Simon Carr: The Kitchen Capitalist

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The Independent Online

The story so far: the author has sold his house to finance a manufacturing project in the hope of making a small fortune to finance his old age...

That's very mysterious, so against the run of play it hasn't sunk in yet. My goods have cleared customs. Without officers demanding to see their EU Certification documents and the Safety Compliance Reports, and the Export License Clearance signed by 12 regional officials

I've been sent 40 sheets of A4, stamped and signed with a range of information that would cause a normal person to kill themselves. For instance, someone has certified the level of polybrominated biphenyls in my product. I don't wish to know that! On the first page of the test report it says (I advise you not to read this sentence): "With reference to BS EN 1122:2001, Method B, analysis was performed by Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectrometry (ICP-AES)."

How can it be that with all this opportunity to come in at the last moment and defeat me - how can it be they missed their open goal? They didn't even try to hold the goods up for two weeks. They could have required me to go through the test results with them. That wouldn't have cost them anything and they might have had the pleasure of hearing my brain blow up with a dull, wet thud. As far as I can see now, as soon as the money lands in the freight forwarder's account, my fulfilment house will go and collect the goods and we'll be in business.

In business! The website works, the payment works, the products work. Now what else do we need? Oh yes, you're faster than I am. This has been a very demanding period of my life, I have to say, I'm not sure I'd go through it in this way again, not from a standing start. You get one shot at it, in your prime. You've got the money, and just enough energy to deploy it. In a few years, no matter how much money might be there, you just wouldn't have the energy or the appetite to do it.

But if it goes well from here something extraordinary could happen. The spring you've wound up starts releasing energy. You get this extraordinary lift. You feel like Tony Blair felt 10 years ago. The project starts producing more energy than it consumes. That's what an asset is, I suppose.

But better than everything, your little mail operation doesn't produce the same anxiety that share values do. With shares you can't win. If they go down you writhe at your loss. If they go up you writhe because you didn't buy enough of them.

But in a mail order company, every phone order is like someone voting for you. You make small efforts at publicity and large results happen at once. You become imperial. Your delusions have become reality. It's important to remember how unattractive this is to others. Forgetting that will destroy you. I suppose it's a nice risk to be able to run. I suppose.