Web entrepreneurs seek credibility

Instead of engaging in the party lifestyle that many students enjoy, two young men are now answering the call of business ownership and putting their energies into something financially constructive.

Michael Beckford and Ismael Luxama decided to spend their free time building a business. Three years later, their sacrifices are paying off in the form of their unique trading Web site, Done Trading LLC.

 Done Trading LLC is a social trading Web site where users can go online and trade items such as textbooks, movies and CDs with zero cost. Registered members of the Web site can build trading relationships by creating profiles and chatting with other members.

Luxama, 22, co-founder and CEO of Done Trading, said the Web site’s social elements make it stand out from similar trading networks such as eBay.

“The difference between us and eBay is we’re trying to give people a personal feel where you can meet (members) to make your transaction,” said Luxama, a junior agricultural business student from Miami. “If you get to know individuals you avoid transaction disputes.”

Aside from its social function, Luxama said Done Trading can help people that can’t afford to buy products at regular prices.

“The purpose is to help cash-strapped individuals and allow them to obtain items and services at low to no cost,” Luxama said.

Luxama said FAMU students can benefit from his Web site.

“Everyone in the FAMU community has a textbook or item to trade,” he said. “It’s not limited to books; it’s anything that’s legal.”

Latia Hughes, 22, a fourth-year business administration student at Tallahassee Community College, has joined Done Trading site and said she is happy with the service.

“I have the opportunity to get things that I need without spending money on them and that’s pretty cool,” the Tallahassee native said.

Aside from allowing members to upload as many items as they want to barter, the Web site also has a provisional patent on a tracking feature that allows third parties to see the location of their packages.

Although the business owners have seen Done Trading grow from its inception, they have not forgotten the hard work that has gone into maintaining their business.

“We have gone through a lot of struggles, and we are still struggling,” said Michael Beckford, 22, a co-founder and president of Done Trading. “All of our funding has come from us.”

Luxama said starting Done Trading has cost the duo more than $10,000.  Working at part-time jobs, maxing out credit cards and receiving donations has financed the venture.

The young entrepreneurs also found that people did mot take them seriously.

“Your peers can be your worst enemies,” Beckford said. “They don’t see the entrepreneur that you have come to be.”

Luxama agrees with his partner, and said he feels his youth may cause people to doubt Done Trading and its ability to succeed.

“It’s pretty hard because the misconception is that people think you have to be older and walk with a briefcase,” Luxama said. “Times are changing and businesses start from colleges because we have access to resources.”

Beckford and Luxama have made the most of their resources by reading books, attending seminars and networking with other successful business owners.

“We didn’t just wake up one day and do this,” Luxama said. “I have a file cabinet full of research. We have been learning for three years.”

Now that Done Trading is finally ready to make its world premiere, Beckford sees it as an opportunity for people to support black entrepreneurs.

“This is a business started by young black entrepreneurs,” Beckford said. “It’s out of the norm because this doesn’t have anything to do with entertainment or music.

“It would show a lot if individuals supported this. We’re not entertainers or athletes, we just need everyone’s support,” he said.      

For more information visit http://donetrading.com