Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jingle Punks Success Story

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

Back in 2005, indie rocker Jared Gutstadt landed a sweet job between tours: lead editor and composer on Chappelle's Show on cable TV's Comedy Central. Before long, his ability to quickly crank out tunes earned him the nickname "Jingle Punk Jared." The nickname stuck. So, too, did his feeling that there wasn't enough culturally relevant music available for producers trying to make their TV shows or commercials feel current. In October 2008, Gutstadt opened a stock music company out of his New York City apartment as a way for struggling bands, unsung composers, and unpublished writers to get their work on top shows on network and cable TV.

Today, Jingle Punks licenses music from a swath of musicians ranging from Chip Taylor (he wrote the 1960s hit Wild Thing) to Gutstadt himself. Gutstadt, 31, whose "musical and entrepreneurial hero" is P. Diddy, says TV network clients pay between $10,000 and $20,000 for four months of access to Jingle Punks' searchable database of 10,000 songs, but the real money is in the royalties after a show airs. He says Jingle Punks has pulled in about $220,000 since its launch, from networks such as Bravo, MTV, VH1, and A&E, and brands such as Coca-Cola , Kimberly-Clark's Huggies, and Geico. After landing a deal in late May to license music to a roster of Viacom properties, Gutstadt embarked on his first vacation since starting the company.

For more unusual ways to make money, visit this site.

The Million-Dollar Idea in Everyone: Easy New Ways to Make Money from Your Interests, Insights, and Inventions

IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide by Dan S. Kennedy

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

Make Your Ideas Mean Business

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What If Us Collapses? Soviet Collapse Lessons Every American Needs To Know

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

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am not an expert or a scholar or an activist. I am more of an eye-witness. I watched the Soviet Union collapse, and I have tried to put my observations into a concise message. I will leave it up to you to decide just how urgent a message it is.

My talk tonight is about the lack of collapse-preparedness here in the United States. I will compare it with the situation in the Soviet Union, prior to its collapse. The rhetorical device I am going to use is the "Collapse Gap" – to go along with the Nuclear Gap, and the Space Gap, and various other superpower gaps that were fashionable during the Cold War.

Slide [2] The subject of economic collapse is generally a sad one. But I am an optimistic, cheerful sort of person, and I believe that, with a bit of preparation, such events can be taken in stride. As you can probably surmise, I am actually rather keen on observing economic collapses. Perhaps when I am really old, all collapses will start looking the same to me, but I am not at that point yet.

And this next one certainly has me intrigued. From what I've seen and read, it seems that there is a fair chance that the U.S. economy will collapse sometime within the foreseeable future. It also would seem that we won't be particularly well-prepared for it. As things stand, the U.S. economy is poised to perform something like a disappearing act. And so I am eager to put my observations of the Soviet collapse to good use.

Slide [3] I anticipate that some people will react rather badly to having their country compared to the USSR. I would like to assure you that the Soviet people would have reacted similarly, had the United States collapsed first. Feelings aside, here are two 20th century superpowers, who wanted more or less the same things – things like technological progress, economic growth, full employment, and world domination – but they disagreed about the methods. And they obtained similar results – each had a good run, intimidated the whole planet, and kept the other scared. Each eventually went bankrupt.

Slide [4] The USA and the USSR were evenly matched in many categories, but let me just mention four.

The Soviet manned space program is alive and well under Russian management, and now offers first-ever space charters. The Americans have been hitching rides on the Soyuz while their remaining spaceships sit in the shop.

The arms race has not produced a clear winner, and that is excellent news, because Mutual Assured Destruction remains in effect. Russia still has more nuclear warheads than the US, and has supersonic cruise missile technology that can penetrate any missile shield, especially a nonexistent one.

The Jails Race once showed the Soviets with a decisive lead, thanks to their innovative GULAG program. But they gradually fell behind, and in the end the Jails Race has been won by the Americans, with the highest percentage of people in jail ever.

The Hated Evil Empire Race is also finally being won by the Americans. It's easy now that they don't have anyone to compete against.

Slide [5] Continuing with our list of superpower similarities, many of the problems that sunk the Soviet Union are now endangering the United States as well. Such as a huge, well-equipped, very expensive military, with no clear mission, bogged down in fighting Muslim insurgents. Such as energy shortfalls linked to peaking oil production. Such as a persistently unfavorable trade balance, resulting in runaway foreign debt. Add to that a delusional self-image, an inflexible ideology, and an unresponsive political system.

Slide [6] An economic collapse is amazing to observe, and very interesting if described accurately and in detail. A general description tends to fall short of the mark, but let me try. An economic arrangement can continue for quite some time after it becomes untenable, through sheer inertia. But at some point a tide of broken promises and invalidated assumptions sweeps it all out to sea. One such untenable arrangement rests on the notion that it is possible to perpetually borrow more and more money from abroad, to pay for more and more energy imports, while the price of these imports continues to double every few years. Free money with which to buy energy equals free energy, and free energy does not occur in nature. This must therefore be a transient condition. When the flow of energy snaps back toward equilibrium, much of the US economy will be forced to shut down.

