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Wealthy households and nobility all had various businesses under their names.
Although they say it isn’t for profit, which major household was able to maintain their lavish lifestyle relying on their official salary alone?
Land, businesses, clothing and jewelry stores run by the estate’s women. Those with the right connections would run large businesses. Those without would run small businesses. Ultimately, it was a means to increase the estate’s profits.
Second Madam Shen was afraid it would be hard to manage so many people. Back then, she had her subordinates pick out someone capable of managing things. Quite a few rich young masters dabbled in business, but there has never been one who personally got his hands dirty.
Second Liu was the person picked to manage things.
Truthfully speaking, if Second Liu had the choice he wasn’t too willing to become whatever manager of this matter.
He was a servant boy at the Zhenguo Duke Estate in the past. Since there weren’t many masters in the estate, his lack of connections and options prevented him from serving by a master’s side. He could only become an errand boy.
After he grew up, he wasn’t able to get into any good positions. When he came of age, he was released from the estate to one of its businesses.
There were many businesses under the Zhenguo Duke Estate. People like Second Liu grew up in such places. He lived with his widowed mom and depended on the estate’s salary for a living. He settled down and started a family. Second Liu’s character was pretty good. He was also clever and capable. Over the past ten years, he managed to become the vice-manager of the business. Everyone respected him and his monthly salary was rather considerable. His days were pretty good.
Unexpectedly, his superior said that young master Qi wanted to do business, and he was chosen to be in charge of it.
As someone born in the estate, who didn’t know young master Qi? He was one of the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s true-blooded masters. If it were any other time, Second Liu naturally longed to get close to him. But young master Qi was only ten years old. What business could he be doing? He was probably just messing around!
It wasn’t a big deal for the young master to mess around, but Second Liu had to give up his position to go help. If he was really messing around, would Second Liu still have anything left after coming back? The competition amongst the estate born servants was fierce. There was too much supply and not enough demand.
Second Liu tossed and turned the entire night. The next day, his mom told him something.
“The masters recognizing our worth is our honor. Your dad passed away early back then and the two of us relied on the Zhenguo Duke Estate to live. Without the estate’s compassion, you wouldn’t have been able to grow up.”
Second Liu didn’t say anything. The next day he grabbed a couple sets of clothing and came to this courtyard.
When he first moved in, it was still an empty shell.
The young master never showed his face. He only had people by his side send over “information” every once in a while, and had Second Liu figure out how to proceed by himself. Because of this “information”, Second Liu understood what the “young master” wanted to do. He decided on his course of action and started implementing it.
Actually it wasn’t too difficult. He already had the manpower to run the stands. What he had to do was master the “information” given by the young master and use it to “train” these people.
“Training” was the phrase used in the information. Overall it was to teach them how to promote their product and also the necessary skills to barbecue meat.
Afterwards, he had to find a blacksmith to make those small carts and various tools, figure out procurement and logistics, and assign workers to wash and skewer the meat. The “secret recipe” also had to be made.
The “young master” had made it very clear. Second Liu was responsible for choosing the logistics people. They had to be trustworthy and the “secret recipe” couldn’t be leaked out.
Actually, Second Liu knew it couldn’t be leaked even without the “young master’s” orders.
“Secret recipes” were all very precious things. If it truly leaked out, all their lives wouldn’t make up for it. Of course, this wasn’t something he had to worry about. All the people he could pick from were born and raised in the Zhenguo Duke Estate, and even included some who worked under him previously. All their families belonged to the Zhenguo Duke Estate. Who would dare leak things?!
Second Liu managed these tens of people in their various roles. Not only was he responsible for the daily procurement, he also supervised the allocation of ingredients to every stand. After closing shop for the day, he also had to calculate how much was earned. There was a large assortment of things.
But he worked enthusiastically. Why?
Because the “young master” had said that the profit from these forty to fifty stands weren’t just for himself. It was for everyone involved. The more they sold, the higher their “commission” would be.
“Commission” was a new term. Second Liu didn’t really understand, but he understood the general meaning.
For example, each skewer was sold for three coins and the peddlers could keep half a coin each time. The remaining two and a half coins belonged to the master. Don’t look down on this half a coin and this barbecue business. Since business was booming, every stand would sell around two to three thousand skewers a day. All in all, the peddlers would earn several silver teals a day, which was around tens of taels a month.
