Shane Harrington Built a Business
This is a written Transcription for the Midwest Mindset episode: What Success Looks Like in Nebraska
Full Written Transcript of The Episode
How Shane Harrington Built a Thriving Business Against All Odds
Matt: If I told you that there was a business that generates over $2 million annually, and whose success was built on old school grassroots marketing tactics, you’d probably want to give them all the credit in the world, right?
I mean, this is a huge success story. Unfortunately, many people don’t give the credit that’s due because this business operates in the sex industry. Dun dun dun. Oh, yes. Today we’re joined by Shane Harrington, the owner of Club Omaha.
Now Shane has built an incredibly successful business from scratch, from nothing. Today we are going to give him the credit that’s due, and he’s going to share with us the ways in which he built his business successfully. There are roughly 32 million companies in the United States, of which 81% have no employees.
They’re all solopreneurs, so that means only 6% of all companies nationwide are ever going to reach $1 million in revenue. Of those companies, only about one out of ten are 0.5% of all companies nationwide ever make it to $10 million in revenue.
If your company or my business or anybody’s in the state of Nebraska hit these goals and achieve these accomplishments, they would be celebrated.
Matt: Um, we would be asked repeatedly, what’s the secret to your success? How did you do it? That’s not necessarily how things have played out for our guest on today’s podcast, uh, Shane Harrington.
Uh, I feel like you are a man of mystery. Um, I’m excited to have a conversation with you today about entrepreneurial ism and your your, your business traps the success that you’ve built.
You can’t deny, you know, and I look at it on paper if if it was no name attached to it and no industry, no line of work and just said, hey, here are the straight numbers.
Here’s how long we’ve been in business, here’s how much money we’ve made. Here’s our success story. Anybody would say, man, that’s incredible.
And there it’s all legal. Nothing. Yeah, nothing wrong with what you’re doing, right? However, it has this, uh, this doubt cast on it. I mean, is that, like, tough to live with that a little bit, or is it just. Is that fuel for the fire, uh, to just kind of stick it to the man, flip them, flip the bird. Just keep moving forward.
Shane: Uh, fuel for the fire? Definitely. Yeah, yeah. I mean, at first I took it personal. Uh, the posts, the comments, the, uh, friends that I lost because of the business I was in that chose not to hang out with me.
Some just, uh, ghosted me. Some were, uh, had a conversation like, well, you know, with my job and the church and, you know, I, you know, if we were hanging out, it’d be bad for my, you know, growth at my company or this or that.
Um, so at first, you know, I was a little butthurt, I won’t lie. Uh, but then it kind of became a me against the world.
And when it’s you against the world, but it literally is you against the world, you find ways to fight and persevere.
Because not only do you want to prove, um, your friends wrong, you want to prove everyone who is commenting and hating on you and says you’re this, that, or whatever.
Well, the proof is in the pudding. If you can be successful, nobody can really argue with that.
Matt: I mean, 51% of all businesses in the United States will fail in their first 3 to 5 years. So majority of businesses are just going to fail first 3 to 5 years. And all these statistics that I’m rattling off here today, they’re staggering. It is an uphill climb. It is a battle to get to that top of that mountain. Right?
Yeah. And to do it and then do it again and again and again and do it on a level that I think very few, uh, businesses see in our state here in the Midwest especially.
And then to not get that credit, that that was really my big motivator for initially wanting to have you on. Um, when we started this podcast, um, the, uh, partner at the time that we were, uh, having on the show opposed to you being on the show, I believe it, uh, due to some, uh, religious, uh, you know, beliefs.
And so it kind of got put on, on hold. And I’m glad you’re here today, because I do feel like it is. It is unfair. It is unfair that we judge men and women, especially in this industry, who are not doing anything wrong.
They’re doing it by choice. They make a great living. It is. It is. Sex is something everybody hates talking about. And I feel like.
Shane: Everybody loves.
Matt: But everybody loves and everybody’s obsessed with it. Here’s a here’s a number that will blow your mind. And I want to ask you how you built this.
So correct me if I’m wrong. Over 50,000, um, male is your mailing list or 50,000 subscribers on your website? What’s this, like 50,000 number, uh, that you’ve built up? It’s like a subscription. Yeah.
Shane: So we did a membership. Um, and people would fill out a membership form and subscribe. And I think actually, through all of my clubs, we reached nearly 100,000. But at Club Omaha, it was 50,000 when we stopped doing our our membership. But still.
Matt: Like, you know, how much I would give for a 50,000 member subscription list. Yeah. I mean, how much would any business give for 50,000 members of their own tribe? Yeah, because, you know.
Shane: Like you said, it’s 50,000 of your people. You can buy mailing lists anywhere. Oh, yeah. Yeah, most of the people on that list, maybe 2% of them actually are interested in the product you’re selling. Go get us. We have them all. Yeah.
