So I Guess I’ve Always Been a Side Hustler; Being a “Gum Dealer” in High School and Running a Convenience Store from My College Dorm Room

Looking back, I realize now that I’ve actually always been a side hustler; even in high school and college. Earlier today, I published an article declaring that my 5 SEO side hustles all made me a minimum of $1,000 each in 2018. But that mentality has been a part of me, undeniably, since at least when I was a teenager in high school. (See picture above.)

Here on the first day of 2019, I am learning a little bit more about myself. The fact that I have 5 side hustles as a 37 year-old man makes perfect sense, considering my scheming ways back to when I was a teenager.

When I started high school, I couldn’t help that notice that chewing gum was high in demand in the halls of my high school. It just so happened that it was weekly tradition that I would accompany my mom in buying groceries. I noticed that I could buy a multi-pack of Wrigley’s gum at nearly a wholesale price for $1.25; which contained 10 packs of gum (each of which contained 5 sticks of gum), then I could sell each pack for just a quarter. By the time I sold the 10 packs, when I could easily do in a 10 minute break, I had made $2.50. In other words, I was making 100% profit!

It didn’t took long before I became known as “the gum dealer.”

This was great for me. I got to social with all the different groups of friends, and met new ones, by offering them the best deal on chewing gum during each of our two breaks each day during high school.

It was also during high school that I began making my own videos, on VHS. Not only did I direct a horror movie, called “Frosty Bites”…

But I also filmed hair videos, too…

In case you missed it, I made over $4,000 in 2018 from my most popular YouTube channel and its Amazon links, which focuses on men’s hair and beards. And that’s not counting my 2nd YouTube channel, as well. This is not a coincidence.

Then when I moved into my college dorm, Dorm 15 at Liberty University, I took my gum dealer experience and opened up my own convenience store, using two micro fridges, and buying all my products for wholesale price at WalMart.

I sold soda, Little Debbie snack cakes, Ramen noodles, Hot Pockets, and frozen burritos. I even let my customers heat up their food in my microwave, so they could hang out with me while their food was preparing. I appropriately named my store, The Freshman 15.

Those profits went to financing my mission trips to Thailand in the summers of 2003 and 2004, where I was a 4th grade teacher specializing in ESL…

then teaching conversation English to high school students and adults.

Some things just never change. I am and always have been a side hustler. This is simply part of my identity.

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Nick Shell’s Simple Self-Help System in 5 Steps: Emotions, Food, Money, Time, and Creativity All Work Together for Your Failure or Your Success

Earlier this morning, I invented a concept that I feel is so relevant, it must be should shared with the free world immediately. However, I predict it will be either widely ignored or passionately panned by critics.

It’s this simple: In order to be in charge of your own life, and therefore your own success, you have to be in conscious control of 5 main aspects: Your emotions, your food, your money, your time, and your creativity.

If you don’t learn to directly take control of these things, they will take control of you instead.

I submit to you that each of these 5 parts of your life is undeniably intertwined. I theorize that if you’re not good at managing your diet, there’s a higher likelihood you’re not good at managing your finances. If you’re not good at managing your time, you’re not good at managing your money. And so on…

Let me continue to bring my theory to life by focusing on each of my 5 Steps to Simple Self-Help:

Emotion:

I’ve realized that one of the greatest advantages (and superpowers!) I have in my life is that I utilize a valuable secret about how the world works: That I myself get to decide who controls my own emotions. However, most people live their lives the opposite way. Instead, they live as constant potential “victims” of someone insulting or offending them. Most people think, “But I’m a good person.” So when another “good person” offends them, it’s an attack on their “good” identity. I have learned that, like choosing to forgive, being emotionally affected by other people is always a choice; though it’s often not an easy one.

Money:

My wife and I have survived some intense and trying financial times. In the first half of our nearly decade of being married so far, my wife and I made some poor decisions in our naivety. In addition to already being in tens of thousands of dollars in debt due to college loans and our wedding, we then chose to move back to my home state, without landing jobs first! Needless to say, recovering from that experience made us grow up real quick. We are now faithful followers of Dave Ramsey, having been debt-free for the 2nd half of our nearly decade of marriage, and we are continuing to grow our savings; despite me losing my job 100 days ago.