Slide [7] I've described what happened to Russia in some detail in one of my articles, which is available on I don't see why what happens to the United States should be entirely dissimilar, at least in general terms. The specifics will be different, and we will get to them in a moment. We should certainly expect shortages of fuel, food, medicine, and countless consumer items, outages of electricity, gas, and water, breakdowns in transportation systems and other infrastructure, hyperinflation, widespread shutdowns and mass layoffs, along with a lot of despair, confusion, violence, and lawlessness. We definitely should not expect any grand rescue plans, innovative technology programs, or miracles of social cohesion.

Slide [8] When faced with such developments, some people are quick to realize what it is they have to do to survive, and start doing these things, generally without anyone's permission. A sort of economy emerges, completely informal, and often semi-criminal. It revolves around liquidating, and recycling, the remains of the old economy. It is based on direct access to resources, and the threat of force, rather than ownership or legal authority. People who have a problem with this way of doing things, quickly find themselves out of the game.

These are the generalities. Now let's look at some specifics.

Slide [9] One important element of collapse-preparedness is making sure that you don't need a functioning economy to keep a roof over your head. In the Soviet Union, all housing belonged to the government, which made it available directly to the people. Since all housing was also built by the government, it was only built in places that the government could service using public transportation. After the collapse, almost everyone managed to keep their place.

In the United States, very few people own their place of residence free and clear, and even they need an income to pay real estate taxes. People without an income face homelessness. When the economy collapses, very few people will continue to have an income, so homelessness will become rampant. Add to that the car-dependent nature of most suburbs, and what you will get is mass migrations of homeless people toward city centers.

Slide [10] Soviet public transportation was more or less all there was, but there was plenty of it. There were also a few private cars, but so few that gasoline rationing and shortages were mostly inconsequential. All of this public infrastructure was designed to be almost infinitely maintainable, and continued to run even as the rest of the economy collapsed.

The population of the United States is almost entirely car-dependent, and relies on markets that control oil import, refining, and distribution. They also rely on continuous public investment in road construction and repair. The cars themselves require a steady stream of imported parts, and are not designed to last very long. When these intricately interconnected systems stop functioning, much of the population will find itself stranded.

Slide [11] Economic collapse affects public sector employment almost as much as private sector employment, eventually. Because government bureaucracies tend to be slow to act, they collapse more slowly. Also, because state-owned enterprises tend to be inefficient, and stockpile inventory, there is plenty of it left over, for the employees to take home, and use in barter. Most Soviet employment was in the public sector, and this gave people some time to think of what to do next.

Private enterprises tend to be much more efficient at many things. Such laying off their people, shutting their doors, and liquidating their assets. Since most employment in the United States is in the private sector, we should expect the transition to permanent unemployment to be quite abrupt for most people.

Slide [12] When confronting hardship, people usually fall back on their families for support. The Soviet Union experienced chronic housing shortages, which often resulted in three generations living together under one roof. This didn't make them happy, but at least they were used to each other. The usual expectation was that they would stick it out together, come what may.

In the United States, families tend to be atomized, spread out over several states. They sometimes have trouble tolerating each other when they come together for Thanksgiving, or Christmas, even during the best of times. They might find it difficult to get along, in bad times. There is already too much loneliness in this country, and I doubt that economic collapse will cure it.

Slide [13] To keep evil at bay, Americans require money. In an economic collapse, there is usually hyperinflation, which wipes out savings. There is also rampant unemployment, which wipes out incomes. The result is a population that is largely penniless.

In the Soviet Union, very little could be obtained for money. It was treated as tokens rather than as wealth, and was shared among friends. Many things – housing and transportation among them – were either free or almost free.

Slide [14] Soviet consumer products were always an object of derision – refrigerators that kept the house warm – and the food, and so on. You'd be lucky if you got one at all, and it would be up to you to make it work once you got it home. But once you got it to work, it would become a priceless family heirloom, handed down from generation to generation, sturdy, and almost infinitely maintainable.

In the United States, you often hear that something "is not worth fixing." This is enough to make a Russian see red. I once heard of an elderly Russian who became irate when a hardware store in Boston wouldn't sell him replacement bedsprings: "People are throwing away perfectly good mattresses, how am I supposed to fix them?"

Economic collapse tends to shut down both local production and imports, and so it is vitally important that anything you own wears out slowly, and that you can fix it yourself if it breaks. Soviet-made stuff generally wore incredibly hard. The Chinese-made stuff you can get around here – much less so.