Matt: Go get 50 people to sign up voluntarily for something. Yeah. Related to your business. And then. Yeah. Try and. Take that to 50,000. So when you first started out, I know, um, you are notorious for making the news, which we’ll get to in a second. Um, I’d like to, I guess maybe ask you this to start. Like, why do people love to hate you so much?
Like, what do you think it is? Is it your set?
Is it your success? Is it the fact that you are successful despite all the haters that you won’t back down? Like, what is it that just you mentioned your name and people like? I mean, I used to think I had a face that angered people, but man, I.
Shane: Mean, no, no, my.
Matt: Name, Shane Harrington. And it’s like, yeah, it changed some people going.
Shane: I think it’s a combination of everything. You know, I was, um, I gotten a lot of trouble in high school. I was voted most likely to end up in the Nebraska State Penitentiary.
So prison was where people thought I was going to go. I ended up being the first person in my graduating class of, like, 732 people to make $1 million. So, um, I wasn’t supposed to make it. I didn’t have family money. I grew up poor. I didn’t go to college. No one loaned me any money to do my business.
Um, and I think that that upset people because the status quo is, is that you do these steps to become successful, and you don’t deviate from them because they’re they’re pre put in our minds from when we’re children and we go to, you know, elementary school and middle school and high school and then off to college that you have to take these steps and follow this protocol and be a good person in their mind.
Them being the church, them being, uh, the people who followed that protocol.
Matt: They have to sign off.
Shane: They have to approve. Yeah, it has to be to allow it.
Matt: It’s a control thing. Yeah.
Shane: Because when I made a lot of money the first time, we we, my wife and I had bought a house in Wilderness Ridge Golf Course in Lincoln, Nebraska, and we lived next to, like, judges and and all the well to do, you know, uh, had a Corvette and the license plate said paid for because I was proud I was I was able to write a check for a brand new Corvette.
And I remember getting my mail one day and one of the older gentleman that lived in our, you know, house area, he looked at the license plate and he said, paid for. How’d you do that?
And it was just like, wow. Like, it really is like that. Um, you know, he’s probably looking back, maybe 68 years old. I was maybe 31 or 2. And so to him, I clearly didn’t follow the correct protocol.
And it upset him. Um, you know, so I think that’s, you know, you know, number one. And then number two, obviously, sex, um, people don’t want someone to speak freely about it, to encourage people to speak about it, to engage in it, to have fun with it. And those are my two things, I would guess.
Matt: And sex is a topic I feel frustrated on a personal level. Um, I feel like probably eight years, ten years of my like my prime years, my 20s were just wasted because there was never a conversation about it.
There was no sex ed class in high school. Small town Nebraska. Uh, parents didn’t have a to date, and thankfully they haven’t brought it up like recently, like today. No conversation about it whatsoever. We didn’t have the internet like Pam and Tom and Lily. The sex tape was like the first introduction to that when I was like a senior in high school. And so and we were like.
Shane: Wow, yeah, you.
Matt: Know, we’re like, oh my God. Like there was no roadmap to follow. Um, there’s a lot more information out there for good or bad for kids today online, on the internet. But it really is frustrating that we can’t just talk about it, because I think that that’s what shuts things down. Um, you know, you say, okay, well, I’m a dancer,
I’m a professional dancer. I’m, I’m an escort or whatever. You work as a sex worker. People don’t even know what that means. I mean, there are a lot of legitimate workers in the sex industry who are just. They just sit behind a camera at their computer all day long, right? And they just produce content.
And so but there’s this stigma that comes with it was I’m curious with your, um, your entrepreneurial start, did you, um, was that related to sex or like, what was your first how did you make your first million?
Shane: Uh, first million. Yeah. Was, uh, on the internet website. Okay. An adult website. Um, my, uh. Ex-wife. Um, she became, you know, kind of a big deal in Lincoln. Omaha, Nebraska. Um, she I was able to place her in some magazines, and so she started getting a following.
Uh, my research told me that, you know, we need a place to send people so they know what she’s doing next. I thought simple, like, oh, she’ll probably do another magazine. We can promote that. Linked up with someone who said, no, you need an adult website like you. You need to create content. I didn’t even know how to barely turn on a computer. Like, what year.
Matt: Was this, by the.
Shane: Way? This would have been in 1999. Oh, wow. Okay, so so like the the beginning of.
Matt: Like AOL chat room days. Yeah.
Shane: Oh, yeah. Dial up internet. You couldn’t you know, sometimes it took 15 minutes to get the connection, you know, the whole bit. So yeah. Yeah. So that was it.
But we got in before anyone did. Um, we were able to build, uh, at the time and still to this day, actually the most successful single girl website in the world, um, thanks to, in part to the church’s, um, and the city of Lincoln who found out about this website and attacked us with everything they had. Um, and they ended up ticketing my ex-wife for being nude in a public place. But the catch was, they actually didn’t catch her nude in the public place.
