Sunday, June 28, 2009

With people seeking comfort and security, an ex-stockbroker makes millions playing the pajama game.

Link of the day - I will pay you $25, if you come up with a cool domain name for me.

When consumers get cold feet, what's an entrepreneur to do? Sell them footed pajamas: a grown-up version of Dr. Denton's kiddie sleepwear.

Four years ago Valerie Johnson started Big Feet Pajama Co. from the basement of her Las Vegas home. The former stockbroker, who says she can't even sew a straight seam, sold $360,000 worth of pajamas in 2005; revenues hit $2 million in 2008. Despite the recession, she expects to top $2.5 million this year, thanks to strong advance orders for next winter's holiday season.

"Fleece and flannel mean comfort and security," she says. "My pajamas are a small, practical indulgence when all the fun has been squeezed out of the family budget."

Johnson, 40, knew little about the apparel business when she plunged in with an initial investment of $50,000 and began selling her wares online, in catalogues and in specialty retail stores. "I know how to sell," she says. "Everything else I outsource."

Like most startups, Big Feet has stumbled a few times, but Johnson has managed to keep her balance.

"One of the first shipments she sent us was delayed when the truck ran into a snowstorm in Pennsylvania," says Ellie Badanes, CEO of the Pajama Store, an online boutique. "She called us with hourly reports. It meant a lot to me that she would be so concerned about my business." Now Badanes orders $100,000 worth of pj's from Johnson each year.

And after Big Feet pajamas were chosen as celebrity gifts for the 2007 Oscars, the stars began to come out. Whoopi Goldberg bought them for everyone on her Christmas list, including the Clintons, Elton John and Robin Williams. Actress Eva Longoria ordered them for a staff slumber party.

"People want to wear what Eva Longoria is wearing," Johnson says cheerfully. "Especially if they can get it for just $44."

101 Businesses You Can Start With Less Than One Thousand Dollars: For Stay-at-Home Moms & Dads

Weekend Entrepreneur: 101 Great Ways to Earn Extra Cash

The Perfect Business

eBay 101: Selling on eBay For Part-time or Full-time Income, Beginner to PowerSeller in 90 Days

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bargain Bros. - Hollywood's scrap men make millions.

Link of the day - I will pay you $25, if you come up with a cool domain name for me.

(Fortune Small Business) -- How often have you dropped $10 per ticket and $12 for snacks to see an over-hyped dud at the metroplex? "We could have stayed home and watched a bad movie," you say. You should talk to the Kugler brothers.

They flip Hollywood's detritus to discount retailers, hoping you'll make an impulse buy at Wal-Mart - why not try Let Sleeping Corpses Lie or Inside the Male Intellect? - so you can enjoy a perfectly awful piece of cinema in your own living room.

Their company, Distribution Video & Audio, posted $20 million in revenue in 2008, up 60% from 2005. Along with DVDs, they sell CDs (cue up Perry Como Swings!), books (Child Dianetics, anyone?), video games and movie promo items (because everyone needs more mugs and key chains).

The brothers' father, Ben Kugler, launched DVA in 1988, selling videotapes a few at a time to replace rental stores' lost or damaged stock. His son Ryan joined DVA at age 17, buying 25,000 videos from a studio and selling them all to Target.

Ryan, now 34, oversees sales and marketing in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Ryan's 41-year-old brother, Brad, handles finances and operations from Palm Harbor, Fla. Along with discount retailers, DVA's customer base includes cruise ships, libraries and gift shops. The company has also found a new revenue stream: some 3,000 unemployed middlemen who buy movies to resell on the Internet.

But will their business survive when MP3s and online video send CDs and DVDs the way of the 8-track? One of DVA's competitors, Tiffany Wilke, co-owner of Mountain View Movies in Davenport, N.Y., says she's banking on "people who are technology-shy."

Ryan Kugler says there will always be customers who prefer a product they can hold in their hands. And when that product is an Alabama farewell tour CD or the collected episodes of Wild Kingdom, well, who could argue with him?

