Hook, Line and Sinker

How three entrepreneurs snagged their first clients.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the September 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

I was between companies, and I started collecting pinball machines. I had a warehouse with 15 of them, and I was taking delivery of another machine when a couple of guys walked by. One of the guys pleaded with me to let him take a look. On his way out, he offered me $5,000 for a Twilight Zone [machine], which was double what I had paid for it. He called the next day, brought his friend and bought three pinball machines for $15,000. That's how we started the business."

--David Young, 45, founder of five-year-old BMI Gaming Inc., a Boca Raton, Florida, arcade and game distributor with annual sales of $8 million

"I moved to New York City and didn't know what I was going to be doing. I hadn't been there a week before I bumped into someone I recognized from Colorado, and she knew I was doing [concierge-type] things for people in Aspen. She said, 'I know someone who needs your assistance while you figure [out what you'll be doing].' So I did a project for him; I coordinated a move. Then he gave my name to somebody else [who] needed help planning a benefit, and she gave my name to somebody else. Then I thought, 'I actually don't need to look for a job. This is a business.'"

--Julie Subotky, 39, founder of 1997 startup Consider It Done, a concierge service in New York City with annual sales of $1 million

"I had an appointment to meet with the owner of a store, and I had an [inflatable] pirate sword, a pirate hook on one of my hands, a pirate hat, an eye patch and a little parrot. I wanted to create a lasting first impression, and they loved it. I was selling a kayaking pirate T-shirt, so even though my attire was a little strange, it made sense for what I was selling. It was the first place I ever went to sell T-shirts, and [the store owner] bought them on the spot."

--Kevin Shane, 26, founder of 2004 startup KO Stogie, maker of the Telmé clothing line in Ewing, New Jersey, with annual sales of $100,000

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

Former Apple CEO John Sculley Shares 4 Key Strategies for Growing and Marketing Your Business