They saw a picture on her website in a bar in downtown Lincoln, and they gave her a they’re.
Matt: Really trying to stretch there.
Shane: Well, the thing was, is it was the scariest thing that ever happened, but also the biggest blessing we ever received, because here’s my ex-wife calling me from work saying, the police are here, they’re giving me a ticket. They want to take me to jail for public nudity. Those pictures that we took at the, you know, bar downtown, it was Mars Bar was the name. It’s not in business anymore, but, uh, um, we freaked out.
We’re thinking about closing this thing down and next thing you know, we’re getting calls from every newspaper across the world, not just in the United States. They said you’re the first person to ever be ticketed from a picture off a website. This is a huge constitutional issue. All these law firms started calling, and Jay Leno is talking about it has a it’s one of his jokes of the night because he has these jokes and he has a joke about her. She’s the little park going across the bottom of CNN and we’re like, Holy shit, what just happened?
And from that moment on, it just it just just exploded. And then we just work outworked everybody. We just we didn’t stop. It was like, we accomplished this the next, the next, the next. And we just kept going and ran until millions of dollars just came rolling in.
Matt: And when when you started out, when you had like the idea for the website before the, the publicity kind of jump started, everything was that like just something you were naturally into? Like, how did you have the foresight to say, you know what, internet’s going to be a thing.
The dial up isn’t going to suck forever. We’re going to be past the 56, uh, you know, was it 56,000 K, uh, modems or whatever? Uh, back in the day, what was it that made you say, this is where I’m gonna I’m gonna invest and dedicate my time?
Shane: Well, I’d watched I’d watched a show. I don’t even remember what channel it was, but I’d watched a show, and it was this guy who was explaining how the internet was going to be like the the next big thing, like the biggest thing ever, like, you know, and he really hyped it up. It got me a little bit excited. I thought he was dreaming a little bit because, you know, look where we are. I mean, who would have imagined?
Um, but I knew that. She was building up fans, and there was no way that people were going to able to find us, connect with us, connect with her.
And so there had to be somewhere where we could go and create. All I was creating in my mind was very simply a landing page. I was just going to create a landing, a Melissa landing page so that they could go and see next magazine here, next feature, you know, strip club here or whatever it is. I never thought of it as a way to make millions of dollars. I never I’d never signed up for adult websites.
They were there was only a handful of them, even on the web at that time. So for me, um, you know, yeah, I tried to, you know, obviously look at porn and, you know, do my thing, you know, like everybody else did. But I never thought, you know, like putting a website up for my wife was was even a big deal. I thought once I got her in that first magazine, I thought I was the man.
I was like, whoa, how did I pull that off? I’m Lincoln, Nebraska, I have no connections. And here is my wife on the ex-wife on the cover of all these magazines. And yeah, it was, uh, was a crazy ride.
Matt: So from what I’m hearing, just to kind of translate this into terms, I think any business owner listening can take away something here. The make the news is a real strategy. Oh, yeah. Like, go make the news is a legitimate strategy. It sounds kind of silly. Um, but go make the news and then stick to the boring shit.
The routines, the mundane, uh, monotonous tasks that, you know, you want to automate day in and day out. Walk us through that. Like, what are your tips? What are Shane Harrington’s tips for making the news?
Like how do you make news headlines in a way that’s going to it because it can’t come across like fake, you know, no. Phony. No, you can’t. Like you’re seeking attention, right. Um, but it has to have a kind of a, a wink and a nod to it. Like, you know, we we understand that. Yeah, this is ridiculous that we’re on the news for this.
Shane: Well, sex sells. And so I think as a business owner, if you’re not afraid of that, push the envelope, you know, don’t break the law, but push it right to that line.
You know, and any business right now could sit, you know, ten scantily clad women out front holding up, you know, signs, and their business would increase exponentially. Now, will they do that? I don’t know, you know, it’s a big risk. You’re, you know, people are going to talk about you, but you want people to talk about.
Matt: I can’t get one woman to, uh, dress scantily clad in my life, you know? I mean, yeah.
Shane: You pay him enough, they’ll they’ll come. Good. You still gotta pay him.
Matt: I don’t have I don’t have that kind of persuasion.
Shane: You also return every email. You know, when we. My ex-wife and I were really big, I remember we would be flown out to Vegas for, like, the internet awards. Um, and we would have to go to our hotel room and people would say, well, where are you going? Well, we have work to do.
Like, what do you mean you have work to do? Got to return emails. And they laughed at us. The other models were like, we don’t return our emails. Our webmaster does. It’s like, no, we return every single email. Personally, we want to know what our customers want, what they need, and we would return hundreds of emails a day. And yeah, it was crazy. Yeah, it took hours, you know, sometimes 4 to 6 hours in a day to return all the emails.