101 Businesses You Can Start With Less Than One Thousand Dollars: For Stay-at-Home Moms & Dads

Weekend Entrepreneur: 101 Great Ways to Earn Extra Cash

The Perfect Business

eBay 101: Selling on eBay For Part-time or Full-time Income, Beginner to PowerSeller in 90 Days

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Amiya Alexander, 10-year-old entrepreneur

Link of the day - I will pay you $25, if you come up with a cool domain name for me.

Amiya Alexander bounds in front of a parked school bus at Bloomfield Hills Montessori Center, her smile so wide it shows off the red and black bands around her braces.

Those braces, her brown Baby Phat high tops and the poof of pink feathers affixed to her hair speak to the accoutrements of any 10-year-old girl.

Except Amiya owns another accessory: the school bus.

At age 10, Amiya Alexander is an entrepreneur -- owner, founder and creator of Amiya's Mobile Dance Academy, which travels around metro Detroit teaching kids hip-hop, ballet, tap, merengue and more.

Painted a searing shade of hot pink, Amiya's bus has all but four seats ripped out, a dance floor installed and ballet barres and mirrors affixed to the walls. On the ceiling, glitter glimmers.

Since January, it has rolled around metro Detroit, driven by her great-uncle, Sundiata Abdul-Mateen, who was lured out of retirement to help.

Aside from Bloomfield Hills Montessori, Amiya also teaches classes at the Northwest Activities Center in Detroit and has instructed toddlers in ballet and salsa at Island Kiddie Kampus Child Development Center in Grosse Ile.

A dancer since age 2 and a member of the Detroit Pistons Junior Automation, Amiya moves as fluidly as a dancer on MTV.

"The kids just loved her," says Shirley Mohney, owner of Island Kiddie Kampus. "The way she relates to them, she's just so natural at it. For such a young little thing, she's just got this whole charisma about her."

The idea for the bus, Amiya says, came to her as she played with her dolls at "1:02 in the morning" at her Southfield home. She woke up her mother, Teberah Alexander, 30, who asked her daughter if it could wait until the next day.

Of course it couldn't. And out tumbled Amiya's plans for not just a bus but a business, one that would bring a space to teach ballet and tap and hip-hop from school to school, party to party, child to child.

Teberah, a registered nurse who owns a business called Compassionate Home Care, recalls her daughter saying, "Mommy, you're a single mother, and I need to help you. I have to go to Harvard Medical School."

Proceeds from running the business go toward Amiya's education fund; she wants to study for a career in obstetrics because "I like babies, and blood is cool."

So for Christmas, when other kids got Nintendo Wii games and systems, Amiya got the school bus.

"I think, it's like, awesome," says Amiya. "I didn't think my mom would actually do it."

It cost Teberah about $11,000 to buy the bus and rehab it to match Amiya's vision.

Back at Bloomfield Hills Montessori, Amiya's clients were seven girls, ages 2 to 7.

Inside the bus, they formed a line around Amiya, who stood a foot taller than the girls.

"Five, Six. Five, Six, Seven, Eight!," she shouted, raising her arms.

Kids performing on the Nas track "I Can" start shouting "I know I can/ Be what I wanna be," and Amiya moves, leading the kids left and right, through straddle jumps and arm pumps that end with a confident nod of the head.

"I like when she teaches, because she shows us a lot of moves!" says Grace Knapke, 6, of Rochester Hills, whose sisters, Kate, 5, and Jade, 4, also take Amiya's class.

Parents like Tom Langlas of Bloomfield Hills, whose 2-year-old daughter, Kitty, dances in Amiya's bus classes, call what she's doing remarkable.

Says Langlas: "She's a role model for all girls, all kids, really."

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide

Small Business Ideas: 400 Latest & Greatest Small Business Ideas

Start & Run a Real Home-Based Business

The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Friday, June 12, 2009

Door to Door as Missionaries, Then as Salesmen

Link of the day - I will pay you $25, if you come up with a cool domain name for me.

