Self Employment Business Work History
Prior to being self employed, I had a year as a full time courier driver, six years as a taxi driver: Yellow Cab (1 year), Black Top Taxi (4 years) and Maclures Taxi (1 year), plus intermittently driving with Bonny’s Taxi (Burnaby) a few months, Advance Taxi very part time a few months and a bit of time with Wee Tote couriers prior to taxi driving. Driving taxi, while requiring 12 hour shifts, allowed me 2 or 3 days to pursue my studies, research and reading….my interest was in the Divinatory Arts; namely, Astrology, Numerology, Palmistry and Physiognomy, and also Philosophy of the East and, Meditation.
Well, before the driving of the taxi, I worked for some eight months as an Apartment Relief Manager, plus at another job picked up and delivered the heavy carpets from homes for carpet cleaning at a Vancouver company; delivered merchandise in a truck for Field’s Department Stores throughout the lower mainland and at one time was a Pepsi Cola Driver Salesman. I had also worked hard on the graveyard shift green-chain pulling and stacking the big lumber for Fraser Arms Pulp & Paper Mill in New Westminster. Later, did Field Surveying work in Alberta, and before that acted as a Blaster’s Assistant for Environmental Control of Camp Garbage for several Arctic Islands. Prior to these positions, I was employed with the Boys and Girls Club of Vancouver as an Assistant Program Leader and also worked in the Health Care field as a house care attendant for a wheelchair victim. In the Yukon, I worked as the Prep-Cook in a Restaurant, part time as a School Bus Driver and a Painter. Actually, as a young guy in high school I was a Dining Room Waiter then Room Service Waiter for Georgia Hotels on Georgia Street, plus at the Admiral Hotel in North Burnaby where i also used to set up and serve meals and alcohol at banquets. In between that i did some construction and also did a short stint with a road paving crew. As a kid, my parents owned two different restaurants and i was the main potato peeler as well as a good ice cream and french fry server. But my first job was getting up at 4:00 am on Saturdays, getting on a bus, falling asleep and waking up on Barnston Island then from 5:30 am to 4:00 in the afternoon picked ‘green string beans’ putting them all in a five gallon bucket all day. My sisters and cousin came too. There, when i fell into the big ditch. My cousin who saved me when i yelled for him when i was drowning….after the second time, then made a big plan and threw me in from the bridge and that’s when i learned how to dog paddle….he jumped in to push me to make sure i didn’t drown and pushed me until i made gainway in my paddle. Yep, my cousin, my hero. Saved me twice and i was only eight. Oh, yes…in White Rock i delivered the morning Province paper in the dark night at 4:30 am every morning……and sold enough new subscriptions to win a record player, which i gave to my sister so she could practice music.
Later, while living in Australia, in Manly Beach….just 20 minutes beside Sydney Harbour…..i stacked cans on shelves in a grocery store for two weeks then got work as a construction labourer building a two story car park. There, i became Head Labourer and was in charge of about ten guys while we built the concrete foundation. Bored, I went to Sydney and worked in a warehouse for a bookstore. Correcting the shipping procedure of the new arrival of books…..which occurred almost daily……i reorganized the entire section of the book warehouse department for the warehouse manager while he was busy doing the record keeping…. implemented it so there was never anymore the month to six weeks long backlog of books waiting then delivered late to the store……this then lead to a promotion as Assistant Sales Manager in the downtown Graham Bookstore, Sydney’s largest bookstore. My job was to read every book in the bookstore then talk to people about what was in the book they were interested in. Within three months, i had read most of the entire bookstore’s books, but at the same time developed what i learned later to be called a photographic memory. It meant i could recall the contents of a book i had read…..most of the time everything in it page for page and always considered it a ‘blessing’. Thus, I was able to comment on each book, according to the customer’s questions. And from then on did a lot of time reading.
After a few months more, having read all the books in the bookstore, i was bored so went back to the same labouring job in Manly Beach….the project was shortly thereafter completed so i got another labouring job jack-hammering the hell out of a concrete wall that was the underground vertical foundation for a high rise…..quit that then started building swimming pools…..putting in the rebar and pumping the concrete and doing the finishing to make a great pool. Deciding to travel to find out the difference between ‘need and desire’, my first stop was at Canberra then went to Melbourne where i became a Britannica Book Salesman for a week…..that didn’t work out so i worked in a talcum powder warehouse shoveling talcum. I left there three days later looking like a ghost, got a shower, then talked to the doctor in the rooming house i was staying at. I was only there a week, but could not get any rest because he was continually erupting in sobs and moanings that penetrated so deep into me, ‘i had to go’ and see if i could help him. It turned out he was missing his Guru and was so much in love with Him, the problem was he couldn’t get over his Guru’s death, that despite being a Doctor, he could not help himself…..he had been there like this every day for at least three months people in the rooming house told me. I realized it was love that was making him cry so sorrowfully and that there was nothing i could personally do as this was the great matter of a divine thing between God, him and the Guru. Going back to my room, i couldn’t rest or sleep because i couldn’t escape his aches and pains as they came through the wall with each sorrowful sobbing moan. This was love i never knew anything about, i looked inside myself but could come to no conclusive understanding of how deep this gentleman’s love was and had my own cry for him as I heard his anguish once again coming through the walls. I could only hope that his pain would be less and lesser, but knew i could not bear to hear his anguishing sobs anymore so I left that rooming house and went to Tasmania.