This made his eyes incessantly red.
However, he didn’t have anything to be envious about. The “young master” had said that for every hundred skewers that was sold, the “logistics” team would get ten coins. Based on the volumes these days, they would get around three hundred taels a month.
Of course this money wasn’t all his. There were still quite a few people under him. For example, those responsible for calculations, the accountants who kept accounts and stored the silver, and also those responsible for slicing the meat and so on.
They didn’t receive a monthly salary and meals weren’t included. The “young master” said that the more they worked the more they earned, and issued a series of proportional commission.
Ultimately, based on the current situation, Second Liu would get around seventy to eighty taels a month as the manager. The accountants and the few minor managers earned a little less, around twenty to thirty taels. Those responsible for the manual labor could get around six to seven taels.
Getting more silver meant having bigger responsibilities. The “young master” also warned that if there was any funny business, any substitution with inferior goods, or any shoddy work, they would be replaced.
With such incentives, everyone naturally worked wholeheartedly. The demand for lamb meat was extremely large recently. Second Liu had to work several days before finding vendors who sold high quality meat at good prices. The women responsible for cutting meat weren’t negligent either. They did their jobs quickly and well.
This was because the “young master” had also said that the money would be divided amongst them. If there as any delay, he would have to hire additional workers. If the silver was divided by an additional person, would it still be the same amount?
Not only were those workers unwilling, Second Liu was unwilling as well.
These days all sorts of experiences had expanded Second Liu’s mind. It was sufficient to make him understand that despite many of the “young master’s” actions seeming preposterous, they were extremely effective. Therefore, the phrase “young master said” became words of wisdom.
Back then, Second Liu had viewed the young master as a child messing around. As of now, he couldn’t help but sigh about the “young master’s” genius.
At the same time, the so-called genius was dividing up the “bounty” in a rather undignified manner.
“This is our first venture. Only after seeing the actual money will we feel the sweetness. I wanted to have it exchanged for silver, but you wouldn’t be able to bring it back. Therefore, I exchanged it into banknotes for the sake of convenience.” Luo Huai Yuan patted the box in front of him and spoke to Shen Qi while wriggling his brows.
Shen Qi didn’t really have much interest in silver since he wasn’t lacking. Of course he wasn’t as excited as Luo Huai Yuan. But his first venture seemed to be very successful, making him rather pleasantly surprised.
Especially since he didn’t really do anything. He just gathered the people (and it was his mom who did that). The rest was left to little fatty Luo.
“Come, come, come. One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me….”
Luo Huai Yuan muttured as he divided up the silver notes from the box. His chubby face couldn’t refrain from smiling, smiling so wide his eyes became slits.
Listening to this “one for you, one for me”, Shen Qi gradually started feeling dizzy. It wasn’t due to the rarity of the notes, each worth a hundred teals. It was because he had been listening to this muttering for too long.
Following which, he became startled.
Just how much was there? How was it not done after so long?
Actually, Luo Huai Yuan wanted to exchange everything for copper coins and build a bed out of it. He would sleep on it for several days until he was satisfied. He had dreamt of this for a long time. His biggest dream in the modern world was to hit the jackpot on the lottery, and exchange everything into coins so he could roll around in it.
Unfortunately, dreams were bountiful but reality was harsh.
This dream wasn’t realized in the modern world, but it became realized at this moment. Unfortunately, due to various considerations, he could only experience the joy through banknotes.
The monthly profit had been delivered yesterday and Luo Huai Yuan had spent the night counting away. Despite knowing the approximate number, seeing the large amount of silver made him even happier.
“Not too much, not too much. We’ve earned around ten thousand silver taels this month. The exact number is on the accounting ledger. I had Xian An Zi bring back the rounded number back yesterday. We each get five thousand.” Luo Huai Yuan waved his hand self-importantly.
“Ten thousand taels?”
No matter how ignorant little second Shen was, he was still aware of numbers. He knew how much ten thousand taels represented. For example, he had heard his mom say that the entire Zhenguo Duke Estate’s expenses was around ten thousand taels a year. For example, it would cost his mom around a thousand taels to get a hairpin made at the “jewelry store”. For example, his dad bought his previous sword for around two thousand taels. For example, his grandfather bought his bird last, last time for around five hundred taels…..