OAK BROOK, Ill. — Six days a week, in fair weather and foul, two-dozen door-to-door salesmen, all of whom live clustered together in an apartment complex in this suburb west of Chicago, pile into S.U.V.’s and cars and head into the big city, bent on sales of home security systems.

And on Sunday, their one day off, they drive together to the nearest house of worship of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The salesmen are mostly former Mormon missionaries from Utah who cut their teeth — and learned their people-skill chops — cold-calling for their faith. In Chicago and in its suburbs where their employer, Pinnacle Security of Orem, Utah, has shipped them for the summer sales season, they are doing much the same thing, but as a job.

“It’s missionary work turned into a business,” said Cameron Treu, 30, who served his mission in Chile and was recruited into D2D (that is door-to-door in sales lingo) by another former missionary.

Managers at Pinnacle Security, founded in 2001 by a student at Brigham Young University, the Mormon Church-owned school, say missionaries simply have the right stuff. Many speak foreign languages learned in the mission field. All have thick skins from dealing with the negative responses that a missionary armed with a Book of Mormon and a smile can receive.

Mormon men are expected to serve a two-year mission in their early 20s, and about two-thirds of Pinnacle Security’s 1,800 sales representatives this summer have been through the experience. Former missionaries work for other direct-sales companies, too, though Pinnacle seems to be in a class by itself: It has deployed them in 75 cities nationwide.

“They’re used to knocking on doors, and they’re used to rejection,” said Scott Warner, Pinnacle’s manager of the Chicago sales team.

Mr. Warner said interest in the security products was up this year — a recession indicator, he said — as people reacted to fear (if not always a statistical reality) of rising crime. But the number of potential customers who cannot pass credit checks is up, too, with more homeowners unable to afford the $40 or so a month that Pinnacle charges to monitor a system. The company also charges a $99 installation fee, but nothing for the alarm equipment itself in a standard package.

As millions of traditional jobs dried up last year, at least 100,000 Americans joined the ranks of what is called, in the trade, direct sales. With items like cosmetics and skin care (Mary Kay, Avon) and housewares (Cutco knives, Fuller Brush), more than 15.1 million people are now selling something, or trying to, somewhere far beyond the mall.

And retention is up in a profession with a notoriously high burn-out rate, industry experts say. (Fifty to 100 door-knocks a day, with one or two completed sales, is an average grind.) At Pinnacle Security’s Oak Brook office, for example, only about 15 percent of the reps had given up and gone home, or not worked out to expectations, after the first month of the sales season, which began in early May — about half the normal attrition rate.

“Consumer companies and retailers are trying to break through the clutter, and it’s a lot easier for companies to recruit talent in this job market,” said Thomas Lutz, a senior partner in the Boston Consulting Group, which advises companies on growth and marketing.

Business is only part of the chemistry though. In a free-market economy, every sale or purchase is on some level an act of conversion, a matter of overcoming objections or hesitancy and getting to “yes.” Decision making and trust are never entirely matters of pure logic.

Matt Romero, a 24-year-old college student from Draper, Utah, south of Salt Lake City, admitted freely that in his heart he was still partly a missionary.

Mr. Romero is fluent in Spanish from his mission to Peru, eloquent and invariably polite in English in trolling the mostly black neighborhoods of Chicago’s South Side. He made $13,000 last summer selling 60 security systems for Pinnacle and is aspiring this year to sell 150 systems, which would trigger big incentive bonuses that could increase his pay to $75,000 or more.

But he said he was also ready to render unto God the things that are God’s.

His thinking on that question changed one afternoon in early May. A woman opened the door and wanted to talk about religion.

“She asked me if I believed in Christ and if I knew who my savior was and I said, ‘Yes, ma’am,’ and we had a discussion and she told me, ‘No one comes in my house without hearing the word,’ and I said, ‘That’s a good policy, ma’am,’ ” Mr. Romero said on a recent afternoon of knocking on doors.

