Unconventional Million-Dollar Ideas

Through my classes and websites, I encounter many people who believe that it’s only “other people” who can have success in a non-traditional work environment.  It’s these “other people” who have the creative ideas, and the “other people” who will make the millions.

Pet Rocks? I’ll be a gazillionaire!

I constantly challenge that assertion because opportunity is all around us.  It’s just a matter of developing the habit of recognizing it, and allowing yourself to have courage to pursue it.  You don’t have to go to college and get a degree or have a high-paying 40+ hour a week job to earn money to survive.  Remember the pet rock craze of the 1970s? (Yeah, I had one too) That fad lasted about 6 months…and made the creator, Gary Dahl, over a million dollars.  He’s not the only one who made something out of nothing. Read on for 3 other Unconventional Million-Dollar Ideas:

New Jersey Man sells Brooklyn Bridge for $14.95

George C. Parker made a name for himself in the early 1900’s by conning wealthy tourists into purchasing the Brooklyn Bridge. He sold the bridge on average twice a week for years, with his most notable haul being around $50,000.  Because of his exploits, the joke about selling the Brooklyn Bridge is now well documented in our American culture.

Fast-forward about 80 years to when the Brooklyn Bridge was undergoing renovations in 1983. Paul Hartunian saw the opportunity to capitalize on history and approached a foreman with the project to purchase some of the rubble.  Paul created official certificates with information about the bridge, as well as a piece of the actual bridge, and sold them for $14.95 each. He sent out press releases to the media, and even got a 10-minute spot on Johnny Carson! The orders started rolling in, and his life was never the same afterwards.

A Blank-Book Becomes a National Best-Seller

In 1988 Cindy Cashman quit a job she did not like and decided to take a stab at self- publishing.  She wrote the book, “Everything Men Know about Women” under the pseudonym of Dr. Alan Francis.  The catch? The book was completely blank.  (Get it?)

Recognizing this was a gag-gift, Cindy steered clear of traditional bookstores where her book would get lost in a sea of others. She instead headed to other places where women hung out.  By having her books at the cash-registers of clothing stores and other retailers, she was able to sell over a million copies in just 3 years.

College Student Sells Website Pixels for $1 each

www.Milliondollarhomepage.com is the brain-child of Alex Tew, who was concerned about the high-price of a university education. In 2005, he came up with the idea of selling one million pixels on a website for $1 each. (“Pixel” is short for “picture element,” and pixels are the small little dots that make up images on computers and TV screens.)  Alex divided the pixels into a minimum of 10×10 blocks ($100 each) since one pixel was way too small to have any kind of visibility.

The idea caught on and Alex got a lot of press. It took less than a year to sell the million pixels, and Alex went through university debt free!

You’ve had more than a few million-dollar ideas. Chances are, you’ll have a few more…but will you capitalize on them when they come to you — Or just let the “other people” have all the fun?


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