Have you heard about Travis Lloyd Kevie’s business venture? It seems that Kevie, a homeless man in Penryn, CA, discovered an innovative, if not legal, way to make a buck. He bought a six pack of beer at a convenience store, broke into a vacant bar across the street, put up the “Open” sign and started serving customers. As sales went up and inventory went down, he headed back across the street to buy more booze. With that initial investment of a six pack, Kevie grew his gross revenue to over $1300 in cash and merchandise before he was arrested four days into his venture.
The Placer County sheriff’s office arrested Travis Lloyd Keyes on charges of burglary and selling alcohol without a license. According to the sheriff’s department, Keyes had been serving about 30 customers a day for the four days.
This story has gained global attention, with so much publicity that the bar could probably re-open successfully. The owner is reportedly more amazed than upset.
This crazy saga has the makings of a book or a movie. But before we commercialize the entire experience, let’s delve into lessons we can learn from it.
1. Opportunities exist.
Don’t ever believe that no opportunities exist. They do. Maybe not in the “help wanted” section of your local newspaper, but perhaps in the creative portion of your brain. In a down economy, ask yourself what are the greatest needs around you.
- Stretching the life of a car? Good economy for mechanics.
- Helping people sell their “stuff”? Consider opening a “yard sale” business or on line sales business.
- Financial coach? Career coach? Life coach? Is this a service you could provide?
You get the idea. Think outside the box and give it a try.
2. New businesses don’t require huge debt.
It is a myth that opening a business requires tons of debt. Kevie proved that starting small is possible. I have a friend who is in the process of launching a home-based business selling freshly roasted coffee beans. Because he is determined to avoid debt, he has discovered many inventive ways to accomplish what many would borrow money for. It can be done.
3. You can’t get anywhere until you start.
How many great plans never succeed because they were never tried? If you delay starting until the “perfect moment” or until you have every possible contingency worked out, you will never start. Successful entrepreneurs don’t know all the answers when they first begin, but trust their ingenuity to solve those problems as they arise. Get started!
4. Necessity really is the mother of invention.
Being homeless was undoubtedly a great motivator for Kevie to try his hand at being an entrepreneur. But his story is not atypical of many great beginnings. Many people won’t look up until they are flat on their backs. The stories of Susan Boyle, Kurt Warner, Erin Brockovich, Dolly Parton and Magic Johnson are real life reminders that rags to riches really can happen.
5. You have to pay the piper.
Kevie was arrested. Legal and moral shortcuts are not the right route to success. Eventually, you really do reap what you sow . . . good or bad. I have often thought that if cheaters put as much energy, creativity and perseverance into good enterprises as they do in their schemes, they could be quite wealthy without walking on the shady side.
What do you think?
Should Kevie be locked up? If you had the opportunity, would you hire him because of his ingenuity and boldness? How could he have used those traits to become an honest entrepreneur? What do you think he will be doing a year or five years from now?