“Since then, I’ve been carrying around these little cards,” he said, lifting up his stack of Pinnacle brochures to reveal a smaller stack of what are called “pass-along cards,” with facts and frequently asked questions about the Mormon Church. Marketing experts say that cold-calling in general has become more sophisticated since the era of Willy Loman, with training, mentoring and recruiting efforts sharpened at many companies. But Pinnacle’s salesmen are also applying skills learned in the mission field, like “mimic and mirror,” a technique of adapting one’s posture and bearing to the person being spoken to as a way of inducing trust — if his arms are crossed, you cross yours; if she tilts her head in asking a question, you do the same.

“Before my mission, I knocked on doors and I had some success,” said Matt Biesinger, 23, who worked a summer for Pinnacle before going to Paraguay as a missionary. “On the mission, I learned how to talk to people.”

Role-playing exercises conducted on many mornings reinforce those lessons. Look into a potential customer’s eye, trainers say, but do not stare, which can appear confrontational. When the door opens, always stand at a slight angle to diffuse any body language that might convey threat. And never diminish yourself by using the word, “just,” as in, “I’m just here in the neighborhood.”

Sometimes, though, it rains, and when it does, Pinnacle’s sink-or-swim mentality for sales reps, especially new, unproven ones like Brandon Rogers, is tough love at its toughest.

Newbies, for fear they may retreat to their cars, are dropped off and left on foot without shelter or access to a bathroom unless they can gain admittance into a house to make their sales pitch. Mr. Rogers, who is 21, had three energy bars and no umbrella to last him through a long, wet day.

He had made one sale by dark, when they picked up him.

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide

Small Business Ideas: 400 Latest & Greatest Small Business Ideas

Start & Run a Real Home-Based Business

The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

10 Books About Shadow Economy You Absolutely Have To Read

1. Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor

In this revealing study of a Southside Chicago neighborhood, sociologist Venkatesh opens a window on how the poor live. Focusing on domestics, entrepreneurs, hustlers, preachers and gangs linked in an underground economy that "manages to touch all households," the book reveals how residents struggle between "their desires to live a just life and their needs to make ends meet as best they can." In this milieu, African-American mechanics, painters, hairdressers, musicians and informal security guards are linked to prostitutes, drug dealers, gun dealers and car thieves in illegal enterprises that even police and politicians are involved in, though not all are criminals in the usual sense. Storefront clergy, often dependent "on the underground for their own livelihood," serve as mediators and brokers between individuals and gang members, who have "insinuated themselves—and their drug money—into the deepest reaches of the community." Although the book's academic tenor is occasionally wearying, Venkatesh keeps his work vital and poignant by using the words of his subjects, who are as dependent on this intricate web as they are fearful of its dangers.

2. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Economics is not widely considered to be one of the sexier sciences. The annual Nobel Prize winner in that field never receives as much publicity as his or her compatriots in peace, literature, or physics. But if such slights are based on the notion that economics is dull, or that economists are concerned only with finance itself, Steven D. Levitt will change some minds. In Freakonomics (written with Stephen J. Dubner), Levitt argues that many apparent mysteries of everyday life don't need to be so mysterious: they could be illuminated and made even more fascinating by asking the right questions and drawing connections. For example, Levitt traces the drop in violent crime rates to a drop in violent criminals and, digging further, to the Roe v. Wade decision that preempted the existence of some people who would be born to poverty and hardship. Elsewhere, by analyzing data gathered from inner-city Chicago drug-dealing gangs, Levitt outlines a corporate structure much like McDonald's, where the top bosses make great money while scores of underlings make something below minimum wage. And in a section that may alarm or relieve worried parents, Levitt argues that parenting methods don't really matter much and that a backyard swimming pool is much more dangerous than a gun. These enlightening chapters are separated by effusive passages from Dubner's 2003 profile of Levitt in The New York Times Magazine, which led to the book being written. In a book filled with bold logic, such back-patting veers Freakonomics, however briefly, away from what Levitt actually has to say. Although maybe there's a good economic reason for that too, and we're just not getting it yet.