After doing a tour of the little island of Tasmania, i worked as a janitor for some weeks in a restaurant, then the owner had me manage a little ice-cream hamburger drive-in he also owned. It was okay for a month until the bikers came day after day because my hamburgers were so good, and so were the extra ice-cream scoops to sort of bribe them to be nice. Anyway, in my opinion you cannot fight a whole motorcycle gang single handedly so i quit there, met a girl while i was fantasizing become a photographer…..had a fling……..realized i was still in love with a girl from Richmond back home…..and couldn’t do anything about that…..so i left this lovely young woman i was with, got on the boat and hitchhiked to Western Australia. I slept outside alongside the highway, thought about the Guru the doctor had, and about God. I found myself meditating and thinking about God so much, i began to write short poetic lines for the first time in my life. I began to wonder what it meant to think in terms of poetry…..and what spirituality was really really about. Arrived in Perth about four days later and sought to find a Canadian friend’s address. He was just leaving to return to Sydney..to get married!!……so he gave me his keys and stayed at his place, through another Canadian guy i met, got a job painting a fence. Making a bit of money, leaving Perth, hitchhiking up to Port Headland with the flat desert on one side and the flat ocean on the other side, i sat for an entire day in the sun on the seat atop a big machine caterpillar that was being hauled up north to Port Headland, the main and only town around on the edge of the desert, halfway up the westcoast to Darwin. Once again….painting, in sweltering heat, the job was to paint the inside of a huge boiler room….all the boilers, all the walls, all the stairs….it took two weeks. While there I had been waiting for a call from a New Zealander about a job in Gove. Exactly on time, I got the job, was forwarded a ticket, then hitchhiked to Darwin where i flew to Gove and started work the next day.
Gove was a bauxite mining camp….being created into a town. It was my only chance to save money…..as living anywhere in Australia was very expensive and no savings could happen working as a labourer. One Canadian high school friend, arrived and he had already started an apprenticeship as an electrician…..he had a much better wage as a third year apprentice. I knew a bit of carpentry and thought to become a carpenter but work is work and no one had the time to teach anybody on the job…..i wouldn’t lie like other guys were, so, I never got the job. Therefore as a carpenter’s helper, along with some carpentry work, i did the heavy rebar work for forming the huge slab foundations destined to become the mining operation’s main buildings. Most of the guys were upwards of six feet or more and a hundred and seventy pounds mostly muscle except for a few chubby guys who caught a few pounds more. I was a hundred and fifteen and five foot seven. The steel was so hot in the sun, you had to put a cloth over it to touch it…..lift it up and throw it on your shoulder…..two, three, four pieces at a time……the eighteen footers….were about a hundred pounds each, you took three at a time with one guy on the other end, all morning, all day, for days: then you started tying it with steel wire in a four square pattern. The constant weight imploded the vertebral sac just above the heart level. Half the big guys quit, so we had to do the extra work to get the job done on time. Twelve, fourteen hours a day. That job was completed.
That crew left then the Kiwi came and hired me so i became the town’s yardsman……organizing whatever materials and tools and equipment they had, however, it was so boring with nothing to do i accepted a different job as a shoveler for a paint manufacturing company to shovel sand into a cylindrical machine that cooked the sand to get it ready for mixing with other ingredients to make paint. Steady work, six days a week, ten…eleven, twelve hours a day….a dump truck would come, dump a truckload of sand and leave – i would shovel the sand shovel by shovel onto a conveyor belt which had many buckets each which held exactly one shovel full of sand and up it would go into the burner…….the further away the sand had to be shoveled, the further the sand in my shovel had to be thrown…..accurately, and on time so there was an even amount of sand always entering the burner.
Easy in the beginning as the sandload was dumped right beside the burner, but extremely hard work from eight, ten feet away……at thirty feet…almost impossible. It required being in top physical shape…in fact i was almost in good a shape as i was when wrestling…..this type of shoveling required full leg stretching while doing it, full abdominal muscular twisting, arm strength, neck strength, and back straight strength……hour after hour, truckload after truckload. The faster i worked, the quicker the trucks would come. From sunrise to sunset, i even cursed my high school coach for me having to work so hard. After three months, someone arrived who had worked there before and told me there had been three guys doing the work i had been doing and asked me why i was working there so hard? And, where were the other guys? I immediately walked into the office and quit after asking him where the other guys were that were supposed to be working with me? He had no answer but he had been sitting in his office all day doing nothing most of the time and never once did he come out to offer me a hand. This was a good lesson for me…..i realized that selfish people will take every advantage they can of you. This was the first really selfish guy i had met in Australia……because as you know, Australia is an egalitarian society. But even in Australia, not everyone holds up to the good work ethic.