But we knew that we wanted to grow. We wanted to do all the things that nobody else was doing. But most people just don’t want to work. Even business owners are afraid to work. They want to work Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, and then they want to check out. And it’s like I’ve never checked out since
I’ve been a business owner, I don’t. There is no such thing as checking out if I’m on my honeymoon, my vacation, my birthday. I’m returning emails. I’m working still at the same time because that’s how you take your business to that upper echelon that very few people make. Like your statistics said, it’s because people do not want to put in the extra work.
Matt: Yeah, and it’s not just put in the work because I think there’s that’s kind of a misnomer. We think we equate how many hours we worked to the quality of hours we worked.
And I think, you know, you talked about the 4 to 6 hours with the emails, like that was a lot of hours, but you were using those hours efficiently in a way that’s going to net a return on that investment of time. That’s probably 10 or 20 fold because they’re going to be we need lifelong yeah, fans.
Shane: And to learn what was going on. And the only way to really learn how people like your you know, it’s one thing to say, well, people are signing up. They love us, you know, like we’re making money. No, no, no. Why are they signing up? What what picture sets videos do they like the most? What would they like to see? You know what you did type.
Matt: Of things unknowingly. I think you you you built out you almost Mr. Miyagi yourself back in the day here, right? You built out a legit business ideal customer persona. Yeah, that’s what you did, right? You got in the weeds, you listened, you talked with your customer, you got to know them, and you built it out. What are their desires? Their pain points, their needs, their fears. And when you can get into that headspace, you know where they are, where they. Been time where they want to be with where they don’t want to be. Um, that’s where you can really dial in your marketing and how you’re going to approach, you know, selling your products or service, uh, to that individual, that ideal customer of yours.
Shane: Yeah. I wanted to do an automated one, don’t get me wrong. Like, it would have saved me a ton of time, but there’s that. They wouldn’t have made me money because the customer is not dumb. You have to remember like they’re spending their money. People are smart when they spend their money.
They want to be getting a value. And we were the best value for your money because we had the best product and the best customer service, both at the same time. It wasn’t good enough just to have one or the other. You’ve got to have both.
Matt: And I think in today’s, you know, age of AI, it’s very easy. It’s too easy to just let I do everything for you and miss the point entirely. Right?
Because what you’re talking about is you’re giving customers an experience. Yep. Right. And that’s what that’s really the only commodity that there is in life is an experience.
You know, you you can’t take your cars with you. You got the the memories of the experience. Um, and so like as far as putting in those hours though, like I feel like for a lot of entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs I think is they’re sometimes called, I’m working 60, 70, 80 hours a week.
Okay. And then are you having meetings with your staff? Are you setting metrics and measurables? Are you implementing, uh, like we use an iOS here with our company and operating system for your company, uh, to your business to set goals and just measure success over three, five, ten year plan. And they go, no, no, I’m just working a lot of hours and I feel like there’s a lot of people who just want to have a job they can’t get fired from.
They don’t really want to be a successful business owner. And you can see those types. They’re rare. Like those those numbers we mentioned at the beginning of the episode are it is rare to find that I don’t know if it’s that quality of just constantly seeking learning and, uh, just kind of it’s like a relentless, um, approach to just never giving up, which I know you have every entrepreneur that’s successful has that as well.
And the, the, um, as far as the button up, the, the making the news, any other like, secret tips you can give us on like making.
Shane: No, I just I think you press the envelope on every way, shape and form and that’s how you do it. You go against the grain, you know, um, if they tell you to go left, you go right, you know, you do your own thing and then you stand out and people pay attention to you. And for me, the business I’m in, they pay attention to me in a negative light.
So then they’re trying to get me. They’re trying to destroy me, show me up. And so, you know, craziest story I have, I think, from the websites is, um, I got a call one time from the FBI. I was a little scared.
The FBI was calling me like. Like it was the FBI. It wasn’t like a prank call. Like they they they was legit. And and they said, um, you know, uh, we’ll make this quick. Um, your website was reported to us from local law enforcement where you’re from. Um, and there was illegal activities going on on it.
And I said, okay, you know, like, like, okay, like, did we do something wrong? And he said, no, I literally wasted 12 hours of my life going through your entire website. I can’t find any bestiality, any child porn, anything. And I said, well, that’s illegal. We would never have that stuff.
And he said, well, it was reported to us that it was a very serious matter. And so then we have to go and then investigate it. And literally the conversation was 32 seconds or something like that.
He said, I’m sorry, Mr. Harrington, to waste your time, you won’t hear from us again. And I thought somebody really in law enforcement baited the FBI into hopefully because in their mind, these conservative Christians in Lincoln,
they thought that this just people having sex on a, on a website was had to be illegal. And it’s like, no, it’s not illegal. And you just wasted this man’s time. Who could have actually been investigating a website that maybe did have illegal activities on it, and he missed it because of you.