Slide [15] The Soviet agricultural sector was notoriously inefficient. Many people grew and gathered their own food even in relatively prosperous times. There were food warehouses in every city, stocked according to a government allocation scheme. There were very few restaurants, and most families cooked and ate at home. Shopping was rather labor-intensive, and involved carrying heavy loads. Sometimes it resembled hunting – stalking that elusive piece of meat lurking behind some store counter. So the people were well-prepared for what came next.

In the United States, most people get their food from a supermarket, which is supplied from far away using refrigerated diesel trucks. Many people don't even bother to shop and just eat fast food. When people do cook, they rarely cook from scratch. This is all very unhealthy, and the effect on the nation's girth, is visible, clear across the parking lot. A lot of the people, who just waddle to and from their cars, seem unprepared for what comes next. If they suddenly had to start living like the Russians, they would blow out their knees.

Slide [16] The Soviet government threw resources at immunization programs, infectious disease control, and basic care. It directly operated a system of state-owned clinics, hospitals, and sanatoriums. People with fatal ailments or chronic conditions often had reason to complain, and had to pay for private care – if they had the money.

In the United States, medicine is for profit. People seems to think nothing of this fact. There are really very few fields of endeavor to which Americans would deny the profit motive. The problem is, once the economy is removed, so is the profit, along with the services it once helped to motivate.

Slide [17] The Soviet education system was generally quite excellent. It produced an overwhelmingly literate population and many great specialists. The education was free at all levels, but higher education sometimes paid a stipend, and often provided room and board. The educational system held together quite well after the economy collapsed. The problem was that the graduates had no jobs to look forward to upon graduation. Many of them lost their way.

The higher education system in the United States is good at many things – government and industrial research, team sports, vocational training... Primary and secondary education fails to achieve in 12 years what Soviet schools generally achieved in 8. The massive scale and expense of maintaining these institutions is likely to prove too much for the post-collapse environment. Illiteracy is already a problem in the United States, and we should expect it to get a lot worse.

Slide [18] The Soviet Union did not need to import energy. The production and distribution system faltered, but never collapsed. Price controls kept the lights on even as hyperinflation raged.

The term "market failure" seems to fit the energy situation in the United States. Free markets develop some pernicious characteristics when there are shortages of key commodities. During World War II, the United States government understood this, and successfully rationed many things, from gasoline to bicycle parts. But that was a long time ago. Since then, the inviolability of free markets has become an article of faith.

Slide [19] My conclusion is that the Soviet Union was much better-prepared for economic collapse than the United States is.

I have left out two important superpower asymmetries, because they don't have anything to do with collapse-preparedness. Some countries are simply luckier than others. But I will mention them, for the sake of completeness.

In terms of racial and ethnic composition, the United States resembles Yugoslavia more than it resembles Russia, so we shouldn't expect it to be as peaceful as Russia was, following the collapse. Ethnically mixed societies are fragile and have a tendency to explode.

In terms of religion, the Soviet Union was relatively free of apocalyptic doomsday cults. Very few people there wished for a planet-sized atomic fireball to herald the second coming of their savior. This was indeed a blessing.

Slide [20] One area in which I cannot discern any Collapse Gap is national politics. The ideologies may be different, but the blind adherence to them couldn't be more similar.

It is certainly more fun to watch two Capitalist parties go at each other than just having the one Communist party to vote for. The things they fight over in public are generally symbolic little tokens of social policy, chosen for ease of public posturing. The Communist party offered just one bitter pill. The two Capitalist parties offer a choice of two placebos. The latest innovation is the photo finish election, where each party buys 50% of the vote, and the result is pulled out of statistical noise, like a rabbit out of a hat.

The American way of dealing with dissent and with protest is certainly more advanced: why imprison dissidents when you can just let them shout into the wind to their heart's content?

The American approach to bookkeeping is more subtle and nuanced than the Soviet. Why make a state secret of some statistic, when you can just distort it, in obscure ways? Here's a simple example: inflation is "controlled" by substituting hamburger for steak, in order to minimize increases to Social Security payments.

Slide [21] Many people expend a lot of energy protesting against their irresponsible, unresponsive government. It seems like a terrible waste of time, considering how ineffectual their protests are. Is it enough of a consolation for them to be able to read about their efforts in the foreign press? I think that they would feel better if they tuned out the politicians, the way the politicians tune them out. It's as easy as turning off the television set. If they try it, they will probably observe that nothing about their lives has changed, nothing at all, except maybe their mood has improved. They might also find that they have more time and energy to devote to more important things.

Slide [22] I will now sketch out some approaches, realistic and otherwise, to closing the Collapse Gap. My little list of approaches might seem a bit glib, but keep in mind that this is a very difficult problem. In fact, it's important to keep in mind that not all problems have solutions. I can promise you that we will not solve this problem tonight. What I will try to do is to shed some light on it from several angles.

