5 Lessons From Owning and Operating Businesses In The First Year (Part Two)

“Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”
– Conrad Hilton

“Who you are tomorrow begins with what you do today.”
– Tim Fargo

The previous write up discussed 5 lessons from the first year of business of my close friend and business owner Hussien Jabai and me. The lessons bellow will continue along the same lines with 5 additional thoughts that could prove valuable for those starting their own business.

agreement-3546008_960_720#6: Know Your Customer Base
Are your primary customers middle-class consumers? Are they individuals concerned with health? Are they parents searching for entertainment options for their kids? Are they females? Males? Moreover, what’s the age range of your customers? Those two examples (of many) dovetail incredibly closely, for they allow you to know how to tailor your business model for your customers.

Social media analytics and other tools help with this. Figure out how to ascertain the demographics of your customer base, and you’re one significant step closer to success towards knowing whether your products will appeal simply to parents, techies, gamers, intellectuals, or any other type of individuals.
filmmaker-2838945_960_720#7: Don’t Be Afraid To Go Against The Grain
Though Jabai’s business model and myself each go against the grain in their own ways, we will focus on what he is undertaking because the scope is much larger and intriguing.

Jabai is an individual who is in the discipline of health and wellness. For business, he could have simply stuck within the run-of-the-mill health and wellness strata of society, and found incredible success. But he’s in the process of expanding way beyond that. His passions are filtering not only into helping individuals with personal training, which he thoroughly enjoys, but into his Fighter Training Systems (FTTS Project), which aids in Injury Prevention for First Responders. But there’s more, he is also undertaking a personal initiative to create a program that strives for a much larger scale regional (and
perhaps global reach) that could help individuals not just locally, but in various global regions.

The above example is the type of mindset that doesn’t settle simply for success, but reaches into making a difference, which is what ultimately changes lives.

books-4305459_960_720#8: Always Strive To Continue Learning
Whether in life, business, personal relationships, or anything else, learning can take place reactively, or proactively. Though lessons in each can provide incredible depth, reactive lessons (and insights) are simply lessons that come when the tide brings them, whenever time provides them, rather than you venturing into the ocean to seek your own veritable treasure. In other words, you can wait for treasure to arrive on the shore of a beach brought about by waves, with that treasure brought to you, or you can venture into uncharted waters like a treasure hunter, and seek treasure of endless types. Self-directed education is one of the ways that individuals can find treasure within the field of business.

A wiseman once said, learning from your mistakes leads to knowledge, while learning from those of others, leads to wisdom. Always seek to learn from the footsteps provided from those before you, and even if you can’t because you happen to be doing something that’s brand new, you can still learn laterally from other individuals and their businesses in this respect.

In conjunction with that, one of the books that provided great insights into learning proactively is the book Small Business Marketing Kit For Dummies. This is an excellent crash course into possible avenues for individuals seeking how to expand their awareness of marketing, all the while offering pragmatic
examples of what can be undertaken.

action-3435773_960_720#9: Find (and Construct) Mutual Support Mindset Networks
It’s my estimation that the vanguard reason that Jabai and myself bonded so quickly wasn’t simply because we were business owners, but more importantly, our talks, whether business or personal, were based around the same type of mindset. Each of us employs a mindset that doesn’t simply seeks success, but seeks to go beyond that into creating something unique and far reaching.

Where I myself seek to help individuals express their creative desires through the medium of LEGO in multifarious way which helps bring people of all ages joy in countless ways, Jabai is seeking to help people well beyond the scope of individually tailored health.

Jabai doesn’t simply strive to stay in a comfort zone and be only a personal trainer, he seeks to expand his health and wellness business well beyond the scope that most people within the health and wellness area do.

While individuals can truly do most (or possibly all) things in life alone, one need not go at it alone when there are people of the same type of mindset out there, you simply need to find them and grow those relationships, whether it is in life or business.

Mutual mindset support networks aid in significant ways, from learning how to streamline your approach, having open-minded brainstorming sessions, to proactive seeking to not only to learn lessons from one another, but from others as well.

Each of us is seeking incredible distinct dreams, but with the mindset of empowering others, whether it is creatively or through health, and to buttress that with relentless passion to grow not only as a business, but as individuals as well.
hourglass-2910951_960_720#10 – Do Not Throw Away Time By The Wayside
Mincing no words, the average person spends time inefficiently by the truckload, it is a problem we all have, and its unfortunately a growing trend.

