Thursday, November 30, 2006

How To Become A Millionaire Planning Parties

Marley Majcher Story

Blame MTV’s My Super Sweet 16 for showing teens nationwide the extremes the super-wealthy go to for a child’s coming-of-age soiree. American teens, who number more than 70 million, want what’s hot at their parties--from bar and bat mitzvahs to sweet 16s, quinceañeras and other coming-of-age rites. Whether you start a new specialty, add teen parties to your existing event planning business, or specialize in peripheries like security or entertainment, teen parties have an angle for everyone.

Party planner Marley Majcher, who founded Pasadena, California-based The Party Goddess! Inc. in 2000, suggests walking the fine line between making teens happy and making their purse-string-holding parents even happier. “You have to be a really good listener and see yourself as a liaison,” she says.

To succeed, bone up on trends. Majcher, whose company brought in $1 million this year, notes that lounge setups are in vogue for teens. Because music and entertainment are paramount to any teen shindig, hooking up with hot DJs in your area can help you break into the market. And you’ll definitely want to market in areas with high disposable income.

How To Profit From College Rivalry

The Birthday Party Business: How to Make a Living As a Children's Entertainer

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

How To Make Money With Designer Crutches

Laurie Johnson Story

Leg casts decorated with Sharpie markers are so five years ago. What’s the new must-have item for the injured fashionista? Designer crutches, of course.

For Laurie Johnson, founder of LemonAid Crutches, the idea of adding a little pizzazz to the drab world of medical supplies was born out of terrible tragedy. In 2002, a small-plane crash took the lives of her husband and 2-year-old son, and left her with a broken femur that wouldn’t heal. A year later, still in emotional and physical pain, Johnson decided to take life’s lemons and make lemonade.

It all started when her sister spray-painted Johnson’s crutches and fabric-trimmed the handles. “I sat there thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so silly, but they make me feel better!’” says Johnson, 46. “I said, ‘If I feel this way, someone else is going to feel this way, too.”

In mid-2005, the company put up its website, where it peddles fashionably functional crutches designed with themes such as Safari Adventure and Asian Inspiration. The fully padded and lined crutches cost from $140 to $175 a pair.

Although a self-proclaimed “capitalist at heart,” Johnson felt she could do more. In 2005, she founded Step With Hope, a foundation that offers financial support and counseling for people who have lost loved ones. She dedicates 50 percent of LemonAid’s profits to the foundation.

And though the designer-crutch business may seem like a small niche, Johnson has big plans for several new projects, such as offering crutches to children’s hospitals. She expects Lemon-Aid to bring in just under $150,000 in 2006. “There’s so much we can offer,” she says, “with just a little less in our pockets and a lot more in our hearts.”

How To Make Up To $1000 A Day Reselling Old Seminar Tapes On eBay

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How To Make Millions Selling Guitars

Chris Griffiths Story

2005 Sales: Over $7 million

A Garrison acoustic guitar looks like a regular guitar on the outside, but the inside is a modern marvel. Instead of wood braces, a one-piece injection-molded fiberglass structure called the Active Bracing System is encased in the guitar body. It's a high-tech leap for an instrument that's been around for hundreds of years. Garrison is on track to build 25,000 guitars this year, selling to more than 450 dealers in North America and to distributors in 35 other countries.

Griffiths likes to mention that it took six minutes to come up with the bracing concept--and six years to build it. He was no stranger to running a business, having started Griffiths Guitar Works, a small custom guitar-building shop and later a retail store, in 1993, when he was only 19. "All the lessons and all the troubles and all the issues were extremely similar between both companies, just on a different scale," he says. With no factory and only five prototypes in hand, Griffiths went to the National Association of Music Merchants trade show--the industry's largest--in 2000 and came away with prospective orders for over 46,000 guitars per year. By February 2001, Griffiths had secured $4 million in funding. "We had no employees, no sandpaper, no wood, and we started to build a company," he says. By September 2001, Garrison was shipping its first batch of guitars.

From one of North America's oldest cities come the newest innovations in acoustic guitars. As Griffiths says, St. John's is "way out there. It's a big deal to have a guitar factory in this town. We've shown that you can be innovative in Newfoundland and still be a global company." The 37 employees at the 20,000-square-foot factory are all locals. "Without good people, it's just a building, a bunch of machines and a pile of wood," says Griffiths. That focus on the community has paid dividends in terms of loyalty and low employee turnover.

"I've transitioned from being a fan of the guitar and a guitar builder to being a guitar CEO," Griffiths says. But he still finds time to play the instrument he's loved since he was 12 years old. With Garrison Guitars looking to double in size over the next year and a half, Griffiths has definitely found his groove.

Eric Johnson: The Fine Art of Guitar

People Are Strange: Unusual UFO Cults Examined

Monday, November 27, 2006

How To Make Money With Organic Flowers

Gerald Prolman

Call them "extreme roses"; these flowers might tower above the person who receives them.

The roses boast a larger head size - more than two inches high and two inches wide, about twice the industry norm - as well as a higher petal count, a minimum vase life of seven days (compared with about five for standard roses), and unique colors. Red Intuition is light red with streaks of deep crimson, Pink Intuition follows the same variegated pattern, with pale pink and fuchsia and for the traditionalist, there's a classic red.

Gerald Prolman founded Organic Bouquet with the belief that a growing number of consumers want their flowers to deliver two messages: "I care about you, and I care about the earth too."

Making the supreme declaration of love will not come cheap. After all, the flowers require more labor when they're growing and take 100 days to mature - two to three times the industry norm. Plus, the six-footers have to be shipped in special boxes. "You should have seen the expression on the DHL guy's face," Prolman says. "He couldn't believe we had roses that long." Prolman's roses will set you back about $21 a stem, or $250 for a dozen (including shipping). He has already placed an advance order for 100,000 in 2007.

Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Egg Millionaire

Cyd Szymanski Story

Over $5 million walking on eggshells: After enduring a childhood filled with the daily rigors of farm life, Cyd Szymanski vowed never to do anything farm-related again. But when her father and brother called her in 1991 with a captivating idea--producing cage-free eggs--Szymanski agreed to market the new business. She didn't agree, however, to be left fully in charge with $68,000 in debt after her family backed out a year later.