Slide [23] Many people rail against the unresponsiveness and irresponsibility of the government. They often say things like "What is needed is..." plus the name of some big, successful government project from the glorious past – the Marshall Plan, the Manhattan Project, the Apollo program. But there is nothing in the history books about a government preparing for collapse. Gorbachev's "Perestroika" is an example of a government trying to avert or delay collapse. It probably helped speed it along.

Slide [24] There are some things that I would like the government to take care of in preparation for collapse. I am particularly concerned about all the radioactive and toxic installations, stockpiles, and dumps. Future generations are unlikely to able to control them, especially if global warming puts them underwater. There is enough of this muck sitting around to kill off most of us. I am also worried about soldiers getting stranded overseas – abandoning one's soldiers is among the most shameful things a country can do. Overseas military bases should be dismantled, and the troops repatriated. I'd like to see the huge prison population whittled away in a controlled manner, ahead of time, instead of in a chaotic general amnesty. Lastly, I think that this farce with debts that will never be repaid, has gone on long enough. Wiping the slate clean will give society time to readjust. So, you see, I am not asking for any miracles. Although, if any of these things do get done, I would consider it a miracle.

Slide [25] A private sector solution is not impossible; just very, very unlikely. Certain Soviet state enterprises were basically states within states. They controlled what amounted to an entire economic system, and could go on even without the larger economy. They kept to this arrangement even after they were privatized. They drove Western management consultants mad, with their endless kindergartens, retirement homes, laundries, and free clinics. These weren't part of their core competency, you see. They needed to divest and to streamline their operations. The Western management gurus overlooked the most important thing: the core competency of these enterprises lay in their ability to survive economic collapse. Maybe the young geniuses at Google can wrap their heads around this one, but I doubt that their stockholders will.

Slide [26] It's important to understand that the Soviet Union achieved collapse-preparedness inadvertently, and not because of the success of some crash program. Economic collapse has a way of turning economic negatives into positives. The last thing we want is a perfectly functioning, growing, prosperous economy that suddenly collapses one day, and leaves everybody in the lurch. It is not necessary for us to embrace the tenets of command economy and central planning to match the Soviet lackluster performance in this area. We have our own methods, that are working almost as well. I call them "boondoggles." They are solutions to problems that cause more problems than they solve.

Just look around you, and you will see boondoggles sprouting up everywhere, in every field of endeavor: we have military boondoggles like Iraq, financial boondoggles like the doomed retirement system, medical boondoggles like private health insurance, legal boondoggles like the intellectual property system. The combined weight of all these boondoggles is slowly but surely pushing us all down. If it pushes us down far enough, then economic collapse, when it arrives, will be like falling out of a ground floor window. We just have to help this process along, or at least not interfere with it. So if somebody comes to you and says "I want to make a boondoggle that runs on hydrogen" – by all means encourage him! It's not as good as a boondoggle that burns money directly, but it's a step in the right direction.

Slide [27] Certain types of mainstream economic behavior are not prudent on a personal level, and are also counterproductive to bridging the Collapse Gap. Any behavior that might result in continued economic growth and prosperity is counterproductive: the higher you jump, the harder you land. It is traumatic to go from having a big retirement fund to having no retirement fund because of a market crash. It is also traumatic to go from a high income to little or no income. If, on top of that, you have kept yourself incredibly busy, and suddenly have nothing to do, then you will really be in rough shape.

Economic collapse is about the worst possible time for someone to suffer a nervous breakdown, yet this is what often happens. The people who are most at risk psychologically are successful middle-aged men. When their career is suddenly over, their savings are gone, and their property worthless, much of their sense of self-worth is gone as well. They tend to drink themselves to death and commit suicide in disproportionate numbers. Since they tend to be the most experienced and capable people, this is a staggering loss to society.

If the economy, and your place within it, is really important to you, you will be really hurt when it goes away. You can cultivate an attitude of studied indifference, but it has to be more than just a conceit. You have to develop the lifestyle and the habits and the physical stamina to back it up. It takes a lot of creativity and effort to put together a fulfilling existence on the margins of society. After the collapse, these margins may turn out to be some of the best places to live.

Slide [28] I hope that I didn't make it sound as if the Soviet collapse was a walk in the park, because it was really quite awful in many ways. The point that I do want to stress is that when this economy collapses, it is bound to be much worse. Another point I would like to stress is that collapse here is likely to be permanent. The factors that allowed Russia and the other former Soviet republics to recover are not present here.

In spite of all this, I believe that in every age and circumstance, people can sometimes find not just a means and a reason to survive, but enlightenment, fulfillment, and freedom. If we can find them even after the economy collapses, then why not start looking for them now?

Thank you.

If you want Dmitry's analysis in detail, get his lates book Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects

[Via - Dmitry Orlov]

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

Sunday, October 25, 2009

When Crazy Ideas Succeed.


