The Business Behind Your Business
My barber is one of the most brilliant people I know.
He grew up cutting hair in his father’s salon for some of the wealthiest businessmen and influencers in London, but several years ago he moved his family to a small recreational town in Northern California where I live.
He just might be the best barber in a hundred-mile radius.
But even though he works magic with a comb-and-scissors, that’s not what I’m talking about when I say he’s smart. There’s something else I’ve observed about him that’s even more interesting. Let me explain.
My barber is a busy man, but not with cutting hair.
In fact, most people don’t even know he cuts hair. He has no branding or business cards, and he only works with a few clients. His makeshift barbershop is the laundry room in his house, where he squeezes-in clients on random Tuesday mornings between sipping coffee and getting kids off to school.
Cutting hair is just a side gig for him. He’s better known in the community as a playwright, actor, investor, and entrepreneur. And he does each of these things with excellence. I know, because I attended one of his plays last year at the Civic Auditorium and was moved to tears.
So why does such a talented guy take what appears to be a step backwards for forty bucks? Why does he disrupt the rhythm of his busy life to sweep hair clippings from his laundry room floor?
It comes down to one word — Relationships. He’s leveraging his craft to build relationships.
But not just any relationships — important and strategic ones.
He’s selective about who he works with because he’s letting them into his laundry room, which really means he’s letting them into his life. And there’s something in that exchange of life that’s more valuable to him than just cash.
With every fade and scissor-snip he’s listening, asking questions, staying curious, and finding connection with the people he really wants to be with.
From start-up founders and business coaches to artists and entrepreneurs, his hands are on the heads of men who’ve built great companies and created real value in the world — men who normally charge consulting fees or commissions in exchange for their thoughts.
It’s like a recurring membership model but in reverse. He’s getting monthly, one-on-one access to great minds but they’re paying him. Brilliant!
Cutting hair is the facade, but building relationships is his real business.
Study your craft. Hone your skill. Become the best at what you do.
Shift your thinking from working hourly to working for your future, and choose wisely the people you surround yourself with.
Building relational equity is something you’ll never regret.
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