Wednesday, February 28, 2007

How To Create Small Niche Social Network Sites.

After growing frustrated with the amount of time she spent exchanging emails with other parents and searching the Internet for reliable parenting advice, Andra Davidson, a first-time mother in San Francisco, decided to create a site where new parents could easily exchange advice and information., launched last year, allows users to answer each other's questions and join or start private groups to discuss topics of their choice -- from finding trustworthy baby sitters to dealing with rambunctious kids.

Now, Ms. Davidson and her husband, Dietrich von Behren, want to transform the free site, which has about 10,000 members, into a real business.

While the site already sports some small ads, a revamped site that's "more advertiser friendly" -- with space specifically set aside for large banner ads, rather than the handful of text ads that currently are crammed at the bottom of pages -- will be unveiled in coming weeks, according to the 36-year-old Mr. von Behren. An overhaul was in order, he says, because the site's popularity is surging -- and it's being contacted by eager advertisers, including major ad agencies.

"We realize there's an opportunity to fund the site and raise capital," he says.

But Ms. Davidson, 38 years old, adds that the priority will be to ensure that members don't feel bombarded by ads. "I want them to feel comfortable," she says.

Tooth implant 'to release drugs'

The Playboy Mansion And Hugh Hefner

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Personalized Water Bottles - Mark Sikes Story

Mark Sikes was selling $700,000 a year in stick-on labels to manufacturers all over the country. But one day it hit him that he could turn his label-brokering expertise into a whole new business: selling bottled water with a custom label plastered on the front.

Sikes promptly set up Personalized Bottle Water in a warehouse in Little Rock. A friendly and energetic man whose twang comes from living all his 37 years in Arkansas, Sikes kept running his label- brokering business. But he started traveling around the state to hustle up business for his custom-label bottled water.
Soon high schools across Arkansas were buying cases of water with their team mascots on the labels to sell at football games. Funeral homes and hotels found that private-label water was a discreet and effective way to market their services. Brides and grooms discovered it was fun to have their photos beaming out from every water bottle at their wedding receptions. "And used-car dealers love handing you a bottle of water," Sikes says with a laugh. "It makes you feel obligated to them."

By 2005 - his fifth year running Personalized Bottle Water - Sikes was selling about $350,000 worth of water a year and making a tidy profit. Though the label business generates twice as much revenue, he's more gung-ho about the water business, figuring it will grow faster.

How To Make A Million Dollars

Smarty Uninstaller Review

Monday, February 26, 2007

10 Cool Online Home Business Ideas

Looking for home business ideas and success stories? Read on.

Michael Senoff has stumbled upon a perfect online home business opportunity – reselling old seminar materials. He was really impressed by Jay Abraham. The only problem was that it costs $20,000 to attend Jay’s workshops (no wonder the press called it, “the world's most expensive seminar"). So he did some digging and managed to find a guy from Northern California who had attended the seminar, asking to buy seminar materials off him. He bought the entire set for … 50 dollars. He later found out that Jay’s materials are being sold on eBay for several hundred dollars. He broke up the original package (that he got for $50) in several pieces and sold items for $1700. Thus, his perfect online homebusiness was born. Michael now resells old seminar materials for dozens of marketing gurus, easily profiting over $1000 a day. Read full story in Mike's own words.

Catherine Keane, the owner of Hungry Pod, makes over $100,000 a year, uploading music to other people’s iPods. This online homebusiness idea came to her when an acquaintance offered her $500 to load his CD collection onto his iPod. Thanks in part to a small story in The New York Times, Keane's advertising efforts on Craigslist and word-of-mouth, HungryPod has expanded to three employees and four computers, and has annual sales that exceed $100,000. Read The New York Times article about Catherine and her business.

Joshua Opperman has his ex-fiancée to thank for his thriving online home based business. After the breakup, he was stuck with the engagement ring he paid dearly for. He went back to the jeweler where he'd bought it three months earlier, but found he could only get 32 percent of its original cost. Josh didn’t like that one bit, so he set up a site, where people in the same situation can sell their engagement rights for a better price. See the full profile of this online homebusiness here.

This is a great online home-based business idea that requires no money and that anyone can start. PickyDomains is a risk-free domain naming service that got a lot of publicity and ‘blogtalk’ in Europe lately. This is how it works. A customer deposits $50 dollars and describes what kind of domain he or she wants. Domain pickers then send in their suggestions of available domain names. If the customer likes one of the domain names and registers it, the service gets $50. Otherwise the money is refunded at the end of the month. Read full article about how you can make money naming domains here.

Reading a business magazine in the doctor's office inspired Joseph Tantillo to try his hand at online retailing. At the time, he and his wife were expecting their first child and wanted to work from home. An article about starting an online store jumped out at him, he recalls—and, as a member of a fraternity in college, he decided to sell personalized Greek apparel to that market. After setting up shop for just $79.95—the cost of a merchant account with Yahoo!— he began researching what kind of products his former fraternity brothers might like. Using the strong Greek network worked, as he's built's yearly sales to $1.9 million. Read Joseph’s story here.

Rick Field, a Yale graduate and former TV producer for Bill Moyers, is a perfect example of how you can start successful home business out of a hobby. Field learned the art of pickling when he was growing up in Vermont. About eight years ago, gripped by a sense of nostalgia, he took up pickling again. In his tiny kitchen, Field made family recipes and then quickly began experimenting. People’s wildly enthusiastic response to his Windy City Wasabeans (soybeans in wasabi brine) and Slices of Life (sliced pickles in aromatic garlic brine) told him he was onto something. Read how Rick took his homebusiness online here.

Karin Markley set her online business right out of home. Having 15 years of experience working in a civilian employment agency and knowing that companies value employees with military backgrounds, and she wanted to provide a one-stop link between the two. Karen contacted the Department of Defense for permission to use its seal on her Web site. It took months to get it, but is now linked to all the military bases. Markley, who projects annual sales of $600,000, points to her biggest reward: "Helping the military. Getting the letters and phone calls from these people thanking me so much for what I'm doing for them."

If I told you that you can make $200,000 blogging about hot sauces, you wouldn’t believe me. Yet, this is exactly what Nick Lindauer does. In 2001, while still in college, he launched his online homebusiness then called Sweat 'N Spice out of his Springfield (Ore.) apartment. He sold a few dozen types of hot sauces, packaged each order by hand, and shipped everything from his local post office, barely eking out a profit during his first year of operation. Today, Lindauer sells over a thousand products from some 300 manufacturers. In 2005, the business grossed around $130,000. He got $200,000 in 2006. One day, it’s going to be a cool $1000000. Full story.

Amazing Butterflies is really an amazing million dollar homebusiness idea success 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 that generated $1 million in revenues in 2006. 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." Full story.

What began as a solution to her chronic back and neck pain is now a line of purses for women who share Kristy Sobel's condition--or simply want a fashionable fanny pack. After three car accidents that resulted in extensive back and neck surgeries, the 35-year-old entrepreneur realized she couldn't do the traveling her then-job required. To ease the weight on her shoulders, Sobel searched for a fanny pack that would accommodate her condition, but realized fashionable ones were nonexistent. So she created one. Before long, family, friends and even strangers were requesting this one-of-a-kind purse. She approached boutiques with her design after successful test runs at her friends' shops, but the door-to-door routine eventually took a toll on her body. Sobel continued her venture from home, found a rep to promote her bags at a trade show and used her and her husband and co-founder Eric's savings to launch LaNeige Purse. Last year she made over $200,000 from her purses.

Books on homebusiness:

The Super Affiliate Handbook: How I Made $436,797 in One Year Selling Other People's Stuff Online

Missed Fortune 101: A Starter Kit to Becoming a Millionaire

Internet Riches: The Simple Money-making Secrets of Online Millionaire

Sunday, February 25, 2007

How To Make Money Selling Friends On MySpace

Popularity was never easily measured, until the advent of social-networking sites. Now, prospective employers and others can gain some insights into an applicant’s lifestyle and character by looking at a person’s social-networking page, including the roster of friends.