Matt: And I feel like we have to understand where people are coming from. I’ll use this like a minor analogy here when you’re in traffic. I used to get really frustrated, you know, people cutting you off, you get angry, you get the road rage going. Now, it doesn’t get to me because I can kind of take a step back.
And I realize that dude is angry. He’s got road rage, cut me off. Has nothing to do with me. Yeah. Has something to do with something going on in his life? I don’t know, maybe his mom’s in the hospital.
It could be something serious. Things going on. Right. So I have a little bit more empathy and compassion and and and and grace, I guess right under fire. And I think that’s the case here too, with haters on a bigger scale when you have somebody.
When we did our comedy television show Omaha Live, there was a lot of hate, not nearly the hate and vitriol you’ve gotten because it involves sex with your industry.
But, um, you know, you have to consider that these people who are telling you that you’re going to. Hell, this is wrong. You’re the spawn of Satan. You’re all of these things.
Shane: Those were pretty nice, actually. They’re a lot worse than that.
Matt: The, um. That’s all. I cleaning it up here for the podcast.
Um, those very same people are the ones who are often doing far worse things behind their own closed doors. Sure. I mean, how many times have we seen this story play out where it’s the, the the pastor who is, you know, homophobic and then turns out later, he’s actually gay and he’s in the closet and he’s battling his own demons and identity crisis.
And so I think that sex is an easy scapegoat to just whitewash and just get, you know, throw a bunch of hate at. And I don’t think it really solves anything. It doesn’t do anything because it doesn’t help the women who work in the industry.
And it doesn’t help anybody. Um, with the women who work like, give me just an idea of like some of the boring, mundane things we probably don’t know have to happen on a daily basis at, uh, Club Omaha, your strip club, because there has to be just, like, boring, like t.p.s. reports level. Just like.
Shane: You know, for us, um, I don’t know that that I find any of it boring, to be honest with you. For whatever reason, this was the job that I was meant to do. I, my mom and I have had this conversation and she was a very Christian person.
))))))I grew up very Christian, went to Catholic Church and was confirmed and, you know, lived in the church basically for years of my young life. And, and, um, you know, we battled back and forth because, you know, obviously she didn’t like what I did. Um, and then one day she, she obviously, as success grew, bought her a new car, things like that. She, you know, she finally was like, you know what?
I still don’t like what you do, but you’re damn good at it. And my mom doesn’t cuss, so. Damn is like, actually a cuss word for her. So it was her way of, like, letting me know, um, that I accept it because I see that this is who you are. So for me, I don’t really find, um, the the job itself boring in any way. What? I mean, like what?
Matt: I mean by it is like like there has to be a moment. I mean, this is what I’m envisioning in my head, like where you’re sitting there and you have to get a clipboard out. You got, like, your Walgreens, like readers, you know, because we’re probably about the same age. So let’s be honest. You got to I.
Shane: Squint, I haven’t, I haven’t, I haven’t sucked down to the Walgreens readers yet.
Matt: And you have the clipboard you bust out like the, um, the, uh, printed off, you know, uh, Excel form that’s got, like, everybody’s names. So, you know, for, like, attendance for the night and you’re like, all right, um, Barbie here, you know, Mercedes here, I guess I would say, like, there has to be Daytona, whereas. Is she late again? All right. That’s. Yeah.
Shane: We our girls are independent contractors, so they literally can come and go as they please. So there isn’t a lot I don’t have very many employees because none of the girls are actually employed by me. Um, I would say the part I guess that I would dislike the most is just paperwork in general. Um, we’re constantly changing, adjusting, and adapting our contracts to fit, uh, new laws, um, new rules at the club. Um, there’s constantly a girl that’s. Doing something you never thought could be done. Like, oh, we never thought about that. We better add that into the contract too. So when that happens, I have to redo the contract and then I have to have all of them sign it again. And so we have to read through to be legal. You have to read through every single line. We have about a four page contract. Um, and there’s a lot of initialing and things like that. So it’s probably about every 2 or 3 months that, you know, we’re printing out a new contract. That’s the kind of stuff that that’s that’s the part stuff. Yeah. That, that that’s the part that’s the hardest for me is it’s like it’s so repetitious to what I already did. And I feel like. Sort of a waste of time. I mean, obviously you have to do your legal work, but it becomes a bit much even for the girls.
Shane: They’re like another contract. I’m like, well, so and so decided to do. And we never thought about that. So it wasn’t in the contract because you the one thing about this job is, is no night is the same as the next night and in a way that you just can’t even fathom. Like every time you think you’ve seen the craziest thing or heard the dumbest thing, it’s like the next night just blows you away and you’re like, oh yeah, I can’t say that anymore because you just know, you know, tonight we have, uh, you know, Toy Show Wednesday.
