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Thread: Business people?

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  1. Default Business people? 
    #1
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    Out of curiosity, who on here is not a hobbyist haunter, but someone who is very business orientated (either haunt owner or vendor), and what do you do to get that mindset??

    I know that's an odd question, but I have been a hobbyist and non-profit haunter for the LONGEST time, and am in college right now, and I would like to not be just a hobbyist, but a very business-wise owner and operator. I don't have a business degree, and I am primarily educated in the school of hard knocks when it comes to this, but I want to hear what you do! What works? What doesn't?

    I'm invested heavily in a new company to be vending at Transworld, which will be my full time career focus, and a stepping stone to something that I plan on making larger and growing with time.
     

  2. Default  
    #2
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    Jan 2007
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    Texas
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    97
    I was in banking 21 years before I became a pro haunter (not sure which is scarier). Had been doing some small gigs over 20 years ago in addition to my "day job"...then became a home haunter and left banking for haunting full time in 2005.

    Perhaps a mentor? It's easy to assume you're thinking as a business professional....but what you don't know will absolutely eat your lunch. Business professionals use business coaches all the time. The concept is the same.

    Kathryn
    Kathryn DeSautell
    Lafitte's Landing, Dark Shadows Entertainment
     

  3. Default  
    #3
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    Mar 2007
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    Lafayette, Louisiana
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    What I have learned from 7 years of running an online retail store....

    1. Customer Service is the most important aspect of what you will be doing. This is the supreme rule! Fall short here and you will fail quickly.

    2. Accept the fact that you will make many expensive mistakes.

    3. Make spreadsheets for everything. Especially if you are not a math wiz or business savvy.

    4. Establish your breakeven cost for every single product you are going to make. (This is critical: You must know what you are making)

    5. This is an extremely small industry. Screw over one person and everyone will know about it. See #1

    6. Learn to negotiate.

    7. Don't involve partners unless you absolutely have too.
    Lordgrimley.com for the very best items on the net.
     

  4. Default  
    #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    613
    Don't think like a wantrepreneur, or do wantrepreneur things. That is a monumental waste of time, energy, and resources.

    Instead, spend that time learning the craft. That's vital. Work for pro-haunts that are actually turning a profit, and see how they actually do it. Turning a profit . . . and paying their cast, crew, and creditors, which is the only legitimate way to conduct business, be it paid staff, or if a volunteer staff, the requisite value is paid out to the worthy cause that was negotiated for in return for the volunteer help.

    C.
     

  5. Default  
    #5
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    Aug 2003
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    Tyler, Texas, United States
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    You don't need to use spread sheet, pens and paper are just as good. What is fixed in your head is even better.

    I think alot of what I do every day was engrained from working for Boeing Aerospace for 8 years and a couple stupid things they had us do. Every day there is a report of what you did today, a log if you will even if no one reads it, this wil be how you know how much to bill for work completed or estimate any future work. You can do silly organizational things like draw out a flow chart of what has to be done and the steps that need to be completed, then go several steps further and see what can be done in parallel task wise. This is where you kind of overlap what people will be doing and making sure the resources aren't being waited on.

    Eventually you can do the flow chart thing in your head and this becomes "thinking on your feet". YOu might not have to go back and check what you wrote into your logs but can in a sticky situation but the act of doing things made you realize inefficiencies, how many times someone didn't do what they were asked to do or pretty much might not be capable or otherwise don't care.

    My present day logs are something I whip out every day and even write down every expense, that becomes the accounting. Still no spread sheets or computer data entry. No reliance on something that is going to crash and be a loss. On the other side of the scale, having what happened down, you always have a list going of what can happen of about 50 places to finish some task or provide some service that brings in money. Some percentage of those will never happen but you follow up on those lists of making money constantly until they do bring in money or fade away.

    Even though you decide you are some kind of independent entity, you aren't. The real network you have to create are not people hanging out in a bar sharing what ifs, you need to build a network of people who routinely call you and want to give you money. Preferably thousands of dollars instead of $5 hustles.

    Then it is a constant knowledge of what it costs you per day to have an organization and then matching whether the conversations you are having are going to pay for that or are coming from some other perspective. You can only afford to spend a small amount of time on things that are maybe a hobby or do not lead to a relationship that is going to earn you and your staff an income. You end up with matching who needs something and who can do something. This doesn't mean you should aspire to become a fat guy with an automatic dialer either. Many business people seem to think the "dispatcher" is who makes the money and it may take years but they always crash big time for that thinking. The gys who survive long term actually do things and can surround themselves with a crew on short notice or full time or actually make that amount of money by themselves.