So what if a job applicant’s networking page lacks friends?

Enter, a business founded by Brant Walker, which offered users of and similar sites a way to enhance their page with photographs and comments from hired “friends” — mainly attractive models — for 99 cents a month each.

FakeYourSpace is doing very well, attracting 50,000 hits a day. But is FakeYourSpace’s business legal? The site certainly misrepresents people, but Mr. Walker, 26, said he thought that its intent was more altruistic than fraudulent.

A graduate of Platt College, a graphics and multimedia specialty school in San Diego, Mr. Walker runs the site from his San Diego home with two employees. He said the idea came to him when he noticed, while browsing MySpace pages, that “some people would have a lot of good-looking friends, and others didn’t.”

His idea, he said, was “to turn cyberlosers into social-networking magnets” by providing fictitious postings from attractive people. The postings are written by the client or by Mr. Walker and his employees, who base the messages on the client’s requests. FakeYourSpace says it does not post any messages that are threatening, pornographic or illegal.

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10 Awesome Online Homebusiness Ideas

Stay-at-home Mom turns hobby into $4 million a year

Nancy Bogart was a stay-at-home mom and enjoyed making soaps, lotions, and other body products in her kitchen for family and friends. She sold them at craft shows and church every now and then.

Her husband Ron owned a small heating and air conditioning company. Before they both knew, demand for her products grew quickly and Nancy's hobby turned into a profitable small home business. She hired two people to help with orders, but that didn't satisfy demand very long.

On February 6th 2000, she started Country Bunny Bath & Body in Nixa, MO, just 10 miles south of Springfield. Her best friend, Angie Mc Donald, pitched in to manufacture the products. She packaged and distributed orders out of her garage while her husband served as Chief Operating Officer in addition to managing his own business.
Today, she has 38 in-house staff members and has had more than 7,000 direct sales representatives across the U.S. The Mc Donalds themselves now own their own bath and body product manufacturing company, which exclusively sells to Country Bunny.

Ron walked away from the heating and air conditioning company three years ago to become Country Bunny's CEO.

The company made close to $4 million in sales in 2006. It's still privately owned by Nancy and Ron, and sales are continuing to climb as they celebrate the company's sixth anniversary. She has been approached with several offers to sell her products in stores and has repeatedly refused because she feels direct selling is a better business decision and more convenient for her and her family.

How To Make A Million Dollars

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Million Dollar 'On The Wall' Idea

Looking for million dollar ideas? Here is one:

Startup Costs: $150,000

Scott Yen loved his pet fish but hated their tanks. “Fish tanks, by nature, are very ugly,” he says. That’s why the 31-year-old was so interested when a friend brought up the idea of creating a more attractive aquarium a few years ago.

Scott intended to design something that would look like a decorative painting. What he came up with was the Aquavista 500, a 6.6-gallon tank that is roughly 4 inches thick and hangs on a wall, secured by a steel bracket. “The whole concept of the Aquavista brand is to take an everyday product and turn it into a piece of art,” says Scott. Customers can choose from more than 24 inter-changeable frames and eight different backgrounds to customize their hanging aquariums.

This novel idea started taking shape in 2003, when Scott came up with a simple design that he took to a local machine shop, which produced the first rough prototype. Scott and his father, Stephen, 64, used their own funds to finance the creation of the product, and they consulted outside engineers who helped them with the overall design and materials. To make the aquarium easy to maintain, they added a wet-dry filtration system, lights, a small LCD temperature display and a heating system. By 2004, they had filed patents and incorporated the company. By the next year, they had located an overseas manufacturer in China. The aquarium, which is designed for freshwater fish, comes preassembled with all the necessary parts.

In 2006, Scott left his job as an investment banker to work full time on Aquavista. “I didn’t know where this would go,” Scott says. “Something told me this was something special when I saw how people reacted to our product.” The company’s unique aquarium is now sold online and through the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog, and Aquavista has distributors in Europe and the Middle East. Scott is also currently in talks with major retailers to carry the product nationwide and projects 2007 sales of more than $1.5 million.

How To Make A Million Dollars

Encyclopedia Of Exotic Tropical Fishes For Freshwater Aquariums

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Hatopreneur - Misa Harada Story

Misa Harada's sense of style has always been informed by rebellion. So when the Japanese entrepreneur and hat stylist decided to launch her own business in the late 1990s, her goal was to break away from the millinery status quo and use eclectic, avant-garde design to woo a younger, more trend-conscious clientele. The result? Today, Harada is the hottest hand in hats, with designs that dress the heads of TV stars, sports figures, and even members of the Rolling Stones.

In what seemed like an anachronistic business, Harada has successfully redefined headwear fashion for a new global audience. She set up a sole proprietorship in 1998 with no external financing and booked revenues of $120,000 in the first year. Now, her sales hover just below $1 million annually and her brand recognition is soaring internationally.

From rebellious student to international trend-setter, Harada has come a long way since her conservative upbringing in Japan. Born in 1968 in Nagoya, she went to London in 1987 to attend university. But her newfound freedom and the '80s fashion scene, which married street style and punk music, fueled her creative energy. She dropped out of school, enrolled at the Royal College of Art, and had her first taste of hatmaking.

Today, she deals in a dazzling range of styles: Trilbys in shocking pink, oversized Bakerboy caps, asymmetric Cloche hats in liberty cotton, and trimmings of silk, leather, metal buckles, or Swarovski crystal. The style is at once edgy, cool, and elegant. "Design is about capturing the zeitgeist," Harada says. "I am interested in street culture movements and in translating them into a 3-D expression you can wear."

Thrust into the real world after graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1994, Harada went to work for stylist Frederick Fox, who supplied hats to the Queen. There, she designed haute couture and commercial lines, and learned the tricks of the trade, from design and materials, to quality control and cost management. "Sustaining a hat business is difficult," she says. "Competition is fierce, production costs are high, and brand value primordial."

Worse, it's not a very big market. In Britain, the number of hat designers is so small that the Employment Dept. doesn't even keep statistics. The U.S. Census Bureau counts 251 hat manufacturers, with retails sales totaling $978 million in 2005—most of that from baseball caps. The luxury hat market is even smaller, ever since the hat industry declined rapidly in the 1960s. But since the 1980s, it has started to come back, with annual growth of 5% to 10%, propelled largely by the fashion choices of entertainment industry icons.

Harada's big break came in April, 2001. She had networked heavily in the fashion world, and managed to get a series of hats featured in ID magazine. Pop star Janet Jackson spotted them there, and handed Harada a commission to design chapeaux for the star's upcoming world tour.

That was the catalyst for a successful entrée into the music and film industry. Harada's hats now regularly embellish the pages of magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and W, as well as showing up on the heads of characters in TV series such as Sex and the City and Ally McBeal. She has outfitted pop novelties the Scissor Sisters, and last year won a gig to supply hats to Mick Jagger and the rest of the Rolling Stones for their most recent world tour.

Such high-profile deals have helped Harada grow annual sales at 23% while maintaining profit margins of around 60% across her collections. Yet her headpieces are surprisingly affordable, often in the range of only a few hundred dollars.

Harada remains the sole designer and retains complete control over operations, aided by a team of six managers. Her brother Shintaro runs her business in Japan. Across the company, she has tried to instill a culture that focuses on cultivating long-term relationships, maintaining high quality, and keeping costs down through advantageous purchasing deals.

But commercial success hasn't lessened the admiration Harada enjoys from the fashion world. "Misa's uncluttered, simple, sharp designs make for really interesting pieces of art, as much as they are hats," says Ian Bennett, an independent hatmaker and millinery lecturer at the Royal Academy of Art. "Being an individual is difficult in this market."