According to an article from New York Daily News penned a while ago, the average person spends 5 hours watching TV daily with some watching even more than that. At 5 hours per day, that amounts to 1,825 hours per year. That is 18250 hours per decade, and 91,250 hours per 50 years. That’s a lot of time! Over the course of 50 years, the total amount of time spent watching TV daily amounts to 3802 consecutive 24-hour days over that span. Or “just” 5 hours a day, for 50 years.

For the sake of simplicity, let us assume most of us happen to get 8 hours a day sleeping. In an entire 168 hour work-week where the average person spends 56 hours a week sleeping, and 40 hours a week working, that leaves one with 72 hours free. If one were to spend 35 hours a week viewing television, then that would leave 37 hours of free time. That’s nearly half of all of one’s available time spent watching television. That doesn’t even count social media! That seems ludicrous, does it not? That also doesn’t even begin to cover other activities individuals may carry out that don’t yield growth, whether in life or business.

Those are just some statistics of how much time is wasted, and there’s a lot more. The main point is that time is wasted by everyone including myself to varying extents. With modern media, it’s easy to spend countless hours on various apps and websites.

The best way to get around to creating time templates is simply to watch how much time you spend on social media and websites. There are apps that help with this. Once you do this, you will be downright shocked at how much time you spend on certain apps per week.

As you realize where those time vortexes of yours are, you will be able to adjust accordingly, hopefully slotting something productive in those areas like self-directed learning, business analysis and forecasts, etc.[1]
Final Thoughts

In modern times, success in business is not as complex as it was in the past. With the rise of the internet, social media and online social network, there are literally countless resources at hand, and a lot of those are free. However, if you can learn (proactively rather than reactively) from the mistakes and footsteps others took in a way that it can prevent you from making the same mistakes yourself, thus helping you forgo unnecessary hardship and time waste, you will be quite a few steps ahead of the

Seek to push your business beyond the boundaries of comfort zones, but first, seek to push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of. What you do personally within your life, the mindset you employ, will inevitably seep into that of your business and your employees and will become the template for success in your future.

In life, individuals often surprise themselves of what they are capable of doing once they employ a can- do mindset, rather than a can’t-do mindset, and in business it’s not different.

Don’t wait upon the shores of life for treasures to come to you, veritable life insights that could also be applied to business; that is simply wasting time you could be using to venture on into the unknown seeking the treasures that life and business provide. And you never know, when seeking those very treasures, you might just run into a life-lesson or insight that changes your life forever.

One can’t put a price tag to life-altering life-lessons and wisdom that come about which help you not only in life, but in business as well. Those can only usually be attained by venturing beyond comfort zones.

Life happens to everyone, but unbounded success happens only to those that keep persevering beyond their comfort zones and into uncharted waters, even if they face a storm. And just like those storms within the seas help provide the circumstances that create master navigators able to steer their vessels in any way, within any storm, the metaphorical storms life and business provide will make you capable of navigating through various circumstances be them economic downturns, personal plight, or anything else.

Such is the mindset of a proactive individual; such is the mindset that makes unbounded success inevitable.

Author Info:

Zy Marquiez
July 27, 2019

Author’s Note:
[1] Time efficiency and inefficiency will be something discussed in the future and extrapolated upon at length given the incredible ramifications it has for business and success. This is only covered in this article in a cursory manner to give an individual a morsel of how significant time loss is within our lives.

Firefighter Health: Exploring Why Departments Need Wellness Programs

Intro and Purpose

With the accumulation of 58,835 documented fire fighter injuries within the nation for the year of 2017, departments should start (or continue) to analyze how the injuries arise and what methods of preventative measures might decrease the injury count for future years. This article will explore some injury and fatality statistics for fire fighters within the US, along with possible poreventative measures to aid the departments.


US Fire Fighter Injury Statistics in 2017

  • 58,835 injuries reported in 2017
  • 24,495 fireground injuries reported in 2017
  • 1/3 of Injuries result from Overexertion
  • per‐claim average worker’s compensation cost: $5,168
  • per-claim average worker’s compensation cost for overexertion injuries: $9,715

With overexertion being the leading cause of fireground injuries, how can we prevent such a common and costly injury? Overexertion is the lack of ability for the body to withstand an external or internal force, tension, or stress. How can departments construct or impliment programs that better prepare or screen personnel to overcome overexertion and observe potential risk factors prior to an injury occurance?