This was to say, the money he earned in a month was sufficient to buy his dad a sword, make a hairpin for his mom and give his grandfather a bird and still show some respect to his grandmother?
Overall, little second Shen was a rather filial person. At least he had only considered his elders and hadn’t thought about himself yet.
“What? You feel it’s too little?”
Shen Qi stammered, “How could that be? It’s so much…..”
Luo Huai Yuan nodded in satisfaction and patted his shoulder. “Follow your big bro. You’ll have plenty of meat in the future!”
A weird looking “low-ranked eunuch” popped out from the back doors of the fourth prince estate.
He continued walking against the wall. After walking a good distance, he finally got onto a carriage waiting on the side of the street.
“Young master, you’re finally out. Fourth Xi was about to go inside to find you.” A person dressed as a servant boy said with a happy expression.
Shen Qi let out an “en” and seemed to be preoccupied as he said: “I was delayed. Let’s go to Shun An1 Street.”
Fourth Xi thought the young master wanted to buy something and didn’t say anything. He had the carriage driver head towards Shun An Street.
Third Yuan saw a large bag bulging from the young master’s chest. When he went inside, it was still flat.
“Young master, what did you stuff in there? It doesn’t look too good.”
No one would look good with a large sack stuffed in their chest!
Shen Qi glanced at his chest. “Someone gave me something.”
The carriage hadn’t arrived at Shun An Street yet when he suddenly said: “Forget it. Let’s go back!”
After arriving at the Zhenguo Duke Estate, Shen Qi hurriedly ran to find his mom.
Second Madam Shen had just finished her work. She sat at her desk drinking tea when her son hurriedly ran in.
“Mom, these are for you. Buy whatever you want with it!”
He truly couldn’t decide what to buy for his elders. It was always them giving him gifts. He didn’t have any experience giving gifts to others. After leaving the fourth prince estate, he had been thinking about it the entire time. He didn’t manage to come up with anything the entire way. He was planning on buying his mom a hairpin but decided not to. This was because his mom was very picky, and he truly didn’t know what she liked.
Shen Qi pulled out a large bag from his chest and placed it on the table. It was a black cloth bag and the inside couldn’t be seen.
“That’s right, not just for yourself. Also buy something for grandparents and dad. Use the money inside.” Shen Qi patted the black bag in a heroic manner.
Second Madam Shen placed the teacup down. “You have silver inside here? You want to buy something for me, your dad and even your grandparents? Where did you get the silver? Is it enough?”
As she finished speaking, Second Madam Shen already started laughing.
Second Madam Shen didn’t respond as she opened the black bag. She first saw a large mess of paper. This was her first impression. Second Madam Shen was intelligent, and quickly realized that these weren’t ordinary pieces of paper. They were banknotes.
After flipping through things, she saw the note wasn’t large. It was worth a hundred taels.
A hundred taels truly wasn’t large, but there were so many of them.
Second Madam Shen glanced at her son and organized things with her hands.
She had managed the household expenses for many years, and was rather quick at counting. Soon the mess of notes were arranged into a stack. There were a total of fifty notes, which was five thousand taels.
“Where did you get so much silver?”
Second Madam Shen frowned. This was a parent’s first reaction. A large amount of money with unknown origins had to be questioned. Shen Qi did have his own savings, but there wasn’t that much cash inside. Most of it consisted of various silver trinkets his elders gave him. There were banknotes as well, but not much. As his mom, Second Madam Shen was aware of this.
Where did a ten year old kid get so much money!?
The brat heard “so much” and heard his mom’s surprised tone. He puffed up his little chest and waved his hand nonchalantly. “Didn’t your son say he was going to start a business? You even helped me gather manpower. This is the money I earned.”
This act was learned from Luo Huai Yuan. This brat didn’t know how to do this in the past.
Second Madam Shen’s eyes flashed. She smiled and said: “My Qi’er has learned to earn money and pay respects to dad, mom and grandparents!”
This was praise.
Shen QI was a little embarrassed. He bashfully waved his hand. “This isn’t much. Your son will earn more in the future for you all.”
After speaking, he ran off….