The following answer by Visakan Veerasamy found in Quora teaches you how you can grow your money when you only have $5.
I remember reading Tina Sellig’s (executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program) book – What I wish I knew when I was 20. (I don’t know Tina, though I wish I did, and I love her book.)
She gave her students the exact same problem. Here are her words, with my emphasis. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, just skim and read the words in bold.
“What would you do to earn money if all you had was five dollars and two hours?” This is the assignment I gave students in one of my classes at Stanford University, as part of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program…
Each of fourteen teams received an envelope with five dollars of “seed funding” and was told they could spend as much time as they wanted planning. However, once they cracked open the envelope, they had two hours to generate as much money as possible. I gave them from Wednesday afternoon until Sunday evening to complete the assignment.
Then, on Sunday evening, each team had to send me one slide describing what they had done, and on Monday afternoon each team had three minutes to present their project to the class. They were encouraged to be entrepreneurial by identifying opportunities, challenging assumptions, leveraging the limited resources they had, and by being creative.
What would you do if you were given this challenge? When I ask this question to most groups, someone usually shouts out, “Go to Las Vegas,” or “Buy a lottery ticket”. This gets a big laugh.. These folks would take a significant risk in return for a small chance at earning a big reward.
The next most common suggestion is to set up a car wash or lemonade stand, using the five dollars to purchase the starting materials. This is a fine option for those interested in earning a few extra dollars of spending money in two hours.
But most of my students eventually found a way to move far beyond the standard responses. They took seriously the challenge to question traditional assumptions – exposing a wealth of possibilities – in order to create as much value as possible.
How did they do this? Here’s a clue: the teams that made the most money didn’t use the five dollars at all. They realized that focusing on the money actually framed the problem way too tightly. They understood that five dollars is essentially nothing and decided to reinterpret the problem more broadly: What can we do to make money if we start with absolutely nothing? Continue reading