This is a student who didn’t pay for this work. He cheated.
Most high school students don’t get scammed out of $300 at an elite sneaker convention, but most high school students don’t fall down the rabbit hole of the sneaker game. The event was “Sneaker Con” and I had just purchased a pair of shiny black Jordan 11s. But a few minutes later, I spotted a well-known shoe designer, Ace of Customs, spray-painting a brand-new pair of sneakers. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had been conned into spending $300 on a pair of knock-offs.
My addiction to sneakers had begun years earlier, and I can still remember that bitterly cold morning at the mall when my friends and I camped out for the latest Jordan 6s. We were young and dumb, wearing only shorts and shivering for hours before getting in the store and putting our hands on the newly released kicks.
It wasn’t long after the purchase that someone offered me $240 for them, which meant a solid $60 profit for me – a middle-school student. The potential buyer sent me an email saying that he had paid me through PayPal and I happily headed to the post office. My dad called and stopped me, however, informing me that the email was fake and that the “buyer” had been trying to scam me.
I was obviously upset, but the entire experience taught me a valuable lesson – don’t get in the game unless you’re willing to put in the work. I realized that I needed to do my research and learn everything I could about sneakers. If I wanted to avoid getting scammed and conned, I needed to know more than anyone else. I needed to become a sneaker expert.
I got to work and started studying up on the subject, and within a year I was buying a dozen pairs, instead of a couple. I made connections with great people in the underground sneaker world, which allowed me to access rare and exclusive sneakers at a huge discount. I became the “sneaker guy” at my school; if someone wanted a special shoe, I was the person they talked to.
I devoted myself to that passion, despite the hiccups and disappointments I had experienced. After doing my research, I knew that getting scammed was inevitable unless I was serious about the business. I may have lost $300, but that didn’t dissuade me from being involved—it just drove me to sell more shoes and make up the loss. I realized that the more I knew, the more successful I would be – a good lesson for life, in general.
By junior year, I started moving out of the sneaker game. It was cool to make a profit and be the connection for so many people, but I felt my passion for the hustle fading away. Instead, I moved on to selling other things, from iPhones and hoverboards to Bitcoins, stocks and website designs. Even so, nothing gives me quite the same rush as the sneaker game.
I want to find that again – an area of expertise that inspires constant passion and a hunger to learn. I have never been afraid of hard work, sweating through research and executing knowledge for the best results. I know how to stay focused, make the most of adversity and push past self-doubt, no matter what task or long-term goal stands before me.