I read an article the other day that said something to the effect that by the time you are of age to get a job or begin a career, you have been told 185,000 times that you can't do something and only about 11 times that you can do something and maybe 7 of those times they were lieing tryng to be polite.
It's one thing having people you are to some extent being dependent upon tell you there is some kind of obscession. I have a seasonal attraction and even people making money and dependent on ME telling me I'm overly obsessed and that if I applied myself differently I would prosper. Of course none of these people are prospering if they are working for me so how do they know? They don't they just want you to develop bigger resources to not only not have a burden but for more to be available to mooch from you.
In beginning this inspired activity I had life long freinds tell me I couldn't have an attraction because I didn't have any money. I told them all it was time for them to go find new friends. As they went away, I replaced them with haunt friends and have been happier ever since.
For your plan to really work like it is listed will require adding the last paragraph where mom and dad die and leave me all their assets. With out assets there is no budget for any thing on your list. So with out a budget that doesn't mean you quit. It means you mark one thing at a time off of the list in some order of priority until the thing works.
What ever Kelly has to say is completely correct and the conservative maybe even THE successful approach. On the down side a lot of people on here began with one business and springboarded to the business of their choosing. In short they did something they thought would work fo rmoney to fill in all the blanks on the second opportunity. There are also haunts that started from nothing or from a seasonal halloween party or home haunt. They had jobs, had to pay for a place to live, even paid to raise children in somecases all the while building what they have today.
So what you have above is an organized learning tool that looks complete enough to me but some of these buzz words like searching your demographic and such are very hard to prove with a business as unique as a haunted house. Just because they are ages 14 to 35 does not mean they will leave their houses.
What I'm seeing is not so much thinking like a business man so much as an event organizer. For example, so many have been DJs and made a good per night income bringing in the customers with the right kind of music for the right place and making the house money or not. A developed sense sort of like haveing another business and making it into the business you want. Just instead of having the right or the most up to date record collection and sound system you have a haunt and actors.
There are other stunbling blocks like my core day business employees could care less about haunted houses but do the work of the day, a whole other catagory of people intrested in the halloween event do that. There, a curve ball. So you are going to have classes to teach people to scare or are you going to find people that already have that ability. Abd finding people that have all the abiltities on your list is where it goes.
Next to every topic is what kind of craftment or talent or academic skill is needed. Do you have a grasp on it or do you need help? Are you making too much out of this organization? Or is it just not quite understood just yet and that is why it is important.
For older people you just will not be able to make them even realize what a haunted house is. They only became widely accepted all over the country in maybe the late 80's so if they are over 40 years old it might be what is a haunte house? Oh, you mean trick or treating, well son we didn't send you to Harvard to make a living going door to door for candy, that won't make a living. You better come up with something better than that. That's only one night a year and your mother has become very particular wih the pillow cases lately so how much candy you can carry in one night is doubtful and we aren't going to keep you while you wander around believing in this fantasy.
A line my grandfather used to say was it's awful hard to make a living at a hobby. He was refering to motorcycles about 40 years ago. These days has anyone ever heard of a motor cycle? Gee I guess it was all a big pipe dream hobby. I wonder how many Billions are made in selling motorcycle aftermarket items alone these days. How many billions in chrome and paint jobs let alone the sale of all the brands of cycles. Look at all the events that riders go where litterally a million people show up all the way across the country for two weekends and the week in between.
So a haunted house by anyone who does not already understand? Their view is no better than some old dude that thinks it is a minor hobby. It will bever fly, you don't have and never will have any money, you can't do that they won't allow it. Screw them all.
Now grantid it may take a period of years preparing your knowlegde to feel comfortable with going forward and being cautions is actually a strong suit to not failing big time. Not being over confident and such but, after a few years of absorbing as much as possible you will be surprised how much wisdom gets crammed into your head and it goes smoothly.
From a business ranking? There are many small events people have that don't bring in a lot of money. Certainly not enough to pay all the bills and live the rest of the year doing nothing. In perspective to how much per hour it makes (wether as income or for a charity) makes even the lowest turn out something financially worth more than just handing out your wages. It might be classified as a hobby or a part time seasonal business and that is just the way it is.
Other people find the will to do what they have to do (a job or career) because they have no choice. No one WANTS to be the garbage man but they will do it so their kids go to college. No one wants to be stuck in a cubical but if they keep doing it that 2 weeks in Cancun will make them feel like a million dollars. So in comparison, some people are going to buy a motorcyle or a vacation or a resort home or a fancy car or a fancy boat or put their kinds in the military acadame because they look a little squirelly? Just kidding. Well, so spending what ever time and resources you want to on YOUR thing should be a respectable position.
And in the end, when developed to the proper size it is a business. Alas, it isn't the turn of the century. There are no beaches that haven't already been staked off. There is already a rail road and highways and the internet and lots of houses. So if you aren't already 3rd generation billionare it probably won't happen. It does happen though. Bill Gates had to outlast and buy out 16 other partners that at one point or another made their goal level of money or thought it wouldn't work.
Even billionares sometimes have a play book that seemed to work before and fail and fail and fail for 20 years and then have some marginal market presence and then screw that up too.
Who knows? In 5 years every haunt with out virtual reality simulation helmets may be considered a waste of time. Or the culture being disappointed with the hobby of virtual reality will love black plywood habitrails. I think so.
Having a business that runs every day shows what the cost of labor is, what the cost of this is, how many customers does it take to this or that and so on. There is a big difference in the mindset to get a job vs. having a business. A business that runs all year long is certainly better. And then that business sprinboards off the next "event" that has been built and even operated seasonally over time even if it loses money every year like a vacation does.