US Fire Fighter Fatality Statistics in 2017

  • 60 on-duty deaths (29 were cardiac)
  • 32 volunteer firefighters, 21 career firefighters, 3 employees of federal land management agencies, 2 contractors with state and federal land management agencies, and 2 prison inmates

With 29 out of 60 on-duty deaths being a result of cardiac fatality, how can fire departments impliment medical screening to filter those with potential risk factors and develop a fitness program to improve the health of their personnel?


Evaluating areas to monitor within the profession of fire fighting, Kuehl et al. (2012) concluded that the BMI of fire fighters is worth analyzing. They researchers’ presented study of 2012 displayed that “The odds of filing a compensation claim were almost three times higher for firefighters with a BMI >30 compared to firefighters with normal BMI (Kuehl, et al. 2012).” The study suggests that BMI might be a risk factor for potential injuries, and department staff need to closely monitor the BMI of their personnel. Although BMI might not directly mean someone is obese (since someone can have a high BMI due to a large amount of lean muscle for their height), it could be a potential risk factor since more mass on someone’s frame is a potential for limitation of ROM (range of motion).

A research study by Bates, G. et al. (2007) utilized FMS tests to analyze core strength of fire fighter subjects. The intent of the study was to “improve flexibility and strength in trunk stabilizer or core muscle groups through a training program was evaluated (Bates, et al., 2007).” The results of the study displayed that the twelve month program “reduced lost time due to injuries by 62%” and the injury count by 42% as compared to a historical control group (Bates, et al., 2007). The study suggests that a focus on core strength could decrease the amount of injuries among fire fighters in the field, as well as decrease the amount of time that fire fighters can’t work due to injury.

Become The Solution

Jabai Performance’s Fire Fighter Training Systems Program is devoted toward the prevention and management of injuries that fire fighters might become at risk of or exposed to during their career. The program’s mission is to establish proper assessments to analyze and improve all aspects of health & wellness. Jabai Performance focuses on utilizing movement screening, exercise testing, and job task analysis protocols in efforts to prevent overexertion and strains, the leading cause of injury among fire fighters. The company devotes time and effort into building essential resources, such as partnering with medical companies, seeking guidance in the realm of mental wellness, and collaborating with departments to understand the needs for other resources that can improve the quality of life of fire fighters. A single injury, such as those caused by overexertion, can result in costing the department nearly $10,000 per claim filed. This does not even take into account the cost, time, and efforts of hiring and training new personnel to fill the role of the injured fire fighter during the recovery process. Jabai Performance’s goal is to be able to assess and evaluate department personnel, develop strength & conditioning programs, and build a strong network of resources in which fuel the increase in performance output, injury prevention, and overall wellness of our fire fighters.







Kuehl, K. S., Kisbu-Sakarya, Y., Elliot, D. L., Moe, E. L., Defrancesco, C. A., Mackinnon, D. P., … Kuehl, H. E. (2012). Body mass index as a predictor of firefighter injury and workers’ compensation claims. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine, Retieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3349447/

Bates, G., Lunda, K., Francis, S., Bellamy, K., & Peate, W. (2007, April 11). Core strength: A new model for injury prediction and prevention. Retrieved from https://occup-med.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1745-6673-2-3

Top 4 Ways Small Businesses Can Finance Wellness Programs

If you think a thing is impossible, you’ll only make it impossible.”
– Bruce Lee

Programs that benefit a variety of causes are something individuals and organizations can create in order to support certain ideas. To get these programs of the ground it often takes funding and support. Funding of myriad types are a vital option that all individuals have in order to fund a particular program. Knowing how to go about raising funds is imperative to accomplishing the funding and support that a program would need in order to get off the ground. As such, researching what options are available should be the vanguard point to be accomplished.