A rising star in London fashion circles, Harada enjoys even higher status in Japan, where she is considered an über-cool fashion guru. She was recently featured in a three-month-long documentary series produced by Japanese national broadcaster TBS entitled Zyonetsu Tairiku (Passion Continent), and has been commissioned to write a lifestyle book. Her collaboration with Japanese retailers extends to the internal rebranding of certain Japanese department stores, including Isetan, Hank-Yu, and Estnation.

To open up new markets, Harada has established women's and men's lines, and recently launched a baby line, which is fast winning customers in Japan. Today, Harada puts out 300 styles in six broad collections every year. "I make hats for people who move with the times, icons of everyday life," Harada says. "Like them, I don't stick to conventions. I'm not scared of taking risks." Nor, apparently, are her loyal customers. Hats off to Harada!

Saturday Night Hat: Quick, Easy Hatmaking for the Downtown Girl

Fashion for Profit

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Why Most Websites Are A Total Waste Of Time And Money

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Great Spare Key Keeping Business Idea.

New Yorkers who have a hard time keeping track of personal items now have one less thing to worry about. For a modest annual fee, NewYourKey keeps copies of keys in a secure storage facility and can deliver them right away if customers find themselves locked out. Keys lost in a nightclub at four in the morning? No problem! NewYourKey will deliver spare keys within an hour any time of day or night, wherever a customer happens to be.

Setting up an account is easy. NewYourKey comes to the customer with its mobile key lab, so copies of keys can be made on the spot if spare sets aren't unavailable. Customers must present positive photo identification. For added security, profiles include just name, password and photo, so no address is linked to any set of keys in the facility.

Three levels of service are available, with prices beginning at just USD 35 per year for key storage and USD 20 for each delivery. Additional charges apply for customers who wish to store more than two sets of keys or who’d like to authorize a third party to receive copies when necessary. Commercial accounts also are available.

NewYourKey, which was launched just a few months ago, is a great example of a business idea built around the type of favour you might ask a close friend, neighbour or doorman. It’s a life hack that should appeal to both busy professionals and notorious scatterbrains, who will be more than happy to pay for the convenience and peace of mind. One to set up in every major city!

10 Unconventional But Successful Online Homebusiness Ideas

10+ Unusual Ways To Make Easy Money On The Internet If You Love Writing

Latest Tech News - Google shuts down Cyfswatch website

What You Get When You Combine Pez And MP3

In July 2004, Patrick Misterovich was a stay-at-home dad when he read an article featuring an entrepreneur who had turned Altoid tins into iPod speakers. The idea inspired the 40-year-old ex-IT administrator to make a list of other possible candies and electronics that could be combined: laser pointers, Life Savers, USB drives. But nothing seemed to fit until he noticed “MP3 players” and “Pez dispensers” sitting idly on his list like two lost souls waiting for someone to play Cupid.

Five minutes later, Misterovich was e-mailing Pez about licensing its dispensers to create a Pez dispenser-shaped MP3 player and was only steps away from turning his self-proclaimed “crazy idea” into reality.

“I knew it was feasible after five minutes of research,” says Misterovich, “but I had no clue if there was a market or how much it would cost.”

That weekend, Misterovich spent $50 on Google ads and created a short survey to test the market. To his surprise, everyone from toy collectors to anti-establishment teens was interested in the product.

But after waiting six months to finalize the license with Pez and stopping production at 1,500 after learning he would need approval from product compliance agency UL to continue with a second run, Misterovich started feeling as if someone had pulled the emergency brake on his sprouting home business.

“When you come up with an idea, and two hours later you have the company saying, ‘We’re willing to license you,’ you think everything is going to happen quickly,” says Misterovich. “But it takes time to make something.”

The response has been positive, and current sales are at $120,000. In 2006, Misterovich sold out of his origi-nal production run and received approval from Pez to go forward with the second edition of Pez MP3 players, which have passed UL testing and will go into production early this year. In the future, Misterovich also hopes to expand outside his online sales forum,

Says Misterovich, “It just makes me feel good that I came up with a product people think is cool.”

Why Didn't I Think of That: Bizarre Origins of Ingenious Inventions We Couldn't Live Without

How To Build A Profitable Homebusiness Naming Domains

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ecofriendly Tourism - One Entrepreneur's Travel From $10000 to $20 Million.

In 2001 he set up, an online travel company offering eco holiday ideas. The company itself does not run the tours. Instead, it lists the available green choices and puts the customer in direct contact with the tour operators, who then pay a commission for any business passed through to them.

“We were the first to use the term ‘responsible travel’,” says Francis. “And now governments and journalists around the world are using the term.”

The business is now one of the fastest growing travel agencies in the UK according to The Times, and is currently turning over £20m a year, doubling sales in the last 12 months. The company started 2006 with six members of staff – there are now 16.

Francis says he couldn’t afford to pay his staff in the early days, so he compensated them with shares in the company – something he was advised not to do. “One of your main skills as an entrepreneur should be recruiting good people. If you have to give them part of the company like I did then so be it.”

The business was funded with an initial £5000. “I started by putting some of my own savings in,” says Francis. “The idea was to show people I was serious about what I was doing because we came after the dot com crash so nobody wanted to invest.”

With his initial personal investment, Francis made enough of a mark to get Body Shop founder Anita Roddick on board and, coupled with some funding from a venture capital firm, the company raised another £40,000. Francis had worked as head of worldwide marketing at The Body Shop so was in a strong position to attract Roddick to the business. He was keen to be seen as an ethical entrepreneur himself.

“It’s a lot easier these days to start a social enterprise,” says Francis. “I’m sure that’s because the world’s favourite colour is now green, but when we started we didn’t have that strong backdrop to start our business.”

So how does Francis equate running a travel company with being an ethical entrepreneur? “However careful you are when picking your destination – choosing an eco lodge, a hotel with solar panels etc – you still have to fly to get there. We were the first travel agent in the UK to say ‘look, you just have to fly less’. Our aim is to be to travel what organic is to food.

And what advice does Francis have for any budding ethical entrepreneurs out there? “Wear your values on your sleeve. Don’t be shy about them because if you’re an ethical entrepreneur that’s your greatest asset.”

Start Your Own Specialty Travel & Tour Business

10 Totally Stupid Online Business Ideas That Made Someone Rich

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Stroller Strides - How Mom-Friendly Fitness Class Made Woman A Millionaire.

2006 Sales: $2 million

Who doesn't like a great 'millionaire mom' story. After the birth of her son in 2001, Lisa Druxman's decision not to return to her position as general manager for a high-end health club brought about a new quandary: how to work part time, spend time with her newborn and stay fit.

The former fitness instructor started a small, neighborhood group-exercise class targeting moms with infants. Through word-of-mouth and local TV publicity, 40 people came to the kickoff class of her second location, in San Diego. Says Druxman, "That's when I knew I had touched on something big."

Stroller Strides are hour-long classes taught by certified instructors who combine fast-paced walking with several body-toning stops. The classes take place in parks, near lakes or even inside malls, depending on the location. While working out is the focus, Druxman maintains children are the number-one priority. Songs and activities are weaved into the class to entertain kids, and mothers of fussy babies are credited a class if they need to leave.

When, a year into the business, one instructor had to move, she convinced Druxman to let her test-market the concept in her new city. Its transplanted success made Druxman realize she had a very special and real opportunity. "There aren't very many careers out there supportive of motherhood," says Druxman.

First offering licenses in a few markets, Stroller Strides now has over 100 franchisees nationwide, with 300 U.S. locations and one in Canada. International expansion is underway. New classes are in the works, and products like a Stroller Strides stroller are already available in stores and through online retailers. Druxman is also penning a book on fit and healthy motherhood.

Remember, millionaire moms are always wanted.

The Mom Inventors Handbook: How to Turn Your Great Idea into the Next Big Thing

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Wacky Business Idea - Multiethnic Wedding Cake Figurines

Startup Costs: $100,000

An observer might say Ellie Genuardi and Rená Puebla act a lot like a married couple. Having known each other for years, they even finish each other’s sentences and bicker playfully. In 2004, this pair of longtime friends and business associates said “I do” to a marriage-related business: Puebla and Genuardi wed their entrepreneurial ideas to form Renellie International.

