FLORIDA, MO – After reading Mark Twain’s classic novel in his sophomore English class, Sam Clement (18) thought he had developed the perfect business model. Straight out of high school, Clement opened a painting company. And what was his brilliant plan? He didn’t hire any painters!
Inspired by Tom Sawyer, Clement developed a strategy for completing painting jobs without any painters on staff. At his first house painting project, he laid out all his supplies, turned on some music, and started painting in the most cheerful manner he could muster. He was carefully on the lookout for any gullible passersby to engage in conversation. It was all planned out in his mind:
Passerby: Whatcha doing?
Clement (looking like he’s having the time of his life): Painting a wall.
Passerby: Sorry you gotta work. I’m going to the movies!
Clement (astounded): You call this work? It ain’t every day a man gets to paint a wall like this!
Passerby: Well, it does look fun. Can I try it?
Clement (hesitantly): I don’t know. This client is awful particular. I’d best finish it myself.
Passerby: Aw, shucks. Come on, let me try. I’ll give you my iPhone!
And so it would go. Clement would sit back and watch other people do his painting, and he would collect an array of valuable items in the process.
In a stunning reversal of fortune, Clement’s foolproof business model has been a complete fiasco. He had one child (his client’s daughter) who traded a marble for the chance to paint, and ended up painting the couch. Aside from that one interaction, no one has taken his bait, and Mr. Clement has had to actually learn to paint.