Determined not to crack under pressure, Szymanski immediately set to work winning customers. She convinced reluctant dairy managers at King Soopers supermarkets throughout Colorado to carry her product, assuring them she would assume the cost of any broken, bad or unsold eggs. The managers agreed, her eggs sold, and orders doubled. "We were on the cusp of organic product growth," says Szymanski. Nest Fresh Eggs products are now carried in major markets and health-food stores in 11 states.

Szymanski's hard work has not only freed chickens, but farmers as well. By outsourcing some production, she has enabled 10 local farmers to continue farming. This holds special significance for Szymanski, whose own family lost their farm when she was young. "We need people connected to the earth and the animals, who can do a job that's hard," says Szymanski. "Part of what we strive for is happy hens, happy humans."

The Astonishing Power of Guilt and Absolution

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Keeping an Eye on the Media

Babak Farahi Story

2005 Sales: $17 million

For Babak Farahi and his high-school friends, after-school activities like sports took a back seat to more urgent events taking place in their hometown of Walnut Creek, California. Their love of adventure and excitement kept Farahi and company glued to the radio scanner. At first mention of a fire or an accident, they would rush to the scene, capture footage and then sell it to the news stations that had arrived too late.

After high school, Farahi started a video production company specializing in custom video editing. While getting to know the industry, he noticed that news stations didn't record their own broadcasts, and he saw potential to profit by taping news shows, then selling the videotapes to the individuals who had appeared on TV. Multivision, created in 1996, also caters to large corporations wishing to track what is being said about them in the media. Currently, Multivision gathers information from more than 1,100 stations worldwide and creates tools such as DVDs, digital clips and transcripts so its clients can monitor, watch and analyze the information. Farahi's ultimate goal: to expand Multivision's coverage to include all broadcast stations worldwide.

Farahi was only 23 when Multivision was born, and he admits that being so young was difficult at times. "It is definitely a challenge when you're young to go out and hire a finance person who might have gray hair," says Farahi. "It's a challenge to make him believe in you."

Despite Multivision's eight offices nationwide and international expansion into Canada, Farahi has kept the company cohesive. He has established an intranet system to promote employee interaction, and organizes an annual sales meeting to bring all 125 employees together. He says, "We go for four days and work hard, play hard, and make sure we're all one company."

An Interview With Dan Kennedy

Friday, November 24, 2006

Making A Mint

2005 Sales: $9 million

Manufacturer and distributor of promotional, private-label and licensed items--most notably the Clik Clak line of mint- and candy-filled tins

Donna Slavitt worked in both the hospitality and retail arenas early in her career, but it was a job in Old Navy's prototype coffee and candy division that led her to her passion--creating fun candy and mint tins. Wanting to branch out with her own specialty retail creations full time, she enlisted the help of college friend Amy Katz, who also works as a corporate lawyer.

The pair's first success came in 1997 with a retail product called WebFuel--a mint tin in the shape of a computer mouse that was designed to market websites. WebFuel attracted the attention of big names like AT&T, IBM and Microsoft at the beginning of the internet boom. Says Slavitt, "We started getting calls [saying], 'What can you make for us?'" That launched the company into the private-label arena, creating promotional tins for other companies. Their pivotal moment, however, came in 1999, when they signed an exclusive agreement to distribute candy- or mint-filled Clik Clak tins in the U.S. (the Clik Clak tins were being manufactured and distributed by a French company primarily to European outlets). Named for the sounds the tins make upon opening and closing, the Clik Clak line became a staple of World Packaging Corp. and quadrupled the company's revenue.

Slavitt and Katz have created specialty candy-filled tins and other items with official Major League Baseball, NBA and NFL licenses, and have worked with clients like Henri Bendel and Kate Spade. Next on the list: an organic confection line to complement their already-yummy candy offerings. The actual "we've arrived" moment for the pair? "I saw one of our Clik Clak tops melted into the tar of a New York City street," says Slavitt. "I thought, 'When you start seeing your own brand as litter, you know you've really made it.'"

Staying Safe from Financial Predators

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Funny Money

Company: Gift and stationery company in Venice, California

Projected 2006 Sales: $3.5 million

Latecomer: Former book editor Bilik was a chronic procrastinator. The idea for her business actually came while putting off the creation of her illustrated memoir. After designing and sending belated holiday cards in January, her friends encouraged her to sell the cards. “Humor is a great way to acknowledge and excuse your own shortcomings,” Bilik says. “January” is now her bestselling holiday card.

Homegrown: With the profits from a real estate sale, Bilik launched Knock Knock in 2002 with 13 products. Buyers were hesitant until they saw prototypes, so a sales company came onboard to help her gain entry into specialty gift stores. Despite difficulties keeping up with orders, sales shot to $650,000 the first year. “The key is resiliency,” says Bilik, who learned quickly from her mistakes.

Culture Clash: Knock Knock acknowledges the oft-unspoken hilarity of life, whether it’s in office politics or relationships. One card, for example, tells the newly single: “Time wounds all heels,” and “You’re better off.” “It’s observational humor,” Bilik says. “Most greeting card companies are so idealized. They’re not funny about the actual occasion.” Knock Knock products, including a dating kit and humorous flashcards, are sold on, in more than 3,000 stores nationwide, and in Canada and the UK. Bilik plans to create additional brands, such as a line of contemporary office products called No. 2, and rework the company’s signature products for mass merchants. Says Bilik, “I’ve inadvertently tapped into a psychology zeitgeist.”

Class Warfare: The Rich Vs The Super Rich

Funny Business: An Introduction to Comedy With Royalty-Free Plays and Sketches

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

$7 Million From Ferrets

Scott Sanfilippo and Joe Palko Story and

2005 Sales: $7 million

Scott Sanfilippo and Joe Palko became ferret owners in 1994--and soon discovered few pet stores carry ferret food or toys. While ferret supply manufacturers exist, retail stores are reluctant to devote any shelf space to such a small niche market. From their home, the friends decided to start a website,, to serve ferret owners like themselves. Sanfilippo, an ISP sales engineer at the time, and Palko, a UPS manager, spent nights working on their venture until devoting themselves solely to their business in 1999. Today, they offer over 1,500 unique ferret products. Recently, Sanfilippo was thrilled to see another order from their first customer ever: "I found that to be a testament to our company."

