By Steve Gillman
I have always had an interest in unusual business ideas. I
have four brothers, and as a child I used to sell my vote to
the highest bidder for the which television show we would watch.
I guess you could call that the business of politics. I also
collected the paper-wads that fell all over when my brothers
had there wars, and then sold them back to them for a couple
cents each. I guess I was a war profiteer in the paper-wad wars.
I sold candy out of a hollow book in school.
My business activities became a bit more conventional as an
adult, but I still loved to hear about and read about the more
unusual businesses. I once talked to a man who sold used stuffed
animals on the side of the highway. He claimed to have sold $3000
worth his first month.
Then there was the guy in Grand Rapids, Michigan, who collected
the bodies of dead deer. The county needed the deer carcasses
off the roadsides for health reasons, and contracted with this
guy for $25 per body. I'm not sure how he disposed of them. Maybe
his other business was providing meat to dog food companies.
When I lived in Traverse City, Michigan, someone started a
dog poop cleaning business. If you want the dog without the responsibility
of cleaning the yard, call A-1 Pooper Scooper. I'm not sure if
this would be better or worse than a dead deer collecting business.
In Tucson, Arizona, there is a man who takes the leaves from
palm trees and twists and turns them into amazing animal sculptures.
He sells these for anywhere from $2 to $12 in the street. The
palm-leaf scorpions are the best.
Unusual Online Businesses
You probably remember a few weird businesses from back before
Ebay got all their rules. One woman was making thousands per
month selling used panties to fetishists. She bought panties
for her friends, who got them for free as long as they returned
them to her unwashed, trading them in for the next new pair.
The used and unwashed panties brought $10 or more on Ebay auctions
and sold fast.
You may have heard about the online fantasy role-playing game
Runescape. It had four million players as of 2007. What you may
not know is that in addition to buying "virtual real estate"
and earning online gold pieces, you can buy these things for
real cash. There are Runescape entrepreneurs who sell their online
houses in the game for hundreds of real U.S. dollars. I think
it would start to get confusing - what is real here and what
Then there is the guy in who decided to finance college by
selling one million pixels of advertising space on his web page
for a dollar per pixel. You could buy a minimum of 100 pixels
and have any image you want linking to anywhere you want. Guess
what? He succeeded within a few months. Maybe it's time for me
to get back into unusual businesses.
For more unusual online businesses and odd ways to make money, see the website everywaytomakemoney.com.