Some of the ways that programs can be funded are the following:

business-3152586_960_720(1) Grants – Grants are a possible way that funds can be raised to benefit specific causes. Grants come in many types, and each have their own set of idiosyncrasies and to-do’s that need to be followed in order for the process to begin. One great benefit of grants is that the process to get grants is usually straight forward and very streamlined. This makes grants a reasonable option not to be overlooked when considering funding for a particular program.

money-652560_960_720(2) (Institutional) Requests – Seeking funds from organizations and/or corporations is another viable option for the funding of programs. However, whereas grants have a rather straight forward approach for those that seek funding, requests from organizations and business is more complex. Simply getting a proposal seen, yet alone considered by an organization or company will require a tactful, thought-out and persistent approach. Given that funding is a resource that many individuals and organizations are seeking, odds are whatever proposal one might have when it is brought to the table might be competing with other proposals for those seeking funding as well. Be that as it may, organizations and companies usually have significant resources, and given their financial latitude a request carried out in the correct manner could net significant results.


donate-654328_960_720(3) Donations – Seeking funding via donations is one time-tested way that is an option on the table. There is no limit from which to draw ideas to seek funding from; your imagination is the limit. Donations can be requested from various sources, be them local, national, friends, family, community, colleagues, organizations and institutions, so on and so forth. An honest and conscientious approach is crucial, and perseverance is key.

(4)adult-3725715_960_720 Fundraising – There are many ways in which fundraisers can take place in order to raise the resources required to fuel a program of a given nature. Some of the ways that fundraising can take place are via sales of merchandise (t-shirts, artwork, etc.), community events (garage sales, dances, gaming tournaments, BBQs, etc.), sports tournaments (put-put golf, bowling, basketball, etc.), and so on. There are no limits from which to draw ideas from, and as such, fundraising should be a core component considered for providing the fuel to certain programs.

One significant component that should not be overlooked in funding programs is social interaction – truly heartfelt individual interaction. We live in an age where social media has considerably curtailed the capabilities of certain individuals to interact in a sociable way. In some circles, even being sociable might get askance glances given how much people are glued to phones. Keeping in mind individuals, who they are, where they come from, their backgrounds, their passions and the like, are all parts of a heart-felt approach to getting to know someone.

Why is this important? Because people support programs not only for what they seek to accomplish, but more importantly, for the individuals behind them, who they are and what they stand for. Moreover, individuals will keep coming back for these very reasons due to the trust garnered periodically. These relationships built and forged with appreciation and honesty stand to grow considerably stronger over time. This makes relationship building a core component in raising funds for any program. The opposite side of the coin is seeking funds in a cold-call interaction type-way, which is already at a disadvantage given the lack of all the aforementioned points. This makes building value in relationships a must-do.

Whatever path you opt to take, keep in mind that perseverance is key, but more importantly, a strong mindset is significant to accomplishing your goal. Setbacks will take place, issues will no doubt arise, but those that stay the course and continue with consistency will undoubtedly accomplish the goals they seek.


About Written By: Zy Marquiez

Writer, Researcher, Book Reviewer

Owner Of Blocked Up

Robinhood Investing: Claim Your FREE Stocks


1 RiHrOK6U0a-7yTvUdUtEWgRobinhood_nightAndDay

In previous blog articles, I explore the concept of residual income via observing and analyzing investments with Fundrise – Crowd Funded Online Real Estate. Within the realm of investing, we can find other avenues of residual return/kickback. One of these avenues could be ETF’s, mutual funds, stocks/bonds, etc. There are two platforms in which I currently use, being both Vanguard and Robinhood.

While keeping this an open dialogue and potential to expand this concept into a series of articles behind platforms for investment, I wanted to share Robinhood’s current special of claiming free stocks based on referrals! I’m not sure how long this will last, but I advise everyone to take advantage of collecting stocks where they can, especially if they ARE FREE.

Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, Facebook

You have a 1 in 200 chance of getting stock in one of these companies each time a friend signs up.


GE, Ford, Energy Transfer

You have a 1 in 150 chance of getting stock in one of these companies each time a friend signs up.


1 Invite Friends

Share your referral link on Twitter and get friends to sign up for Robinhood.

2 Get Free Stock

Once your friends sign up, you’ll both get a free stock when their application is approved.

3 Track Referrals

Remind your friends to sign up so you don’t miss out on getting free stock.




5 Lessons From Owning & Operating Businesses In The First Year

“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.”
– Farrah Gray

The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
– Confucius

Zy Marquiez
January 23, 2019

The first year in any venture can be a roller coaster ride, particularly in business.

Such ventures can include incredible highs and torrential lows, but it’s the full length of the journey, what you learn from it and what you ultimately implement that will really set you apart from the of the field.

Based on these ideas, key insights will be discussed in this blog post based on lessons learned from the initial year and change of operating small businesses. Future blogs covering additional insights will follow thereafter, so keep a look at for those in the near future.