3. Ragnar's Guide to the Underground Economy

Through detailed case studies Ragnar shows you how carpenters, woodcutters, farmers, housecleaners, computer consultants, mechanics, lawyers, vendors, locksmiths and others are cashing in on today's booming economy - and keeping what they earn by not paying taxes. From these undergrounders you'll learn how to locate work, get paid without supplying identifying numbers, prepare a realistic budget, advertise your services or product and finance your project when you can't go to the bank. You'll also learn the pitfalls of working off the books and what you can do to prepare for them.

4. How to Survive Without a Salary: Learning How to Live the Conserver Lifestyle

I thought that this book was so funny in places that I haven't laughed so hard, so much, for a long time. Charles is a skilled writer; the book is very readable, intelligent, thoughtful,and well organized. It contains a copious (even prodigious) amount of tips, for a 200-page book. Very practical, and at the same time touches on abtruse philosophical areas, especially at the end of the book.

Hey, I used to think I was cheap. This guy is CHEAP. His anecdotes include waiting for it to rain to take a shower instead of installing indoor plumbing. He had a big hole in the floor of his entryway, or somewhere in his house, into which the kids and a few guests fell. He refused to spend one cent covering the hole, until a neighbor told him about a steel grate they threw away years ago, so he went to the dump and found it.

The point is that you can learn from a top-notch "conserver"; an applied example I would give is to buy two gallons of milk when it's on sale and freeze one for later use (works well!). This guy probably drinks powdered milk though.

I disagree with his economic analysis; prudence CAN be a vice, as any virtue most certainly is in its extreme, or even overdone. But Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations is not just about "McPimple Burger" or keeping up with the Joneses. Any system on a mass scale is going to have gaping faults, and the weaker of us might succumb to our basest impulses. But perhaps Long goes a bit too far the other way...

At any rate, he sounds like an economic anarchist. Very well thought out book, great advice.

5. Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets

In Freakonomics, many people were fascinated by a section that described how most crack cocaine dealers lived at home with their mothers. Why? They make less money than minimum wage. The source of that factoid was research conducted on site by Sudhir Venkatesh, author of Gang Leader for a Day, who describes in this book how he did that research and came to make decisions one day for part of the Black Kings gang in Chicago.

In the process of reading this book, you'll learn more than you ever expected to know about the ways that the poorest people support and protect themselves. You'll also find how drug-dealing gangs are both a help and a hindrance to the poor.

More powerfully, you'll be exposed to the great difficulties involved in observing the lives of the poor and the gangs that spring from them. The moral and ethical dilemmas this book presents are almost beyond belief.

6. Under the Table and Into Your Pocket: The How and Why of the Underground Economy

Under The Table And Into Your Pocket: The How And Why Of The Underground Economy by Bill Wilson will provide the non-specialist general reader with a complete education on a facet of the American economy rarely (if ever) covered in school. Beginning with an introduction to just some of the ways governmental regulations strangle business, overtax the little guy, and enable Washington to be the drunken big spender that it is today (if you overpay your taxes by $7,000 and don't reclaim it within three years you're out of luck - but underpay it by $7,000 and the IRS can and will come after you no matter how much time has passed!), Under The Table proceeds to demonstrate how the little guy can circumvent taxes by doing business away from Big Brother's prying eyes. From boarding houses and flea markets to roadside merchants and dominatrix work, Under The Table covers the benefits, disadvantages, tips, tricks, techniques and much more of common underground ways to earn a living. Under The Table is emphatically not a legal guide; neither the author nor the publisher assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of information contained within - but the eye-opening ins and outs of a truly free economy make for quite fascinating and advantageous reading.

