Dark Angel asked something that I have been thinking about for days. What's with all the dumpster diving and building things with little money, aren't you a success yet?
Very simply, if you actually pay people for doing work, acting, moving haunts, building things and generally provide employment, this alone might make you a success. Does it bring lots of money to you?? Actually in a lot of cases you can easily over spend and be in a long term hole and be paying out from other businesses for years. Not just 2 year or 3 years but try 20 years of judging how much has been done for others and just get lunch money every day.
Some of the haunts I support are charities, others people with money but the proper mind set to have a certain budget and others may have only related to me about half the money they really owe out of embarrasment. Often I go through the profit and loss numbers that have been related to me and there seems to be $100,000 to $140,000 a year that just disapeared and they have no money to pay for some service or an entire haunt until November when it makes money.
It is quite easy to spend all year long making and building and it does not equate to what can be made even supporting 5 locations in a seasonal business. So you have to evaluate what makes you a success. It comes down to being limited on what you can spend, how much travel you can do and how many thousands of hours you may put into something.
So actually having done it over and over, to me, something that costs $2500 and only 40 people genuinely are excited about it, means I paid $62 per customer to make $20 per customer. Or when I figure out one of my vendors is spending $53 per item sold and for others that amount might approach $800 to $1000, everyone has some old "that's just the cost of doing business" bullshit line. Somehow that money had to be made to begin with. And when you are supporting such things with money, you need to know and question the end result. Especially when making money is generally something requiring had physical labor and not magic. It's called not wanting to get screwed over and over and over.
In the real world, say you want to start a restaraunt and I'm just making up numbers, 200 people a night come and enjoy your wonderful dishes and it never varies in popularity. The profit might pay the staff and the overhead mortgage, utility costs and food costs. You got to eat because you own a restaraunt and the hidden accumulation of capital is only in the paying the mortgage. Any extra money you are having to buy new tables and chairs and carpeting just to keep customers coming and the prices of those items increase every year. When we moved into new offices the flooring cost $300. 6 years later it was $800. Of course we didn't increase how much me made times 3 in those years.
So being a success is more in the line of don't you have any money yet asshole, it is more in the catagory of have you genuinely helped anyone to do what they wanted to do with their life. For me that's where all the money went. Do I want to spend what could easily be worth $100 an hour of my time in some other industry, for some customer that is going to be involved for a half hour of their entire life visiting a haunted house or to someone that is going to make this a life style. Which perpetuates the market as a whole and only then makes what I do for a living possibly make $120 a year hard cold profit.
In many cases you are a success by just being able to continue and being clever enough not to have to fold because your behavior is ranking up too much debt or expenses piling up.
All these stupid articles about owning your own business tell you to have 2 to 3 years of the total money saved and then spend that. So like who benefits from you spending all your savings? Everyone else. What's the difference from bootstrapping everything and everone benefits all along only you never lost a quarter million dollars over a long time.
Haunted house things are something I have seen people make money with something that was only 12 foot by 20 feet. Then see that worked and jump to 8,000 SF then add 4,000 SF to that and then consider buying the building or bigger land somewhere. Still the original formula takes a few years to understand and it is different for any town. Just bowing lots of money has a high likely hood of just being that and not knowing why it didn't work. Or having any appreciation for what it took to make the original sum of money. SO what if you ruin you credit for the rest of your life, it sure was fun right? No, it was stupid.
I really don't care what some arm chair hater has to question. Someone only marginally involved in things and easy to critisize. Not everyone is really cut out to be an owner or a contractor and the language people like that speak is entirely different than someone that wonders when is pay day and how many hours do I have to put in for that. Actually the owners wander around and might not consider their own hourly wage on something at all. OR worry about being compensated at all. Just seeing some half baked thing work is the pay off. IS the fun, is the life style. And I have had "the talk" with a lot of new haunters that are in their 3d or 4th year, but we can't pay our many people $50,000 a year full time off this seasonal thing! How about $20,000. Who said you needed to make $50,000 a year or you could make that. Welcome to the life style of owning a haunted attraction.
That would be a great gig if you really only had to move your hands 4 months out of the year and made $50,000 per year. Except that doesn't exist anywhere so why would you expect owning a business was going to do that for you.
SOme people do make money and they are doing by scamming helpers, scamming investors, scamming suppliers, and everything they do is a score and when the money comes to them it is THEIRS and no one esles. On the other side if you do what you are supposed to do, both morally and for long term, a seasonal business has seasonal income. The only way you can increase your income is to have hundreds of things going on rather than just one thing. In reality it is all so scattered and has potential but what really happens is not plannable until it happens and pays off, so spending time listing crap out is not adding to your possible pay off at all. You get paid by doing so, only do.
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.