In 1999, when the partners were ready to expand their company, Neeps, beyond ferrets, Yahoo! Merchant Solutions enabled them to create,,,, and It also led them to a group of Kyrgyzstan-based recent college graduates who had responded to's website redesign bid. Though he and Sanfilippo opted to use another developer, Palko developed a strong friendship with the young men. When the partners spun off their website development and internet marketing group to create Solid Cactus in 2000, Palko successfully immigrated two of the Kyrgyzstanis to the U.S. to work for them. Palko and Sanfilippo have since brought over two more Kyrgyzstanis and one Indian, and Solid Cactus has already created 1,700 websites for clients such as the Kennedy Space Center and the National Wildlife Association.

Today, the company continues to develop the specialty market with more supplies sold online for small and popular pets (three of the online stores also have print catalogs), while Solid Cactus creates and maintains websites for clients. Solid Cactus and Neeps are separate companies that share one philosophy. Says Palko, "It's about servicing our existing customers and making sure we did everything we possibly could."

Common Idiocy

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

How To Make $410,000 A Year Selling Old Baby Clothes.

Starting a business was the last thing Shannon Wilburn and Davon Tackett were thinking about when they decided to sell the toys and clothes that their children had outgrown.

"It didn't even cross our minds," recalls Ms. Wilburn. "We just said, 'Let's have a weekend sale to make a little extra money.' " Her mother had told her about an event in Dallas where people sold their kids' castoffs en masse, so the pair thought they would try the same concept in their hometown of Tulsa, Okla.

Recruiting friends, they pulled together 17 consignors -- parents like them with piles of kids' stuff that they no longer needed -- and set up racks in Ms. Wilburn's living room. They made $1,800 in sales and were thrilled.

Nine years later, that weekend whim has become a national enterprise called Just Between Friends (, with 37 franchises in 12 states. Their Tulsa sale, held twice a year, now pulls in $410,000 in sales with more than 100,000 items.

Ms Wilburn and Ms. Tackett aren't the only ones finding gold at the bottom of the toy chest. Originally popular just in the South, large-scale children's consignment sales are appearing throughout the country, as word spreads about their low costs, relatively minimal time commitment and growth potential.

The format is simple. Organizers typically hold sales twice a year in an area and focus on infant through preteen items. A week before the event, consignors drop off clothes, toys and baby equipment. The sale owners handle the rest -- site location, marketing, quality control and set-up. No employees are necessary: volunteers work for the privilege of shopping at a pre-sale. Consignors pick up their share of the revenue, typically 65-75%, at the end of each sale.

The sales are typically held over a weekend and the volunteers get to shop after the set-up days but before the public is allowed in.

Are There Any New Ideas For Business?

Monday, November 20, 2006

How Failed Business Can Lead To Success

Chuck Newman Story

In the late 1980s, Chuck Newman and some partners invested millions in a business centered on leasing cell phones. When the price of cell phones took a dive in the early 1990s, that suddenly became a very bad business model. But that business has evolved into ReCellular, whose 250 employees in Dexter, Michigan, recycle or reuse 75,000 phones per week. Is that a lot of phones? Yes and no. No other company keeps as many cell phones--and their heavy metals, including cadmium and lead--out of landfills. On the other hand, the EPA estimates that as many as 125 million cell phones will be retired this year in the United States alone, and most of them will simply be thrown out.

ReCellular has partnerships with wireless giants like Verizon and T-Mobile and retailers like Best Buy and Wal-Mart, all of which collect used cell phones and send them along to ReCellular, which either recycles them or rebuilds and resells them. About half of the rebuilt phones end up with domestic resellers, the other half in developing countries in Africa, South America, and Asia. They typically sell for $16 to $18, of which ReCellular's partners receive as much as $5 to $10 per phone for charities of their choosing.

Never mind that ReCellular has to maintain relationships with giant bureaucratic companies, with nonprofits, and with buyers all over the developing world. The most demanding part of this business is figuring out 500 to 600 different phone models. First, workers must identify which phone they are working with. They then identify the software the cell phone operates on, test the phone, and remove things such as personal information, photos, and wireless company logos.

Finally, they offer to reprogram the phone to its client's specifications. Of course, new phone models enter the stream all the time. "There isn't an effective blueprint to follow," says Mike Newman, Chuck Newman's son and ReCellular's vice president. Adds Chuck Newman: "I'm a big believer in the learning curve. We've had to be in the business long enough where we could execute this business model with efficiency and quality. We've processed more than 15 million so far, and we're getting really good at it."

How To Make Money With Online Surveys

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fan Marketing Millionaire Story

Dave Neupert Story

When Dave Neupert founded the word-of-mouth marketing firm M80 in 1998, he had a tough time selling his idea to music and television executives.

His pitch was simple: For a fee, he would find superfans — people who already loved a company's shows or musicians — and train them how to woo new consumers via the Internet.

Neupert's idea ran counter to conventional "buzz marketing," which reaches out to people who have lots of diverse friends — newspaper columnists, for example, or early adopters of new technologies — to spread the word.

Neupert believed that authentic enthusiasm would be more effective. So he set out to teach superfans how to sell. From a suite of offices tucked amid the hip eateries and boutiques of Silver Lake, he built armies of video game enthusiasts and television junkies. Then, he trained them to hype things they adored: the "Planet of the Apes" DVD, say, or a new album by musician Rob Zombie.

Neupert's legions stood ready, at a moment's notice, to attack Internet message boards with rave reviews of the television series "24" and send passionate e-mails deconstructing the history of Marvel superheroes. What's more, those troops — volunteers all — did the work essentially for free, out of a love for the products they were pitching.