Tonight we’ll be really busy and, uh, something crazy will happen. And but it’s what makes the job so fun is you really never know what’s going to happen. So you don’t get that lull so much. And then I also believe in the jobs that I don’t like generally are the jobs that I’m not as good at. Um, so then you hire people for those jobs, you know, delegate. Yeah. I half of my success is being able to train, hire and put the best people in the best positions that they’re good at so that I have the best at this, this, this, this, this. So, you know, my team is really, you know, what’s taken me to the next level in the website time my wife and my, my ex-wife and I at the time, we did everything ourselves.
Shane: Like, literally like we almost killed ourselves. We were working 120 hours a week type shit, but we did make a lot of money. I don’t have any regrets for it, but I learned a lot then, moving into this phase of my life and into the new business being the the gentlemen’s clubs, um, you you hire great people and then once they prove to be great, you pay them a great amount of money. So now I overpay all of my people, if that’s even a terme. I sometimes feel like, um, that undermines their abilities when you say overpay. But comparative to any other gentleman’s club, I pay significantly more to all of my staff, and I do that because they make me look good. They make my job easier. Um, so as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten smarter, which we all should. I hope you know, you get wiser, smarter. Um, and so for me, um, you know, my, my slogan on life is teamwork makes the dream work. And my team is stronger than anyone. I don’t care any strip club in the whole country. I put my team against them and we smoke them every single day. I don’t care if you’re the, you know, biggest strip club in in the world. Nope. We still smoke you.
Matt: I don’t know, you’re you’re you say that you’re just lucky, though, that the original Chippendales is not still open because they may give you a run for your money. Yeah. Um, but you’re right. These are some of the basic building blocks for any successful business. You know, you want to bring in the right people, build the right team. You have to surround yourself with a leadership team, too, like you’re talking about not just people. You give orders to people who can step up and lead. And, uh, you know, it’s taken us time. I think I would compare your, uh, two different, uh, timeline trajectories, but like your, uh, your go at the website and kind of just the Wild West at the time was how we did it with Omaha live. And it was like, I don’t even know how to what an entrepreneur was, let alone how to spell one. You know, I didn’t have any hours or any consistency. It was just, you know, late nights, all nighters, drugs, just bad all around bad, bad, bad. Right? Yeah. It was a party.
Shane: And, you know, that’s how we were.
Matt: Um, but looking back on it, there was a lot that I learned by doing it the wrong way. Yeah. And so now I can apply that today and like, okay, I’m going to pause. I’m going to take time to really find and build the right team and build this team that. Now, like you said, we have we have a team here as well where it’s like we are really performing at a high level and this team has come together, um, in both leadership and in execution. And so I think that that’s important to, uh, to be willing to delegate. Yeah. Good rule I kind of learned is like, if they can do it 80% as good as you, then let them do it. Yeah. You know.
Shane: Exactly. No one no one’s ever going to be like when it’s your business. No one’s ever going to quite work it as hard or as thorough as you would. But if you like you said, if they’re at 80%, you thank them and let them run with it.
Matt: Or in the case of, you know, our production director, Martin, um, who’s producing the show right now, 22%, you know, you gotta no, I’m kidding. He does a great job. Um, he’s probably like, 95, 96%, you know?
Shane: You know, sometimes you get really lucky. Yeah. You know, I have a lawyer, and my lawyer is, like, 100%. And, um. And I’ll pay this guy until the day I die because he helped me on the one thing that I could not do at all. Legally, you cannot represent yourself. Not against city, state governors, mayors, city council, the police chief.
You know, you need a good lawyer. You need somebody who will grind for you, who will fight for you. No matter what gets thrown at them. And for me, you know that that’s where that whole teamwork thing he introduced me to. Um. I need somebody that’s good. I need to pay them well. And if I do, and they do their job, I’m going to succeed and I’m going to make it. And he kind of helped get me over that hump.
But also, like I said, taught me that valuable lesson that if you put the right team together and we’re all working for the same common goal, uh, you know, there’s no limit to what we can do. So I pay a lot of my guys on bonuses, too. So you get a great hourly wage, don’t get me wrong.
Shane: But you also get a bonus. Every time we do something great, everybody gets paid. It’s a team win. Yeah. So then everyone’s fighting to break records. Like, if we break a record on privates, or we break a record for the night or for a Wednesday or for it’s it’s everybody gets paid extra.
And I think that that really changed the whole game for me. Um, because it’s like if we don’t do well, they get paid good still, but they don’t get that bonus. You get start getting used to that bonus and you’re like, shoot, we can make that again and again and again and and when we’re all working together, we’ve broken, I would say, upwards of 100 records in just the last year.
Wow. So it’s like we break a record and we think like, oh man, we can’t do any better than that. And it’s like, nope, we did better and better and better. And everybody’s kind of gotten, uh, high on the bonuses, you know, like, no, I want I want to keep getting these bonuses. We can keep doing better. And and we just all keep pushing.