As a preamble offering background to the following insights, the following considerations will be based on the experienced gained from two small business owners, one of them being my close friend Jabai and that of myself.

Hussien Jabai, who conceptualized this post nigh a week ago in one of our business brainstorming discussions, is CEO and Owner of Jabai Performance, wherein he also focuses on Personal Training, and is also the Founder of the Fire Fighter Training Systems (FTTS Project), which aids in Injury Prevention for First Responders. Conversely, I myself am CEO and Owner of both a LEGO-parts store on Bricklink named Blocked up, and also the Square One Productions Ebay store. Both of us have known each other for about six months and have learned a great deal from our business platforms and numerous business conversations.

The advice that follows is a conceptual collation of significant lessons we have learned in our respective businesses in hopes that other business owners may have a foundation to venture from and some idea of what to do, and what not to do. Examples will follow from either one, or each of our respective fields where applicable.

money-2180330_960_720#1: Know What You, Your Products & Services Are Worth

A business transaction, is not unlike any other transaction. Agreements, whether contractual or not, are purely two parties agreeing upon a set of parameters and/or a certain price point. Not all price points are created equal, however.

To give you an idea, while business A might offer to sell their services to customer B, at say $500 per transaction, that doesn’t mean that this is the ideal price-point for the product or service. An exact or very similar transaction could take place at the $750-1000 price range between business C and customer D, and if that is true, then selling your services lower than what the regional, national or global average is, is highly detrimental, and could even set your business back when compared to the competition.

Within personal fitness, how much each trainer charges is obviously a personal choice that is coupled with experience, not unlike any other business. The model that Jabai chooses to employ is one where the services he offers aren’t the highest priced, but certainly aren’t the lowest either. If he prices his services too low, he’ll just get swamped with customers, his time won’t be as efficient given the value he puts on his time and the experience he has garnered in the field, and he would ultimately undercut himself. Likewise, if the prices he sets are too high, it will not only narrow down the range of potential customers who can afford his services, but it will also limit the likelihood of garnering repeat customers as well.

Now, in my own personal aside, when launching the LEGO-parts selling business platform I have pursued on Bricklink, I employ a software used Brickstock. Narrowing down a lot of information into a bite-sized piece, each particular LEGO set has parts lists that can be viewed as the inventory sheet, and each of these parts is sold for a certain price.

Now, the key part here is that each LEGO part is priced at a global average within the Brickstock software, not a regional or national one. This means that, if you don’t know, and I certainly didn’t know this at the nascent stages of starting the Blocked Up Bricklink store, the your regional (or national) price of most individual parts could be much, much higher than the global average, then you would be leaving significant profits at the table. Some of the reasons for this price discrepancy are that in Bricklink (1) some buyers do not like purchasing from sellers over-seas because of the additional shipping charges they incur, (2) many Bricklink stores outside of the United States have (surreptitious) hidden fees, and (3) the issue of waiting much longer for parts is highly problematic when many of the LEGO MOCs (My Own Creations) that are designed by independent LEGO creators are on a time table.

These reasons are why many LEGO creators don’t mind paying a higher premium or a much higher price in certain instances for individual parts within their actual region. However, this isn’t something that’s written about anywhere within the LEGO community that I have noted. It is definitely something to take note of because if you happen to have a store with tens of thousands of parts, hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of parts, then adding even $0.05 cents per part is netting significant profits over the span of a hundreds of orders, entailing tens of thousands of parts, or more.

I have seen Bricklink Businesses who I wholeheartedly support, and whom I appreciate greatly that have been around for over 10 years and whom I have also learned a LOT from that have done this mistake and still do so, and whose business model stays stagnant or grows only slowly, and definitely not at the rate that it could. To be fair, I am only talking about stores where people are doing this for a living, and not selling parts as a hobby.

Also of note, I am also not stating that people need to have the highest prices for their parts, nay. What I am saying is that, if a product is selling for a given price within your region, pricing a hair under that price is something to at least be considered at minimum, since many times these parts would be cheaper than any other store out there anyhow. Pricing parts any lower than that is financial suicide given that you’re only going to grow slower and not take advantage of the supply and demand price mechanisms that rule economics. Just as important, carrying out such glaring oversights in my honest opinion are also a colossal time waste given that this time could be allocated to further grow the business or even free up personal time if that is what you seek.

action-3435773_960_720#2: Always Pay Attention To Your Competitors

Learning is growth, and growth should entail learning. A significant way individuals can learn in life is by learning from others, and in business this is no different. And thankfully, one of the best ways to learn is from those that came before you, or those that partake in your business field.