Renellie is a line of elegantly handcrafted, multiethnic wedding cake figurines. Made out of polyresin stone, the interchangeable brides and grooms are offered in Asian, black, Hispanic and white versions.

“There are so many interracial marriages,” says Gen-uardi. “We felt there was a definite need for this type of product.”

“When I got married the first time, I had two white people on my cake,” says Puebla. “No one had choices.” It was Puebla’s second marriage--to an Asian man--that inspired Renellie’s mix-and-match cake toppers. Puebla and her husband, Ron, are one of more than 2 million interracial couples in the U.S. That growing market, combined with a $72 billion-per-year wedding industry, provides an endless customer base for Renellie, which projects 2007 sales of $400,000.

Renellie also caters to same-sex couples. The company currently offers a bride with a tailored skirt and jacket, and it may introduce a bride with flowing pants. These versatile options could also be used for an anniversary cake, a second marriage or an older bride, Genuardi says.

Prior to Renellie’s unveiling in Janu-ary 2005, interracial and same-sex couples had pretty much resorted to putting either flowers or nothing at all on their cakes, Puebla says. “We want to go back to tradition, while representing those who are marrying.”

With an attractive alternative to plastic and a product in tune with modern-day values, Renellie lets couples have their cake and eat it, too.

How to Start a Wedding Planning Business

10+ Wacky Ways To Make Easy Money On The Internet If You Love Writing.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Student Storage - Dorm2Drom Success Story

Dorm2Dorm was founded by college students, for college students. According to the company's co-founder, Matt Nelsen, Dorm2Dorm offers relief during a period of high stress – finals week. The service is simple: students order storage materials online, which are delivered a week before finals. Dorm2Dorm comes back a week later, when finals are out of the way, to pick up packed items and store them for the summer. When the new semester begins, the stored goods are delivered to the student's (new) dorm room.

Costs for a typical amount of storage are around USD 70 per month, including delivery of materials, pick-up, USD 800 insurance, storage and delivery. The company can also arrange shipping and long-term storage for semesters abroad.

Dorm2Dorm launched in 2004 at the University of San Diego, and currently serves 11 colleges and universities. Although it isn't the first to enter the student storage market, it prides itself on running a highly professional and streamlined business. The company has doubled in size every year they've been in business, and is actively seeking managers to expand to other universities, while controlling sales, logistics and customer service from a central office.

It's one of those businesses that just works: a simple service satisfying an enduring niche market, that's ambitiously run like a market-leader right from the start.

Startups That Work: Surprising Research on What Makes or Breaks a New Company

The Surprising Facts About What AdSense Niches Pay Best

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Two Million Dollar Skeleton Cleaning Business

Jay Villemarette cleans skeletons--mostly animal and human skulls--for a living. He owns Skulls Unlimited International and insists there's never a dull moment at the office. We'll take his word for it. After all, his company might be cleaning a gorilla skull one day and that of a chipmunk, a giraffe or a human the next.

But that doesn't mean he finds all the company's projects pleasant. "We don't like working on humans," concedes the 41-year-old entrepreneur. "As a whole, we'd rather not do it." Is that because it's morbid and sad and gross?

"No, that's not it," says Villemarette. "They're just bones. It doesn't bother us that they're human. But humans are really greasy because of what we eat, like Doritos and burgers. We've worked on lots of body parts, and they all seem to have the same smell. But humans, like bears, have their own distinct odor." Not an odor of death, Villemarette elaborates, but more like something that has spoiled in the pantry. While his company might charge in the neighborhood of $7,500 to clean a human skeleton, a bear skeleton--even with its distinct odor--would cost much less.

Revolting. Disgusting. Messy. Repellent. Repulsive. Whichever word you use to describe some businesses, there's something that many of the least glamorous industries--think sewage, garbage, skulls--have in common. They're almost always important to society, and they're frequently industries that can make an entrepreneur very wealthy. But even more surprising?

At first glance, you might look at Skulls Unlimited International in Oklahoma City, probably one of the only businesses in the world that specializes in cleaning human and animal skulls, and think, "Gee, I wish it were limited. Why would anyone want a skull, no matter how clean it is?" But museums, veterinary and medical schools, and other educational groups might take umbrage with that assessment. There are enough of these establishments, in fact, that Villemarette needs 13 full-time staffers and two part-timers and expects his company to break $2 million in sales this year. And it all began when he found a dog's skull in the woods at age seven. Later, after finding a cat skull, he began studying the similarities, having been bitten by the biology bug. He soon became a self-proclaimed skull junkie.

He admits it's an unusual career: "My wife used to cry herself to sleep at night because her husband was starting a business in cleaning skulls," says Villemarette, joking. At least, we think he's joking. In any case, his wife isn't crying now, and Villemarette is as happy as a clam skull would be--if clams had skulls.

Further Reading:

10 Wacky Business Ideas That Made Millions

How One Disaster Created A Multimillion Dollar Business

Not long after Hurricane Katrina hit, two entrepreneurs from Encinitas, Calif., smelled opportunity. As government officials and the media harped about the need for emergency preparedness, the pair canvassed the marketplace and found most consumer survival gear to be hardcore, doom-and-gloom products such as face masks for anthrax, water-filtration systems or bulky first aid kits. With limited use, such items typically were sold online or in specialty outdoor stores. Many mainstream retailers were short on disaster gear -- in part because stores were reluctant to devote precious shelf space year-round to items that might sell only during or immediately after an emergency.

So the two men, Dennis Bertken and Nicholas Connor, began producing a line of moderately priced, sleek-looking safety products they hoped consumers might also use in nonemergencies. Among them: a small, hand-cranked LED flashlight with siren and FM radio that also can charge a cellphone ($34.95), a lantern that plays an iPod ($49.95) and a backpack that is filled with survival gear ($74.50), including food and water rations approved by the U.S. Coast Guard for emergencies.

"We understand one key point: To save lives we must integrate safety into everyday life," Mr. Bertken says. "This means that every product we design must be usable every day for everyday purposes, not just in an emergency."

Today their small enterprise, Pacific Pathway LLC, has products selling under two brands -- Life+Gear and SafetyCross -- on the shelves of major retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Dillard's Inc., Costco Wholesale Corp. and Sears Holdings Corp.'s Sears, Roebuck and Kmart stores. The products also are sold online, including the firm's Web site Sales last year totaled $15.2 million and are expected to climb to $34.5 million in 2007.

On Your Own: A Family's Guide to Disaster Preparedness

Three Business Rules You Should NEVER Violate

Latest Tech News

Friday, February 16, 2007

Successful Homebusiness – Ten Unusual Home Business Ideas That Worked Big Time


When Jennifer Gonzales' husband, John, gave her an Italian charm bracelet for Valentine's Day in 2002, Jennifer--a huge Sacramento Kings fan--searched in vain for a Kings charm before deciding to create one herself. Jennifer visited the Team Store at Arco Arena (home of the Kings) to ask about licensing, and a helpful employee called Kings' co-owner Gavin Maloof and let Jennifer leave a message. She was stunned when Maloof returned her call and directed her to someone at Arco, eventually leading to a $7,000 order. The couple now makes $2.5 million in sales annually.


After earning a master's degree at New York City's Fashion Institute of Technology, Laura Dahl worked for couture designers like Anne Bowen, who creates high-ticket beaded sensations with semiprecious stones. On a whim, Dahl bought some beads to adorn her "wife-beater"-a tank-top undershirt. After receiving scores of compliments and gauging the interest of friends who worked for Vogue and In Style, Dahl started Wifebeader with the shirt on her back in 2003. Last year she grossed $1 million.