Right away I got a rigger’s job the same day….. walking in the air on beams of steel….I became a rigger and we constructed the steel beam foundation for the soon to be first school of the town. Forty feet high on a six inch width with the wind a blowing most of the time. Wasn’t dangerous at all, the crane lifter for the steel handled the job perfectly, and safely. Our balance was practically perfect, but it was Howie, a crew member who looked like a world class gymnast who wowed us all tight-rope type of walking in bare feet along a horizontally placed-to be-painted flagpole about sixty foot in length. He painted the end of it bright red…..that was his job., it was sixty feet ‘out on a limb’, four inches round and hung level…horizontal to the ground……going out to its end, some twenty feet, first walking, then on my belly shimmying up with a brush and a paint bucket in one hand, i painted the end, then the entire pole in one go as i shimmied backwards along its length. But Howie walked with a straight back in his bare feet, unhesitatingly all the way to the end, then unbelieveably knelt down to do the painting and only stradled the pole to paint the underside of it, basically stood up from there, walked back some short distance and did the same thing for two hours, twice as fast as i did it while shimmying back while stradled “all the way”. Howie was 5 ft 2 inches, and build like a Mr. Universe.
Four of us built the steel foundation for the school in a month. It was solid as a rock. It was probably the easiest work i did in Australia. During my time in Gove, in the Gulf of Carpentenia….it so happened i read the book…Voice of the Silence At The Feet of the Master……and was always wondering how in the world could a labourer work so hard and have the time and the strength to meditate and still be successful meditating? In the last month there, with the workload not heavy at all, i found more time to try and meditate. Still, i found myself praying that someone should help me do my labouring work so i could meditate. I think someone answered my prayer and helped me in my physical work, but i don’t think i held up to my end of the bargain. It was humiliating to me to think i did not have the strength, the purity to pay attention to the requirements of the mediation. The fact was, the meditation required more work than the labour work itself……so whoever the labourer was……that was doing the meditation as well, was to me a great person. Would i ever meet him? ever see him? …..this one who helped me? What would he ask of me when i did meet him? What would i owe him for him giving me the strength to work so hard, the determination to do it, and would he accept whatever work i did and if not what part of it would he accept? It was such a mystery…….and i had no answers.
Leaving for Indonesia, i bought three books in the Darwin Bookstore. The Republic by Plato….a disciple of the Saint, Socrates, the Greek Saint. The Morals and Ethics of Confucius…..the Saint of China. And, Eckankar…The Key To Secret Worlds. I found the third book misleading, therefore confusing and never put much attention to it. My love for Confucius grew constantly as i knew beyond doubt i needed more and better morals and ethics. My prayer was to hold him in my mind and what he was saying in the book such that i might gain a little insight as to what wisdom was. The requirement seemed to be to be a little bit more humble and seek the answers, rather than assume them.
After six months of traveling in South East Asia, i returned home to Burnaby. Work was scarce due to a poor economy therefore took a job as a caretaker of a property near Pemberton, by Whistler. Then did some janitorial work and scaffolding work, this time in the Arctic for an oil company. In Vancouver did carpet cleaning and pickup of carpets to be cleaned for the same company. Some minor flooring work and odds and ends painting and carpentry work. Then began taxi driving as noted above.
After a year of schooling in Ontario, went to Vienna Clinics in Edmonton for six months as a massage therapist. After Dr. Skaken passed over, a revamping was set to occur as to client treatment, therefore my work there was not going to be needed so returned again to Vancouver. For a year, did massage therapy in health clubs. Returned to Black Top Cabs for a few months. Leaving taxi driving, living in Kitsilano, I worked as the Assistant Manager for Folklore Herbs – the largest medicinal herb shop in Canada, then also as a Manager for Sweet Cherubim Natural Health Food Store and Restaurant on Main Street. Both have been closed for many years, Sweet Cherubim in the meantime opened up on Commercial Drive and continues to grow.
Worked as a helper doing just about everything on some commercial projects along Broadway…..these were the new apartment buildings being built. Later, In 1984 I went north again to Tumbler Ridge, then did carpentry work again with one guy, where his contract was for over thirty houses. We installed the interior trim work…door hinges, doors, door locks, door casings, window casings, closet shelving and closet doors and the baseboards. Prior to that worked as the main mixer for a plastering crew and later did some landscaping – mainly laying sod for about fifteen houses which at that point concluded all the sod laying in Tumbler Ridge. Upon returning lived in Surrey doing some renovation work with a guy and some framing work with a cousin. Then took up framing with a Greek crew working in Surrey and White Rock. It was at this point while framing the ABC Restaurant on King George Blvd by 20th Ave, that the lifting of the timber for the roof structure….i call it the green chain timber, the 4 inch thick, 2 foot wide x 20 ft. long timber… up to the top of the stud walls from the ground that i decided to leave carpentry. I helped the guys frame one more house after that. Then did courier work for a year. It might be remembered that most all of this work was with little to no CPP deduction or Employment Insurance deductions. Pay was pay and there was no benefits at any of these jobs. During all these years, my pursuance was not to make money, but to practice the good work ethic.