As touched upon lightly in the aforementioned point, some business products/services have established price ranges, while others do not, in which case you would have to figure out what the price range and market is for that given product/service. In most businesses however, if you look hard enough you can ascertain what prices are optimal for your business, and one of the best and simplest ways to do this is by keeping an eye on similar businesses.

This advice might seem ‘obvious’ at first blush, but it’s something I often see overlooked on Ebay every single day, and that’s not an overstatement.

In addition, other notable things other businesses could do is (1) move prince ranges up or down, which affects your product and profits, (2) have complete control of most of the market, which (a) gives then incredible flexibility in the control of setting the market price, (b) often aiding them in pricing products/services at a much lower price point given that they are in it to flip-products quickly, not unlike a convenience store or even Wal-Mart, which follows a different model than simply pricing products at a specific price point. And (c) this affects the speed at which your products sell.

office-3295556_960_720#3: Know What Your Lowest Price-Point Is & Don’t Go Below It

From what I have gathered, in many online businesses, sellers will undercut each other relentlessly to the point that they are barely profiting from their products. In my personal view, this is like willingly choosing minimum-wage when you could make a higher per-hour rate, or per-transaction rate, than that.

As a business owner, this used to bother me because I always felt the need to have the lowest prices with certain products, but that’s not always feasible (or reasonable), and many times it’s downright detrimental to your business model. In Ebay stores, as well as in Bricklink, there will always be stores with lower prices, but that doesn’t bother me now because prices aren’t the only thing that people rely on, which brings me to the next point.

business-2297833_960_720#4: Know Your Business Model

In business, like in life, it is incredibly important to know your business model in its totality.

Now, in the case of my friend Jabai, he has set his business model with a price point at a happy medium where not only he is satisfied with, but at a point where his customers are as well, which encourages customer loyalty. I follow a similar mindset with most of the products sold, although not in the exact manner because where Jabai sells a service, I sell thousands of different products/parts between both stores.

Along the same line of thought, could each of us set the price of our products/services much higher than we do so now? Yes, we certainly could. Why don’t we? There are a lot of reasons for these, but we will focus on two of these.

The vanguard reason for this is to have happy customers, which encourages repeated business and customer loyalty. Secondly, there is a moral point of view in that although we do want to profit from business, we don’t want to fleece people, which is a delicate balance at times in business. That said, what people considering ‘fleecing’ is entirely subjective, but the majority of people usually agree upon certain price-ranges before something just gets downright expensive.

Due to those reasons, we have each settled on our respective values for our business practices and what we are ultimately satisfied with. This is ONLY a cursory glance of this notion, and can be gone into further detail later on, but it is mentioned simply to give a bird’s-eye view of the concept.

ux-788002_960_720#5: Make Sure You Consider A High-Value Or Rare Product/Service – A ‘Strong IP’ (Intellectual Product)

Let’s now consider the notion of having a high-value or rare product/service.

Having a high-value or rare product/service is something to take note of given that not all products and services, although sometimes exact in nature, are similar in the way their execution is carried out when infused into a business model. As the first example showcased, two businesses can have the exact product, but the initial business values it much lower, thus nets less profit than the latter business. Adding incredible value and/or rarity to the product/service only increases the profit, or the magnitude of the mistake made within such an example.

Expanding upon the notion of having a high-value or rare product, let us now contemplate what I jokingly call having ‘Strong IPs’ within your business. The reason I have chosen this jargon specifically is because one of the greatest lessons I have learned from watching Nintendo as a company.

The lesson that I have learned from Nintendo is that they do not devalue their intellectual property (IP), which is the reason why (1) their products net so much profit, and (2) why their products maintain their value over time.

In the last few years, what I have learned is that even if you go back a decade or more, the products created by Nintendo, not only retain their value quite well, but in some instances increase in value with time. This is one vanguard reason why having a strong IP and knowing what it’s worth is paramount.

Besides, since Nintendo creates the games themselves, they set the global market; the prices that individuals pay for Nintendo video games is nigh always the same across the board, and given how much Nintendo values their IPs, those video games rarely go on sale, thus securing greater profits in the long run. To be fair, Nintendo also has high standards when publishing video games, whereas some other companies do not, which is why they can’t keep their IPs at such a high price point. This is why it’s noteworthy to see Nintendo take their craft seriously, because not only do they carefully craft their IPs with careful consideration, but they deliver on the vision of having a high-quality product through and through.