After buying their first home, Debra Cohen and her husband faced the unenviable chore of finding reliable home improvement contractors. Fed up with blindly picking names from the Yellow Pages and waiting for contractors who didn't show up, it occurred to Cohen that if she and her husband were having trouble finding contractors, other homeowners in their community must be facing a similar predicament. This bleak reality sparked the creation of a unique service that has since expanded into a profitable cottage industry across the U.S. and internationally. Debra now makes in excess of $100.000 a year, working from home.


Rather than to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for a domain name on the aftermarket, an increasing number of web entrepreneurs turn to professional “domain namers”. While most naming agencies charge a non-refundable fee that can be as high as $1500 for a corporate domain, one service that unites 17 professional domain namers from countries like United States, Russia, Australia and New Zealand, decided to offer a risk-free service that costs only 50 dollars per domain.


When Holly was pregnant a few years back in 1999, she looked for a unique way to tell her friends and family of her pregnancy. Making phone call after phone call to every cousin, aunt and uncle was a daunting task, but she still wanted to share her news with everyone. She hunted through stores and on the Internet and all she could find were birth announcements. Thus, Holly's idea for Fetal Greetings was born. She wanted to create cards where a little embryo baby could make the announcement of the upcoming birth for her.


With so much competition nowadays, a small business needs to create buzz and excitement to survive. That’s exactly what Vicky Prazdnik and Lori Mozzone did in their startup fashion business Curliegirl. The duo designs and creates crocheted and knitted hats, bags and scarves, but it was their sexy crocheted cotton thong underwear products that got them lots of attention at the start! As Mozzone says, “The thong has gotten us a lot of attention in the past. In fact, we tried removing them from our website a few times to make room for new items, and without fail someone emails us asking, "what happened to them?" This has earned them a permanent spot on the site!”


In 1994, Judy Rakocinski was looking into a home based career as a scopist, a person who edits legal transcripts from home for court reporters. That's how she found Cathy Vickio and contacted her about getting started. They have only met in person once since Judy lives in Florida and Cathy lives in Texas. Regardless, a friendship immediately bloomed and has grown since. Cathy helped Judy start her successful career and they continued to be friends. The two credit their home based business success to offering legitimate services at fair, competitive prices that still allows them to make a living. Before embarking on their new venture, they ensured that there would be a large enough potential client pool to make this a viable business. These ladies did their homework before starting, as anyone starting a business should.


Wendy and her husband Jack moved from East Brunswick, New Jersey to Maine in 1979 with a dream of building their own home and have a simple, natural life. Wendy, then 24, even went back to college to study the newest methods of farming in anticipation of their new life because “that's what we thought we would do when we came up here.” Their hope was simply to lead a self-sufficient life. As she puts it, “we didn't want to become big farmers.” The reality, however, was not easy. Wendy started her foray into the balsam business by selling the cut branches of the balsam fir trees for a local incense factory. Quite coincidentally, she had read in a book that Native Americans used balsam trees as herb for many different home remedies. With her long-standing interests in herbs “that got me excited into thinking about it [balsams] in a different way,” said Wendy. She became a supplier to the incense factory, which used her balsam fir boughs to stuff souvenir pillows.


Inside a dreary warehouse in an industrial section of San Francisco, the floor was littered with bodies. Some lay in piles while others had been dismembered, their legs, heads, and arms carelessly strewn about. Judi Henderson-Townsend had come to buy a mannequin to use as a backyard sculpture after seeing one advertised online. The seller, it turned out, was a former window designer who collected and rented old mannequins. He was moving East and closing up shop, so Henderson-Townsend impulsively bought all 50 mannequins for $2,500. She stood them in her basement, then named her new business Mannequin Madness. That was four years ago. Today her mannequin inventory fills a basement, a two-car garage, and a separate storage facility.


Think small. That was the basic starting point for Mike Cayelli when he decided to open an online retail business two years ago. With a tiny house, little capital to invest, and only "spare time" to devote to the project, Cayelli knew his big dream had to stay manageable. The Washington (D.C.) entrepreneur still hasn't quit his day job, but he's projecting $500,000 in sales this year for his company, Cuff Daddy.

Getting Rich In Your Underwear: How To Start And Run A Profitable Home-Based Business

How To Make Money With AdSense

Hangertising - How To Make Money Selling Ads On Hangers

3.5 billion wire hangers are tossed into landfills every year, and that's just in the United States. While the hangers are light, inexpensive and sturdy, they're not exactly bio-degradable. Hanger Network has developed an alternative: a dry cleaner's hanger made entirely from recycled paper. EcoHangers are sturdy and cheap. And because they're paper, they can be completely covered in full-colour advertising.

Everybody wins: Hanger Network creates a media network of up to 3.5 billion in-home 'views', and advertisers gain valuable entry into consumers' bedrooms for less than the price of a stamp. Dry cleaners get free hangers (wire hangers are about USD 0.08 each), and consumers no longer have to struggle with awkward tangles of wires. And on top of it all, it's an earth-friendlier solution. What's not to love? ;-)

Hanger Network has a distribution deal with Cleaner's Supply ('America's largest direct supplier of dry cleaning products') and currently has network capacity of over 50 million hangers per week. The company just raised USD 8 million in venture capital, which will allow it to expand from the New York area to the rest of the US. One to partner with and quickly set up in other countries.

Shock in Advertising

Odd And Weird News

Thursday, February 15, 2007

How To Make $932.77 Million With One Really Whacky Idea.

This is a "how to make a million dollars story" on steroids. Many amateur inventors dream of creating a million-dollar product in the garage, but usually the only thing that ever comes out of that garage is the family car. Roger Adams, the creator of a new kind of skate-shoe, beat the odds.

Mr. Adams founded Heelys Inc., a Carrollton, Texas, company that makes sneakers that work like skates when the wearer shifts weight to the heels. The company has sold more than 4.5 million pairs of Heelys, as they are known, world-wide since they debuted in 2000 and they keep rolling: In the six months ended June 30, 2006, sales rose to $44.6 million from $16.1 million a year earlier.

Born in Tacoma, Wash., in 1954, Mr. Adams was surrounded by skating from the start. He worked at the roller rink his parents owned, repairing skates and manning the check room where patrons stored their street shoes. From an early age, he invented quirky homemade devices, inspired by James Bond movies. In junior high school, he used the center of a flash cube to fashion a ring that temporarily blinded people when they bent down to view it. Later, he designed sound and lighting systems for skating rinks, helping pay his way though college. His family expected him to move into the family roller skating business. Instead, he took a detour.

He was working as a mental-health supervisor in Oregon in the 1990s -- "I was a counselor to other counselors," he says -- when he became disenchanted with the bureaucracy involved. Around the same time, he says, his marriage of 21 years to his college sweetheart "began to dissolve." He quit his job and moved away from his wife and three young children, looking for direction and inspiration.

In the fall 1998, he was sitting on a friend's porch in Manhattan Beach, Calif., watching roller skaters, skateboarders and bicyclists on the boardwalk, thinking back to a "happier, simpler time" at his family's roller rink. That led him to an idea. "It occurred to me that all those things -- roller skates, skateboards, bikes -- had been around for a hundred years," he says. "It seemed to me that there had to be some new way to have fun on wheels."

His friend had a workshop in his garage. He heated up a butter knife and began cutting apart some Nike sneakers and experimenting with metal balls and wheels. He "cannibalized at least four pairs" of sneakers in the first few hours. He tried them repeatedly and kept falling until he accidentally discovered the proper stance -- one foot in front of the other to maintain balance.

"I had a concept. I wanted the wearer to be able to walk normally and then roll," he says. "There is a stealth nature to Heelys. When you see a kid wearing them, you wouldn't know there's a wheel in the sneaker until they started to roll."

Mr. Adams quickly decided he had a product to sell. He spent all the money he had, $150,000, on pushing the project forward. Much of the money went to legal bills to get a provisional patent for his skate-shoe, and the rest went to product development. He also took a job selling cars at a Ford dealership to make ends meet. "I'm not a betting man, but I felt that I had a horse that was sure to win," he says.