    The opportunities of the world usually involve enjoying and being willing to regularly do things that other people think they should just have to call someone or don't want to actually do this thing that is work. The mechanics look more over time like you have taught yourself to actually do everything you are expecting others to do.

    And there is no routine. How it was done in the past and who you worked with constantly changes. So old school, institutional training and little lists of routines generally are something that hinders over all progress. The entire suposed failing of the present day economy is the falling apart of the last 50 years of everything should be the same, this is the way you do this, just because that is the way we have always done this. Of course it was inefficient and you also have to pay for some asshole with a clip board or a white board or a spread sheet and the modern world doesn't want to pay for crap like that. They only want to pay the guy who is going to get results without excuses. The market seeks this out.

    The advantage of being self employed is that at no time is there really going to be some one else has decided it is over. No one is cutting back, going to do things differently or decide it was a short term deal. The common person gets on a salary or paycheck and has no idea what it takes proportionally to get that check every Friday and lots of time they don't care. If that pay check goes away despite they did all the inefficient things they were told to do, they wander around looking for the next comforable situation where so much is provided for them. That system doesn't seem to work anymore or maybe it never worked and massive amounts of money are required to start things and eventually finding new funding isn't happening at the levels they need and they die. You actually have to be able to do something or provide some service or product. Never adopting any of these efficiencies means where you get the money from is an every changing landscape and how you do things is a constant self learning process.

    Instead of relying on people that can tell you how things were done 10 years ago, you learn first hand what you can do and how things work in the present and how they might work in the future. Sometimes the future takes decades to get here. Everyone wants a paycheck and everyone wants a service. So you become the bank. The cashflow instrument. As well as the person that can actually do this or that. Everyone think you get a bank involved when hell no that is who you are! You are the bank. You may have those places cash your checks for you but, you are the one matching where money comes from with how things are being completed. The bank isn't going to do that for you.

    You no longer hang out some place for 8 hours and then try to forget about your day when you can totally accomplish some paying task in 3 hours. Or if the market demands you spend 12 hour days accomplishing 4 times what people normally put out sticking to their routine that gets them a paycheck or keeps them in their comfort zone a little longer.

    There has to be something to make people call and want to give you money. You have the skills, the tools, the moves that accomplish things no one else has developed, are willing to do the work when others want to call someone or think about how to do something. The knowledge you develop, the insight you have internalized actually shapes markets and pretty much over time, the market is doing things your way and you just happen to have what they need to do the job. It is never this is what everyone else is doing. It is more like here is what everyone else is lacks about or improperly motivated to do. Or while everyone was filling out their daily planner and stamping forms, putting what they had for lunch on facebook, we completed this thing that costs X amount of dollars. Where is my money. Or rather "our" money.

    Generally all the things I bitch about, lets put together some kind of study or form a board of directors or get a clip board are little tell tale signs you are dealing with people aren't in efficient mode, don't care if anyone is making money or not or doing things that are at the expense of others. That is subtle but who is supporting this crap, who told them to do this crap and it would all work out for them, how long do they keep repeating stupid crap before they find themselves at a different place doing the same crap. Just rise above the crap.

    If there is something you lack in skill set, do it for a while. Do it different ways so you have something to compare different ways of doing things. Build other people to stretch their skill sets instead of just being some lug sitting around waiting for something. As others learn how to play the game eventually people are working FOR you as opposed to being someone you have to come up with a paycheck for. On the other side of the scale, marketing is nothing more than educating people what they should consider or could do. How to do it and why maybe it should be something they pay you and your organization for. You might talk to the same people for 5 years before they go ahead with something. It is generally never something that is magical and just because you did this someone bought it.

    Eventually no matter where people turn, your name comes up as the guy they should really be talking to. Because you demonstrated to so many that you can do something. It isn't because you put out coupons or drive around with a sign on your vehicle. People with real money and real issues find services that really match their needs eventually. Then they veer off and try to find the next best thing, then they come back again. Or you posture yourself in the position to serve all the people that have already been screwed over and have loyalty to some degree to begin with.

    And this concludes my time alotment for daily stupidity.
    Last edited by Greg Chrise; 11-28-2012 at 10:08 AM.


    Another fabulous post from the U.S.Department of Wild Imaginings, now in spectaclar stereo, sponsored by the Adhesives and Sealants Council, suggesting ways to stick things together since the 1800s. Not fabulous in a gay way. Your results may vary. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax. These posts have been made by professional post makers, do not try this type of posting on your own without extensive training, lovely assistants and a trusty clown horn.
     

  6. Default  
    #6
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    Greg, I don't think my life would be the same if you weren't in it lol.