Get paid for coming up with cool domain names? This is exactly what this online business is about. With all good and obvious domain names long registered, the demand is high for quirky and easy to remember names that will stand out. Full story




Somebody steals your sandwich from the office fridge. This keeps happening again and again. Could this be a start of a great business idea? You bet! Full story




Sell skirts to MEN? This has got to be the dumbest business idea ever. Well, this guy sold ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND man-skirts (kilts, really) and I am sure this is a story you'll want to read. Fullstory




Why would you want to rent a fake wedding cake? Isn't is a special occasion? Well, with prices for wedding cakes sky-high this crazy little niche business is booming and something tells me that recession is only going to add new clients. Full story


As the name suggests, this service is for contacting the dead. Terminally ill patients memorize messages and deliver them when opportunity permits. And no, I am not making this up. Full story



Jason Sadler has been selling the upper part of his wardrobe ever day of 2009 to companies that want him to wear a t-shirt with the logo on it. His pricing structure is very interesting though. He’s sold January 1st for $1 and is selling December 31st for $365. Every day in between goes for the price of it’s day of the year. I wasn’t to excited about that until I calculated (using Gauss’s method) how much money he’d be earning for the year: $66,795! Full story




Believe or not, there is a firm that specializes in helping bankers and stock analysts do time: Welcome to Wall Street Prison Consultants. My name is Larry Levine, and I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce Fedtime 101, a revolutionary new program tailored specifically for white collar offenders entering the Federal Prison System. Full story

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 Full story9.

Runs events at which adults "explore communication, boundaries, and affection" by donning pajamas and getting physical. Ix-nay on the naughty stuff. Cuddleparty got so big and successful, they even got their own Wikipedia page. Full story




Trash some crappy software AND get paid for that? If you are a software lover then here is a golden opportunity for you make a few bucks every months for reviewing software at They pay you anywhere between $1 - $50 for each software reviewed. You are not supposed to advertise any software by making a positive review. You can review the software the way you like it. You will be paid whether you make a positive or a negative review. Souns good to you? Full story

Want more examples of crazy business ideas? Here is a list of books you are sure to enjoy:

The Million-Dollar Idea in Everyone: Easy New Ways to Make Money from Your Interests, Insights, and Inventions

IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide by Dan S. Kennedy

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

Make Your Ideas Mean Business

Friday, October 23, 2009

Don't Repeat Yourself. It's More Profitable

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

Ian Ginoza, 35, sells sneakers in Wicker Park, but there’s no chance shoppers would mistake his boutique for a Foot Locker. Sure, Ginoza’s Saint Alfred carries Nike and Reebok, among other brands. But the store orders shoes only every three months, in 12-pair batches, and when a style is sold out, that’s it—Saint Alfred never restocks. Bewitched by the limited supply, fashionistas and collectors pay up to $400 for a pair of sneakers. Ginoza got into high-end sneaker retailing in 2001 when he opened Kicks/HI in Honolulu, after working as an art director for IPath, a skateboard shoe and apparel company now owned by Timberland. Oddly, some of his best customers ordered from Chicago. So Ginoza flew here to size up the market. He and three partners then spent $150,000 to open Saint Alfred—the patron saint of footwear, they joke—in late 2005. The shop turned profitable within six months, Ginoza says.

For more unusual ways to make money, visit this site.

The Million-Dollar Idea in Everyone: Easy New Ways to Make Money from Your Interests, Insights, and Inventions

IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide by Dan S. Kennedy

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

Make Your Ideas Mean Business

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How To Turn Rotten Idea Into Profit

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

When victimized by workplace food thieves, some curse, others write threatening notes. Some might even contemplate surveillance cameras, if they’re hit often enough.

Being an inventor, Sherwood Forlee found another way to fight back when his sandwiches repeatedly went missing from the communal fridge at the SoHo ad agency where he worked.

“It kept happening, and one day I’d had it,” says Forlee, 29, a designer and mechanical engineer who worked in the firm’s product design division.

He considered stealth laxatives and sandwiches spiked with cat food. But the light-bulb moment came when he was scanning the fridge in the apartment he shares with three roommates in Brooklyn, and came across an unidentified food item crawling with mold.

Next stop: the “anti-theft lunch bag,” a plastic baggie customized with green splotches that make a fresh sandwich look like a spore factory, deterring all but the most desperate snack stealer. When he put it to work in the office, the theft stopped immediately.

“When people see something like that, they don’t even want to lay their hands on it,” he says.

Forlee conceived of the item for personal use. But “when I did a little research,” he says, “I found it’s a prevalent problem.”

So in February he began selling the bags on his own Web site (, alongside a handful of other items he’s designed, such as the “walls notebook,” whose pages depict New York City walls, ripe for adorning with noninvasive graffiti.

Charging $10 for a box of 25 bags, Forlee quickly sold out of his first run of 2,000 boxes. With a boost from Target, which briefly featured the product on its Web site, demand has held steady, and he’s currently on his fourth run.

