Any career fantasy I’ve ever had in my life has always been firmly planted in Walter Mitty-type pipe dreams. At various times I’ve been a TV news anchor, a singer in a band, or an astronaut. These are reveries into which I would escape during boring meetings, long car trips, or sitting in an examining room waiting for a doctor to finally arrive.
That I actually speak with a slight nasal monotone, can’t carry a tune, and also suffer from acute claustrophobia never seemed to matter. These are my figments, dammit, and I’ll thank you kindly to aim that smirk of yours in another direction. I bet you have a few doozies of your own that are kept bottled up, hmm?
What each of my fantasy callings have in common is a decidedly non-business, non-entrepreneurial character to them. As someone who spent over 30 years in public service working primarily as a non-supervisory librarian, my skills could hardly qualify me to run a business much less make a payroll. Donald Trump would surely have my number were I to square off against him in a debate.
And yet so it was with great delight that I caught the graphic found at the top of this post in the March 2016 issue of Money Magazine. Readers were asked if they were able to start their very own business, what kind would it be? After reading the first six, all of which sound either fun or interesting (the cat cafe in particular receives my vote for originality), I then got to the last one from a reader who wishes to open a strip club.
A strip club? Brilliant!
I admire the man’s candor to share his dream with the readership of a widely available, national magazine. For example, he could have offered up, say, a shoe repair stand, a catering company, or a property management service. But no, he, ‘er, exposed himself to reveal perhaps what might be a long hidden desire of his. Mr. Loya has spunk I certainly don’t have.
Alas, but this aspiration of his is apparently jettisoned by a disapproving spouse. He will not get his chance to become a boss to naked women. Nor will he have the opportunity to hire big burly men to be bouncers, or employ a team of bartenders, cocktail waitresses, and cooks. A budding “job creator” is stopped in his tracks. On the other hand, his community will also not have to contend with that particular kind of business in its town either. Perhaps there is an upside to it.
Speaking of cooks, this does beg a question that I’ve always wondered about regarding strip clubs: does one seriously eat an actual meal at one? I see the billboards on the highway for “steaks and strippers” and the concept completely throws me. Speaking only for myself, there are certain things I really don’t want to see while I’m eating. Such as a completely naked body, for instance. But that’s just how I roll. You might feel differently.
Money Magazine’s question caused me to ponder my own sense of business savvy. Specifically, it reinforced that I am devoid of actually having any. In two marriages now, I have married women who are in occupations that provide a service to the public, and both of them tend to be personally timid about marketing themselves.
With absolutely zero practical experience or knowledge about business and commerce, I have always looked upon myself as something of an expert. It might have been those few years as a teenager stocking cold beer and pop at a neighborhood drug store that instilled such confidence. Regardless, my efforts have always ended up being futile because (1) I have no clue what I’m doing, and (2) see #1.
My ex-wife was a travel agent who specialized in selling cruises. It was my ingenious idea to have ballpoint pens produced with an engraving of her business name, phone number, and web address. I had noticed that the California lottery kiosks at the supermarkets always seemed to lack a pen or pencil for players to fill out a game playslip. So I made it my job each week to fill up those kiosks with her pens. I would travel before work, after work, and on weekends visiting grocery stores and stocking pens at the lottery counters. The pens always disappeared because everyone loves a free pen. Or the store managers removed them, take your pick. To my recollection, not one booking was ever celebrated due to my putting out those pens.
Gorgeous fortunately caught on to my shortcomings much sooner than did my ex. After a few not-so innovative ideas of mine involving the use of social networking to publicize her psychic business, she let me know in a gentle but firm way that it would be better if she followed her own intuition. And since intuition is a bit of a natural impulse for her, in time I agreed that she would be better off without my help. I’ve thankfully now backed away enough to leave her to her own tender mercies. At least this time I don’t have unopened boxes of bulk pens lying around to remind me of my marketing failures.
I do offer my sincere admiration to anyone who can successfully manage a business. This is especially true for those who do so in retirement after a long career. It takes superior knowledge, perseverance, and quite a bit of elbow grease for success to happen. I also believe entrepreneurial accomplishment involves having a type of sixth sense that gives someone an understanding of exactly what needs to be done, when, how much, and for whom. This is a quality I unfortunately lack.
I also lack the ability to pull off walking into a strip club. That takes spunk too. Or just common sense. I’ll let you decide.
Until next time…