Maps, Maps Maps
I had the privilege of meeting hundreds of small business owners, as many managers I suppose, and a host of mainly Buyers and other Executives, Vice- Presidents and Presidents of larger companies. Over a period of time, i responded to requests to advise the small business owners on their business or certain aspects of it. Most of them followed my advice, which for some of them included closing up shop. Sometimes it was renovating their coffee shop or just their menu, others it meant re-arranging their store shelves and their point of merchandise stands to get the best products sold. I considered it simple stuff, simple advise and as some years went on during my tenure of being in business for ten years, i realized i had developed a skill, or insight as to which business was “going to stay in business” i.e. meet the competition, develop a niche and have ample income from it and survive in the marketplace. I was quite good at it and that is what would probably happen to many people if they visited every community once a month or more and kept a keen sense as to what was happening in each community, and as a whole…..and understood what the changes and impending changes were. My product was a Mapbook, the small handy mapbook you could put in your glove compartment and pull it out and get to the page you needed to in a flash, put it down on the seat then at the next red light…..read it and know exactly where you were going and where the next or turns would have to be done.
I carried that mapbook for three months as a courier before considering selling it…..researching how good it was, finding out exactly where it could be sold and where it could not…..and finally made a plan to get involved in actually doing it, selling it. It took eighteen months to build the business to the point i had first intended to do and the next year afterwards was stabilizing it with over 300 map titles, more than any other map distributor in British Columbia, probably Canada for that matter. I enjoyed the work, the goal and the increments involved in achieving the goal. Along the way, i studied more and more about business down at the Expo ’86 Site until i had practically memorized everything there.
I enjoyed the writing of proposals and presenting them to the Buyers…..and having the proposals accepted. I never cheated anyone…..at anytime and became known as honest, dependable, reliable, and someone with integrity. I was not greedy, nor over ambitious and always considered my customers needs as an equal priority or a greater priority. Having my customers and suppliers needs in mind, having a good memory, i either helped them stabilize their business or increased their business or their profits. I never made a lot of money as the margins in the jobber-wholesaler were tight, and low. The amount of money i did make, did not allow me to expand my business or to hire someone to manage it, while requiring small advances or adjustments to put what little extra earnings made, to be put back in the business. When trickery and crookery occurred in the map publishing and map distribution business, i definitely was affected and thus went into including greeting cards as extra products, but consequently kept most of my original 1350 accounts. It was like ‘bouncing back and still keep being in business anyway’. Still the income was low, but better and gradually i designed and made better sales marketing information such that the revenue afforded me to take an annual holiday. But first was paying the suppliers on time, and that was always done in the required timely manner.
My three holidays were to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand and India. Thailand and Singapore to explore products to take back home and sell to the accounts. My goal was to sell one product in each account at least once a month and make $1.00 from each product sold. I was into providing low cost items for the customers of my clients, Singapore was a good place to review what was available as it was the main wholesaler of South East Asia. Pencils and pens and pads were good items, however, they were already been supplied by another distributor and oddly as it may seem, there was not a single item that was not already being supplied in one shop or another in Vancouver. The variety was ‘already there’ in Vancouver. The only other option was to branch out and take a new product and start a new business with it.
Considering doing this, i selected from Thailand the cargo pants with the huge side pockets…..the price was right and no one in Vancouver was doing it, however, the fact was i did not want to start a new type of distribution business. Some friends had their own clothing manufacturing going on in a small scale and i knew how involved it and the selling of clothing was, on the small scale. Nevertheless, i returned the next year with the Citizen 12 Digit Calculator with 32 recall inputs….good for business and thought to do that after a next year return trip to Singapore before consolidating exactly what i was going to do. However, a new opportunity occurred when i returned from India in 1992 when after submitting a proposal to a department chainstore throughout Western Canada, it was accepted.
I worked closely with the Head Buyer and sunk all my little profits into streamlining the greeting card distribution to his stores. I hired a secretary, paid her on time every month and freed up more time to focus on the responsibilities to this chainstore. Operating my greeting card distribution from my basement….a full basement, i purchased a series of racks to warehouse the cards and the bows etcetera and set up door sized tables for the receiving and order preparation, then hired a warehouse manager. When it came time for seasonal greeting cards to be sold, i talked with a high school girl next door asking if she or her friends might like some part time work. She brought some friends and those friends brought their friends to make a total of fourteen high school girls. All fourteen or fifteen or sixteen years old. I trained them and have to say “all of them were intelligent and got the job done exactly how it was needed to be done”. The business went on for two years, first through the set up and the test market of six months, then the streamlining for another year or so…..during which time, the Head Buyer invited me to the Head Office where he and all the Executive Staff greeted me with congratulations on doing an excellent job while stating “I was to become a millionaire”….. meaning i.e. at the end of ten years from then. This was without the pre-discussed expansion from four foot greeting cards racks to eight foot or even twelve feet of racks if this or that store warranted it, already approximately fifteen stores had such sales that definitely warranted it. Projected profit of one year had solid annual forecasts in my pocket of at least $150,000 after taxes and all expenses paid. I easily foresaw the personal funding of some kind of product into all my other accounts, and perhaps to this department store as well. The business, Pacific Rainbow Distribution Ltd was incorporated in 1992, a prior change up from Maps Maps Maps to Nathan Wilhome Distribution to Pacific Rainbow Distribution Ltd and was now next to being in a position to be what might be referred to as a “minor-major’ player in the local distribution business. The goal then was over the next two years to increase the product base and bring it to a net profit of $500-600,000 annually keeping the same 1350 account base. If i wanted to or had to sell the business, the selling price would be what it made annually as the net profit. I had already trained my secretary in all facets of the business as the manager of the business and i did not have to be present, she was that competent. Pacific Rainbow had a good reputation was a 99.98% non complaint track service record over its ten year period, but it did not continue as was forecasted due to multi-national corporate pressure which occurred at the specific point of the first order for the western canadian department chainstore, an order for $110,000 for that month….with a schedule to be that amount or greater every month thereafter. Without the order, i never made ‘money’ and was consigned to not bankruptcy but being broke after returning all the product to the supplier and sorting everything out so there were no debts to the supplier due to the cancellation of the order. This was a major betrayal, but there was nothing i could do about it, and had to move on.
