Last year, I almost owned a beauty salon. How great would that have been, to have a beauty salon by the age of twenty-four?! A real live beauty salon with real live hair dressers. I’d get to fix it up and decorate it the way I wanted to and it would sell world-friendly products. Or at least those marketed that way. I was going to call it Annie Bert’s after my great-great-grandmother who owned three salons and made money even during the Great Depression until she trusted a scoundrel of a bookkeeper and lost two of ’em.
This whole money-making bullshit began last September when I moved in with my aunt and uncle in Anderson, South Carolina. Though the entire stay is the source of infinite hilarity, today’s subject matter is limited to the Inner C.E.O., as it relates to my failed beauty parlor. One’s Inner C.E.O. has access to the Invisible Network, the likes of which your conscious mind cannot comprehend. The likes of which would likely prove indispensible to the running of a beauty parlor.
During my sojourn in the South, I was a freeloader by trade, but not agreement. I was therefore provided with all sorts of projects to keep myself busy, and–should I apply myself–transform us all into millionaires. I was the source of all labor, and I would earn 25% of the profits. I was just labor, not a human being, and my aunt and uncle were the source of our funding (not to mention my food, wine, and shelter). One of these projects was to “Get in touch with my Inner C.E.O.” according to The Eleventh Element. My aunt assured me that if I did establish communication with my Inner C.E.O., we’d be sure to be millionaires.
Now, the premise, as I understood the audio series–and bear in mind that I do zone out from time to time, and also that the author’s voice was unbearable (you can’t blame the guy for wanting to read his own book)–was that flashes of brilliance come to those in touch with the Invisible Network, which is sort of a greater dimension of information (somewhat similar to Jung’s collective unconscious). In support of such a strange hypothesis, I like to cite those studies where people do crosswords faster a day after they were published because they have been solved. One might choose to conclude that they can complete said crossword faster because the answers are all over the Invisible Network the next day. The author, we’ll call him Bob, cites all sorts of ridiculous examples like Dave from Wendy’s who thought of having a franchised hamburger restaurant. I gotta say, I think it’s totally possible that he came up with that one on his own.
Anyway, you access the Invisible Network through your Inner C.E.O.. So, if you can find a way to get in touch with your Inner C.E.O. and let them know what you want and what your desires are, you’ll be better at achieving wealth and happiness. Of course, your Inner C.E.O. might actually know better than you what’s best for you, and this explains why your Inner C.E.O. might not always deliver what you ask. One certainly shouldn’t conclude from such evidence that the entire concept of an Inner C.E.O. is silly. I never minded the concept itself, but I would have appreciated an argument for its (dubious) ontological necessity.
Once you’ve accepted that you have an Inner C.E.O. and that you’re going to start communicating with them, you give them a name. I named mine Goldie, after Goldie Hawn. I like her a lot.
Goldie Hawn, my Inner C.E.O.’s namesake
Then you decide how you’re going to communicate with them. Bob suggests that you set up a physical mailbox where you put the letters when you’re ready for your Inner C.E.O. to read them. The first letter should explain the location and shape of this mailbox, and offer a sample format for how the letters should be. You also ask them to give you a “hit me over the head so I can’t miss it” sign of how they’re going to communicate with you. Bob claims that if you ask for such a sign, you’re sure not to miss it.
Being a modern girl, and likewise having a modern Inner C.E.O., I got Goldie an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. I probably should have gotten her a gmail account. I emailed Goldie the initial letter explaining how she has this email account, and that I was going to contact her there. I followed with letters delineating the amount of leisure time, money, emotional stability, et cetera, that I want in life. Top priority was the letter asking for help establishing passive income for my aunt, thereby validating my presence in her house. This was important right then.
It’s not like I wanted an email in response. But I wanted a sign of some sort, and I’d asked for one so glaringly obvious it would “hit me over the head so I can’t miss it.” My aunt suggested that perhaps the email account wasn’t working out for her, and that I get a binder like hers, and keep the letters chronologically in plastic sleeves for easy reference.
So finally we get to the Beauty Parlor Money Making Scheme portion of my stay in the South, and my aunt says to me, “Have you written a letter to Goldie about the beauty parlor?”
I’d been drinking red wine and watching T.V. all day. “Ooooh, that’s a great idea!!”
Once she’d passed out on the couch and I was alone, I wrote Goldie a heart felt plea for help. Was the beauty parlor the answer to our pocketbook’s prayers?!
Days later–when conducting market research–I found myself inside a beauty parlor that was being remodeled in the Atlanta Hyatt. I’d convinced the owner I was a licensed esthician looking for work, and he was eager to show me around. At the time I sincerely believed in our plan to set up beauty parlors throughout the nation and rent out stations to stylists much like tenants in an apartment building. And, here I am, witnessing the birth of a salon! It’s a sign! Goldie wants a beauty parlor, too! But not one like this. No, definitely one more funky, as I dislike their choice of paint color. Right then! What happens? I kick over a can of paint and splatter it all over my jeans.
What could it all mean? I wondered if hairdressing was not to be my business.
I went home and suggested this interpretation to my aunt. She was skeptical. I think she was still hung up on the email thing.
At her bidding, I pursued the Beauty Parlor Money Making Scheme. I punched some numbers. I looked at retail spaces to rent. I spent hours looking at the various options for sinks, chairs, driers, yadda yadda. It was fun. But it wasn’t going to work out.
The beauty parlor wasn’t going to build itself–I was. I was going to decorate it. I was going to find a crew of helpers, and advertise in supermarkets and on the nearest college campus. It was going to be a month of work, and then some. It was illogical to assume that I could just skip town after opening a salon. I was going to be stuck in South Carolina forever. Not that it all didn’t sound like a good time. It did. But it came down to money. Money changes everything.
My share was to be 25% of $300 a month for as long as the place was open, and making money. That’s $75 a month following a solid month of unpaid labor. It would be 20 months before my investment paid off.
So I suggested that they pay me for my trouble setting up the salon. Otherwise, I say, I’m not going to be able to afford not working for the couple weeks or month to set up the salon. (I hadn’t worked in months.) I could be a contractor, and they could pay me like $10/hour, and we could accomodate for it in the size of our loan. I thought it was a pretty solid plan.
And she says to me, “If you want to get paid, get a job.” I wanted to cry. And I knew that Goldie was totally right. Not only was the paint can an obvious sign, but so was my depression. I had to get out.