First Business Foray

Friday, 12 February, 2010

My first business foray was trying to sell pagers (you know, “beepers”?). My first job was selling pagers to mall shoppers from a kiosk styled to look like some kind of contemporary covered wagon.

Alphanumeric paging was just getting popular. The owners of the company didn’t want to try to sell “alph pagers” to mall shoppers. My buddy/coworker and I got permission to open a reseller account with their paging supplier, and if anyone wanted an alpha pager we could sell it to them right there at the mall cart.

My buddy and I each sold one or two pagers that way. Later, when I no longer worked at the mall cart, I decided that I should keep selling pagers. I still had the reseller account with the paging carrier and could order inventory whenever I needed it (heh heh, “just in time”). The only problem was – of course – finding customers.

At the time, my pals and I were playing a lot of laser tag at a joint called “Q-ZAR”. I came up with a scheme to advertise on the back of the score-cards they handed out to all the players at the end of the games. I’d pay for printing the next order of score cards in exchange for putting my ad on the back.

I don’t remember how many calls I got – but I only found one customer who was actually willing to meet me and discus pagers.

The printing costs a couple hundred dollars, so that’s all the experiment cost me. But it was my first real business venture.

Actually my first business venture was trying to sell the privilege of hearing a joke read from a book for 1¢. After that I cared for a neighbor’s lawn until I went on vacation and forgot to arrange watering services. But that’s a different story.