Michael Sinclair Operating the Women Fitness Centre in London
Posted by May Zhao on Wednesday, 9th August 2017
This was the third time that Michael Sinclair had requested that I interview him. I felt touched by his sincerity and annoyed with him for his scheming. Several months ago, he was informed that I was writing a column titled “Letter From London” which was aimed at introducing British celebrities to Chinese people.
Then he called me saying he wanted me to interview him, help him promote his “ChinaOneCall” business. On the phone, he also guaranteed to tell me some touching stories and asked me to his club. I told him if he wanted me to help do the product promotion, he needed the required materials and that he pay me. He said “yes” forthright. But when we met at the luxurious club he joined, he directly asked his assistant to hand me the relevant materials and told me these were all he could give me and there was no money (because they were at the initial stage). Without expecting he would do this, I felt anger and funny. Then I clearly repeated that this kind of commercial promotion should be charged as regulated. My words also irritated him, and he responded he had no money but a pile of materials and stories. As a result, our first meeting ended up with nothing.
For the second time, on the phone he said he would recommend me to do a translation task which could help me make much money. But the condition was that I had to interview him for free if I accepted his proposal. I politely declined him for I thought he was annoying and funny. If he helped me finding some part-time job, definitely I should thank him. But he couldn’t ask me to interview him freely. What’s more, I was too busy to be a translator.
Recently, he called me again, claiming he worked out a good way I was willing to interview him without any charge. (But he insisted not to tell me it until we met again.) I was totally at a loss as to anger or laughing again. But meanwhile I was touched by his persistence and decided to meet him and figure out what he was going to do.
Michael parked his car and hobbled toward us. The other day his leg was injured accidentally. But he asserted his injury was nothing compared to the coming interview with me. Hearing his words, I felt a bit sorry for him and moved by him again. He insisted on treating us to dinner, because he said he knew it was Chinese courtesy. Looking around, he just found a nice Indian restaurant. So this British old man started to talk about his business experience and his deep connection with China in the exotic restaurant full of curry and flying cakes.
Not belonging to academia, Michael didn’t go to a formal university. He only learnt laws through training courses. Hence his first career was as a lawyer. With lots of creative ideas in his free mind, he soon owned a law firm.
Michael was a good and loyal husband. But when it came to business, timely switching to another promising field was his unchangeable principle. When his law firm was in full blossom, he found, directly doing real estate business was much easier to make a fortune than sticking to real estate consultation. This discovery drove him to switch his business in no time. Due to the good reputation and credit of his law firm, he won funding from the banks and soon purchased an old and huge church at a low price. He also was permitted to change it into residential apartments for sale. Consequently, the church became a precious treasure in Michael’s eyes.
However, this time Michael was not so lucky. The apartments transformed from the church were not welcome and became dead stock. With his law firm having been transferred to others, Michael started to research different businesses in the world, trying to find out profitable ones. When he was studying in America, he suddenly found women’s fitness, one program which hadn’t landed in London yet. In the early 1990s women’s fitness was popular and profitable in the USA. Thinking of his huge and empty church which was relatively close, safe and good place easy to manage, he was determined to do this business.
As a vigorous and resolute person, Michael immediately commenced to transform the church into London’s first women’s fitness centre.
Being a fashion city and closely connected with America, London was easy to accept new things. Moreover, the Jewish and Muslim Women found no place to entertain themselves (because they couldn’t appear in the common fitness gyms where men and women mingled together). Therefore, Michael’s women’s fitness centre bustled with customers soon. But a tough problem followed. According to British laws, when female centres were open, men couldn’t enter and Michael was no exception. So every day there would be such a scene that once the fitness centre was open, Michael, the boss, would be driven out and go elsewhere.
At the beginning, there were not so many employees and it was easy to manage them. But later, he had to hire more people to help him. So everyday Michael couldn’t help wondering what was happening in his fitness centre. Maybe the staff was stealing money from revenues, taking advantage of his absence.
Later, Michael successfully persuaded his wife into resigning from her office and helping him manage financial affairs in the fitness centre.