Today, Neupert's superfan approach appears to be paying off. With 19 employees, M80 has grown as much as 20% a year since its founding and has annual revenue of about $2 million. The firm, which charges as much as $200,000 for a six-month campaign, is reportedly finalizing a deal to be acquired by one of the world's largest advertising firms, WPP Group.

The company's success is part of an explosion in the word-of-mouth industry, which one survey estimates will collect more than $200 million this year. But as word-of-mouth advertising becomes more mainstream, executives such as Neupert face new challenges.

M80 has built its success largely by promoting products that fans are eager to embrace, such as bands and television shows with cult followings. But as the company starts to advertise more everyday products, Neupert needs to find people who can get excited about toothpaste and toilet paper.

"Everyone is passionate about something," Neupert said. "But we need to understand how to harness that enthusiasm."

The idea that would become M80 came in 1996, when Neupert, then an executive at Maverick Records, was searching for a new way to promote the band Deftones. Neupert noticed that a website was filled with fan gripes about the group's infrequent radio airplay. On a lark, he posted a suggestion: Why not start recruiting new listeners?

The response was immediate. Deftones fanatics began infiltrating Web groups to laud the band, and then reported back on which tactics were working. The band's sales began to climb.

Two years later, Neupert quit Maverick to start his own firm. He called it M80, after the firecracker, and set up shop in his home, financing the start-up with personal savings.

"We started looking for the top 1% of fans," Neupert said, explaining how he built teams of online volunteers for each campaign by finding people who were "already proactively searching for information about the band or TV show they loved."

Then, M80 created Internet forums that contained information, clips and gossip, and primers on how to spread the word. Team members were given "missions," such as persuading friends and strangers to post pictures of Rob Zombie on their Web pages or to deluge chat rooms with messages about forthcoming DVD releases. The most successful promoters were rewarded with T-shirts, CDs and sneak peeks of upcoming releases.

But more than getting freebies, Neupert said, his volunteers liked believing that their opinions mattered. In 2003, for example, M80 was hired by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment to promote a forthcoming DVD of the recently canceled TV cartoon "The Family Guy."

Neupert immediately discovered that "Family Guy" fans believed the program had been killed off too soon. That research, in part, led the Fox network to revive the cartoon.

"We're trying to persuade fans to help us promote, and they're trying to use us to talk to the shows' producers," Neupert said of the two-way street that is fan-based marketing.

Who are M80's superfans? Kathleen Mayo of Austin, Texas, discovered the company when she was surfing the Internet to confirm rumors that one of her favorite television shows, the sci-fi epic "Highlander," was about to come out on DVD.

Mayo, 32, had spent much of her life feeling socially uncomfortable. In high school, she said, "maybe 10 people out of 3,600 even knew my name. I was used to being ignored."

But through M80, she discovered a community of other "Highlander" fans who were eager to teach her how to be outgoing enough to approach strangers online.

"M80 gave me a reason to put myself out there," said Mayo, who estimated that she spent as many as 10 hours a week volunteering. "M80 team members taught me how to start a conversation. It's been so important in helping me come out of my shell."

Neupert says dedicated volunteers such as Mayo are the key to his company's success. But he admits that Mayo has also disproved some of his theories about superfans.

After "Highlander" lured her to join, Mayo began signing up to promote TV shows she had never seen before, such as the FX Network's war drama "Over There." She found that expressing ignorance about the show has at times proved more persuasive than lauding her expertise. Apparently, uninformed opinions seemed more genuine, and less like polished promotions.

"I find that when I say, 'I don't know what this TV show is about,' other people start saying, 'Well, let's figure it out together,' " she said.

Being an effective word-of-mouth campaigner, it turns out, may have less to do with one's enthusiasm for the product and more to do with how much one enjoys campaigning.

"You can't fake passion," Neupert said. "As long as we have team members who want to enthusiastically share their opinions, they'll convince others to try something new."

How To Buy A Woman In India For Under $5000.

The Homeless Millionaire

Rags-to-riches entrepreneur Lucinda Yates’ inspirational story has captivated audiences across the country. In the early 1980s, after a divorce and a financial setback, she and her young daughter were left homeless and impoverished. Through hard work and creativity, she was able to get her life back on track.

While homeless in Portland, Maine, Yates taught herself how to make jewelry. With the help of friends and family, she found a home and started over.

In 1989, in a moment of inspiration, she combined a rectangle with a triangle to create a metal pin in the shape of a house.

“I heard this voice go off inside my head that said, ‘wouldn’t this make a great fundraiser for the homeless?’ ” Yates said. “I don’t know about you, but when I hear voices inside my head, I listen.”

Yates contacted a local homeless shelter and encouraged the organization to use the pins to raise money for the homeless. She sold pins to the shelter for $6 each. The shelter, in turn, sold them for $10 and used the profits to support the organization.

A Realtor soon bought a pin, starting a national phenomenon. Realtors from across the country were soon using Yate’s pins to raise money for the homeless.

“The first year, I grossed $89,000,” said Yates. “The next year, I grossed $300,000, then $1.4 million, then $2.6 million. I had challenges you can’t believe. I had no experience. I simply did the same things I did on the streets. When I ran into problems, I figured out a way to solve them.”

Over the years, Yates’ jewelry-making operation expanded from her 75-square-foot attic studio to 8,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The company now has a line of 11 theme-based fundraising pins, international distribution and a work force of more than 50 employees.

The Coloradoan

The Fundraising Houseparty: How to Get Charitable Donations from Individuals in a Houseparty Setting

How To Make Money With Online Surveys

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Proof That You Can Sell Just About Anything Online

Entire outfit: $170; Blade and handle alone: $105

The Grim Reaper aside, scythes are experiencing a resurgence. More and more gardeners are buying the ancient tools, which do the same job as a weed whacker but are far less noisy. Scythe Supply, based in Perry, Maine, sells a line of handcrafted scythes in various sizes. Owner Carol Bryan, 59, imports the steel blades from Austria and mills the long wooden shafts from local white ash.

101 Best Businesses to Start: The Essential Sourcebook of Success Stories, Practical Advice, and the Hottest Ideas

Thursday, November 16, 2006

How You Can LEGALLY Buy Stolen Items Online

Last year, an auction Web site that sells lost, stolen or forfeited goods from police departments, opened its doors to third-party vendors.

