Ideas for making money
Here are the eight items listed, along with some of my thoughts:The pet rock was an example of big mark-up. You grab a rock from off a dirt road, paint a face on it, and sell it! Why didn’t I think of that one?
The yellow smiley is a crazy story. The inventor made $45 out of it, sold the rights, and two brothers made over $50 Million in sales! Lesson to be learned–a simple idea can be overlooked as worth $45, or, with the right spin on it, and with the right vision, could be a $50 million plus idea… Vision, hard work, and putting the right spin on a simple idea can make it happen. But if you don’t see the vision, you could be leaving alot of money on the table…
The story of the wacky wall walker is an interesting story. It shows the need to take risk. Risk is, well…. risky! The idea originated from China, and the rights were purchased not for $45, but for $100,000. That’s a big chunk of change for most of us, especially knowing that it could be a dud, and you could end up with $100,000 less than you had before, and a bunch of slimy toys that nobody wants. There are many risks that people make, that do not pan out. This one actually started out just limping along, not making much money, but eventually became a fad, making about $80 million. So, a few lessons here. First, sometimes it takes a big risk. Risks, however, don’t always pay off. Second, even after the risk, they had to endure. Things didn’t take off right away. They had to keep at it. If they gave up too soon, they wouldn’t be where they are at now…
The story of Icanhascheezburger.com is an interesting one. A funny photo starts a web page. Others contribute to it, and eventually the site is sold for $2 million. It continues making money, with book sales, etc.
The slinky is one of many examples of accidents that are witnessed, that turn out into very profitable ideas. Another similar example is the Post-It notes. With the slinky, a Naval engineer accidentally dropped a tension spring and watched what it did, copied it, and created the slinky. With the Post-It notes, the glue didn’t stick enough, but they found that it worked well as post-it notes, and they took off like crazy. With the slinky, it’s also interesting to note that he was worried that it wouldn’t sell, so he staged the first sale. I’m sure they would have sold without this, but it’s interesting to wonder if sometimes a fake sale, or something similar, is needed to prime-the-pump. This blog is about ideas, and inspiration. This may not fit exactly with what you are looking into, but it may be just the inspiration you need. It’s also interesting to note that the inventor and his wife had difficult times, and were separated, and he joined a cult, but that she held it together and eventually sold it. It points out that even after the idea takes off, you still need good business sense and a level head to keep things going. This reminds me of the movie “The Social Network,” about the creation of Facebook. It’s very intense, even with ClearPlay, but very interesting. It reminds me of the strained relationships involved in the movie, and in getting Facebook where it is today. I thought it was interesting that the movie was named after a book about the same thing, called “Accidental Billionaires” (with a B, not an M…), because they “accidentally” became billionaires.
The story of the snuggie hows the importance of advertising. $10 million in infomercials lead to about $200 million in sales. Once again, it’s hard to say with that one. What if they didn’t take off? They’d be out $10 million, and have a bunch of worthless Snuggies. But they risked it, and it paid off. Not only did they pay the money for the advertising, but the advertising was silly stuff. These things may be sold often as gag-gifts–but hey, if it makes money, that’s what matters in the end.
The million-dollar home page is an interesting one. Some kid did some brainstorming, and boy did it pay off! He figured that to get $1 million, all he needed to do was have a web page with 1,000,000 pixels, and get advertisers to pay $1 per pixel. All 1 million pixels were purchased in under a year. Besides the great idea and timing, he also used the charity card. He said that this was to help him get money for college. Well, it worked! So maybe you need to see if there is some angle where you could have a charity cause for your idea?
The story of how Beanie Babies made it big is interesting as well. No advertising, and these bean-bag babies make billions. With a B. How did they do it with no advertising? Well, not only did they not do advertising, but they made them with different personalities, and limited the supply. Supply and demand–that’s the equation. With only a limited supply of different personalities, the demand for those went up, and thus the price.
This is what Honda does as well. It only makes so many cars, keeping the demand, and the price, high. Nintendo does the same thing. Apples does it as well. Lots of companies do it. Ty did this, and had different personalities.
Here are some other ideas that probably made some people well-off, and make me think–why didn’t I think of that?
OK, so I’m dating myself here, but Cabbage Patch Kids sold like crazy. They were similar to the beanie babies, except they went one step further. Instead of limiting supply, they made each one unique–and the rest is history.
The Elf of the Shelf is really a big thing. It’s one of those things that I thought–why didn’t I think of that? Sell a little toy elf that “watches the kids” during the day, then each night goes to the north pole to report to Santa how everyone is doing, then the next morning shows up in a different spot–plus a book to go along with it.
RedBox really gave Blockbuster a run-for-their money, and just about put them under, in my opinion. RedBox was an idea where they took an existing use model and removed lots of overhead. No store-front needed. This is also what Dell did–no stores, just direct purchases directly to Dell. Amazon did the same thing. No store-fronts. Everything is direct. With RedBox, they replaced the store with a vending machine, basically. They also placed them strategically at grocery stores and McDonalds. This is a great example of Win-Win (see Steve Covey’s 7 Habits book–great book).
NetFlix did something similar to RedBox, but instead of replacing store-fronts with vending machines, they used the postal service. Eventually they went to the streaming model as well, removing even this layer–so they just have the internet to distribute the movies with.
As we mentioned, Amazon got rid of the store-front, to make the overhead very small. When the creator of Amazon heard about the huge growth in internet sales, he moved from the east coast to the west, started Amazon, and the rest is history…
Facebook is an amazing story of making lots of money as well. See the movie “The Social Network” (I watch it on ClearPlay). It is an intense movie, about the relationships–good and bad–and the people who made it to the top. Just when it seemed like there was nothing else that could be invented, and all the ways to make money had been tried, Facebook made it to the top. The movie is based on the true story in the book “Accidental Billionaires.”
What are some ways that you have been inspired to make money? What ideas haveyou seen where you think–why didn’t I think of that?
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