I attended a big graduation party for my grandson this weekend. We talked about all sorts of things and even had a few good laughs about my hair. I told all of the usual jokes about how difficult it is to arrange and the stories of actual insults that I have received from clueless people who simply don’t understand what it’s like to struggle with locks the texture of corn silk. Some people even took turns feeling how baby fine it is. I received all sorts of suggestions about what to do with it, but the fact is that it looks great only when my hair dressers fixes it. Trouble is that I can’t reproduce her coiffures at home. I simply don’t have the skills to puff it up and get it to lie right.
In truth I would love to be able to do a better job with my hair so I decided to search the Internet for ideas and came upon some YouTube videos done by a famous stylist. He demonstrated what type of blowdryer to use for my kind of hair and how to properly apply cremes that produce more volume in the hair shaft. I learned a great deal from him that I will certainly try, but I suspect that I would do even better if I had a personal coach who might watch me to correct any mistakes that I make in the process. After all we have such people on call at gyms. That got me to thinking about an entrepreneurial idea that someone should pursue. I call it Real Life U.
The truth is that we receive a particular type of education in schools that doesn’t include some of the most basic skills that we need. There used to be shop and woodworking classes but those have mostly gone the way of the buggy whip. My mother learned how to sew and cook in high school but few institutions of learning offer such courses anymore. I once knew a PE coach who brought old cars to the school and worked with some of the students after hours to repair them. They walked away with some very valuable hands on skills that they truly appreciated having. His little workshops were quite popular indeed. I wondered then and now why we don’t have more of that type of training available for everyone.
It’s possible to learn almost anything on the Internet, but because I am a very kinesthetic kind of person I need real lab experience before feeling comfortable that I have mastered a particular skill. I know that watching a picture helps but there are nuances with regard to the way one stands or positions the hands and so forth that often make a huge difference in success or failure. By having an actual building where one can go to learn how to do just about anything under the guidance of experts there can be opportunities for practice and trouble shooting.
I envision students of all ages learning everything from how to style hair (my personal favorite) to how to install lighting or repair plumbing. I can see franchises popping up all over the country just like the cooking classes and painting sessions that have become so popular. I know that I would be quite interested in enrolling to learn all sorts of things that never come up in our academically focused public schools. I am able to solve quadratic equations in four or five different ways but I have no idea how to properly repair a rotting board on a house.
Surely someone reading my blog is going to think, “Aha! This is my ticket to wealth.” I really believe that there is a market. Right now we have a number of specialized learning situations in far flung locations but this would be one stop shopping for everyone. Over time it would be easy to determine what subjects are most in demand. I suspect that people will love it. Groups might come for an evening to learn how to apply makeup for different occasions or for many weeks to master the skill of putting pot lights in a kitchen.
Who knew that escape rooms would become as popular as they have? They are now popping up everywhere with storefronts catering to the locals. I heard recently about a man in Minnesota who started a recreational business called Extreme Sandbox. He leases several acres of land and a fleet of heavy equipment and provides adults with the bucket list activity of a lifetime. For one hundred dollars they can operate a steamroller or a bulldozer. He averages at least four hundred customers a month and is doing so well that he recently opened a new location in north Texas near Dallas. He says that he gets almost as many women as men, and groups from various companies come for team building activities. They leave so excited that they often return multiple times on their own.
There are no doubt many many ideas for starting new and different kinds of businesses than anyone has even considered. It usually begins when someone like me has a problem that needs solving and they realize that there is really nobody out there addressing the issue adequately. Most inventions begin this way.
I don’t want to spend my twilight years investing my time in creating such things, but I am more than happy to pass along my idea of Real Life U to someone else who might be interested. With a bit of hard work and some marketing genius Real Life U might become the McDonald’s of leisure learning. Just remember me when I come to use your services and give me a little discount. All I really want is to have a safe place where I might learn how to tame my hair and get it to behave the way my hairdresser does without disparaging comments. Who knows, I may see other classes while I’m there and sign up for them as well. I’m crossing my fingers that someone out there takes the initiative. We are all waiting to learn how to do the things that will allow us to live happier and more complete lives. Get those old cars out there for someone to repair. Turn on the blow dryers for the styling challenged. Real Life U here we come! All hail our alma mater!