Revenues jumped 33 percent, to $8 million, and are projected to hit $10 million to $12 million in 2006. has signed up more than 750 departments since it was launched in 1999, and its 70 employees ensure each product's authenticity and condition.

By extending that vigilance to third-party vendors - conducting background checks on all merchants, including jewelers and electronics sellers - the company hopes to allay the concerns of e-shoppers. "We're after a fraud-free environment on the Internet," Lane says.

Today about 50 percent of the site's gross sales come from its third-party vendor program. And the firm is developing new partnerships: selling surplus goods from government bureaus and unwanted props from movie sets.

Amazing Video Of A Guy Who Makes $20K A Month From AdSense

How Marketing Success Is Deeply Connected To Farting

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How To Make $200.000 Cutting Hair For Geeks.

Dena Kaufel Story

Silicon Valley's technology workers may be among the most likely to succeed, but they aren't usually voted best tressed.

Dena Kaufel, the 43-year-old founder of Onsite Haircuts, recognized the root of the problem - "Not everyone wants to take two hours out of his workday to drive to a salon" - and responded.

Kaufel and her staff drive a pair of Winnebagos outfitted as traveling beauty salons, complete with barber chairs, mirrors and sinks, to 11 company parking lots throughout the area.

Customers schedule same-day $18 cuts at, a service created with the help of an engineer who came in for a trim.

With stops at Google, eBay, and Yahoo, Onsite saw revenues increase 800 percent, to about $200,000, this year.

The company also bought a third Winnebago, demonstrating its ability to grow alongside its clients' employers (and their hair).

Haircutting for Dummies

Snoop Dogg Arrested at SoCal Airport

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Don't Laugh - Knife Throwing Is A Good Business

David Adamovich Story

Ten years ago, The Great Throwdini (David Adamovich), now 59, retired as a physiology professor, bought a billiard hall and took up knife throwing. Adamovich now holds six world records and performs about 20 solo shows a year. He has performed on Broadway, at corporate events and weddings and on TV shows such as "Late Show with David Letterman" and ESPN's "Cold Pizza."

He makes around $100,000 a year for his knife-related ventures, but for $75 an hour Adamovich also offers private lessons at his Long Island, N.Y. home. (If you don't want to make the trip to Long Island, he sells an instructional DVD.) The knives, which look more like knife shapes cut from cheap stainless steel, are surprisingly heavy but blunt and aren't sharp enough to puncture the skin. (In ten years, using knives of all shapes, sizes and degrees of sharpness, Adamovich has never drawn blood.)

More On This Subject

Knife Throwing: A Practical Guide

Why Marketers And Politicians Make Same Mistakes.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Online Gene Screening?

This summer retired computer consultant Carleton Neville went online, took out his credit card, and ordered a $500 colon cancer test from DNA Direct, a San Francisco genetic-testing service.

A few weeks later, he logged back on, read his laboratory report, and scheduled a time to discuss his clean bill of health with a counselor. "I would rather do this than have a colonoscopy," says the 65-year-old resident of Orlando, Fla.

"One-size-fits-all medicine will soon be passé," says DNA Direct founder and chief executive Ryan Phelan, a serial entrepreneur whose company currently sells genetic tests priced between $200 and $3,300 that tell consumers if they are predisposed to breast cancer or perhaps carry the gene for cystic fibrosis. "We're finally at the point where consumers can get access to personalized medicine."

DNA Direct, capitalizing on the pharmacogenetics trend, has set up a new site,, and will start selling $500 tests this fall that reveal how people will respond to various prescribed medications, including antidepressants, pain relievers, and tamoxifen, a breast cancer drug with potentially dangerous side effects.

With $3 million from angel investors, DNA Direct has enlisted certified genetic counselors and created a network of medical specialists who analyze genetic test results from Laboratory Corporation of America, one of the world's largest labs. DNA Direct clients get results explained in the context of their age and health as well as tips on how to discuss the test with their family or doctors.

DNA Direct is also working with breast cancer organizations and managed care companies, which may eventually refer patients who meet the criteria for the tests. As the pace of genomic discovery accelerates, people's desire to discover their genetic future will only grow, according to Harvard University geneticist George Church, who advises DNA Direct.

Or as Phelan puts it, "Soon genetic testing will be as routine as getting your cholesterol checked."

How To Make Money With Online Surveys

Sunday, November 12, 2006

How To Make $1Million Selling Butterflies Online

Jose Muñiz Story

Jose Muñiz's career began when a friend bet him $100 that he could not sell butterflies for a living. Now, seven years later, the former business consultant and his wife, Karen, own Amazing Butterflies, a live-butterfly distributor with offices in Tamarac, Fla., and San Jose, and a projected $1 million in revenues in 2006.

The dramatic effect created by the release of scores of butterflies has made the business popular among wedding, funeral and charity event planners.

The company, which charges as much as $95 for a dozen monarchs, has also worked events for companies such as Viacom's Nickelodeon, which ordered several hundred butterflies in August for a filming in Burbank, Calif.

The butterfly-shipping industry has attracted some controversy from conservationists, but that hasn't slowed Muñiz's business.

Next spring, the company plans to open a third office, in Dallas. Though Muñiz is still waiting for his $100, he says that he has backed his way into a job that he loves. "I could never go back to consulting," he says. "This is just too much fun."

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

How To Make Money, Teaching One Day Classes

Steven Schragis Story

The idea for One Day University came to its founder, Steven Schragis, in October 2004, after he visited his daughter, a freshman at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. The school offered parents 20-to-30-minute samples of each class. “Everyone loved it and made the same joke: Wouldn’t it be better to be going to college again instead of paying for it, but with no tests and no need to stay up and study?” recalled Mr. Schragis, 50, the former national director of the Learning Annex.

A few months later he went to see the Broadway show “Avenue Q,” which features a song called “I Wish I Could Go Back to College.” “I watched the whole audience tear up over that sentiment,” he said, and a business was born. The company is very much for-profit; classes range from $189 to $239.