7. Deep Inside the Underground Economy: How Millions of Americans are Practising Free Enterprise in an Unfree Economy

Are you fed up with giving so much of your hard earned cash to the government, then watching it get spent on ridiculous pork-barrel special-interest projects? Would you like to hold on to more of your money for your own special-interest boondoggles? The underground economy continues to grow in spite of ever-widening atttempts by the government to regulate and tax everything we do. Millions of Americans are practising fee enterprise in today's increasingly unfree tax society. This is the most comprehensive how-to book ever written for those entrepreneurial individuals who have decided to end their slavery to a wage and to government taxation as well. Discover how you can keep more of what you earn for yourself. Here you will find complete and up-to-date information on the ins and outs of guerrilla capitalism and the underground economy in this country.

8. Empire of Scrounge: Inside the Urban Underground of Dumpster Diving, Trash Picking, and Street Scavenging.

In December of 2001 Jeff Ferrell quit his job as tenured professor, moved back to his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, and, with a place to live but no real income, began an eight-month odyssey of essentially living off of the street. Empire of Scrounge tells the story of this unusual journey into the often illicit worlds of scrounging, recycling, and second-hand living. Existing as a dumpster diver and trash picker, Ferrell adopted a way of life that was both field research and free-form survival. Riding around on his scrounged BMX bicycle, Ferrell investigated the million-dollar mansions, working-class neighborhoods, middle class suburbs, industrial and commercial strips, and the large downtown area, where he found countless discarded treasures, from unopened presents and new clothes to scrap metal and even food.

9. McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld

In McMafia, Misha Glenny draws the dark map that lies on the other side of Tom Friedman's bright flat world. That connected globe not only brings software coders and supply-chain outsourcers closer together; it's also opened the gates to a criminal network of unsettling vastness, complexity, and efficiency that represents a fifth of the earth's economy, trading in everything from untaxed cigarettes and the usual narcotics to human lives and nuclear material. Glenny's a Balkans expert, and he begins his story there, with the illicit--but often state-sponsored--underworld that grew out of the post-Soviet chaos, but he soon follows the contraband everywhere from Mumbai and Johannesburg to rural Colombia and the U.S. suburbs. It's not just a hodgepodge of scare clips, though: Glenny reports from the ground but follows the leads as high as they go, showing how the dark and bright sides of the flat world are more connected than we imagine.

10. Living Well on Practically Nothing

Living Well on Practically Nothing: Revised and Updated Edition is for people who need to live on a lot less money. If you have been fired, demoted, retired, divorced, widowed, bankrupted or swindled - or you just want to quit your job and remain financially self-reliant - this book is for you. In it are hundreds of tips, secrets and necessary skills for living well on little money. Chapters include: Save Up to $37,000 a Year and Live on $12,000 a Year; Low-Cost Computers for Fun, Profit, and Education; Some Ways to Live on No Money at All; A Day of Cheap Living; A New Career or Business for You; Fix Things and Make Them Last; and Protect Your Investments and Make Them Grow. From cover to cover, this book is stocked with proven methods for saving money on shelter, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, health care and more. The author left the "system" in 1969 and has worked for himself ever since. Let him show you how you, too, can live happily, comfortably and with complete financial freedom.

P.S. If you'd like to know how I make my money (it's not really "shadow" or illegal at all, but it gives me freedom to do anything I want to, while providing steady stream of income), feel free to check out my websites -, NicheGeek.Com,, SoftwareJudge.Com, Best Free Documentaries.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Still Think You Are Too Old To Start A Business?

Link of the day - I will pay you $25, if you come up with a cool domain name for me.

Wally Blume worked in the dairy business for two decades, first for grocery chain Kroger and later as sales and marketing director for a large dairy in Michigan, where he helped market new ice cream flavors. But soon after another company purchased the dairy, Blume decided that the once-innovative company was falling short, prompting him and a couple of colleagues to quit to develop and market their own flavors. In 1995 the partners had a national hit with Moose Tracks (a combo of vanilla, peanut-butter cup, and fudge), and within a few years Blume decided he'd be better off running his own company.