After a stint of two years in Networking……with some thirty-five or so multi-level marketing companies…..which i purposely went into to rebuild my sense of trust in ‘business’, i left networking as it was terribly expensive to be successful and there was no payment system in place with any company that was a fair trade for the amount of work done. Therefore, i went into painting as it was the least expensive trade to get into.
Eventually, i named the company Ocean Painting and Restoration. Just prior to it, i did a lot of Labouring…..for three years! doing everything from all kinds of roofing, landscaping, carpentry, some concrete finishing and then two years part time in antique restoration of old canadian antiques about 100-150 years old. The guy who trained me used to call me the “steel wool king”. Ha ha. The hard part of antique restoration is usually steel wooling the heck out of it, but ya, you do got to be good at it and do it the right way. He liked the way i painted i.e. did the staining, because i never made a drop. My favourite part was doing the sanding, then dust it really good and do the two coats of staining (or three coats), with sanding and dusting in between of course, then wax it once, then twice. Then don’t touch it.
Again, picking up a brush, with the new types of painting and construction tools and equipment, becoming in a relatively short time became a top quality painter…. trained by the Greeks mainly. Many of Vancouver’s top painters were Greeks. The guy who gave me my main painting pointer’s painted the Vancouver Art Gallery, usually he was doing commercial – high end office projects. Then there was the Irish guy who specialized only in high priced, high end custom homes and high, high end offices…..made his fortune to begin with in Japan, his company was hired from right here in Vancouver after they saw him paint a wall that looked exactly like glass. Some guys do really well dollar wise in painting and it takes hard work to build up the reputation of being a good quality, high end painter. I put myself as a third year apprentice level and would have/could have taken an apprenticeship course and got certified, but if you already are a good painter people can get jealous or concerned you will be their competitor, so i stayed as a Sub-contractor doing my own thing. Eventually, i employed four guys doing that……painted the interior of a medium sized apartment block and the parking walls and stalls and some restoration for another apartment block on my own, created a computer generated detailed analysis-spreadsheet proposal on another newer modern apartment block only to find the property manager give the project to another friend of a member of the board of director’s. That was a waste of three weeks! My preference became orientated to single family residences and preferred some kind of restoration aspects to it where extra filling e.g. on a wall was required, board replacement perhaps…..or some kind of woodwork, or fixing a poorly painted wall and area that would guarantee the customer’s happiness. I was a quick painter but not a fast painter. Other guys would usually finish 3/4 to 1 hour ahead of me if you added up the days of the week at the end of the week, however, i would never have to come back and fix anything, yet they would. That was always “Thanks to the Greek Painter, Little Mike” (Michelangelo, i call him:)). As a subcontractor, jobs including my own included Industrial Warehousing and Offices, Furniture Warehouse and Offices, Distribution Warehouse Offices, Commercial Offices, Restaurants, Apartments and Condos, Apartment Block Display Suites, Staircases, Foyers, Metal Doors and all sorts of other doors, Fireplace Glazing, Kitchen Cabinet Resurfacing and Restoration, plus a special Antiquing of the kitchen cupboards of a luxury home. You know the price of houses has increased a lot, so much of the work was done on million or multimillion dollar homes.
As a young guy, i never wanted to do painting because of the smell of the paint getting in my lungs. Oddly, it was okay if i smoked cigarettes but i could not bear the smell of paint especially in an enclosed area. Unfortunately, getting ‘into a bind’, taking a job doing the ceiling and walls of house using the Kils paint, despite covering my arms and head, still the roller spray got onto and into my skin. Actually, soon after another job using the same paint, but this time the painting was in an historic building (which is why i took the job!), with only a four foot square window with a tilt opening, plus the door opened to the hallway and with a heavy duty fan to move the air. This was an old fashioned bathroom with a tiled wall with the same tiles on the ceiling….the job being to paint both the ceiling and the walls. During the second coat, breathing in the ‘paint spores in the air’ i near nigh twice lost consciousness before completing the job. Every job has its time limit, so the perseverance is put up with whatever it is to get the job done. This one resulted in coronary heart disease i.e. the heavy metals in the blood….becoming the blocks in all of the coronary arteries. You don’t know it at the time, but upon the reflection after the operation you realize what it is. Despite the reduction of chemicalized volatile oils in the paint, still i say that company still has dangerous paints and should be inhibited from doing business.
