Tag Archives: researching cars

mDimitry: Yourself as a Business.

Years ago- I read something about Bill Gates. It is said he was making so much money that it wasn’t worth the effort for him to bend over and pick up a $100 bill off the ground should he accidentally drop one. This situation is defined by the concept of opportunity cost, the thought that doing one thing limits the opportunity to do another. The notion of opportunity costs haunts me to this day.

What does it cost to do what I am doing at the moment? I’m sitting down at a Starbucks working on my blog. Does an activity benefit me or hurt me? Could I be doing something else? Should I be doing something else- or if I continue- will I somehow receive my big break here? What would a big break look like, and how would I know it? What about doing my job selling cars? Should I work on my day off- or should I blog- or should I take a nap. How do you make that sort of trade off?

Selling cars, I make money on commissions, yet most of my life my employment was hourly. I make more money now, but when it is slow- it is hard not think about how much money I would have had if I was working hourly. I still find it good to break down my income monthly and give myself a baseline income to judge what I take on to see if it is worth it or not.

So far so good. But for how long? And what’s next? Am I worth more- and how do I reach my potential. Every self-help book I’ve managed to power through has a similar refrain- find something you are passionate about and do that, hard. Follow your dreams.

But what are my passions, what are my dreams? How do I find them? Recently I read “You’re a Bad Ass” by Jen Sincero- who suggested I think back on when I was in my ‘element.’ Think about the time that you were obsessed with something and got good. Really good at something. Think about what that felt like- and what I was doing at the time. For me, two things stand out, and I could be slightly embarrassed about them- but I think the world is a bit more accepting. Both were video games I had played.

The first one was a game called Monarchy. Think Clash of Clans but text based. At first- this game was a bit dense, but one of my high school buddies was into it- and MMO’s weren’t much of a thing just yet so there was a bit of an appeal. I wanted to do all things online as my family just got its first computer and our dial-up connection was very slow. This game turned out to work perfectly with a slow dial-up connection.

It started innocently enough- log in- build and attack and log off. Then I got attacked- and realized people were playing on teams (guilds), and if you weren’t on a team, you were easy prey. I joined a guild- and that’s when things got interesting. Turned out- I was chatting with people all over the world, and many of them were very smart. Programmers, writers, businessmen from all over.

And they were all interested in winning. And since it was a numbers based game- you had to understand the way the numbers worked in the game. The guys reversed engineered the game- and had a pretty solid database. We’d look for patterns in the database- make plans- negotiate alliances and non-aggression pacts. We’d spy- we’d coerce- we’d sabotage alliances. I was spending 3-5 hours a day planning, writing, thinking, analyzing and negotiating the next move. This game taught me to write, think, strategize. I loved it. I ended up quitting when I realized I wouldn’t graduate high school.

The other game was Parallel Kingdom. A cell phone game that used Google maps and GPS to create an alternate- parallel- world that was full of monsters to kill and land to conquer. I downloaded it- and it didn’t work. I checked on it a few months later- and they had updated it, and it worked alright- but people had already taken over all the land around me.

I struggled at first getting around, finding a place to build, and then collecting resources. Met the locals, and one of them traded something with a stranger in front of me. I thought it was weird, and asked them about it. They told me to be careful of scammers. People who stole from other players. My friend told me what sort of ‘resources’ to collect and for how much to sell them. I gathered the resources- went on the game’s world chat and summoned a trader.

His name was CashMoney. I told me to drop the resources- he’d collect- and I would get the money. I wasn’t dumb. I thought that was crazy. He didn’t care. He told me he never went first since he was a legit and I was a ‘noob.’ This was a dilemma. I asked on the chat about him- and it seemed like it was safe to trade with him.

I made the trade- and then we talked. It turned out- CashMoney was incredibly wealthy in the game. I didn’t realize that wealth within the game was compared. He also told me he typically doesn’t bother convincing new players into trading with him. But since he’d never seen me- he’d give me a lesson and leniency. He explained a few things about trading- told me to keep my nose clean. After that- I was hooked.

I was the Bill Gates of that game. It got to the point where I was affecting the markets with decisions to buy- or sell specific things.

Both of these games capitalized on my desire to see patterns, watch trends, engage other people while keeping track of the score. There were clear metrics for winning in my mind. In Monarchy- it was all about getting our guild to win- and in Parallel Kingdom it was about getting more ‘gold.’

Now I look at what work I am doing. I am selling cars. I know I like games- I love figuring stuff out and making it work for me. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make this feel like one of the games I was playing.

I’ve been wracking my brains and come up with something. I want to gamify my efforts as I grow as a business person. Weird word- gamify- but I think it’s something to help me keep motivated as I try to expand my abilities.

The first thing I want to start with is this blog. I haven’t been working on it much- and traffic on it has died off a bit. I’ve been too busy to spend much time here. And I didn’t have a clear objective that would help me sell cars- or get better as a business person. I knew I wanted to do a blog… and have it help… but didn’t know how or to what end.

