Unable to sleep one night, I turned on the television and saw Risky Business, a 1983 film. Although I haven’t seen the movie in years and I don’t really like Tom Cruise, I was shocked that I could relate to it as a small-business owner. The story is about a young man who accidentally starts a thriving brothel. Let me clarify: I could relate to the “starting your business” part of this movie, not the brothel.
One conversation is defining. Tom’s teenage character gets some wise advice about life and business from a close friend. This man would later go on to play the role of “Booger” in Revenge of the Nerds. Future Booger informs him that sometimes you have to say “WTF” and then make your move.
Future Booger continues to state that freedom is available every now and again. Freedom is the key to opportunity. Your future is your opportunity.”
Although they are talking about sex, the movie’s central theme is that people will risk everything for the best life. This dialogue also foreshadows some of the dangers and highs that Mr. Ex-Katie Holmes will face as he starts a brothel in his parents’ house.
Since most of my morals, values, and beliefs have come from 80s movies, I started to think about other 80s movies and the lessons I’ve learned about entrepreneurship and running my own business.
This enlightenment is mine.
Risky Business taught me how to think outside of the box.
Future Booger told Tom that he was telling him to simply say “WTF” because he believes that only by taking huge risks and having complete faith in your abilities can you achieve success beyond your wildest dreams. As a teenager, Tom had three career goals: get into an Ivy League college and get a job with a respectable salary, as well as buy a house on Lake Michigan. He is looking for a more profound sense of fulfillment than he can get by following the example of his suburban parents. We can open our minds to possibilities that are beyond our current limitations and take chances.
Pretty Woman taught me how to care for my own welfare.
Kit instructed Vivian to “take good care of you” before she drove off with Richard Gere. Even if you’re a call girl, it’s essential that you love what you do for work. However, you cannot sustain a business without looking out for your best interests. You can’t expect anyone else to do it, so be sure to take care of yourself.
Breakfast Club taught me how networking is essential,
especially for those who are just starting out. Every customer is a potential client. Treat them all as if they could bring you more customers. This applies whether you’re dealing with a criminal or an athlete, a brain surgeon, a basketcase, or a princess.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off taught this important selling technique to me:
People aren’t buying just from you; they’re buying you. Another saying is that people will not remember what you did or said but how they felt. Ferris Bueller was a master of both these concepts. He was fun and charming and made people feel good about themselves. He could either sell sausage to Abe Froman (the Sausage King of Chicago) or get on a float at a downtown Chicago parade.
Personality is key to success in business. You must be friendly, positive, upbeat, helpful, and approachable. Try a new approach if something doesn’t work. And don’t be afraid to smile. Attitude is everything.
Dirty Dancing taught us to never leave the baby behind:
Johnny was a great dance instructor in the Catskills during the 1960s. He was a bit of a chipper, which was probably rightly so. It showed in his manner of carrying himself. Baby’s dad thought he had beaten up his partner in a dance, setting off a series of events that led to her being put in the corner. You should never change your identity or pretend you’re someone you’re not. However, you should keep your prejudices and personal feelings out of your business. Your business’s perception can either make or break it. You should keep your business positive and professional. Save your “true colors for the downtime.”
Some Kind of Wonderful taught me how to give it all.
Although it sounds corny, successful entrepreneurs are those who are able to identify their deepest desires and don’t mind giving them everything they have. The path to your goal is evident when you are clear about what you want and give your best. It doesn’t matter if you are wrong about something. When you discover that BFF Watts is the girl for you, you will realize that it’s not Amanda Jones. It is as simple as putting your all into the thing that brings you the most joy.
Say Anything taught me how to keep my eyes on the prize.
Lloyd Dobler does not want to be involved in any selling, buying, or processing of anything. He knows that he’s good at being with Diane Court. This is what he wants. Diane is aware. Her father also knows. Diane’s neighbors, who were treated to an early morning boombox rendition of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes,” know. He doesn’t let go of his dreams and sticks to his guns all the way to London. There he likely never had to sell, buy or process anything that he didn’t want.
How about you? What 80s films am I missing? And what can they teach you about business, life, and work in general?