The economy may officially be in the dumps, but you can still make a whole lot of money if you’ve got a great idea. In fact, there are many examples of strange — and often ingeniously simple — business ideas that have earned their owners millions of dollars over a relatively short amount of time.
With that in mind, here are five particularly nutty — but very profitable — business ideas that resulted in quick million-dollar paydays for their proprietors:
1. Million Dollar Homepage
Back in the summer of 2005, twenty-one year-old Alex Tew had a really asinine stupid idiotic crazy business idea: establish a website called the Million Dollar Homepage and sell one-million pixels at one dollar a pop. I mean, who the hell would pay somebody a buck to own one tiny pixel on Tew’s homepage? Answer: enough people to make Tew a millionaire in just five months. How did he come up with the idea? According to Tew:
After an hour or two of jotting random things on paper, the idea seemingly popped out of nowhere. Almost like my subconscious mind had been ticking over in the background, working it all out. So it just kind of happened. That’s about it. I scribbled it down and within about ten minutes a picture of what needed to be done had emerged.
I hate you, Alex.
Back in the summer of 1997, Jason Wall saw a Jack In The Box fast-food commercial that said the company had sold more than three million antenna balls. That’s when Wall decided to try and come up with a few designs of his own. His designs quickly caught on and before he knew it he had penetrated the auto accessory and novelty industries.
Wall originally used gas stations to sell over four million of his creations. Today his, um, balls are sold nationwide at retail stores including WalMart, 7-Eleven, Circle-K, and Walgreens.
Former Navy SEAL and fitness instructor Phil Black had a rather wacky idea. Create a unique deck of 56 playing cards containing illustrations and instructions describing over 50 different exercises, stretches, and movements without the need for special equipment and then sell them for $19 a pop. Laugh all you want — but Black reported sales of $4.7 million in 2006.
4. Lucky Break Wishbone Co.
“Why, at traditional Thanksgiving meals, when there is a bounty of food, is there but one lonely wishbone?” asks Ken Ahroni, president and founder of the Lucky Break Wishbone Company. According to Ken, “There had to be a better way!”
So, not long after the start of the new millennium, Ken invented a mass-producible plastic wishbone so “everybody, including vegetarians, could have a chance to make a wish” during Thanksgiving.
A pack of 10 plastic bones can be had for under $10.
I bet you wish you thought of that idea before Ken did. I know I do.
Who would have ever guessed that making and selling protective goggles for dogs would be a money-making venture? I still ain’t buying it, but it doesn’t matter what I think. Just ask the millionaire-next-door owners who were smart enough to think of the idea.
The dog glasses currently sell for about $25. No word on whether their research and development department is currently working on doggie contact lenses. Heh.
Hey … do ya think maybe, just maybe…
I know. That’s just plain crazy.
Forget I even brought it up.
Photo Credit: andresfranco.net