Now, in my personal case, neither do the Bricklink nor Ebay stores have items that are created by me. What I do offer instead as a smaller subset of the Square One Productions Ebay store are items that are incredibly rare.

Case in point, something I invest heavily in are rare video games and collector’s editions, Playstation 4 Collector’s Editions to be precise. From time to time, a particular game will get a physical Collector’s Edition for a video game that was never produced physically and only produced digitally; given that, the mintage of that item will be somewhere along the lines of 2000-3000 copies. While that might sound like a lot of copies to some, when one realizes that there are nearly 100 Million potential buyers as PS4 owners, you realize that you have a very rare item. It gets even more interesting from there though.

Most of those 2000-3000 copies will be purchased by collectors. For example, let’s say that 50% of those collector’s editions are purchased by collectors, and I could make an argument that the number is much higher, but let’s roll with that number for simplicity’s sake. If such is the case, then you now have only 1000-1500 copies available for purchase, if not much less than that. (In my daily pricing research on EBay, I would say that the numbers is closer to 5-10% of that, but either way, you have an incredibly rare item, which only makes it that much more valuable.)

An unwritten rule that most resellers take is selling the item for double what you paid for it. So if you paid $50 for a collector’s edition, selling it for $100 is not uncommon. Even so, in my opinion, a mistake that some individuals do is pricing these items incredibly low; say at $75 or so. While that might seem like a 50% profit if you were to take Ebay as an example, such is not the case for EBay keeps 10% of that, so the profit is only $67.50, or is it? PayPal takes another 3%, which would is $2.25. Now that ‘profit’ went from $67.50 to $65.25.

If the reseller had sold the item at $100, the Ebay 10% fee would drop the profit to $90, with PayPal taking its 3%, leaving the profit for the item at $87. Although how each seller sells their item is obviously their choice, there’s an enormous difference between selling a product between $65.25 and $87 after fees. While an item sold at $75 will net you a % 30.5 profit, an item that sells at $100 will net you 87% profit. Those kinds of returns will snowball significantly, or at a snail’s pace, depending on which price point you pick and business model you choose to employ.

In the Square One Productions business, 80% of the products or so, perhaps a bit higher, all are priced ‘to-go’ at near the lowest price-point, with the rest of the items having much higher price points, the highest around in fact. This is because when your item is limited, and cannot be created ever again unless by some unknown circumstance or ‘miracle’ later on, the value of that item is incredibly high [1]. This is why it’s not uncommon for some of the rare video games and collector’s editions that are sold to have a 3x-5x return, and in rare cases higher than that even.

Given all of that, knowing exactly where your product falls on the spectrum of rarity and value will net you significant profits in the long run and only make it easier for your business to succeed, or continue its success.

Final Thoughts

Please keep in mind, none of the above thoughts are shared as end-all-be-all ideas. These thoughts are shared to offer individuals perspective for those seeking insight when perhaps considering starting their own business, or who know others that have done so or are planning too.

There are a lot of additional ideas that can be discussed, but these initial five were chosen given that they set a sound baseline for the next part of this series.

In business, like in life, there are unlimited options that individuals and business owners can undertake. What options are chosen and what follows there in isn’t only directly related to the quality of research carried out within your business, but the perseverance and focus applied to each particular idea and/or venture.

The more focused and precise the actions undertaken, the greater the net benefits and profits that will accrue over time, and the more rapidly those benefits will manifest. And in business, like in life, these benefits are what increase the quality of life, or business, which is why careful consideration should be given to it.

As such, each step that you take should not only be taken with incredible thought and mindfulness, but it should not be taken lightly, either.


[1] The notion of rare video games, or games minted in limited runs, is not something new, although has garnered a lot of attention the last few years. In fact, ‘Limited Run’, is the name of the company that I invest the most heavily in and support not only in my business practices, but for my personal endeavors as well. As a small company that is doing what to keep physical media for game cartridges of video games in an age where most companies are seeking to make everything digital, I appreciate what they do heavily and will continue to support them for the rest of my life.
[2] Some of these examples were only delved into in a cursory manner, and could be expanded upon at length in the future.




Author: Zy Marquiez

Poker Player

Owner of Blocked Up

Writer, Researcher, & Book Reviewer