The Computer Advertisement Business
Some friends were making money online with about a million other people in a billion dollar advertising internet industry,, so with the heart condition and thinking the heavy hard work involved in painting wasn’t to my best advantage, i thought doing something on the internet might be easier. I began by designing a website for affiliate and multi-level marketing products where people could come to and use it as a resource center, basically for affiliate marketing. I called it Skydollars. One of its main resources was providing pretty well every online money provider payment companies….many of which Skydollars was an affiliate money maker. You don’t know everything on the internet and there was a lot of coming and going of websites and website businesses in those days of 2005-2006…..in fact there were quite a few scams. During the time of the construction of Skydollars, we had two Internet Money Providers turn out to be scams in one sense of another either in their late payment for their affiliates or they got hacked into and had their funds stolen so had to close shop. The other problem was affiliate programs were being sold and when you bought them i.e. some cost $500 or up to $1300 each…..their “code” would be missing or their links would break down, and thus the entire software program would never ever work properly. Never did find “the good one”, don’t know to this day if anyone has solved this riddle of ‘how to make the right affiliate program’. After paying my ‘tech person’ several thousand dollars where she acted as co-designer and techie, costs adding up to $15,000……..when some friends showed me how they were making money online in this almost unknown internet advertising industry, i switched efforts and joined them.
In this billion dollar advertising industry, the way it worked was very simple. As a participant, you had to have a website, on your website you had to either provide a product or a service, if you were an affiliate marketing service that was considered as an actual service. Many people had a product they were promoting i.e. selling, for example a product you might see in the store….they may have even been a manufacturer of it. Other people might be offering a financial consulting service, a real estate service or what have you. Whatever it was, your website was put on a Rotator where it would be viewable for 10 to 60 seconds. The person viewing it also had to have a website and have joined the same company you did that was providing the advertisement Rotator. The timing of how long the website was viewable was determined by the advertising company. Many people wanted to have to view for only 10 seconds and a maximum of 2o seconds. If the viewer liked your product or somehow was interested in contacting you……then the viewer would simply click on your website and be taken / redirected from the “advertising company’s rotator website system”….to your website. Perhaps the viewer would purchase something or request the service that was said to be provided. Thus was the bona-fide application of this advertising industry, i.e. the product supplied. On the other side, “you” as a participant would be required “to view” a certain amount of websites for the required rotator time period…….completing the viewing of e.g. 50 websites, you got paid for doing so…..but your payment was based upon the dollar amount you invested with the Advertising-Rotator Company. Provided you held up to your end of the bargain, you got paid. There were literally hundreds of Advertising-Rotator Company’s involved in this business….from all over the world.
The payment was great, great indeed. For in a short work time, you made excellent money. Dependent on the amount of money you invested you got excellent returns for your short work efforts. The return was 40% every 10 days plus your original funds. So, the rotator company held your funds for 10 days, which was the dollar input of $100 to get started and the transference to your bank account after the 10 day ‘work-period’ was another couple of days….about two weeks in total before you had the money in your hands. Then you started again. Friends who had a lot of money to invest were making a lot of money…….and were being paid. The program had been going on for about six to seven months before i was introduced into it. If you put $10,000 into it, you made $4,000 in two weeks. It would take about 5-10 minutes per day of work if you were well organized, got into the Rotator Company’s website and did your viewing and then got off the internet. Some people caught on quick and invested and re-invested such they were making $30,$40, $50,000 per month. At the point i entered the program, there were approximately 700,000 people investing in it. I had just started out with it. I was making $200 per day in 10 minutes a day. I was still ‘testing it out’. Then the “Business”…exploded and another 200,000 to 300,000 people got involved in the next month!! It truly had become a Billion Dollar Advertising Industry. It felt like the entire planet-internet had woken up and had their own place to advertise…..plus make money at the same time!
Well, where there is success, where there is a lot of money, money might attract crime….criminals who want more or criminals who don’t want you to make what you can. Suddenly, many of these Advertising-Rotator Company’s began experiencing difficulty in being able to get their websites up or to continue to operate properly. A short time later, e.g. a week or some they complained of being hacked into and their website disrupted in one way or another……another week went by and some more complained that their money provider account was not working properly and they were not able to access their funds……funds which included the payments due to the viewers, i.e. the participants of the program. Very shortly thereafter, i.e. another week and the viewer’s money they had invested was not being returned i.e. at the end of the 10 day period. As there were several hundred then about a couple of thousand of such Advertising-Rotator Company’s to choose from to invest in and make the 40% profit plus return of their original investment amount……it was impossible to ‘know’ if the company you as a Viewer/Participant were going to have your Advertising-Rotator Company complain of them being hacked into as well. Another two weeks went by and it was seemingly pure luck if you indeed did get your money back and the company you dealt with was ‘not hacked into’. In a matter of six weeks, this hacking problem essentially frightened everyone. The thought was that ‘one of these Advertising-Rotator Company’s was the hacker and doing all the hacking……..during that fifth week new advertising company’s would open up, people would invest and even before a week was done, they would close up, disappear. You did not know who invested in it, how much….or what happened……as you never knew which company was legit or not, one group which had been heavily invested and had made good profits, opened up a “monitoring reference website” recording which advertising-rotator company “actually did pay out their investors and: exactly when”. That monitoring reference website became the go-to website before considering any further investment. Some phoney websites were designated as just that……therefore got no further investment, other websites were considered legit because of their continued payout/payback to their viewers/clients/workers…..but it all came to a grinding halt, a spectacular crash when the major Payment Provider itself to the Advertisement-Rotator Companies was hacked into and all the millions of dollars the Payment Provider held……were stolen. Then, the second major payment provider was also hacked into and most of the millions being held there were also stolen……unbelievably this second payment provider discovered the theft while in process and shut their entire system down……saving several million dollars and thus payed out thousands of people on a pro-ratio basis. So……that was the end of making money on the internet for many……and me. Well, not quite….about a year passed and a friend informed me of what he was doing and was making ‘a lot of money’.