    Thanks for the input guys, I'm slowly trying to work my way up to the level in which I can make this a full time profession, so I really look forward to continue hearing what people have to say around here. Everyone's input is extremely helpful!
     

  7. Default  
    #7
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    Apr 2012
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    Omaha, NE
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    I read your question as how to transfer from doing something for fun, to how to actually make money and eventually be successful. I believe I can add value to this thread because of my history of owning successful businesses.

    When I was very young, I was given a $20 bill for Christmas. It was a brand new crisp bill, and the first one I had ever seen. Later that night I found myself SMELLING it. The next day, when my parents took me to target to buy a toy, I looked at all the things I could buy, so many things. Ultimately, I bought nothing. I sat in the back seat and pulled the 20 from its envelope, smelled it and got excited about all those things that I COULD'VE bought. I was hooked.

    I got an AM paper route at age 11. Age twelve I added the neighboring route, so I was at over two hundred houses a day. My favorite day of the month was collection day, where I got to count, and smell lol, all that money. That was soon not enough, so at age 14 I started buying BEANIE BABIES locally, and selling them on the internet. That went on for two years and I profited thousands; I even sold three to my principle while being disciplined in her office lol.

    I worked two jobs in high school, while pursuing a less "legal" business, selling goods with a very limited market. That venture paid for my massage college tho. So now I'm 30 and have been totally self employed for 8+years.

    All that is to say this... what made me an "entrepreneur" is an obsession with two things: money just for having it, and the game of making more money. The first rule of actually making money is simple: don't spend or borrow more than you will make.

    The trick is knowing your market; who will spend money on what you provide? What will they EXPECT? What will WOW them? Which WORDS will appeal to them? That last question I believe is the most important, because its what gets them to your office/website.
     

  8. Default  
    #8
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    Apr 2012
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    Sorry my phone screwed up.

    So words... if your neck hurts every time you turn to the right, and somebody has convinced you to find a massage therapist, while browsing options in the phone book, which would you contact? "Absolutely Serenity Day Spa", "Relax and rejuvenate Massage", or "The Muscle Medics: The Pain Specialists." People think their wants and desires and needs are unique, so everybody wants a specialist ; you have to position yourself as one. If I need a product for my business, I am going to find a SPECIALIST for that particular thing. The best part about being a specialist... ppl expect to pay you more. I read once about an insurance agent in California who advertised as a motorcycle insurance specialist when nobody else was... his agency exploded in a year. This is one trick to make more than you spend.

    It seems to me like you are quite successful already tho Bobby, so I am a bit perplexed by your question?
     

  9. Default  
    #9
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    OK I re read. The last thing you want is a biz degree; it will waste your time by giving you too much info that's not specific to your life. To be profitable, always know exactly how much you're spending, and exactly how much you're making. Its really that easy. You'll find tons of accounting software but its really not necessary. Figure out what you can and cannot write off, and keep your expense info handy for tax time. Total everything up and you're done. Have your accountant fill out the papers if you want an extra layer of "protection," I always do, if only to know for sure I didn't screw something up.

    If you come up short, then two things happened: you spent too much, and you didn't make enough. Evaluate how you can do better on both sides, and implement.

    Old business is more profitable than new business, so always do something to impress your current customers. Deliver early, or deliver more than expected. If you make a mistake on my product, you're expected to fix it for free... but you can IMPRESS me by sending me a free shipping label! Take the times that bad shit comes up for what they are, an opportunity to further solidify and impress an existing customer.
     

  10. Default  
    #10
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    Scotty, I really appreciate your input!

    I want to know and ask because...well, anyone can be successful, but there's so many different levels of success that my definition of success can be COMPLETELY different than someone elses.

    Eventually, I just want to make it to the top, learn and acquire more information, and get better at this, so in 20 years, if someone thinks "haunted attraction" my name is included in the list of the other people you already think of, like kirchner, mccurdy, armstrong, one day, I aspire to be at that level, and I know it will not happen overnight, or this coming haunt year, but each and every year, I want to work as hard as I can to be something, to learn from my failures as well as my successes. And most importantly, eventually be able to sustain myself, and my family, with something I care about so copiously.

    Right now, I'm trying to find a balance of things to keep me with a steady income year round, DJ-ing is nice, but summer months I work like a dog, and come October/November and February/March, it's VERY slow. Haunting fills in October. Lifeguarding fills up my days during the summer. And I really do NOT want to lifeguard anymore, it's a HORRIBLE job (atleast in CT! lol), so I'd really like to find the right way to benefit from haunting year round! I am still young, mold-able, and very eager to learn, and I think that eventually, I can do something really good in this industry
     

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