While his son and daughter were skeptical that anyone would voluntarily listen to a professor just for the fun of it — “that’s how most people under 25 to 30 feel,” he noted — so far they have been proved wrong. Classes have taken place in Morristown, N.J., and Cambridge, Mass., and another one is scheduled on Nov. 18 at Doral Arrowwood.

Then the troupe heads to Hartford; Boca Raton, Fla.; and Newton, Mass. Each one has sold out, and they have grossed close to half a million dollars since September, said Mr. Schragis, who hopes to expand to 12 cities by the end of 2006.

Bob Larson, 54, owner of Berman Larson Kane, a staffing company in Paramus, N.J., attended the One Day University last month in Morristown and plans to return. “I have two children in college, and when we were touring schools I remember thinking that I’d much rather be going to college than paying for it.”

He especially enjoyed “The Second Nuclear Age,” which surprised him. “It was like college — you wound up taking the history of modern art because you had to and it turns out to be your favorite course. For a brief moment I felt like I was in my 20s again.”

Amazing Video Of A Guy Who Makes $20K A Month From AdSense

Friday, November 10, 2006

How To Make Money With Tasty Golf Tees

Yet another crazy business idea I couldn't pass on.

Tasty Golf Tees, LLC Press Release

After making a putt, while walking to the next hole, many players take a fresh tee out of their bag...and put it in their mouth. What if that tee had some flavor?

Tasty Golf Tees are made from all natural uncoated wood, then sanitized and flavored for long-lasting taste. Imagine a golf tee that tasted like mint, cherry, grape, or vanilla? In the future, millions of golfers will be adding some flavor to their game.

Players say they enjoy Tasty Golf Tees while riding in the cart…while waiting to tee it up…in the clubhouse…even in the car on the way home. Other players say they’re great for curbing smoking or snacking. One player even said it’s a great way to tell if you’re a little tense on the first tee or on the putting green. Whatever the reason, it is always a good time to enjoy a Tasty Golf Tee.

Tasty Golf Tees are currently available in Cherry or Mint flavor, with a variety of new flavors coming soon. Tasty Golf Tees come in 3 1/4” length for those oversized drivers. They play and look just like regular wooden golf tees, except you can enjoy them before you put them in the ground.

The Tasty Golf Tee was invented by John Packes and Ramon E. Peralta Jr. John is an inventor and product developer who has filed over 60 patents; Ramon is a Creative Director and inventor at a Fairfield County development company. Together, they have been in product development for over 14 years.

John and Ramon would always find themselves with a golf tee in their mouth, while waiting to tee up or waiting for that slow group to get off the fairway (we’ve all been there). Being inventors, problem solvers, and marketers by nature, John once asked, “what if these tees were flavored?”

With the prospect of actually creating a tee that would be sanitized and safe to put in your mouth, these two entrepreneurs decided to bring Tasty Golf Tees to life. Early market testing of Tasty Golf Tees has resulted in praise and exceptional pre-market feedback.

Business-to-Business Golf : How to Swing Your Way to Business Success

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

How To Make Money In "Adult Industries"

Francis Koenig

Wall Street is largely a boys club, a place packed with hypercompetitive tough guys proud to wear their machismo on their sleeves. Yet there's still one investment the Street is generally wary of: porn.

That's why Francis Koenig, a onetime Wall Street hedge fund executive now based in Los Angeles, believes there are riches to be made by matching investors with "adult entertainment" companies. He believes that plenty of people would back the industry if there were vehicles commonly available to do so.

His reasoning is simple: Porn is a lucrative part of the American economy, hovering around $12 billion a year. And there are hundreds of porn outfits hungry for financing to become more than bedroom operations.

"There just hasn't been a good way to invest in this market," says Koenig, 31.
An opportunity for small-time investors?

He launched AdultVest late last year to change that. He's been courting investors and combing the country for small and medium-size porn businesses, some of which boast profit margins upwards of 60 percent. The response has been strong: Koenig says he's signed up well over 1,000 potential investors since January.

For now, he's catering to investors with big money, although he says his approach will eventually evolve to serve the investing masses. He's raising money for two funds: a $100 million fund that requires a minimum investment of $1 million, and a $10 million fund with a $100,000 minimum.

Accredited investors can sign up on to qualify, and Koenig says people are signing up at the rate of 15 per day. Roughly 300 companies - including website-porn subscription businesses, escort services, and strip clubs - have registered. Investors can also use the AdultVest marketplace to hook up directly with companies.

Koenig has a good track record: The New World Partners hedge fund, where he was a managing director, posted double- and triple-digit returns through the late '90s - and he thinks similar returns are possible with porn. His funds are set up like any venture capital fund and will invest in a range of businesses, with a portion of each earmarked for buying and running strip clubs.
Adding some Wall Street finesse

The overarching strategy is to take majority stakes in businesses that AdultVest will then help manage and consolidate. Koenig won't say how close he is to raising the total $110 million, but to help the sell, he and his team won't charge any performance fee until the funds return 100 percent.

"There's never been big money from the outside," says Paul Fishbein, president of the leading porn trade tracker, AVN Publications, about the industry. "It's a logical next step."

Koenig is also working with large investors who are looking to take direct stakes in companies. Part of the pitch is that he ensures all investors total anonymity. "They're creating a market that's never existed in an industry that's highly private," says one Miami-based investor who's looking to back firms with $5 million to $30 million in revenue.

For all the skittishness about investing in adult entertainment, Koenig points out that the smart money is catching on.

Playboy, for example, recently acquired the far racier empire of porn star Jenna Jameson for $17.6 million. And in August, New Frontier Media, a pay-per-view video distributor, received a buyout offer from Warren Lichtenstein, a tough-as-nails New York hedge fund manager who's been going after companies he sees as ripe for turbocharged growth.

To Koenig, such moves show the promise of bringing Wall Street sophistication to what is now a supremely inefficient market.

In fact, he's had talks with several brokerages interested in syndicating deals to sell to their Main Street investors. "People just need to get less shy," Koenig says, "and they'll realize that there's silly money to be made here."