In 2000, Blume mortgaged his house and every other asset he could, plunking down what he says was "seven figures" to buy out his partners and start anew. That same year, he launched Denali Flavors, a marketing and licensing company that creates new ice cream and dessert concepts for independent regional dairies, allowing them to compete with the big national dairy brands. Looking back, Blume says: "I knew I could run it better than my partners. In my opinion there was just no downside to the risk."

While Blume's path from corporate suit to entrepreneur may sound familiar, his story has a twist: Blume was 61 when he went into business for himself.

In recent years, the number of individuals starting their own businesses during what is usually considered the "retirement years" has been rising, according to economists and small-business observers. And so has the age at which they are starting their own ventures: According to the nonprofit AARP Public Policy Institute, in 2008, 21% of the self-employed were between 55 and 64, while 10% were 65 and older. Of course, not every self-employed senior is an entrepreneur, but experts believe the stock market's recent brutalization of retirement accounts will prod additional older Americans to start their own businesses.

A combination of economic volatility as well as the growing number of baby boomers with time, energy, and money on their hands has redefined the starting age for new startups and has led to a surge in senior citizen entrepreneurs. This is a category that is only recently being studied. Five years ago, Boston's Putnam Research reported that some 7 million previously retired Americans had returned to work. Similarly, a 2005 study by the Center on Aging & Work/Workplace Flexibility at Boston College found that workers 50 and older are more likely than younger folks to own their own businesses.

While Blume concedes that betting the farm on launching a business in his 60s was a dicey proposition, he says his age and experience gave him an unparalleled advantage. "I always wanted to go into business for myself when I was younger," he says. "But I didn't have the money. At 61 if I was trying to get into a business that I didn't understand and spent that kind of money, someone should have put me in a home. But I understood this business, and I saw its potential." Moreover, he says his time in the trenches also left him with a strong sense of what not to do. "I paid off my loans in 25 months," he notes. And today, Denali Flavors earns about $80 million annually and has licensing agreements with a number of manufacturers. Denali's 40 different flavors can be found in all 50 states as well as Canada. Now 70, Blume is just getting started, having launched two additional ventures: a sauna business and a boat pontoon outfit.

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide

Small Business Ideas: 400 Latest & Greatest Small Business Ideas

Start & Run a Real Home-Based Business

The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Cool Startups By College Students

Link of the day - I will pay you $25, if you come up with a cool domain name for me.

Building a company with staying power was important to Ericson, so he and his co-founders, James Perkins, 25, and Jason Meinzer, 26, opted to incorporate CityRyde as a for-profit entity when it launched in 2007. “You have to make green to go green,” Ericson says. “We knew we needed to have a model that allowed us to sustain the business while still helping us save the environment.” After a year of planning and development, Philadelphia-based CityRyde has positioned itself as an authoritative bike-sharing consulting firm, offering services to companies across the U.S. and projecting sales of $1.1 million this year.

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide

Small Business Ideas: 400 Latest & Greatest Small Business Ideas

Start & Run a Real Home-Based Business

The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Weird Websites - RunPee.Com

Link of the day - The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need

You're sitting comfortably in your plush chair at the multiplex, when suddenly you feel a twinge in the back of your neck. A quick glance down at your 136-ounce cola and you instantly realize that nature is calling, and it's urgent.

You don't have time to wait this time, but next time you can plan ahead for your restroom breaks with

The site lists spots in the movie when it's safe to disappear for a minute or two. Better still, it will scramble the spoiler if you only want to know when to duck out and how long you've got. If you want to know what you missed, just unscramble the text upon your return.

There are also loads of additional features on RunPee, like reminders and the Pee Times - a bit of reading material you can print and enjoy whilst one your break.

10 Books That Absolutely Prove That Humans Are Irrational Creatures

Pitching Their Tent On The Web

ShortTask.Com Success Story

America's Most Promising Startups