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Entrepreneur Garnering Accolades

There are few things more annoying – come to think of it, more ridiculous – than being on terminal hold with a computer.

Aaron Dragushan was having that experience while waiting for a service provider. His wife, Evgenya, had already been on hold for so long that she handed the phone over to him and told him it was his turn.

During the waiting time, Dragushan began thinking about an app that would stop all the holding. Instead of waiting on hold for a service representative, a service representative could call you when he or she was free.

Called FastCustomer, it makes the computers do the waiting.

“What we have invented is a system where the computers wait on hold with other computers. They just hold hands and wait there until people are ready to talk,” he said.

The app made so much sense that it has been mentioned on CNN, ABC, NBC, The Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine, just to name a few.

FastCustomer can be utilized with just about all Fortune 500 companies, credit card companies, phone companies or just about any company that puts its clients on hold when they call. It is free to the customer.

Dragushan has a lot of other good ideas. He says he always wanted to be an entrepreneur.

“I’m from Victoria [British Columbia] and even as a kid, I would play around with computers. I was making websites before the Internet had graphics, like back in 1993,” he said.

“When I was a kid, I had a paper route. I started my first business when I was 20ish. It was a web design business. It failed miserably. Horribly,” he said.

“All I knew is I felt I wanted my own business and to be independent. The only jobs I ever had were minimum wage jobs. When I was working in a movie theater, I would walk around with a pad and pen and write down ideas,” he said.

He said he financed his first businesses with credit cards.

“You’re just a punk kid. No one is going to lend you money.”

He tried college, but found it was not for him.

“I think it is probably better now, but when I went in 1993, I found it really boring,” he said. “What I created was in the real world. That is exciting and real. I wished the teacher would have said something that impressed me,” he said.

In retrospect, he thinks he was just too eager to get out into the real world.

The Dragushan family moved to Flagstaff about a year ago from Washington D.C.

“This is a big change. My wife and I are Canadian. We have been traveling around the

U.S. We lived in Hawaii for a few years,” he said.

Evgenya, an astronomer, got a job locally at Lowell Observatory.

“I can work anywhere and we decided Flagstaff is a good place to raise kids,” he said.

They have three children, a six-year-old, a four-year-old and a one-year-old.

They home school their children through a Jewish religious school where the children can get their basic education in the ABCs and the 123s and religious training as well.

He said the best thing about working at home is that he gets to see his kids more. The worst thing is missing the camaraderie of an office full of people.

To be out and about among others, he is a mentor at NACET.

For fun, he hangs around with his wife and kids.

“With three kids, there is not a lot else. I do jujitsu a little, but it’s mainly family. We go on hikes and ride bikes, go to the swimming pool. Things like that,” he said.

FastCustomer is just one of his companies. His favorite at the moment is Gift Card Zen. Its mission is to turn gift cards into money for people who are not going to use them and put them into the hands of others for a discount.

Say someone gives you a gift card for $100 from a store that that you are never going to use, so you put it in a drawer and forget it.

By contacting Gift Card Zen, a person can get $80 cash for the gift card. Then it is listed on the company’s website, where a person who loves the store can by it for $90. It is a win/win situation because a person gets cash for his gift card and another gets a 10 percent discount.

“We make a little in the middle,” he said.

“We just passed 100 cards in our inventory,” he said. “It’s only three months old. It’s just a baby.”

Dragushan also has a couple of other web-based businesses. He hires other professionals to lead the way in their areas of expertise.

He said, “I am setting the direction and I’m also the janitor doing whatever needs to be done.” FBN

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