Business 2.0 Magazine

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Indie Label Software Success Story

Jimmy Winter Story

During the Web boom in 1999, Fastmusic, a fledgling music company in New York City, hired Jimmy Winter to create its Web site. That experience, combined with his interactions with label representatives he met booking concerts such as Dashboard Confessional at his local club in Omaha, taught Winter what it takes to run a record label. Before long, he noticed an opportunity.

Small, independent labels, or at least the ones he worked with, lacked efficient management systems to share information with each other. A lot of small labels have members on the road with bands, or no office at all, so Winter decided to invent a way for them to stay up-to-date in real time. "They were using Filemaker Pro, Excel, even file cabinets," says Winter.

In 2003, Winter launched Music Arsenal, his Web-based management software, with the goal of bringing labels' management systems into the modern age. For the first two years, Winter built the company in his spare time and only had one client, a small independent.

Since going at it full-time last year, Winter has attracted 19 more clients, including Atlantic Records Lifestyle Promotions and renowned indies Light In The Attic and We The People Records. He estimates 2006 revenues to be roughly $50,000 to $60,000, and he'll soon bring on a partner.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

How To Make A Hundred Grand Selling Online Video

Joel Holland Story

When Joel Holland was in high school, he advertised a short piece of video he'd shot as an amateur videographer on eBay to see if it'd sell. Someone bit. Holland has since turned his hobby into a $100,000 business that sells professional-grade footage of everything from U.S. landmarks to international locations to erupting volcanoes via a Web site or over the phone.

But where competitors might charge $300 to $600 for 15 to 20 seconds of footage, Holland charges $149 for 30 to 60 minutes. His trick? He sells the reels in bulk form, and whatever shooting he can't do himself, he contracts out to his cadre of 26 professional videographers around the globe.

Holland quotes BBC Worldwide numbers, stating that stock footage is estimated to be a $300 million market and is poised to grow to $1 billion by 2010.

Even though he founded Footage Firm in 2001 and already counts Disney, ABC, CNN, Discovery, The History Channel, and E! among his clients, Holland has just started working with a consultant at Babson College to develop a strategic plan to grow into a $500,000 company within the next year.

The Independent Video Producer: Establishing a Profitable Video Business

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Monday, November 06, 2006

How To Invest In Music Bands

LONDON (Reuters) - There's no telling what a $10 investment in U2 in 1985 would be worth today, but a start-up Web site called Sellaband is offering music fans the chance to put their money behind artists they think can climb the charts.

The Amsterdam-based company allows fans -- or what Sellaband calls "believers" -- to invest in unsigned acts in $10 increments. Once an act reaches $50,000, it is given access to a recording studio and professional production, song-writing and marketing expertise.

"What's hoped is that this will offer musicians, especially those who have never been able to get deals, a chance to do something they've never done before, and give them some kind of competitive edge," said Adam Sieff, the former head of jazz for Sony Music UK and Europe, who will work with Sellaband artists.

"It's not going to be the only way, but in a business that's desperate for a new business model, it gives musicians another opportunity," Sieff said.

Investors will get a free copy of the CD, a cut of any CD sales and a share in the advertising revenue generated for the site, Sellaband keeps 40 percent of any music publishing revenue, but none of the recording proceeds.

"If our plan is to take out the middleman, we should not act as a middleman," said Johan Vosmeijer, Sellaband's managing director, and a former Sony BMG executive .

A female-fronted Dutch goth-rock band called Nemesea is on the verge of becoming the first to reach the financing target, after two fans began dueling for a bigger piece of the action.

"It took them nine weeks to get to $25,000 and two more to get to $45,000," Vosmeijer said.

He said he has already been approached by a handful of venture capital firms interested in buying Sellaband, but that he and his partner intend to keep it independent.

About 600 singers and bands listed on Sellaband have raised $150,000 from 3,000 investors since the site launched on August 15. Fans are allowed to withdraw their investment or move it to another artist any time before a group reaches the $50,000 mark.

All funds are held in escrow until the threshold is reached, and the interest generated from the accounts goes to Sellaband.

Recording veterans have signed up to work with Sellaband because they think it can fill a void left by the industry consolidation that is siphoning profits back to parent companies instead of using them to develop up-and-coming talent.

"I feel the music business model doesn't work any more," said Tony Platt, producer of AC/DC's "Back in Black," who has signed up to advise Sellaband artists.

"What Sellaband is doing is democratizing music," he said. "It's finding a way that artists don't have to go the route of having to sell millions and millions of records, and hopefully will show that there are other ways of financing music and getting it out to people."

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Lending Goes Peer-To-Peer

Any industry making a huge profit margin off its customers is a good candidate for disruption. Banking is a classic case -- just think of the 19 percent interest you pay on credit cards and the 2 percent you earn on your savings account.

Zopa is closing that gap by using the Web to allow personal lending on a massive scale. The startup was the first company to introduce peer-to-peer lending in the United Kingdom 18 months ago and is about to launch in America. "What Skype did to telecoms, this could do to banks," says David Cowan of Bessemer Venture Partners, which contributed some of the $31 million in funding the startup has attracted to date.

Scott Anthony, a managing director of Clayton Christensen's consulting firm, Innosight, is intrigued by the disruptive potential of peer-to-peer lending. "Are there ways to loan amounts that banks won't lend because they're too small," he asks, "or to serve customers who would otherwise never be served?"

The idea is simple. People join Zopa online as either borrowers or lenders. The lenders proffer money not to individuals but to a pool of people grouped together because of similar creditworthiness. Zopa assesses the credit risk of the borrowers, pools the capital, and matches consumers who need money with consumers who want to lend it. Since Zopa is not technically a bank and doesn't lend money itself, the capital requirements to run the business are relatively small.

The average interest rate on a Zopa loan is 7 percent. For the lenders, that's much better than even a CD, and for the borrowers, it sure beats a credit card or most bank loans. Zopa takes a 1 percent fee, split between the borrower and the lender. So far, about 90,000 people have signed up, and more than $100,000 is lent every day (totaling more than $10 million so far). And only 0.05 percent of Zopa's loans have turned into uncollectible debts.

