- Associated Press - Friday, April 4, 2014

GALESBURG, Ill. (AP) - While his mom roamed Target, Jack Seibert, circa 1995, came across a demo video game station and picked up a controller for the first time.

The 25-year-old remembers that moment - 45 minutes in a Donkey Kong cyber world - as pivotal in the path toward his new technology support business, called AskJack.

“From then on, I was hooked,” Seibert said. “At my house, we had a computer - not a really nice one by any means - but I poked around with every button and clicked on everything I could just to find out what it could do, and it just took off from there.”

Eighteen years later, the Galesburg native decided to break from school after student loans became burdensome.

“In that decision, I started thinking, ‘What can I do?” Seibert recalled. “I’ve always loved technology and computers and education. … I thought, ‘Why don’t I try to do all of that as a career, make a business, make it my own thing and see how it works out.’”

AskJack was established in June, offering “tech support with a personal touch.”

He distinguished his business venture as one for the community. Much of his time with AskJack is spent working on clients’ devices at his home or making house calls for residents who are having any sort of technical difficulty.

He will try to fix anything, from PCs to Apple products. “If it has a screen, I’ll look at it,” he added.

His services expand beyond simply addressing problems, though.

Many of his customers are senior citizens just looking for a brief lesson in technology.

“They use a computer for email, or maybe Facebook, but that’s the extent,” he said. “The technology world has taken off and they might be overwhelmed. I can be there to help them learn how to upload a picture to Facebook by sitting down with them and walking them through the steps.”

An employee at Burgland Drug for five years, Seibert said a number of his new clients are the same people who come to pick up prescriptions every month.

His current work place has proven to be an effective starting point to promote AskJack, especially given his employer’s willingness to help.

Owner Mary Burgland has come to know Seibert as the drug store’s “guru.”

“He’s our go-to guy,” she said. “Whenever something’s down and I don’t understand the error message, Jack is there.”

So when he approached the Burglands about his idea to start a technology support business, they were more than happy to help him.

“We encouraged him to go for it,” she said. “We talked about how to set fees; how much people like me would pay for what he does.”

Burgland Drug has even stocked up on AskJack business cards and posters to help spread the word.

The small business venture was simply meant to supplement his living, but so far, the business has surpassed any expectations Seibert had.

“I’m probably doing two to three jobs a week (with AskJack),” he said. “I thought I’d be doing maybe one a month, but it’s really taken off and I’m happy about that.”

His success has come as no surprise to Burgland.

“If I could put my finger on what Jack should be doing, I think this is it - consulting,” she said. “He analyzes situations and thinks of ways to improve them.”

For now, Seibert is just looking to keep his AskJack business on the side, but he’s considering different technology certifications as his business seems to expanding.

“One day, I think it’d be exciting to actually have a storefront.”


Online: The (Galesburg) Register-Mail, https://bit.ly/OOsfjP


Information from: The Register-Mail, https://www.register-mail.com

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