In order to create true economic empowerment solutions for brothas and sistas, we have to look globally for proven patterns and practices that we can replicate in our hoods. We have already drew the conclusion the hood is more aligned with infrastructure and social model of high-density emerging growth Asian cities.
The beautiful thing is some of us brothas and sistas in the 21st century are really holding it down for our people while these other “notable Black” cornballs are grandstanding and wanting you to admire them as some kind of special Black person who gets media attention. So right now, we have to face some realities about hustling and stacking paper on the global level and also where we are at right now.
Right now, we know that the first level of the hustle is going to be Internet-based hustles for brothas and sistas to get started to get secondary income worth quitting their day job. The reason why is we do not have the capital to start up brick and mortar retail operations and cannot afford the risks involve running physical stores in the hood – it’s going to require money and our people don’t got that kind of money, plain and simple. But in between of Internet hustles and retail operations is building out kiosks and vending solutions and that is what we going to talk about today.
I really want you brothas and sistas to take this article seriously – it is probably the most important article I will be writing for you to read in a long time because I’m giving you the blueprint to the vending/kiosk hustle. Most cats will charge yall real money to give you this information but you must understand that no price can be put on the mission to achieve true economic empowerment where we do for ourselves, our people, our community and our future. Because 30 Rotten Dissidents ain’t made up of some sh*t talking broke and busted characters trying to hustle our people – we want to lift you up because we love you, simple as that.
There are several types of kiosks and vending solutions brothas and sistas can create and one thing I want brothas and sistas to do is start thinking outside the box and stop trying to chase these pre-packaged “get rich quick” hustles that you see online. What you should do is look around and be creative and think of all the things that ain’t out there that you can create yourself. Take ownership of how you going to stack paper and get your money and be proud that you invented that ish!
Here are some of the kiosk and self-serve solutions we already discussed and let’s go over them real quick.
Self-Checkout Market. This is a powerful supplier diversity and job creation business model where someone can build stores within employee break rooms and club houses replacing those ignorant vending high sodium, high sugar machine. The center of this model is a kiosk that can setup prepaid accounts, scan products, take money and issue receipt and instead of getting a bag of chips, a cat can get a tuna salad sandwich with fruit juice and banana from the break room – why are you sleeping on this?!
Video Games and Entertainment. Back in the days, building video game arcades to play pac-man and space invaders or play video poker requires custom computer boards and large wood frames with lights and effects. Today, you can just use a cheap computer running on a solid state drive that can stay cool and run all day with software that can run games people can play. In some cases, you can setup a video game console and charge people to play per hour and run your own cybercafé.
Cyber Cafe. In other countries, you can create cyber cafes charging Africans and Latinos in their impoverished countries money to check emails, make VOIP calls by creating software that takes their money and give them minutes to make calls, scam Europeans and upload crappy blurry pics to LatinEuro.
Prepaid Money Booths. These are in-store kiosks and booths that let you dispense prepaid cards or gift cards and take money to refill accounts or create new accounts. It is a computer that connect to your $5USD/month godaddy web site and you update their account information and allow them to everything from using it at the Laundromat to using it in a store or similar to how Dave and Busters and Chuck E Cheese have their setup to play games.
Photo Booth. Please look at the video above to see the model and see why girls think this is so fun. This is the type of cute stuff missing in our hoods we need badly that I believe will make money. This is where you can build a whole bunch of special effects on your photo and then get it printed out for you and your friends. Again, popular in Asia but this would work in our hoods also. Just get a camera, photo editing software (some are open source/free) and make it create these filters and effects for a fee.
Just show you just a sample of vending/kisok, but we haven’t scratch the surface. So what I want to do is to start you learning about kiosks and vending solutions and what they can be made out of. This is also a project I definitely want your kids doing on their own and learning how to do this so they can make their own money and do their own hustles.
Let’s go over the components necessary to create a kiosk vending solution. Then when you see me talk about creating vending kiosk solutions for the hood, now you can understand what it takes to build one.
These are small computers like zBox that you can install an operating system on and run your kiosk software or video games. In terms of operating system, you can install Linux, Android or some other open source system. If you install something like Windows, keep in mind that you are paying a niceprice for the operating system per unit you sell.