That whole advertising industry went through a tremendous amount of questioning. The common way to speak about it was the Russian Mafia had hacked it, but no one knew anything for sure. The other thought was that the US Government did the hacking and kept quiet about it………the supposed superficial reason was that the government did not want you to make money and not pay any taxes on it and some gov’t spies had already been exposed as to whom they were. This was an “unregulated industry”……and that was what was so attractive to it …..in other words you paid no income tax i.e. unless you voluntarily wanted to. I was undecided as to what to do about that so i designed and made up an accounting system to keep track of all my earnings. It made no difference for me because the profits i did make were eaten up by the other 14 hours a day i spent searching on the internet to qualify which ‘program’ in this advertising industry was “actually working”. As a company, you pay yourself at least some kind of wage…….whatever profit i made went into that ‘wage’…..therefore i say i made nothing in the end. A short six weeks anyway.
Because of the ‘regulation’……new programs exactly in the same manner re-started, re-surfaced but in order to qualify the question of de-regulation and regulation i.e. investment criteria, people who had done well in the industry gathered together and vetted it through the SEC -Securities Exchange Commission investor’s qualification requirements so they were not breaking “the law” or any law…….and in fact the Executive Director of the U.S. SEC became himself interested in this unique business model and was hired as the CEO operator…..of what was basically the renewal of the same industry. Again, six months later “they” were closed down by the government and the matter went before the courts. It was another year or so before things were actually sorted out……with the verdict that the people won and the government had to be release the funds. My american buddy did very well there and he was jubilant about the end result.
At that time, the offshore world started designating certain types of investment applications to certain countries as being legitimate tax haven countries that were where internet and e-commerce was understood internationally legal, for instance Belize became such a country and Langkawi Island in Malaysia. I am sure in one way or another Singapore and Hong Kong are as well if one kept quiet about it. For all i know the Internet Advertising Industry is once again a billion dollar industry, i’ve lost track of it in 2007.
I thought delivering papers would give me some walking exercise and fresh air….versus sitting at a computer desk all day and half way through the night. Here, i would walk for money to pay the bills. The workday started at 1:00 am getting up, driving to the local distribution point and loading the car up with the papers for the route, then going and delivering them. It took three weeks to learn the route perfectly and decrease the delivery time from 6 1/2 hours to 4 1/2 hours. Eventually, i did two routes and finished 5:30 am, plus did extra delivery with an on-call basis for missed deliveries….therefore the delivery day continued often till 9 or 10 am. I computerized my own route lists with a larger font size to make them easier to read and figured out a way to correct deficiencies in the routes which made the adjacent route and my own route more easier to do so that missed deliveries would be minimized. Midnight-Morning paper delivery guys ( and girls) i call the brave ones because they get up early, really really early everyday…….and it is seven days a week with only a day off on a statutory type of holiday……in all weather rain or shine or snow or deep snow or icy road. They are either brave or foolhardy……or both because working every day month after month is not healthy and takes a certain toll on you, your health or your spirit. As they say, even God took a day of rest and took a sabbatical. Eventually, new owners took over the business and as per usual these days installed a requirement to sign a contract and at the same time increased the missed delivery as a high fine plus a host of other fines. Later, i quit because of these things.
Alongside the morning deliveries of two routes with the Province, Vancouver Sun, National Post and then The Globe and Mail, i took an extra work delivering the local newspaper. It had an early morning route, basically to be done by 10 am so i was able to accomplish both the early morning route and the late morning route. Then i took an additional position in the mid-afternoon early evening doing substitute routes i.e. substituting for a regular delivery person while on holidays or having their own sabbatical for awhile. This was the walking route, done in the afternoon. Often it finished in the early evening when the ‘advertisement section’ and the ‘real estate section’ were integrated with the regular deliveries. This occurred about every two weeks for advertisement and monthly for the real estate section. Essentially i was doing four routes from 1 am to about 7 or 8 pm.