"We are moving from a consumer society of mass production to a society where we are defined more as individuals," says Zopa CEO Richard Duvall. Yet in banking, Duvall points out, "there are still enormous corporations controlling our money." Duvall believes that a nimble Zopa can trounce banks in assessing credit by gauging things that banks typically don't review, such as a person's eBay ratings. And he's injecting a social aspect into lending. Just as in a social network, lenders can read the online profiles of the people borrowing their money. "If I borrow from real people," Duvall says, "I'm more likely to pay back than if I borrow from a faceless bank."

Managing a Consumer Lending Business

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Business Of Identifying Kids

Nadine Lewis Story

Initially, Identikids began by providing children’s ID cards that were fitted to a car’s rear passenger seats and which contained vital information for emergency services and medical staff in the event of an accident.

The idea worked but didn’t set the world on fire, however the introduction of a new product meant that things changed rapidly for Identikids.

Lewis said: ”Last year the business was very much a home-based, part-time business that I ran in between looking after the kids.

“But now it is completely different kettle of fish.

“A couple of things happened that changed things completely.

“The first one is that I lost one of my children - my son - in a shopping centre in Manchester.

“And at the same time I got requests from parents asking if they could put the ID cards around their children’s necks, so if their kids went missing then they could be contacted.

“So I started to research what could be done to help reunite a lost child with its parent if they were too frightened or young to communicate.”

This research culminated in a wristband, containing the parent’s contact details, that the child could wear. The idea turned out to be a winner.

Lewis said: “There’s been a big growth over the last 12 months. Last summer was the first time that the business started to show real potential.

”We started to supply some councils, nurseries and police forces last year. It was incredibly busy, we sold 150,000 wristbands.”

This boom meant that Identikids were able to move into their first office and start to take on staff.

The companies profile has been boosted by orders from Boots and Mothercare and now turnover for 2006 is projected at a whopping $1,300,000.

However, despite these large orders, Lewis says that funding was difficult to come by.

“It was ludicrous the lengths that we had to go to get finance, even when we had a huge order placed with the company.

“The process dragged on for months, eventually the Bank of Scotland came up with the money, but it was very frustrating.”

Lewis identifies Sally Preston, founder of baby food company Babylicious, as her inspiration.

Preston endured a huge struggle, including cancer and an acrimonious divorce, but was still able to found a successful business.

Lewis also has the support of her husband David who has now joined the company.

Lewis said: “He had worked as a national account manager and has worked for major brands before this.”

“He always said that he would join the business but had never had the courage to do it, however the crunch came in September 2004 when he lost his job.

“So he decided that it was now or never and he took the plunge.”

So what advice would she give to a budding entrepreneur?

“Always expect the unexpected. When you think that things are going to go one way, then think again, as the chances are that things will not work out the way you think they will.

“Running your own business is like sitting on a huge pendulum that swings constantly between huge highs and lows.

“But stick with it. Take the knocks and stand up and try again but always listen to criticism, it’s very easy to take offence.”

Safe Kids: A Complete Child-Safety Handbook and Resource Guide for Parents

Thursday, November 02, 2006

How To Print A Carpet

In a time of global warming and PCB-filled streams, fabric carpet samples might not seem like a pressing environmental issue, but consider the numbers. An average order of 30 carpet samples, each 18 inches on a side, uses more than seven gallons of oil to create 45 pounds of carpet, most of which architects and interior designers throw away after a single use. Cost: $500 to $1,200, which the big carpet mills pay; samples take up about 8 percent of their revenue.

Outside Dalton, Ga., where giant mills manufacture about 80 percent of the U.S. carpet supply, a 32-person startup is out to replace fabric samples with versions made of recycled paper. Tricycle (, based in Chattanooga, sells high-end optical technology that creates paper samples so life-like that designers have a hard time distinguishing them from fabric versions.

"The carpet industry has been the antithesis of environmentally friendly for the past ten years," says Bo Barber, founder of carpet maker Nood Floorcovering, a Tricycle client based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. "Tricycle's influencing everybody - not only is it alleviating the time and money associated with custom-made carpet, but it's alleviating the environmental impact."

Tricycle's software generates computer printouts that replicate the colors and texture of carpeting using computer-animated design and sophisticated models of a mill's tufting machines.

To use the technology, manufacturers create a database by entering hundreds of variables - colors, types of fiber, different treads and pile heights - into a software program. Tricycle charges $250,000 to $1 million to set up the database. When a client wants to see what a particular carpet looks like, the mill can create and order samples online and send him stacks of precisely colored paper.

Jonathan Bragdon and Michael Hendrix, ex-Web developers, founded Tricycle in 2002 after landing a job with a carpet maker a year earlier. "We saw an opportunity to make a big impact," says Hendrix, 34. He estimates that Tricycle's technology saves manufacturers 70 percent of the costs associated with samples, about $5 million a year.

In 2005 manufacturers shipped about 34,000 paper samples, saving 8,611 gallons of oil and 51,665 pounds of carpet from being sent to landfills. That's a small footprint - samples take up less than 10 percent of U.S. landfills - but Tricycle has bigger plans. The company, with revenues of nearly $10 million last year, plans to expand into other design markets, replicating textiles, wallpaper, and wood. Says Bragdon, 37: "Our future is being able to show every available surface."

Case Study - How Changing Your Copy Can Increase Your Profits Tenfold

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

How To Make Money Selling Baby Clothing Online

Jeanette Mulvey

Baby Goes Vintage founder Jeanette Mulvey never expected her sales to break $100,000. But with only $5,000 out of her pocket, a home office, one part-time employee and a self-constructed website (, she managed to bring in $125,000 last year and projects sales of $175,000 this year. “I really didn’t expect it to be this profitable,” says Mulvey, 35, whose online store sells vintage-inspired baby products such as books, toys and nursery décor.

Mulvey, who has two children ages 3 and 1, opted for a virtual store to accommodate her busy life as a wife and mother--and to help her cut costs. Her operations and inventory costs are low, and many of her items are drop-shipped from the manufacturer. Mulvey also acts as her own PR agent and relies on word-of-mouth advertising and product placement in magazines.

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