The SBA can't tell you how to run a business that doesn't start off with hundreds of thousands of dollars. They can only tell you how you will need to distribute this money to pay all of your taxs and meet employee standards. How to creat a budget.
All the great haunted houses and amusement attractions at one point followed their passion beyond all "normal" reasoning and just did what they could. Then 10 to 20 years later they were the biggest thing ever that just happened today.
I don't know how to put this on a list. What you have written is even dazzling and sounds of reason but, it also makes the reality sort of more complicated than it is.
Just get a rubber mask and go scare someone. If you don't like that build a haunted house and give some people masks and let them scare someone. You could go work for one, or just start right off on your own with a trail or super small 1000 SF thing that is an experiment. Who cares if it makes money. This is how you shift that demographic to get out of their house. How large you are able to make your event and how detailed you can afford to make it is entirely functional to how many of the demographic will come out of their house.
If there is a McDonalds within 30 miles of the location you chose, there is an available demographic that can be steered to your event. If there is one 500 feet from your location you must already be a success.
If you want to prove or dissprove the viability of a business plan simply evalute any number of franchise opportunities such as a subway shop. Well, even if you have $375,000 for the super duper location you still might at a moments notice be in there being a sandwitch artist so you better like making sandwitches. You could get 30 subway locations in 24 hour truck stops for $150,000 each and do well but at some point you will have someone quit and be making sandwitches. What kind of vegetables sir?
If you want to build scenery, you start a scenery and display company or install some regular construction technique that lends to a haunted house. If you want to make costumes and masks you do that. If you want to teach actors, you give classes on that if you want to have a haunted house you do all of this many times from scratch or cheap items not really up to industry standards to just do it. Or you intentionally disreguard all industry standards and become a success anyhow because you are different! I know who this is. I respect him big time and he turned a hobby into an all year long event kind of blowing away ALL the things everyone tells you to should or should not do.
When I was a supervisor with Boeing Aerospace, they sent us to their school to make sure we weren't reinventing the wheel and could flow chart any process or budget out over months or years and stick it in a computer so everyone "was on the same page" Well, quite simply a haunted house can not be flow charted as there are too many variables. You end up with a wall of scribbled back looping things with limitations impossibilities and things depsnding on not only minor talent but the big one...DESIRE.
If you want to do it you can. I can do anything I want to if I put my mind to it. I used to get drunk and could make anyone completely understand Einstiens theory of relativity and the entire grand unified theory of physics and what that one piece is that is missing that makes it all not want to go together. I could do it in about half an hour.
I've been watching every kind and mutation and success and failure of haunted house, every inspiration and every complaint of haunted house, every off spurt and idea that is supposed to make it better for everyone and what not to do that leads to disappointment. I have been watching and talking for 8 years now and there is no cut and dry answer, no one resource for how to start one or how much to spend. The more you have that is paid for and made out of junk or something else the better unless you are rich. But if you are rich and looking to get your money back? You can make more money with a $1.25 coin car wash with 4 bays and a vaccum station.
You can make far more wealth, far more of an impact on society at large by having and giving yourself the freedom to do what you want and enjoy and think of ways no one else has to employ a certain nuance or upgrade.
Any one from any walk of life, any trade or craft wether a business man or an artist of some dicipline can make it in a haunted house. When you fill in the blanks on your business plan it is more a reflection of your commitment than what the industry requires. Do you have to raise and support children or have a dog to feed? Do your parents need assistance physically and financially? Is what you are doing now take serious commitment? This could be anything from making sure you finish school with a degree in basket weaving to being instrumental in providing the data that rids the continent of spent plutonium.
If you don't have anything heavy that puts a burden on that business plan, then you can do anything you want. Miraculously once you have your first even loser event, everything is so simple. The two most identifiable names in the haunt industry have one thing in common. They started making a living playing records for groups of people. Me a former chemist and rocket scientist who really wanted to just be an artist it took 5 years to just do it. You can over analyze stuff to death. Sometimes though this is just the way people need to think but is the list above going to impress your sociology professor or is it what you really feel you need to know.
Or one day after graduating college and becoming homeless because they taught you to look for a job, you spend 3 months just wondering how does this work and all those complicated squiggles and back tracking lines come into focus. And then it vanishes. You can do what ever you want to do if you put your mind to it. Oh, yes, and your back as well. Walls are heavy.
Don't do what I do kid! Hit the lottery and buy a permanent location. That wasn't on the list either. If it sucks how do you liquidate? You can't it's all worth 10 cents on the dollar unless it had some bigger meaning to you all along. So you start small and keep going until it doesn't suck. If it never stops sucking stop doing it.
As far as sociology is concerned the big lesson is young people want it now and older people have come to think things require a long term investment to bring a proper reward and be long lived. Investment can be catagorized as well by doing by trial and error or obsorbing others experiences and then finding out they were idiots.
The other main variable not on the list is what is your personal passionate skill. If it is making out business plans then you are a haunt consultant and you will come to think I suck. Hell I think I suck. No one has actually read down this far so I can say anything here. Start out with a puppet show. Work your way up to being a ventriloquist. Then do stand up comedy. Then build your own WTF is this museum and give tours of it. Then sell DVDs on how to have a puppet show, start puppet magazine, run it for a year or two and then make out a business plan similar to how it operates and then sell the company. Now free and independently wealthy, buy some CDX plywood and convince people to be actors only they don't know that really they are puppets. Make sure your puppets have quality refreshments and make sure things are cool at the ticket booth.
Thankyou goodnight, we love you.
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