But to be honest, Windows operating system is not a bad option because you will get your money back regardless from the investment. Second, if you are just starting out in technology, I think you will find it easier to get started on Windows and when you get smart in this game, and then you can move to the open source systems. So real talk, just go with Windows if you ain’t an expert and grow from there because the goal is not for you to think about some Microsoft versus Linux, but to get money.
USB Bill and Coin Acceptor
This is the machine where you insert your bills into a feeder and you see a display of how much money you deposited. On vending machines like soda machines, you see an LED that displays how much money you deposited. But you can design your vending kiosk to be read by the computer using an USB interface and display the amount entered on the LCD screen.
The way a bill and coin acceptor works is it makes something similar to a very old rotary phone noise that determine the amount of money inserted. Like if a dollar was inserted, it would make one click noise and if $20 was entered, it make 20 click noises and so on. Don’t worry your little head over this – we already got this covered for you and trust me, you will love this part and your kids will too, putting money in and seeing numbers flash on the screen.
Now, what if a person wants their money back and do not complete the transaction? I don’t know the answer to that yet but I’ll let you know. Most cats just put a phone number up there for cats to call and complain via voicemail.
USB Input Devices
These are the interfaces you are going to attach to the computer to process the input. For example, the USB bill acceptor is an input device that displays how much money was inserted. But if you are creating a photo booth, you can plug in an HD web camera to take pictures. Then you plug in an USB printer to print the photos out. Or have a USB barcode scanner to scan a package of instant k-cups at a self-checkout market setup. Or if you doing video games, a USB joystick or button controls.
For a kiosk 13-inch (sorry non-US people, we still use inches here in America) screens that can cost around $80 is acceptable for a screen interface. You can buy a cheap computer screen that can hook up to the mini-PC. Now, once you really want to go big leagues, then you start going with large screens although it may not make a different, except if you are using touch screens and that is what we are talking about next.
To be honest and my personal opinion, big touch screens are way better than small interfaces depending on your kiosk design. What you want to do is have something big and awesome that people can see what’s going on.
If you want to implement touch, keep in mind there are two types of technology which an overlay or infrared. To get to the point, if you are using a small screen from 32 inch and below, an overlay is fine but if you are trying to do 32 inches or larger, then infrared touch screen is what you need.
Now you have to build the enclosure for the kiosk to give it the shape you want. Gone are the days of big boxy looking kiosks – focus on a kiosk that has curves and nice design that can fit in with any modern furnishing. Personally, I like large screens so two or more people can use it and while one is using it, others are looking in the background waiting on their turn.
Now, you can run out and spend $800 for one of these but personally, you can go to a metal works shop and build it out yourself and let them weld it for you. Here is a side hustler secret – a lot of cats sell kiosk enclosures for iPads and what they do is show a picture of it online and when someone order it and pay upfront, they get the metal works to create it and sell it.
One of the most important thing I try to tell brothas and sistas is to plan stuff out and prototype stuff. This is the next article on this topic where cats need to figure out what kind of service they want to vend or provide. Remember that not all vending need to take bills and coins – some can read QR code using a simple web cam and display QR codes that redirect the mobile user to a mobile web site to complete a transaction while others use NFC like mass transit stations – this is what the 30 Rotten Dissidents are working on.
The reason why this is extremely important for Black people in terms of economic development because what we are doing in our community is establishing and modernizing financial transactions. Cats can make cashless transactions and we can setup hustles where people are not worried about being robbed of cash, both the customer and the merchant. We Black folks never done this before in our Black History to define financial transactions in our community as a goal to establish economic activity and then we realize the world of opportunities in our community and we have a gold rush.
My main point in this article is to show you the stuff to make a vending machine or a kiosk and make this your e-commerce hustle. This can be the first step of selling stuff. The opportunities are wide open, especially in the hood where non-cash transactions are needed. Revamp Laundromats, create a cybercafé, setup an ordering system where cats can order with their mobile phone and receive the alert for pickup, digital signage and so on.
Creating kiosks and vending solutions is the logical step from web site e-commerce to the physical realm of getting the product out in front of real people in the real world. Also, kids would love building and playing with vending machines so having your child work with you on creating a vending solution would be highly enjoyable by them.