Mr. Adams now holds a number of patents relating to the skate-shoe, including the idea of placing a single wheel in the heel and the stance the wearer takes (feet one in front of the other, toes up and heels gliding).

He took the prototypes to seven different shoe companies and six sporting-goods companies, but none of his meetings resulted in a deal. Finally venture capitalist Patrick F. Hamner offered funding. Heelys was incorporated in May 2000 and had an initial public offering in Dec. 2006. The company now has a market capitalization of $932.77 million.

Not everyone is high on Heelys. There have been reports of users having serious accidents while wearing them. World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc., a Boston watchdog group, placed Heelys on its annual "10 Worst Toys" list in 2006, saying the wheeled shoes could lead to injuries.

"Safety is Heelys' top priority and so it's important to recognize that our wheeled footwear is sporting equipment and not a toy," Heelys Chief Executive Mike Staffaroni said in a statement. "Like any other recreational sport, wheeled footwear should be used with the appropriate gear."

Mr. Adams says he has happily ceded the managerial aspects of Heelys to others. He considers himself the company's "chief tinkerer" and maintains a work space at Heelys that he calls the "Lunatic Lab" where he works on inventing products. "For me, innovation isn't a team sport, or something that's done by proxy," he says. "It's a personal obsession."

Stand Alone, Inventor!

How To Make Money Naming Things

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Naughty Million - BadFun.Com

Given that BadFun is projected to hit $1.2 million in revenue before the year is up, there's no question that there's revenue to be found in selling items like the "On Fire Seduction Basket," which comes with edible underwear, sex position manuals and other unmentionables one normally doesn't find in a business article.

And then there are the other gift collections like the Ultimate Bondage Basket and Advanced Submission Basket. Still, Matthias notes, "There is absolutely no nudity or potentially offensive content on, which is what sets our shopping experience apart from other sites." She says that their store allows "women and couples to purchase relationship enhancers in a tasteful, mainstream environment."

While the revenue stream is surely nice, Matthias says that one of the most satisfying aspects of owning the company is "when our customers follow up with us and let us know that BadFun helped them to bring the spark back into their relationship."

Naughty Girls' Night In: Start Your Own Sex-Toy Party Business (You Know It's Not the '50s When You're Selling Your Girlfriends Lingerie and Sex Toys Instead of Plasticware)

Look Who's Passed Out Drunk

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A New Twist On Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is nothing knew. There are hundreds of thousands of affiliate online, all looking pretty much the same. But being the same is something that John Gromovski didn’t like. So he decided to become the first affiliate discounter. How’s that possible? Well, John works only with vendors, who let him offer discounts … out of his own commission.

“I started DePrice.Com in December of 2004 with 9 dollars,” says John. “As an affiliate, I didn’t need any inventory. I simply signed up with several vendors, got permission to offer discounts out of my own commission, created a simple website and started selling software, using forums, Froogle, search engines, etc. The very first month I’ve sold about $2000 worth of software, clearing $500. Next month, I tripled my profits. Last year, Deprice averaged $17,000-$20,000 in sales a month. This January our sales are up 20-25%.”

Is it really that simple? Well, not quite, John insists. The trick is to find a software title in high demand and offer the lowest possible price, so that people talk about the site, making advertising expenditures unnecessary or minimal. John claims that he sells East-Tec Eraser for $39.96 an offer that nobody on the internet matches. The very same software is offered at Amazon.Com for fifty dollars.

Another niche he actively pursues is finding shareware titles that big vendors don’t carry and don’t offer discounts for. He especially likes downloadable casual games like Luxor: Amun Rising that are under the radar of big game sellers. Still, persuading software makers isn’t always easy.

“Some software developers are afraid of affiliates who sell at prices that are lower than their own. But that’s really silly. Discounters generate extra sales, they don’t take sales away.”

As far as competition goes, John is not afraid of anybody undercutting him either.

“Being a discounter is a tough business. Most people simply can’t do it because they don’t have any free or real cheap traffic. Plus, the margins are really slim, so most folks who follow my model don’t do software, preferring niches where 50% commissions are quite normal. eBooks, online courses, membership sites – things of this nature.”

The Super Affiliate Handbook: How I Made $436,797 in One Year Selling Other People's Stuff Online

Restaurant offers skinny models free meals

Corporate Rain Makers

Description: Executive sales outsourcing boutique

Start-Up: $10,000 in 1996

Estimated annual sales of $1.9 million

A failed Broadway producer, Timothy Askew began looking for other options, and his CEO acquaintances offered jobs. Although he was reluctant to take on anything full time, several projects involving CEO-to-CEO dealings exposed Askew to an untapped niche in the sales process. Corporate Rain is the result.

CRI arranges high-level "new business" meetings, or pre-sells, with senior executives of companies targeted by his clients. Why do companies turn to CRI? Says Askew, "Basically, people hate doing this. There's a ton of rejection involved." Coupled with the slow and systematic process, CRI can be regarded as a godsend. "Rejection is our middle name-it's what we do," says Askew. "Our success rate is 8 to 15 percent. Believe it or not, that's phenomenally high."

Reaching out to corporate decision-makers, CRI's sales force is comprised of entrepreneurs and former executives who have Ph.D.s, MBAs or other high-level credentials and thus can have what Askew describes as a "peer-to-peer approach" to sales, representing clients like AT&T, Con Edison Communications and Deloitte & Touche. "It's basically phone work," says a modest Askew. "Mostly our success is just plain persistence. It's not like we're a genius company-we just use very high-level people. We also emphasize courtesy above success."

Askew's master's degrees in education, philosophy and religion shape his take on business. "It's more from an ethics and service point of view rather than pure profit. I just assume the profits will follow if you tell the truth and do right by people."

Like a Virgin - Is Your Marketing As Fresh As Madonna's?

Sales and Marketing the Six Sigma Way

Monday, February 12, 2007

How To Profit From Funny Workshops

Using improv comedy to tackle corporate conventionalities seems, well, unconventional. But Gary Kramer, founder and artistic director of San Diego and New York City-based National Comedy Theatre, knows the power of humor in achieving goals, whether in his troupe or in the corporate world. He started an offshoot business, Workplace Interactive Teambuilding Seminars, or WITS for short, in 1996 to help companies lighten up while boosting productivity.

When arriving at the three-hour workshops, executives are typically skeptical. “Within 30 seconds, they’re laughing and applauding for each other,” says Kramer, 42, who uses games and exercises to teach new ways of communicating. He pro-jects 2006 sales of $500,000 for the workshops, whose clients include Bayer, Home Depot and Nextel. For Kramer, it’s all about helping employees build camaraderie. “If I can root for you for three hours,” he says, “I’ll think about you differently tomorrow.”

Comic Insights: The Art of Stand-up Comedy

Business Moonshine Recipe

Saturday, February 10, 2007

How To Make Money With Software Reviews

David Dill Story

What’s the idea behind your site?

The idea is really simple. Review software and get paid. We are not a revenue sharing site, not a contest site, we actually pay anywhere between a dollar and fifty dollars for every review we publish. That’s the twist. If we publish your review, you get the money.

Do you have many reviewers?

We have over 1000 reviewers, but most reviewers submit only one review, just to test the system. We probably have less then 50 folks who submit to us regularly and do it ‘for money’, rather than fun.

What’s your business model?

The business model is really simple. Reviews give us search engine traffic. I monetize this traffic in four ways. First, I have AdSense ads. Second, I have affiliate links for every software title on SoftwareJudge.Com. So when a visitor decides to buy software, I get my commission. Third, I sell links and traffic to online software stores, who need to rank high for a certain software title. Finally, occasionally software developers approach me to post their brand new software on the site so that they get reviews they can use for marketing purposes. I charge them for that. At the end of the month, I take 75% of all revenues and allocate it to next month’s review fund, keeping the rest for myself.