I used to say these two things doubled or tripled the workload and reduced the pay by 75% due to the extra time involved putting the extra sections inside the regular newspaper. Of interest and then of shock. Analyzing the waste of paper and the amount of trees which were killed to make the paper was a million trees per year just for the real estate section alone. I say waste of paper after doing a personal survey of ‘exactly how many people’ read the real estate section. Arriving at the door when a homeowner being there or a neighbor or both, i would inquire as to whether they read the real estate section when it came. “Straight into the garbage bin as soon as it is in the hand” was almost the same exact words from almost everybody. Some said they would read it once or twice a year and others said they read it about every three or four months ‘quickly’ just to see what was there. About one to two percent they did read it, although they never made any use of it or called a realtor who advertised in it. I put it at 3% readership to give the amount of readers the better of the doubt, but really it was half of that at best and more likely 0.5% to 1% readership. In fact, the articles, their content and the quality of the writing was so poor the actual readership of the local newspaper was 3% in most areas but to give it a top possibility i put it at 5%-8%, including pickups of it at the libraries and business spots. Again the comment “Straight into the garbage bin as soon as it arrives…..that’s where it goes!” On top of it all the pay for the kids amounted to what i called slave labour and double slave labour when the advertisements and real estate section creating extra time to insert each one into the regular newspaper…….and double the weight of the load of the paper. Some of the office people were paid, no doubt about that….including a few in the warehouse. Some brothers used to operate the warehouse and apparently did a good job. They had left a year or so before i began picking up there. The person in charge had no clue how to do it properly resulting in the pick up of the papers there a pot luck disaster. It resulted in a constant change around of staff i.e. delivery people every couple of months except for a few who could not find work anywhere else. Late van delivery always resulted in door to door delivery newspapers being late because by the time the kids or delivery person got the papers, they were already late. Again constant turnover there too. The wage or income for the kids was so bad they would be lucky to make $5 per day or i.e. $40 per month i.e. that’s $1.00 per hour. Slave labour i call it. The van delivery amounted to not much better. Asked about it by a new aspiring to be branch manager i.e. a manager who is in charge of about ten other drivers, i responded: “You come with a new van or new car depending on who you are and in a year your mileage will have increased such that your vehicle will have depreciated to a point you can never truly say you made any money at all. And you will have wrecked your interior no matter how you think to do to protect it because the pressure of the job will make you make those kind of mistakes. Practically every other dollar you make will go for the cost of fuel and oil changes. If you have an older vehicle the same thing will happen. The only way to have a marginal benefit is to either have an older vehicle to use….or save up and buy an older vehicle with the intent of never keeping it but running it into the ground and disposing of it when you decide to not do it anymore. Your cost of repairs will take your money away and the gas will take most of the rest away. Your income will be temporary seemingly like a cash flow, but within six months or a year, you will see you haven’t really made anything, just made a bit for existing expenses and paid for repairs. This will tire you and you will quit. The parents of the kids will quit because sooner or later they will realize the meager amount their child is making for such hard work……and say to themselves that this is not good for my child’s discipline as their reward belittles their every effort. The reality is the local newspaper distribution business exists solely as a welfare business on the hard working backs of the local boys and girls and other people delivering the papers.
When you first begin doing delivery for the local newspapers, you don’t realize all these things. The mid morning route i had done was formerly done or not done at all…..the pick up of the route papers were certainly done, but it was a mish mash hit and miss type of delivery with no consistency whatsoever, often a person would not receive a paper for 3-4 months. I soon learned the person did the route on a rotating type of schedule and did no more than an hour to an hour and a half of actual work…….then hurried off to their personal job where they made their actual money. The fact was this route was delivery to the local businesses, or shall i say ‘supposed to have been to the businesses’.
I decided to clean the route up and make consistent deliveries. My first surprise was there was no address list and no one in the management knew where the businesses were or whether a particular business ever had a newspaper delivered to it…….well they sort of thought they knew but they had never checked other than responding to the occasional complaint that no paper had come for months. The previous deliverer i have to say was pretty wise to have minimal complaints i.e. delivering only to so many customers then anticipating how long he could get away with not delivering before a complaint would arrive, then make the delivery before the complaint was actually made or had them make the call to him, not the distribution office to officially record a complaint. To top it off, the number of papers provided for this route was not enough to deliver to ‘each business’ on the route for the area. And, to begin with the warehouse distribution manager refused to supply the needed amount. Unbelievable, eh?
So to solve the issue, i made a computerized businesses list of all the businesses who should be receiving the newspaper, described the host of other issues indicated above and handed it in to the warehouse manager. He got upset and wouldn’t deal with it, so i presented a second copy to the head office and to the owner. My survey and also the report of the waste with the real estate monthly magazine. The warehouse manager was fired a few months later, saying he retired. The president called to thank me as she wasn’t aware of the issues. Sure, i thought….meanwhile receiving awards year after year as if it was the best news-rag going. When the owner responded to me with a letter, it had the usual: “acknowledged you letter and will look into the matter as soon as possible”. In the meantime, business customer after business customer began telling me that never had they ever had such good service. I didn’t tell them i had to sneak extra copies from the warehouse garbage bin to bring to them, or anything else. Why? Because everyone knew that the newspaper was content was done so poorly, it was the only one they had and no one would do anything about it because they had been complaining for nigh on twenty years. So how could they expect any change. Well, i then wrote a different letter to the owner. The only thing i can say is that the content has been ‘brightened up akin to the way the competitor was writing their content………which at best has made the reading of it ‘bearable’…..sort of, and i say ‘sort of’ because all media in Canada is controlled by only a few people, and is mostly lies and disinformation: at least its content is more organized. To befuddle the reader more!
At that point, i had also taken a weekend job acting as a relief manager for an apartment complex….working afternoon and evening on Friday, then cleaning Saturday mornings and was on call 24/7 until Monday morning at 10:00 am. I was working 18-20 hours a day and getting tired, so i quit when an opportunity to do real estate came along.