Food:

We all know that America is one of the wealthiest and most obese nations in the world. America produces enough food from plants to feed the rest of the world, yet the majority of that food is used to feed the animals that Americans eat. Our culture teaches, “You need to make sure you’re getting enough protein.” The irony is, most Americans are either overweight or obese. I submit that in reality, we are getting too much protein, along with too much fat, too much cholesterol, too much oil, and too much sugar. But to be faithfully determined to eat more whole fruits, vegetables, and grains, and less processed foods and animal products, well; that would require more discipline, education, and open-mindedness. Most people will say they have a busy schedule and there’s just not enough time for that.

Time:

It’s true, our stress levels are high and we have less time in our schedules. But ultimately, we still determine how we spend what little free and unassigned time we have. I submit we naturally place a higher value on casual entertainment (Facebook, Netflix, watching sports) for our free time, than we do on using that time to create. It’s easier to consume than to create, so that’s what most people end up doing in their free time. Just like when a budget for your income, it’s just as important to budget your time; not spend it carelessly.

Creativity:

I have learned that without focusing on being creative, we tend to to consume. That goes for ideas to solutions as well. Without using our brain muscles to find a new solution or method, we tend to continue doing what doesn’t work for us. It’s easy and natural to blame the establishment or other people when there is a problem. Instead, imagine the power and respect you gain when you make an effort to find a better way and just start doing it. And then surprise… it actually works! I guess that’s what this system of mine is all about.

As we consider all 5 of these, the initial reaction is to think, “Well that’s the problem, Nick. If only other people weren’t so rude, and if meat didn’t taste better than broccoli, and if I just made more money, and if I had more time in my day, and if I was wired to be creative like you are, then everything would be easier.”

No.

I submit that it would not.

My system teaches that it’s a conscious decision to take control of your life, regarding your emotions, your diet, your finances, your time, and your creativity.

I think my system makes life easier.

But I also think most people won’t be able to get past the first thing on the list. Most people would rather give other people control over their own emotions. It’s identity protective cognition to remain as the victim instead of choosing to be victorious. I say as long as you continue to think that way, it will inevitably affect how your control the other 4 entries on my list.

I am hereby inviting you to accept your potential superpower. It’s your call. It depends on no one else but you.

I assume this article will either be ignored and hated by the general public. I completely understand why. But in the rare event anyone agrees, I’d appreciate you letting me know; not because I need the confirmation, but because it will show other readers that I’m not as crazy as I sound!

No, I am Not Tai Lopez

No, I am Not Tai Lopez

Sunday after church, my family was out running some errands in Spring Hill, Tennessee. A guy I had never seen in my life approached me and asked me, very excitedly:

“Hey, are you Tai Lopez?”

Having never heard of Tai Lopez, I somewhat strangely replied, “No, but I am part Mexican, so maybe I look like him?”

The stranger then explained to me that Tai Lopez has a blog and YouTube channel and talks about money management.

I explained that I do as well, but I am indeed not Tai Lopez.

After a quick Google search after I got home, I learned that Tai Lopez was a self-made millionaire by the time he was 30 years-old and a member of MENSA, the high IQ society.

I suppose it’s flattering to be mistaken for a more intelligent, famous, and multi-millionaire version of myself.

This may sound a bit weird but I’m not that aware of what my distinguishing features are other than dark hair and sort of yellow-tinted olive-colored skin. I mean, I know what I look like, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m just a normal looking guy.

Other than maybe Fred Savage, I hadn’t give much thought to anyone else who else in the world I might look like.

I do become aware of my inability to understand the outside world’s perception of what I look like when I look at my kids. I feel that neither my 5 and a half year-old son nor my month-old daughter specifically look a whole lot like either my wife nor me.

While I do see more of my wife in our kids, I get confused when I try to see myself in them; ultimately, because I’m not exactly sure what my distinguishing features are… other than being similar to those of Tai Lopez.