So- starting today- mDimitry.biz is the overall focus of my day today thought process (as it relates to making money.) I am going to think of myself- the business person- a consultant/independent contractor who is hired out from mDimitry.biz to various places- like Dick Hannah. I know it’s not official yet- but eventually, I might make it so. That means I’m working on an assignment for this blog as a car salesman and want to explore what a good one is- to report back to this blog. I’ll take on various projects that will hopefully help me.

For example, I have some experience with social media- and that’s one of the first projects I’m going to start to push. I have a Facebook page called “Dimitry Sells Cars.” I currently have 255 followers. I want to grow that number to… I don’t know… 5,000? Have regular engagement and work out a system that would allow me to get car deals when I invest time. Starting now- I’ll record how much time I look at the Facebook page- and keep track. I’ll attribute a dollar amount to the time spent- as well as actual money spent on Advertising through Facebook. I’ll work on making the whole exchange profitable.

That’s the second part- I want my projects to work together- but all the knowledge I pick up will be funneled back here and dissected and explored. Hopefully you- as the reader- find that interesting and will read up here. Maybe comment.

The final part- I want to review different books/blogs/and resources through which I am working. I will interview others who I see as real business people and report on those interviews. Hopefully, this will provide bigger better ideas for how to more forward with my business.

All in all- I really look forward to working on this little project more. Stay tuned- I’m going to try to post at least once a week- maybe twice. So subscribe.

Guide to Car Buying: Research (work in progress)

It is never fun having nightmares. I recently had one about the car buying experience. Full on a horrific, tragic, and morally draining dream. Bad dreams about buying a car are weird because I’m a car salesman. I understand this is because things that stress you out are typically things you dream about, and it’s my brain’s way of unfolding the events of my day.

But a big part of my time is spent ‘informing‘ people about what it is they should do. In a weird sense, that’s like asking an alligator to teach you to swim. I recognize this is job security for me, but I alway love those deals where the person comes in, informed, and has everything ready for me. They know what car’s they want to drive. They know their credit score, have a down payment. Everything is ready.

It is not hard to get a car, just like it’s not hard getting a loan. You can walk into a payday loan office, or log onto a website, and get one in 5 minutes. It won’t be very much, and you aren’t going to be getting anything that resembles a real deal. Same with a car. Car buying is easy, but doing it well requires a bit of research and preplanning.

This preparation should happen at home.

Google is a fantastic tool. Just type in “how to buy a car” and see what comes up. Perhaps that’s how you found this post. Awesome!

A superb starting point is building out a budget. Budgeting should be the hardest part of buying a car. Most of the car buying experience hinge on what your credit score is, how much you are willing/can to do as a downpayment, and finally what are your payments. Budgeting takes time, but it will build you up for a successful car buying experience, as well as help keeps ownership costs reasonable.

A cool resource for budgeting is Mint. This part is a must. Stop reading – go there – now. Set it up, and begin using this. Seriously. They have articles on money, spending, and how much you should target your spending on different things. Specifically a car.

I know Mint has an excellent credit score tracker, but I like to give people options. Credit Karma is another one. I have been Credit Karma lately because it mainly focuses on just credit scores. (Side note- this is just a reference, not the exact credit score you’ll be using when you purchase a car. And your credit score doesn’t reflect all of your experience with different lending companies. If, for example, you bought a Volkswagen- using VWCredit as the lender- and had the car repossessed they might not be willing to work with you again. The opposite is true as well, if you bought a Volkswagen filed for bankruptcy but kept paying on your auto loan, they might be willing to lend you money again because you were a good client.)

Once you get the budget squared away and have been living a good clean life where you’ve been saving up some money- you can begin to look at what kind of cars you want. Motor Trend is a great resource. They have tons of reviews, news, and other critical information. Very well polished. Love it.

Another excellent site I’ve been reading quite a bit myself has been Edmunds. They have some magnificent tools. They help frame the purchasing experience. They have a splendid, long, story about how one of their new writers works at for a car dealership under cover. This story is an awesome way to learn what my job.

A solid golden standard is Kelly Blue Book. KBB is a fantastic resource to find out what your used car is worth. (A little note, what your current vehicle is worth does not always equate to what it’s value is; furthermore a car’s market value is different than trade in value. This is HUGE. I will write an article about this.)

And this final site I’d recommend is True Car. True Car a resource that helps after you have narrowed down what vehicle you are buying and gives you an excellent price reference for what you want to be paying.

After you decide on which car you one- begin looking for a dealership with which you want to work. A really good site I’ve been enjoying is Dealer Rater. Dealer Rater is where I am rated most often. Searching for the dealership on Google, Yelp, and the other usual sites are ok I guess.

[ I think this is all I have for now. This post is a work in progress. I will be updating this post, so feel free to keep an eye on it. Feel free to comment, or email me. I also have a new email for this blog. me@mdimitry.biz ]