STEP FOUR: YOU HAVE TO START A SMALL BUSINESS THAT SELLS USED VACUUM CLEANERS

Small business ownership is a key measure of success, and what better small business than one that sells used vacuum cleaners to people unable to afford brand new vacuum cleaners? While grave digging proves you can work independently, running a business that sells used vacuum cleaners proves you can run a small business that sells used vacuum cleaners, which is a much more difficult and elaborate enterprise.

Having sold all my celebrity bones, I took my wad of cash and rented out a storefront in a cheap part of town where people would likely be unable to afford brand new vacuum cleaners. Some might ask why I did not go back and build a barn, and the answer is this: I already proved that I could build a barn if I wanted to.

At first I had no used vacuum cleaners to sell, so I went around the rich part of town collecting used ones that were being thrown out. An advertisement I placed in craigslist helped a great deal in finding people ridding themselves of vacuums, though I did have to wash a naked man's car before he would give his up. He wanted me to stay for dinner, which I initially declined, but then accepted when he told me it was chicken and dumplings, a personal favorite.

After a long day of hard work, I had a dozen used vacuum cleaners to sell in my store, which I named "Used Vacuum Cleaner Imporium." I later learned that I misspelled "emporium," so I pretended it was intentional by painting a little imp in the window and calling him the store mascot. The gambit worked, for soon my store was flooded with young Satanist couples looking to buy their very first vacuum cleaner. The Dirt Devil proved especially appealing to my customer base.

Business was booming and I was riding high on the proverbial sacrificial hog, selling ineffective or completely nonfunctional vacuum cleaners to people who truly appreciated my dishonesty. I had succeeded in proving that I could run a small business that sells used vacuum cleaners, one of the essential marks of a successful man.

Eventually, though, I ran out of used vacuum cleaners, most of which did not even work in the first place. The time it took to acquire them ate up most of my weekends, and the business had yet to turn a profit. I started buying used vacuums to sell at a markup, but few people wanted to drive to the part of town my business was in, and even fewer wanted to navigate past the Satanists who had taken to loitering outside my store smoking cigarettes and drawing chalk pentagrams on the cracked sidewalk.

"Business sucks," I said to myself while staring at my empty showroom floor, which was very dirty because I had no way to clean it. The irony of my situation was not lost on me, and caused my heart to sink lower than any imaginary cardiovascular barn blueprint could lift up.

In the face of certain doom did I accept defeat? No, I burnt the building down and collected the insurance money. I proved my success already, so there was no need to ride it out like some titanic ocean liner that inevitably ends up retired after years of satisfactory service because its captain became complacent.

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