stranger; I was given clothes by a charity shop; and I was given food by Whitechapel Mission (which I gave the £3,000 to at the end of the challenge). No one is self-made and everyone needs different kinds of help to get to where they are going. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and be willing to help others when you can.
As a compassionate capitalist, I believe in giving back and I believe in a community that is willing to help each other. I really believe that anyone can make it, but each person will need personalised assistance from the wider community getting there. We shouldn’t rely on the government to do this. We should help each other with a hand up whenever we can. If we work together, we are all better off for it.