What’s the most any of your reviewers got?

Fifty bucks for a single review. But I’ve just got a boost from Google in search engine rankings, I’m sure that as site gets more and more visitors, reviewers will be able to make more than that. We are only happy to pay, because good reviews are very hard to come by. People search for good reviews and they love good review sites. Personally, I think that most reviews posted at SoftwareJudge.Com suck. There just aren’t that many good reviewers. I hope that changes soon.

How does one become a reviewer?

It’s all automated. You register at the site, browse through software titles and write a review for software you used before. We have trial versions for every single software title, so that our visitors don’t need to buy software to actually review it. That wouldn’t be fair. I then read reviews and either approve them or delete. Here are the Rules

OK, thank you for the interview.

Thank you for pimping SoftwareJudge.Com

eBay Success Story

How to Become a Fulltime Freelance Writer: A Practical Guide to Setting Up a Successful Writing Business at Home

Friday, February 09, 2007

Nail Taxi Story

Cinnamon Bowser’s business, Nail Taxi, which specializes in mobile manicures and pedicures, has as much pizzazz as her name. It’s no wonder customers who are used to seeing Nail Taxi technicians arrive at their doors in neon pink T-shirts with matching tote bags expect exactly what the business delivers: color.

Bowser wasn’t always the “It” girl of mobile manicures. When she started Nail Taxi, the only thing she knew about managing a nail boutique was what she learned from sitting in one as a customer. But all it took was a pregnant friend desperate for a pedicure and a fruitless search for a mobile nail service for the former PR rep to take to the streets, determined to create a boutique that would bring salon-quality nail services home.

After subscribing to a few trade publications and taking a 12-week course in entrepreneurship, Bowser, 36, created Nail Taxi with only $5,000. The mobile nail boutique, which now provides services in Atlanta; Baltimore; Chicago; Richmond, Virginia; San Francisco; and Washington, DC, offers individual, wedding and party manicures and pedicures. Although groups, including wedding parties and baby shower attendees, make up the bulk of Bowser’s clientele, her main objective is to provide her customers with unique treatments that cater to their diverse needs.

“Taking care of your nails or getting a manicure is such a small thing,” says Bowser. “But if you’re used to getting it done, and all of a sudden you find yourself not able to go out and get it done, it affects you mentally.”

When it comes to serving clients with special needs, Bowser has done her research. Nail Taxi offers special treatments for pregnant women and people with diabetes that take factors like pressure points and blood flow into consideration.
“People definitely appreciate the fact that we come to them, and that once we’re there, we’re not rushing out to get to the next client,” says Bowser. “Our time with them is our time with them.” And with 2006 sales figures reaching $110,000, it’s clear that Nail Taxi’s clients appreciate Bowser’s customer-friendly philosophy.

Read other Weird Odd News or even crazier Passed Out Drunk news

Negative Keywords And PPC

Nail - Designs By Pansy Alexander of Nails to Go

Athletes For Hire

As a former college athlete, Chris Smith knows what it’s like to be competitive, dedicated and ambitious. Not only does he understand the challenges athletes face on the field or the court, but he also knows firsthand the struggles of finding a job and transitioning into the work force.

Last January, Smith launched, an online job board designed to connect former collegiate athletes and employers. Citing a 2005 study by the federal government, Smith says more than 400,000 students participate in collegiate athletics every year, and since 1986, these students have been graduating at higher rates than the average student body.

“I wanted to provide an opportunity for recent graduates to have a website where they could be united with employers who seek their skill sets,” says Smith, 27. “There are enough companies out there that understand the sacrifice and determination it takes to be a student athlete. They want to get [jobs] in front of our demographic.”

Only graduating or graduated college athletes from four-year schools can register on the site, but most companies can post jobs. The narrow niche gives job seekers direct access to opportunities targeted to their talents and provides employers with a group of hardworking individuals possessing skills learned as a student athlete, such as time management and teamwork.

Smith, who partnered with former Kansas State University defensive end Dirk Ochs, 33, uses experiences from his days as a center for University of Hawaii and Missouri State University football to promote his company’s service. “Every time we’re selling to an employer, we’re selling ourselves, because we [are] all former collegiate athletes,” Smith says. “We can be extremely passionate about what we’re doing because we’re selling who we are.”

Though Smith initially planned to focus marketing efforts on the Midwest,’s success has garnered national accounts with several companies and job postings from every state. The company, which projects 2007 sales of $500,000, has already had more than 100 employers post jobs and more than 200,000 site visitors.

Recruiting 101: A Guide For Parents and Student Atheletes

How A Good Copywriter Can Beat Corporation

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Phone Booths Without Phones

Profitable AdSense Niches

Here’s a smart idea that could be turned into a global cottage industry: sound resistant cell phone booths. The Cell Zone, produced by Salemi Industries, can be placed in nightclubs, restaurants, libraries, on airports, train stations, at concerts, and all other places where a bit of peace and quiet is often hard to get. Booths cost USD 2,400 to 3,500.

It’s a win-win: with two billion people owning cell phones, the related yapping and other noise pollution produced on a global scale already drives millions nuts, while many callers would actually prefer to have a bit of privacy, or just to be able to hear the person on the other side of the line. When placed in a commercial setting, the Cell Zone will also help keep patrons from leaving the establishment, Cell Zone’s website helpfully adds.

The revenue model? Good old advertising, as the whole thing can be branded, by the owner or through a third party. The latter hasn’t been pursued… another opportunity. We bet loads of telcos would love to sponsor them, too. Time to make some noise!

Poker And Salesmanship

Handbook of Research in Mobile Business: Technical, Methodological, and Social Perspectives

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How To Make Money With Chalkboard Art

John Rozich paid his bills doing retail display for department stores for years, while he did chalkboard art on the side. Three years ago, he began making a living at it full-time.

Rozich, who works mostly in the garage of his Magnolia home, said it takes him three to four hours to do a smaller, 2-by-3-foot board.

But, local vistas are his money scenes. “If I had a nickel for every time I did the Space Needle, I’d have $10. Or, Mount Rainier for that matter,” said Rozich, who charges about $80 an hour.

Many of the biggest clients for this medium are liquor-distribution companies, which commission chalkboards to hang in restaurants and bars.

“It’s a way to get the visibility of our product out so it doesn’t get left on the back bar or buried in the menu,” said Ken Fenton, manager of Southern Wine Spirits West, which distributes brands such as Tanqueray, Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff.

Fenton said his company commissioned between 40 and 50 chalkboards last year, at a cost of $14,000. He said this artistic form of advertising was relatively scarce in the 1990s, but has exploded in the past few years.

For businesses, it’s cheaper than hiring a professional photographer or paying for setup fees at print shops. Most artists charge for the cost of the boards, plus about $35 a square foot to decorate them. They can be changed or updated easily, without destroying the whole work.

Starving Artist No More: Hearty Business Strategies for Creative Folks

Rent A Bag Business

Unusual Problmes Of An Unusual PetSpa Business

NEW YORK ( -- A "Kitty Washing Machine" video on YouTube, depicting a cat in turmoil while undergoing a Pet Spa treatment, is making quite a splash, cracking up some viewers and distressing others.

But no one is more offended than the maker of the product.

"It's going to destroy our image," said Andres Diaz, the owner and inventor of Pet Spa, which markets and distributes a system to wash, de-flea and blow-dry dogs, cats and other small animals.

"It's definitely going to affect our image and our company," he said of the video.

Diaz estimates that he sells 30 to 50 machines a year at $25,800 a pop - but he is worried that sales will plummet after the unflattering demonstration.

According to Diaz, the cat in the video was not well suited, behavior-wise, to be subjected to such a cleaning. He says some cats, like the one in the video, should be sedated and bathed under supervision at the veterinarian's office.

"Somebody is misrepresenting what we really stand for," he said.

