Lavish green jungles, monkeys and crystal clear waters, Costa Rica is a traveler’s paradise. Pura vida is not all sunshine, waves and coconuts though. On every corner of every town, you can find drug dealers rocking the ever so fashionable fanny pack. Yes, fanny packs. The same thing you see those meathead bodybuilders with scrunchy socks wearing.
Serious entrepreneurs need to take notes. Here are 6 surprising skills you can learn from Costan Rican drug dealers that may convince you to start wearing a fanny pack:
We saw the same drug dealer 27 times on one beach, and it wasn’t an accident. Every time he approached us, he gave us a head nod or a wave, always letting us know he was right there able to provide us whatever we needed. Building a successful startup takes the same persistence. Meetings, phone calls, emails, messages, third-party endorsements, whatever it takes. Gary Vaynerchuk claims that persistence is the key to startup success.
Every person on the street knows who the drug dealers are and can can refer you to who you want or need. In order to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to network the f--k out of your life and build as many connections as possible. Every interaction, whether at the beach or supermarket, is an opportunity to meet someone who can benefit your business (or vice versa).
Heroin. Cocaine. Crack. Speed. Whatever you want, they have. You want to know where the cocaine came from? Why should you purchase from him or her, and not the other 10,000 dealers on the other corners? These hustlers can provide a list of benefits, their competitive advantage and value.
As entrepreneurs, we must be able to articulate our benefits. What competitive advantages do you have? Why should your potential customer or user choose your product or service? What are you doing differently, better and how do you provide that level of expertise?
4. Personal branding
Every street hustler in Costa Rica has a funny pack. Walking around the crowded streets could get difficult for you to find who you’re looking for. But not if your contact is wearing a fanny pack. I’m big on standing out in business and life. I write about it constantly (6 Ways to Stand Out in a World That Won’t Shut Up). There are 27 million entrepreneurs in the U.S. alone. Do you see why this is vital?
If you wanted to purchase said drugs, these street hustlers have exactly what you want, right then and there. Doubling as a very fashionable outfit accessory, the fanny packs provide a more immediate benefit by housing the hustler’s goods. They make it very easy to do business with them.
You should practice these same skills, whether it be making it easy for people to purchase your product or service from your website, or making it easy for customers to pay you. Figure out how to make your business frictionless.
6. Creative recruiting
A carrier pigeon was caught smuggling cocaine into a prison wearing a fanny pack. Talk about creativity. Entrepreneurs must practice this same type of creative recruiting, especially early on when there are limited funds. Learning how to recruit the right talent can be the most important skill you learn.
I have a passion for finding lessons in entrepreneurship in the most obscure and extreme places. Successful entrepreneurs all over the world use these same skills across different sectors, spaces and industries. Learn their processes early on to catapult your success, so you can have an army of pigeons doing your dirty work, while you're sipping fresh coconut juice on the beach in Costa Rica. Pura f--king vida.