Raymond began dealing drugs when he was 15. (“Raymond” is not his real name.) He enjoyed smoking weed, but soon realized he could sell it to a few people he knew, pocket the profits, then smoke whatever he had left essentially for free. “It was just basic economics,” he says.
Things grew from there. He began making contacts and working hard—up to 70 hours per week at one point. He took the subway from Brooklyn to the Bronx to get Xanax from a guy who knew where to get it. A veterinarian supplied him with Ketamine. He sold mushrooms. He sold OxyContin. He sold cocaine. But mostly he sold weed.
The guiding philosophy behind his business was simple: “Be consistent and don’t be an asshole.”
Today, Raymond is in his early 30s. He works about 20 hours per week and makes around $150,000 per year. Thanks to his ability to resist spending money on flashy cars and fancy clothing, he’s saved enough to invest in a cell phone store and a bar.
“I just kind of discovered this,” he tells me while the two of us sit on overturned buckets in the kitchen of his bar. “I was good at it, and I hadn’t really been good at too many things in my life. So it’s just like, ‘Oh, I’m doing a thing that tons of people I know fail at—why would I stop?’”