I make it a habit to try to come up with new business ideas all the time. I would come up with ideas while watching TV shows, or reading the newspaper, or while talking to a complete stranger. Whenever I walk into a business, I try to see how they operate, and examine their marketing. I then try to come up product lines they could add, or a new advertising campaign. I developed this habit from my father who is a serial entrepreneur, and is the poster child of the entrepreneurial mindset.

My father started his entrepreneurial ways when he was a teenager "flipping" mopeds. He started out by fixing mopeds for other people. When he saved enough money, he started buying broken mopeds, fixing them for cheap, and then reselling them at a profit. He eventually moved onto flipping motorcycles, then compact cars, then pickup trucks, and eventually he and my mom began flipping homes. He soon started applying this flipping strategy onto businesses: motels, laundry mats, dry cleaners, etc. In his mind, he wasn't running a laundry mat, or a convenience store, or a shoe repair shop. In his mind, he was flipping a business. He eventually transitioned into flipping large commercial properties, like shopping centers. Today, he runs a five-acre scrap yard selling recycled metals to foreign countries, and lives in a plush gated neighborhood near Redondo Beach. Considering he grew up as a homeless orphan in Korea, he is a true rags-to-riches story.

My father's story is a big picture, macroscopic view of the entrepreneurial mindset. Examining his everyday life on a microscopic level, however, reveals the true secrets to his success. Back in the day before DVD players were all the rage, our VCR broke down on us. My father, even with all his money, was too cheap to buy a new one. So he took the broken VCR to a VCR repair shop. The VCR repair guy told my father it would cost $100 to fix it. "I could buy a new VCR for that much money!" my father cursed.

Determined to keep up with his Korean soap operas, my father sent my brother and me to the local library to hunt down a book on VCR repair. After reading the book for a few days, my father came home with a broken VCR he purchased at a thrift shop, and a VCR cleaning kit. He hooked up the VCR to the TV, and put in a tape we used to record TV shows. The VCR ate the tape right away. With the mangled tape still inside, he proceeded to open up the VCR case to examine the damage from the inside. The way he examined the inner guts of the VCR reminded me of the way he would examine the inside of a truck engine. He then started to unravel the tape, and began tinkering with a few parts. He put another tape into the VCR, and this time it played without getting mangled. The picture, however, was fuzzy. He ejected the tape, and began cleaning the heads with the kit he purchased. He put the tape back in, and it played fine. His tenacity and ingenuity paid off. He clapped his hands, and let out a cheer.

For the next several months, my father came home with dozens of broken VCRs he purchased from thrift stores that happened to be on his route to work. After fixing the VCRs, my father took them, and resold all of them by setting up a booth at his indoor flea market, which was one of the units of the shopping center he owned. He used the money from the sale of the VCRs to buy more VCRs, and used the remaining profits became his gasoline fund. This little venture took very little time, cost very little money, and he only netted about $50 a week. But he waived that money around like he won the lottery.

This is one of many stories that illustrate my father's internal drive to relentlessly seize business opportunities. Through his stories, my father taught me that the entrepreneurial mindset isn't just about making a million dollars, or coming up with the hottest business idea. It is about seeing business opportunities everywhere… even in broken VCRs.

Author's Bio: 

Young (aka Young B. Kim) is the creator of ideavist™. Young is a writer, artist, and serial entrepreneur. Young's mission is to help people make their ideas happen through his writing, coaching, consultations, and through speaking engagements on ideation, creativity, and entrepreneurship.