are YOU looking at ME???

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~ 28AUG10 ~

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Have you ever thought about working as a $ale$man? NO! Not interested. I'm not good with people.

My dad graduated from Oklahoma University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and was hired by Westinghouse Electric Corporation. We moved to Pittsburg for six months while he worked in research and development; then we moved to St. Louis for six months where he worked in sales. His boss told him to forget about R&D, stay in sales, you get same salary, plus, a company car and an expense account for taking customers out to lunch, to diner, golfing, fishing, and hunting upland and big game (the company even paid for the hunting leases). I swore I'd never go into EE or sales yet I ended up being a software engineer for 25 years, and now, and now? And now I find myself in sales.

If you like to ride then what would be a really great job to have? A motor cop! You get to ride around all the time and there's the bonus of getting to play with firearms... but... they get shot at while at work and that's not good. A funeral motorcycle escort? Getting paid to ride is good but funerals are often on Saturday, and with my luck the Redwood Run, Laughlin, Street Vibrations, Las Vegas Bike Show, etc. weekends would be wiped out. Prescription delivery for a drug store? The pay would probably be crummy and they'd probably put you on a trike ("sudden death") - what happened to all the side cars?

Think about selling advertising space for Thunder Roads Magazine NorCal for just a moment. You get to ride all over northern California. You get to visit dealerships and shops and motorcycle related businesses and you get to talk motorcycles - that's cool.

But, you say, "it'$ all about the money, how much doe$ it pay?" It's strictly commission. Customers that pay for a one quarter page or larger advertisement that runs for a year have the option of monthly billing, and, your commission is paid based on what the customer has paid, so, you can figure out how many advertisements you need to sell to earn enough to build that chopper you've been thinking about.

Granted, it won't happen right away... think of it like thinking of karate lessons - it takes about five years to earn a black belt if you apply yourself, but, if you don't take the lessons then at the end of five years you still won't know karate. I have been recycling aluminum cans for several years, squish them, put them in garbage cans for about four to six months, cash them out and put the money into "the evo fund" but I'm not sure I'll live long enough to have enough money from aluminum cans to build that bike, but, my first commission check was more than a whole pickup truck full of aluminum cans!

$o, what is a day like? First of all, you are likely to have better results if you call the business you plan to go to and talk to the owner, or who ever is in charge of buying advertising since the owner won't necessarily be present if you just walk in, or, the owner may just not be interested, but, if the owner is willing to look the magazine over and to see costs then the magazine and the great prices sell themselves! My first day, a Friday, I went by six businesses, talked to two owners. The second stop was at Hog Wild Bar-B-Q in Placerville, talked to Kat Markwell - MY FIRST SALE! Check them out at, good bar-b-que and Hot Rod Night and Bike Night on Monday nights! The fourth stop was the Pine Lodge Club in Pollock Pines, talked to Roger Merrill - left him a magazine and a price sheet so he could discuss advertising with his wife. Cool club by the way, pool, darts, shuffle board, horseshoes, DJ, Karaoke, inside and outside seating and great atmosphere. The next Monday I re-ran the Friday loop again. Steve at the Pine Lodge Club bought an advertisement - ALL RIGHT! My last stop for selling that day was at the Placerville Brewing Company; been going there for years, great burgers and fish & chips, and, good onsite brews, such as "strong blonde" ale, "dirty blonde" ale (2 parts strong blonde, 1 part stout), and, my personal favorite, "fire house red" ale - good stuff.

Well, keep sitting there taking the lumps out of the couch with a magazine in one hand and a beer (in an aluminum can) in the other and dreaming about the cool bike you want to build, or, discover riding around selling advertisements and attending events and handing magazines out is a money making blast!

Russell "Raz" Holder

photograph by Russell Holder
... photograph by Russell Holder

photograph by Russell Holder
... photograph by Russell Holder

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