Matt: Yeah. I mean, you want your team excited, you want to get them motivated.
And that has to come from inside. It can’t just be a forced external thing. Yep. Um, you know, the the drivers for solving any problem. You know, you have your internal I need money, you know, your your external, your internal. Like I really want this bonus so I can show up. My neighbor Todd and philosophical is the one people forget often. And that’s where you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. Yeah.
That’s why George pride in it. Yeah. George Lucas said like pizza, free pizza and beer is is more effective than any six figure salary you can give. Yeah I mean it is it. People love just that that camaraderie that that teamwork and that, you know, being a part of something bigger than themselves. What would you what’s the if we, as we kind of wrap up here, like what is the biggest misconception about yourself and what is your what would be like your single greatest tip for an entrepreneur or business owner right now?
Um, because we’ve talked a lot, a lot of different things that we talk about a lot on this, on this podcast. But, um, it’s interesting through your lens how they are identical. They mirror each other because you’re a a business. Yeah, it’s a legitimate business. Yeah. We do.
Shane: I know we pay taxes. Yes, I know the whole bit.
Matt: And I think people forget they’re like, oh, it’s not a business. It’s, you.
Shane: Know, you know, if they knew how much I was paying in sales tax every month and income tax every year, they would say, oh, wow, you’re.
Matt: Probably paying for those like schools and churches that, you know. Yeah, yeah, yeah. They’re protesting you.
Shane: Yeah. It’s it’s crazy. And, uh, so what’s the biggest.
Matt: Misconception about you today that you still feel lingers.
Shane: On? Um, you know, you I don’t know if you can ever shake like, you know, the creepy strip club guy, you know, like that. That’s just, um, because there are so many of them, you know, people always say, like, do you feel like you were unfairly treated? Well, of course I did. My, my my civil rights were violated, and I proved that in court. But. I understand why sometimes. Now I don’t understand the churches and things like that.
But I understand that you. See those 60 minutes and 2020 specials. And they are about the creepy strip club owner who was hooking his girls on drugs and was prostituting them out, and was encouraging underage girls to drink and things like that. That is kind of how that name or that thing got associated. Obviously, with us, they not just were an easy target because they were in a business that people didn’t like. They actually held true to exactly what people thought they were. They actually were.
Matt: Some people earned the reputation.
Shane: Yeah. And it was.
Matt: It was unfair to other people who may be doing it a different way. Well, it’s.
Shane: Actually what made me get in the strip club business. So my ex-wife would feature when she became very well known, she would feature all over the country. Strip clubs would hire her to come in and, and and I obviously met them because, you know, I work hand in hand with her.
I did all her contracts and everything, and almost all of them were complete pieces of shit. Really? Yeah. They were sleeping with 17 different girls. They were, you know, partying every night with them. They were getting drunk and doing coke in the bathroom with the the customers and things like that.
Matt: Sounds like a normal day here at our studio. So.
Shane: So what I thought was I at that time, I had a lot of money, but I thought, you know, if I ever decide to go into a different business, I’m going to go into the strip club business and I’m going to try to run it as close to a fortune 500 company as you can. We’re going to have contracts and rules and regulations, and everyone’s going to follow them from me to security to the dancers to whatever.
And when I would tell this to owners that they would, they just laugh at me. They’d say, oh, you’re dreaming, can’t be done. You don’t know these girls.
They’ll screw you over in a second, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I said, no, no, no, I really think you can create a more positive environment. Sure, it may be harder to get your staff of girls that follow that protocol, but I believe if you do it, you will reap the benefits for years to come. And so when I decided to get in the business, that was my thing. How do I help make these girls better? How do I get them to quit smoking? Quit doing drugs, quit drinking?
Um, how do I get them to build their credit up? To save money, to invest money to come up with a 2 to 3 year plan? Because I tell every girl that comes in and trains with me, I say.
Shane: Tonight is your first night at my club. I guarantee you I’ll make you a life changing money and I will keep you safe. Those are my two promises to you. I want you to promise me that this isn’t your lifetime job. That in 2 to 3 years, you will then move on to your big. I call it the big girl job. Mhm. Um. And so. I am doing things as good as possible. Um, I look in the mirror at night and I feel good about who I am. Um. I feel good about the changes that I’ve made in my girls. I can’t fix them all now, you know. Of course not. Do all of them listen to my investing tips and not drink and things like that? No, but I would say I probably have somewhere around a 30 to 40% of them actually follow through and come up with a escape plan, so to speak. They go to school, they pay off their bills, they buy a car, they get an apartment. We help them do all of that. Um, we’ll do reference letters, we’ll do income verification letters. We’ll even call the apartment complex on the phone, and I’ll speak to them directly. No other business is doing that. No other strip club is. But no other business is probably doing that.