Diaz insists that the Pet Spa is more humane than many other traditional pet-bathing methods. "We're animal lovers," he said.

"PETA thinks this hideous contraption belongs in a litter box, where every cat we know would gladly cover it up with sand. Cats need our companionship inside our homes: a window seat, lots of food and plenty of love - not to be shoved into a terrifying and claustrophobic water-soaked machine devised by some cat-loathing, profit-hungry jerks," Lisa Lange, senior vice president of PETA, said in an email.

"Using this machine is as ridiculous as tossing toddlers in the dishwasher," she added.

The company says the Pet Spa, its only product, was developed by a team of veterinaries, animal behaviorists and engineers about 14 years ago and 1,500 units have been sold worldwide.

Although the spa is mainly marketed to veterinarians and pet stores, which charge customers an average of $22 for a 20-minute wash, some pet owners have purchased the device for their homes.

"We're working really hard to try to find out the source of the video," Diaz said. "We also want to pursue YouTube to get them to remove the video."

101 Home-Based Businesses for Pet Lovers

7 keys to making more moolah from your copywriting

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

How To Make Money Selling Restaurant Table Reservations.

New York restaurant booking service PrimeTime Tables - "specializing in impossible reservations" - has created a bit of a storm in the NYC/food blogging teacup. The service, touted as a very exclusive dining club, can procure members short-notice reservations at the hottest restaurants in New York, Miami, Colorado and The Hamptons, many of which are booked weeks in advance.

The company was founded by Pascal Riffaud, former concierge at hotels like the St. Regis in New York and the Ritz in Paris. Mr Riffaud also runs Personal Concierge International, a concierge service that can enhance its members' lives in many ways, including access to 'fully committed' restaurants.

Premium membership costs USD 450 per year, plus reservation fees (free for reservations acquired the same day before noon), while non-members pay between USD 35-45 per booking, depending on how far in advance they book (48 hours - same day). Considering economics is grounded in scarcity and top, prime-time tables in any metropolis are very scarce indeed, it's a business idea that could take flight in other cities, too. Whether or not you're morally outraged by tables being scalped ;-)


Monday, February 05, 2007

Personalized Baby Blankets

Personalized baby blankets aren't new. Do a Google search and you'll be presented with dozens of stores offering blankets with embroidered trims. Many department stores and baby retailers offer the same service.

However, as we're fond of pointing out, everything can be upgraded. Sonya Bebeblankee's suitably cute website ( sells eight types of baby blankets, varying in weave, weight and price, and including a "400 Count Blankie" that brings the luxury of 400-count sheets to the infant world.

Their unique selling point? Unlike most competitors, Fill in the Blankie allows buyers to have up to 200 characters embroidered along a blanket's satin edges (the norm is just 20 characters). Instead of being limited to a baby's name and date of birth, customers can pick a poem, write a letter or tell a short story -- making for ultra-personalized gifts that can be ordered in a matter of minutes.

The Dallas company's other claim to fame is an extremely quick turnaround: 3 to 7 days instead of weeks. Proving once again that entrepreneurial TLC can turn a staid idea into something fresh, desirable and profitable.

What To Do When You Can't Think Of A Great Domain Name

Sunday, February 04, 2007

How To Make Money Creating Corporate Theme Songs

Don't come to Enthem if you're looking for your average ten-second jingle. The San Francisco company writes and records full-length corporate theme songs, some running longer than three minutes.

Founder Stan Oleynick, 23, a Russian immigrant with a head for business and a penchant for aphorisms, creates the songs with a motley crew: a composer from his church, a teenage virtuoso, and a country singer who lives in New Jersey. He initially intended to go it alone, but the admonitions of friends convinced him otherwise.

"I love music, and music loves me back," he says. "Except for the singing part." has attracted the attention - "and the hearts," Oleynick intones with a thick accent - of more than 100 small companies.

He hopes to use the business to raise $1 million for a future startup; as of January, he was 5% of the way there.

Break No Bones Kathy Reichs

The Corporate Culture Handbook: How to Plan, Implement, And Measure a Successful Corporate Culture

Friday, February 02, 2007

How To Find Out What Keywords Pay Best With AdSense.

Dmitri Davydov and David Deprice may very well be the two individuals who have the best idea what keywords pay out best with AdSense. That is other than Google’s employees.

“When I first started playing with AdSense two years ago, I’ve noticed that your income can wildly fluctuate, depending on what niche you are in,” David says. “Everybody knows that. And everybody THINKS they know what keywords pay out best, but they really don’t.”

According to Dmitri and David, most people base their decisions about profitable AdSense niches on bid values from Overture and AdWords. In fact, every single keyword list on the market today is based on bid data derived from these two. Any person can enter any keyword and see what top bids for this particular keyword are. So what’s the problem?

“The problem is that bid data is valid only for search terms,” Dmitri say. “You see, Google lets you turn their content network off. Or bid less for content clicks. And people do just that. A search click oftentimes is more valuable for advertisers than a content click. Because search clicks convert on average three to five times better than content clicks. When a person enters a phrase in the search engine, they want to know the answer. But when they see a contextual ad, they may click it out of curiosity. The intent simply isn’t there. And you see this in conversion rates.”

So how do these two find out how much Google pays for particular keywords on their content network? From their own AdSense accounts. This is how Dmitri does it:

“The only way to find out how much Google pays is to look into your AdSense account. Google lets you set channels for every web page you have. Suppose I have an article about Hoodia. The first thing I have to do is to see what ads Google displays on the page. If all ads say ‘Hoodia’ in them, it means that Hoodia is the trigger word. The next thing I do is I set up a channel for my Hoodia article and track how many clicks I get and how much Google paid me. Then I divide payout by the number of clicks. It’s as simple as that. The irony is that this data is very imperfect, because it’s valid only for my account. But it’s much more precise than top bids. Overture shows top bid for ‘Hoodia’ at $2.75. For AdWords it’s more than 4 dollars per click. But I know for a fact that for the AdSense click for ‘Hoodia’ the pay averages out at about 70 cents.”

David uses a similar approach:

“I simply use traffic arbitrage model. I’ll use the same example as Dmitri. I can create a page about this weightloss supplement. It’s very expensive to bid on ‘Hoodia’ so I can bid on cheaper terms that contain the word. Like ‘Hoodia medical research’. Nobody bids on this term, so I can buy it at a minimum price. After a person clicks the ad, it takes them to my Hoodia page. Which has Google AdSense ads about ‘Hoodia’. Google will tell me how many people clicked the ads and what they (Google) paid. You see, traffic arbitrage folks want to make more money off their ads than they spent on getting traffic. But I only care about determining how much Google pays for a particular term.”

Dmitri and David then compare their findings for each keyword to see if they are close or not. So, how do they monetize this knowledge? Through Dmitri’s website, Tested AdSense Niches. The site sells a monthly membership at $29.95. The subscribers get a list of keywords and niches that pay from $0.30 to $1.20 per AdSense click delivered to them twice a week. The data is always fresh.

“The reason we don’t sell old data is because we don’t want our new subscribers to compete with old ones,” Dmitri says. “And we limited membership for the same reason. We still have 19 available spots, but as soon as they are filled, we’ll close the club or jack up our membership fees.”

So why did these two decided to sell this information rather than use it for themselves?

“Oh no, we use this data ourselves. But by the end of this year, we’ll probably make just as much money from the membership site as Google pays us for AdSense clicks. It’s all about money.”

As far as fears of misusing this information to cheat Google, the two claim that it’s non-existent:

“It’s impossible. You can’t fool Google. You simply can not monetize a site with high paying keywords without driving quality traffic to the site. I can give you a niche that pays 80 cents per click, but if all your traffic comes from China or India, you’ll be lucky to get a nickel per click. If your traffic sucks, if it doesn’t convert or if you don’t have any traffic, you’ll never make much money with AdSense.”

The AdSense Code: What Google Never Told You About Making Money with AdSense