Having since left the agency to pursue his own projects, Forlee no longer needs the bags himself. But customers report success, he says.

“People say they haven’t lost a lunch since,” he says, noting that others buy them as a gag gift or to use for pranks.

Forlee plans to continue selling the bags, although he has no current plans to “go mass market.” For one thing, he notes, “If everyone has one, they become ineffective.”

For more unusual ways to make money, visit this site.

The Million-Dollar Idea in Everyone: Easy New Ways to Make Money from Your Interests, Insights, and Inventions

IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide by Dan S. Kennedy

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

Make Your Ideas Mean Business

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

Monday, October 19, 2009

Proven Ways For A Writer To Make Money Online

Here are some easy ways to make money, if you like writing. (I probably should have said simple ways to make money, rather than easy ways to make money, because there is a difference between simple and easy. But who cares, this is about how to make easy money quickly).

1. Make easy money online naming domains. The original idea comes from Dane Carson’s blog. While you can earn money as a contributor for services such as PickyDomains.Com, here is a better idea. Go to Google or any other search engine, find sucky domain names and contact their owners directly, offering them your services. The key to success is to make it 100% risk free. Inform your prospective clients that you’ll accept money only if they like your domain name. If you come up with one approved domain name a day and charge what PickyDomain charges, you can make $1500 a month. Another twist – come up with cool domain names, like SiteToRemember.Com or ItsMe.Com, register them yourself and sell them on the aftermarket.

2. eBay arbitrage. A lot of people like buying stuff on eBay, because it’s cheap. And some people never buy on eBay, because they are afraid of being ripped off. Here is your solution to making easy money on eBay. Go to Craigslist.Com and see what items people buy and sell most often. Look at prices. Then go to eBay and see, if you can get it cheaper. Once you find your niche, you can buy things on eBay (or better yet, act as a representative for an eBay powerseller) and sell them for a profit using local classifieds and Craigslist. You can do this online as well. Set up a proxy store, and when you get an order, simply buy the same item on eBay for less, substituting shipping address from your own to that of your buyer.

3. eBay copywriting. If you are good at copywriting, go to eBay and look for highticket items, like boats. Find auctions with totally sucky descriptions. Contact an owner and inform him or her that good description of his or her item is likely to increase the chances of that item being sold. Then offer your services for a 1% of the selling price. You can use free eBay software

4. Get Paid Writing Reviews. This idea comes from a blog called Business Ideas That Work. A site called SoftwareJudge.Com pays up to 50 dollars per good review. However, if you are good at reviewing software, you can do this on your own. Go to CNET or any other site that lists software. Find sites that don’t have any reviews or testimonials. Contact developers directly, offering them your review services. Good reviews and testimonials increases sales, so you shouldn’t have any difficulties convincing developers that they need your services. And you get free software and games too! Oh, and you don't have to limit yourself to software alone.

5. Social Bookmark Whoring (oops, I meant to say PR). This is really easy money online. RedDit and Digg can bring a crapload of traffic. And traffic means money. If you have experience creating linkbate titles and getting to the top, why not offer your services? Say, you charge 10 dollars for submitting news to RedDit, Digg, StumbleUpon, Furl, NewsVine, Fark and all the other social bookmarting sites. The key is to work only with interesting stories, so you don’t become a spammer. 10 news a day and you are 100 dollars richer. You can probably work out a deal with online PR agencies, because they are totally clueless about this.

6. Writing Google AdWords Ads. Every time I see “Cake Icing. Used And New. eBay.Com” type ads or “Four best sites on killing your wife”, it makes me wonder. Aren’t there any GOOD AdWords ads copywriters? Look’s like a great job to me. The ads are only three lines long and if you charge 10 bucks per ad, you can make a lot of money. And the customers are easy to find, too. Just look at all these terrible ads that Google displays on their search engine and contextual network.

7. Wacky blogs. Steve Pavlina gets over 300 dollars a day from AdSense alone, writing on wacky topics, like polyphasic sleep, astral projection and psychic development. Or take David Icke, who claims that president Bush in an alien and a reptilian. Your blog doesn’t have to be true, it just has to be interesting.

8. Blog whoring. There are a number of services, like PayPerPost.Com, that pay for promotional blogposts. Once again, you can do the same thing, cutting the middleman out.

9. Unique Personal Ads. Write memorable personal ads for online daters. Most personal ads suck. “Hi, my name is Bambie, I’m a Vergo, I’m 19 and I love dogs.” Here is my favorite personal ad. If people pay for resume writing, they might pay for a great personal ad.

10. Poet For Hire. This is nothing new. Still, if you love writing poetry, why not make some money with your rhymes.

11. Don’t EVEN THINK about majoring in English, Medieval Literature, Journalism or GET A REAL JOB, IF YOU WERE DUMB ENOUGH TO DO SO. Just kidding. If you love writing, just write, and the money will follow.

