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The following is a selection of unusual businesses that either have been tried or might be worth trying. In other words, some of these have actually been profitable, while others are unproven, speculations and daydreams. Maybe you can copy the success of the first type or be the first to give those of the second type of money ideas a try.

Gas Station Target Practice

I recently visited a money-making blog and saw a hilarious idea. The author wanted to set up a gas station that gave away free gas. What's the catch? The gas would come out very slowly, and mounted cameras with paintball guns attached would give people online the opportunity to shoot at the customers for a fee.

This may not work, of course, and he mentioned that the city wouldn't allow him to do it (hey, at least he asked). But the general idea of interactive cameras and devices for use online is full of potential. People might pay to see people walking by, for example, if they could also say what they wanted to them through a speaker, as they passed. And there are certainly some better ideas than this out there.

Fetal Greetings

You may have read the true story of a woman who had a business online selling her "fetal greeting" cards. They have a picture of a fetus announcing his or her coming entry into the world. She got the idea while looking for a unique way to tell family and friends that she was pregnant. A friend drew pictures for her, and she liked the results so much that she decided to make a business out of it. When I first wrote about this her website had been online for seven years, so it is probably safe to assume she had some success.

Having failed to find her site just now, I suppose we can see this as a lesson about businesses based on a fad. There are currently a few companies selling "fetal greetings" online (apparently the name was not trademarked), but they seem to be selling them as one of many types of cards, not as a primary product line. So if you happen to hit it big with something that may be a fad or a passing fashion, make what you can of it, save some of what you make, and get ready for the next project.

Make Your Auto a Billboard

Using one's vehicle for advertising is certainly not new. Many small businesses use their vehicles to promote themselves. But why not try renting space to businesses on your personal car? You should probably document how many miles you normally drive it and where, so the advertisers will know their ads are being seen, and by their target audience.

A couple years ago there was at least one company that actually arranged this for you. If you qualified (you had to live in a well-populated area and drive a certain amount of miles each year), they would pay you for the use of the space on your car and sell it to advertisers. Since a search for this company online yields little now, you probably have to try it on your own.

From Garage Sale to Ebay

You have undoubtedly heard about people buying things at garage sales that they then have sold on Ebay for big profits. I once met a man who bought some old jeans for $2 and sold them on Ebay for over $250. I had to look that night and see the bids (some were actually higher than that) before I would believe him.

The problem, of course, is knowing what will sell and for how much. If you have a laptop computer with a satellite internet connection, or internet access from your smart phone, you are in business. You can take it with you to garage sales, and buy things only after seeing that they are selling on Ebay -- and seeing what the current bids are up to. This almost guarantees you won't guess wrong and lose money too often.

At Home Grocery Store

When I used to rent room in my home years ago, I also sold groceries to the renters out of a closet. They simply took what they needed and marked it on a sheet of paper. The cost was added to rent. This was one of several extra sources of income I made from my tenants.

Now, to expand on this, what about the general idea of groceries being available to people for purchase at home? Perhaps a mobile grocery store in a truck or van would work. Like an ice cream truck, you run a route with your store, playing music or some announcement to get attention, and then you stop on each street to see who wants to go shopping. Or maybe there's a way to put a grocery store in an apartment building (an oversized vending machine) and stock it once a week?

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