Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pyramid schemes ... (part two) ...

The ad read something like, "Major company expanding in this area and looking for qualified individuals." Buzz words and phrases, such as, "If you are tired of someone else telling you what to do and when to do it" ... "self-motivated" ... "creative" ... "independent" ... "work from your home" ... "set your own hours".

I was definitely interested enough to call. I thought, "What can it hurt? At least I will be able to find out what this is all about." I had some leeway at that time, money-wise, and was not in a crisis situation. I was trying to explore all possibilities.

Christina seemed delighted to hear from me, and invited me to her apartment where she would be conducting interviews, she said.

I went. There were perhaps three or four others there, and I expected that all but one of us would be waiting each time while she interviewed individually. That was fine with me. I had anticipated that it would go like that, and was prepared to wait.

To my surprise, however, she invited all of us to sit in the living room of her small apartment, which was attractively arranged with artwork, framing, and mat samples. Then, for the next half hour or so, she showed us what could happen when you change a frame here, pick up an accent color there. It was simply fascinating to me!

I thought, "I can do this!" And then I realized, "Not only can I do this, I would LOVE to do this!"

I had always had an 'eye' for color & placement, I felt, and found myself getting more and more intrigued by the possibility that I could help others achieve aesthetic reality in their own homes and offices.

I was excited, and could hardly wait for Christina to get to the 'bottom line' -- how much it was going to cost me to get into this. I was already mentally compiling lists of anyone I had ever known -- friends, relatives, neighbors, mere acquaintances -- everyone within the remotest possibility of earshot of my voice was going to know that I was now in the business. I wanted to get started yesterday!

That was my introduction to TransArt Industries.

As it turned out, the initial investment was not that great -- less than two hundred dollars, I'm pretty sure -- maybe less than one hundred, I really don't remember. Whatever it was, I could easily afford it.

The initial investment would include catalogs, laminated prints, frame & mat samples, ordering forms, etc., plus a nice-looking case in which to carry everything.

I consulted with Sam Miller, my attorney friend who had handled both of my first two divorces. I asked him if he had ever heard of the company. He hadn't. I asked him how to set up account books. I had never been in business for myself before. He gave me some advice.

And so, I set about my business. I called and wrote everyone, including one of the Hiltons (Eric, I think, who had been married to a gal I knew from the duplicate bridge world) ... I mean, I inundated the world I knew or had ever known (just about!) with my exciting news. I was into this!!

I became a Welcome Wagon sponsor in SugarLand, a fast-growing community not far from where I lived in southwest Houston. I offered a free initial consultation along with a 10% discount on their first purchase. As a WW sponsor, however, I also had to give a free gift. My free gift was a picture hook enclosed in a little plastic baggie, both of which I purchased by the gross. (The thought of having to give a free gift in addition to a free initial consultation and 10% discount on the first purchase really stuck in my craw!)

Little by little, tho, my business grew. I received award after award in sales.

In 1983, I was #1 in Christina's unit for sales. In 1984, I was #1 overall in the greater Houston area. I was in my mid-forties, and in the prime of my life!

1 comment:

Tammy said...

I'm hooked. I'll keep checking back for the next installment. :)