Who Is Shawn Casey? Is He For Real?

Urgently Need Cool Domain Name Ideas, Will Pay For Your Suggestions

How One New Yorker Makes $100,000 A Year Uploading CDs To iPods For Other People

Copywriter: A Life of Making Ads and Other Mistakes

The Online Copywriter's Handbook : Everything You Need to Know to Write Electronic Copy That Sells

P.S. This Blog Has Made Over 10K With Copeac (With Affiliate Links Like This One) . Do Ask Me For Tips, After You Register And Play Around With It A Bit (Include Your Copeac ID In Email So That I Know That You've Used My Ref Link).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dude, What's Wrong With Your Head? How Head Injury Turned Man Into Businessman.

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

Some people need a kick in the pants before they change course. For Carlos Salgado, 41, it took a knock on the head.

In 1998, the art handler and sculptor was working at the Guggenheim Museum SoHo in New York City. One moment he was disassembling a 400-pound steel sculpture by Italian artist Fabrizio Plessi; the next he was lying on the floor. Part of the massive artwork had fallen on his head.

Healing was a slow process. Fighting his workers' comp case was an even slower one. Salgado was relegated to his couch, where he found himself devouring books on furniture design and mulling a career change.

By the time he'd healed from the accident, an entrepreneur was born. Salgado got together with fabricator Bart Bettencourt. Together they hatched a plan: Turn salvaged scraps into sophisticated furniture.

The partners called their fledgling company Scrapile. In 2003 they unveiled their laminated-wood creations at two design shows before they even had a business plan. When orders started piling up, they had to develop an efficient production strategy, and fast.

"Our initial products were too labor-intensive," Salgado recalls. Advice from fellow artisans streamlined their method for assembling scraps into large planks.

Last year Scrapile brought in $80,000 in revenues. Now the company hopes to expand by repurposing waste streams from manufacturers of crystal, ceramics and glass.

The Future Perfect, a design store in Brooklyn, has carried Salgado and Bettencourt's furniture since the beginning. Owner David Alhadeff is impressed with the company's evolution so far.

"They have gone from offering a simple form made out of very beautiful material to making one-of-a-kind, gallery-worthy objects," he says.

If you like unusual business stories, read how I made a fortune picking cool domain names for other people.

The Million-Dollar Idea in Everyone: Easy New Ways to Make Money from Your Interests, Insights, and Inventions

IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide by Dan S. Kennedy

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

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Profiting From Interns

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

What it does: Internship advice and placement consulting
Founder: Richard Bottner, 24
Web site:
Based: Acton, Mass.

Then: Bottner started Intern Bridge as a way to get information to employers who he said were "clueless" about what interns wanted from their jobs. His first major project was a survey of 7,000 students and 235 employers. He sold the data he collected in that survey to human resources managers. He then expanded into publications, Webinars, workshops, and internship consulting. He expected revenue to hit $100,000 in 2008.

Now: Bottner says the company produces between two to eight publications a month intended for students seeking internships and businesses seeking interns. They range from $40 to $150 a pop. The company also produces specialty job training seminars in conjunction with Simmons College, George Mason University, and Columbus State Community College to help unemployed workers find jobs. He expects $200,000 in revenue by yearend.

If you like unusual business stories, read how I made a fortune picking cool domain names for other people.

The Million-Dollar Idea in Everyone: Easy New Ways to Make Money from Your Interests, Insights, and Inventions

IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide by Dan S. Kennedy

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

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

Monday, October 12, 2009

7 Great Books About Thrift And Frugality

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

1. In CHEAP We Trust: The Story of a Misunderstood American Virtue

What makes this book fun as well as informative is how the author shows how wasteful we have become as a society in the last forty years. She is also smart because she shares with the reader the difference between being wise and being foolish. Like not eating extreme out of date canned food, and learning the signs of food that shouldn't be saved or eaten. Like temperature sensitive foods, be it seafood that smells spoiled and probably is, which is needed info is you are into the freegan movement also called dumpster diving.

2. No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process

As a long time reader of the No Impact Man Blog I was eager to read this book. It does not disappoint. The year of living low/no impact was a huge undertaking. Often when reading the blog I wondered what Michelle really thought about it all. The book answers many of those questions about the hows and whys. This book is very inspiring to the rest of us guilty liberals who really want to help and change the world or at least our own lives a little bit. It is not so much a detailed list of things to do but more a way of thinking about the whole process that is invaluable. To try this experiment in a place like NY is just amazing. Colin and Michelle are courageous role models for the rest of us. I wish everyone in the US would read this book. Want to be inspired to change your life? Read this book!