Matt: Yeah. No, you’re you’re you’re 100% correct. And I think that that’s admirable. Admirable to, uh, to hear that you’re doing. And I’m glad that you shared that, because it’s interesting. We talked about the churches and these groups who have a this moral, uh, motivation. It’s against our values, what they’re doing over here.
Where are they? In helping young women who maybe need some guidance, who maybe they are dancing or stripping, and it’s because they’re desperate for money, but it isn’t what they want to do their whole lives. Where are they actually in stepping up to help them? Instead, they’re just casting a stone.
And I remember this because my our dad’s a pastor, so I grew up in the church. And I remember, um, you know, there is a there is a reason that the first person that that Jesus revealed himself to was a prostitute in the town, very first person. Yeah. You know, and and I think, you know, yeah, it’s like, uh, people in these organizations, we get high and mighty, and they feel like I’m just going to cast the first stone and judge, and they forget what their Christianity is.
They describe it is actually supposed to be all about. Yeah. You know, and so, um, so that’s good to hear. And then what any last tip you have for like a, um, for an entrepreneur or business owner, we talked about, like, standard operating procedures, your checklist, your, your, um, um, get your processes and procedures in place, make the news as much as possible, um, and, uh, and pay attention to the legal stuff. Any other big tips you can leave us with here today?
Shane: Uh, learn everything you know. Know how to do every single thing that your business does so that no matter what happens, somebody quits. Uh, what gets sick?
You know, you can literally cover anything, you know, um, whether it’s fix the computer, DJ, uh, plunge a toilet, um, you know, whatever it is, you need to know how to do it. Um, you’ll go a lot further. You’ll also gain a lot more traction.
My girls. When they saw me in a suit plunge in toilets one night because they backed up and I got shit all over my pants and they were like, oh my God. I know. Had to be done, you know? And so if you’re willing to do all of the shit work. Mhm. As well as take the credit and whatever. Well, well you’ve got to be able to do both sides.
But if you know how to do every single thing that your business does, even if you have someone better than you at it, go learn from them how they do it. So that if you need to to slide by, you can. Because there’s nothing worse than having, you know, five people on your team and one calls in sick or two get Covid or whatever it happens to be. Um, and then you have to shut your business down because you don’t know or no one knows how to fill in their spots. You don’t want. That is important.
Matt: You don’t want to let an employee of yours hold your business hostage because they hold the keys. They’re the only ones who know how to do it. Yeah, I’m a big proponent of that as well. Like do every job in your company.
Shane: You don’t have to be the best at it, but you have to know how to do and manage through every single scenario that your company does.
Matt: It’ll help you gauge things like how to measure, you know, progress. And should that take that much time, you know? Or is that are they just kind of, uh, going slow like it took me ten hours to do that? It’s taking them 20. That doesn’t seem right, you know. So the.
Shane: Only thing. Oh, correction, though, there’s always something you can’t do. Because though I can dance and I could strip, no one would. Actually, my customers wouldn’t want to watch me dance. But if I needed to get up there to buy us some time, I goddamn would be up there.
Matt: I did, I actually did this last year, uh, last, uh, fall, uh, a I tried a pole like a stripper pole. Yeah, yeah, 20 foot tall, uh, stripper pole. Now, they didn’t have it hooked up correctly, so the pole didn’t spin. Okay, okay. And it was very painful. Yeah, it was very painful. I have all the respect in the world now for for dancers on poles. That is like, I don’t know how they do it.
Shane: Like, it’s not just that, you know, I think that people need to understand that to be a dancer is one of the toughest things that you’ll ever do. You sell a little bit of your soul every time you go there. You it’s not.
Matt: Really that sexual to them. You know, you crush your.
Shane: Body because you’re constantly on nine inch heels, dancing on a pole, walking a 10,000 square foot building all night long in a.
Matt: Thong. Yeah.
Shane: So, so mind, body and soul. These girls are giving up a lot to entertain you. Um, yes, they are being paid very well, but. But I think a lot of people forget, you know, if you put yourself in their shoes for a night and had to give your mind, your body and your soul the way that these girls do, you would have a newfound respect for them.
Matt: Absolutely. Or just watch the movie, uh, hustlers with Jennifer Lopez. They they lay it out pretty good in that one. Uh, I appreciate you coming on, man. Yeah. Thanks for having.
Shane: Me. I appreciate you.
Matt: And, uh, congratulations on your success. And and here’s to cheers to all the controversies to come. Yeah.
Shane: Oh, yeah. There’s going to be more. I’m opening another club soon. So when you get on the news, keep going. Next time you get on the.
Matt: News, then we got our coordinate something so that like, we can somehow get some like cross promoting collaboration. You got you two brothers in there.
Shane: Yeah. Got you. We’ll come.
Matt: Do our podcast from wherever they’re protesting you.
At in the corner. Sounds good man. I’m in. All right.