3. Whatever Happened to Thrift?: Why Americans Don't Save and What to Do about It

It's a much bemoaned fact that Americans who fail to sock money away in savings accounts and investments risk severe hardship once they hit retirement age or fall on tough times. What's far less obvious is how to turn these overspenders into savers. Wilcox draws insights from economics and psychology to tackle this challenge in his slim but sensible volume. His analysis of our prodigal ways is slight—a historian or cultural critic might have handled this question with more depth and aplomb—but his policy prescriptions are comprehensive, insightful and well argued. Wilcox explores radical measures, such as replacing the income tax with a consumption tax, as well as simple and easily implemented programs such as automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans and requiring more fee disclosure from investment firms. He observes that current incentives skew toward the wealthy and highlights ways to give lower-income Americans access to savings vehicles like mutual funds. As Wilcox wisely notes, there's no magic bullet for America's savings crisis, but a patchwork of practical solutions, small and large, could significantly increase workers' long-term financial security.

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.

5. 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.

6. The Frugal Millionaires - 70 millionaires anonymously share their ideas about money to help each other and you.

Imagine yourself in a room with seventy people from all walks of life, each of whom is immensely successful at managing their money. Then imagine that you had the time and audacity to walk up to each of them, confidently introduce yourself, and ask how they became rich. That's Jeff Lehman's book, The Frugal Millionaires, in a nutshell. The advice contained within the text is well worth the price of the book, especially if you're considering paying a financial adviser to tell you what you should be doing to improve your financial acumen.

7. The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (and Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life More by Spending Less

This book is funny, but to buy it for that reason alone misses the point. Hiding behind the humor is the wise advice of a personal finance expert who knows there's more to life than just how much debt you can pile up on a credit card. Jeff Yeager's breezy writing is full of great -- and serious -- ideas, yet you never feel that he is preaching at you. As you read you feel inspired, even empowered.

One of his thoughts is to put yourself on a money fast for one week a year. You spend nothing for seven days, which gets you thinking about all the terrific things to do that are free, and makes you realize that you can easily do without many of the items you buy just out of habit.

If you'd like to know how I make my money online, coming up with cool domain names (and how you can too), visit

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Matt Lauzon And His Success Story

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

While at Babson College, Matt Lauzon saw something shiny and sparkly in the country's $60 billion jewelry industry. Most Americans had plenty of options for rings at jewelry and department stores, of course, but he thought people might like another: rings custom-made to designs they submitted to a Web site.

In May, after earning a degree in entrepreneurship and raising $5.8 million from Highland Capital Partners and Canaan Partners, Lauzon began offering jewelry buyers that alternative through something he calls a "virtual display case." The online showcase, which shoppers can access from partner retailers, contains over 1,200 designs of rings and other jewelry.

By changing the type of metal, stone or other features, each style has roughly 1.5 million permutations that customers can sort through at the store or from home after setting up an account at a retailer. Lauzon's startup, Paragon Lake in Lexington, Mass., has signed up 39 independent retailers, mostly in suburban strip malls, in 22 states. The pieces are made in the U.S. and arrive at the retailer in two to three weeks.

Revenue is split between the store, Paragon Lake, and its 44 jewelry designers. Lauzon, 24, says the average sale is $1,250, but rises to $3,000 to $4,000 for bridal jewelry. He estimates $500,000 in revenue by yearend.

If you like unusual business stories, read how I made a fortune picking cool domain names for other people.

The Million-Dollar Idea in Everyone: Easy New Ways to Make Money from Your Interests, Insights, and Inventions

IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide by Dan S. Kennedy

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

Saturday, October 03, 2009

ViB - In search of a good drink

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

The Problem: In 2008, Valdene and Hollman were running a toy company that sold $6 million in marshmallow shooters every year. At a trade fair in New York City they saw an attendee collapsing from what looked like a heart attack. Paramedics later told them that the man had in fact suffered an anxiety attack -- brought on by too many caffeinated energy drinks.

The Moment: They decided that the world needed the opposite of an energy drink: a relaxation drink made from soothing, natural ingredients. With the help of a food scientist they created a drink with theanine, an amino acid found in green tea; B vitamins; and L-threonine, a natural antidepressant. They enlisted six grad students to test the drink.

The Payoff: Three months later Valdene (now 42) and Hollman (40) launched ViB (pronounced Vibe). Today ViB sells through 68 West Coast distributors. Sales are expected to hit $5 million this year.

Innovation Tip: Don't hang on to your vision too tightly. Hollman planned to name the drink "Vacation in a Bottle." After being that told it wouldn't be legal to hand out glass bottle samples in most public places, they switched to cans. Then 7-Eleven told them they didn't want the drink in a can because it looked too much like an energy drink, so ViB adopted aluminum bottles.

"You have to be flexible," says Hollman. "You know what your outcome is. It's all the little things along the way that can change."

The Million-Dollar Idea in Everyone: Easy New Ways to Make Money from Your Interests, Insights, and Inventions

IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide by Dan S. Kennedy

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