In this day and age, we all want to make a quick buck. However, a lot of people have absolutely no intentions of making a living the traditional way – getting a job at a company. Instead, everybody wants to be an entrepreneur, spending years trying to figure out a way to make a lot of money unconventionally.
But, let’s face it – every idea you had is probably not that great. We bet that you can’t even remember 5% of the business schemes you ever came up with. Keep in mind that even though these ideas may seem stupid to you, it doesn’t mean that your plan won’t be profitable.
It takes a lot of guts to pursue something that other people (including you, most of the time) view as weird and stupid. But, the people we’re about to mention decided to ignore everything, and go with their instinct. And boy, did it pay off! All of them are millionaires now.
You will see a lot on this list, from a man pretending to be Santa providing the service of sending Christmas letters to children, all the way to a company making an artificial underwater habitat using people’s ashes. But, no matter how silly it may all seem, just remember that these people actually make a hell of a living doing what they do.
10 Glasses for Dogs
A lot of people are still confused how a product as silly as this one actually managed to generate any revenue, let alone millions of dollars. Upon the release of Doggles, it was often called one of the most useless things ever invented, but it still managed to make its way into many homes around the world. A couple in California came up with this idea when they saw that their dog was squinting while playing fetch with a Frisbee. They first made a pair just for their dog Midknight, but were soon amused at how many people approached them, stating that they would like to buy a pair for their dogs too. Even though why anyone would buy this product will always be a mystery to some, the owners simply cite that people really love to see a dog wearing sunglasses.
9 Excused Absence Network
Back in 2007, there was a very popular website called MyExcusedAbsence.com that offered a number of excuse letters - doctor’s notes, jury summons, and more. It didn’t take much for the owner of the website to get started (a laptop and $300), but he made a hell of a fortune selling these excuses for $25 a pop. This website became popular really fast after it was launched, and it had a reputation for providing excellent letters that would work all the time. However, the jig was up when people started using the service way too often.
8 The Pet Rock
If you were a kid in the 70s, you’ll surely remember Pet Rocks. Initially, nobody actually though that something as unusual as this product would’ve ever been placed in the market. The idea for the Pet Rock was conceived by Gary Dahl while he was in a bar with his friends who were all talking about the difficulties of keeping a pet in the house. Gary immediately had the idea that we should have rocks as our pets, as they don’t need that much attention. All of his friends joked around with that idea during the whole night, but when Gary got back home, he actually took it seriously and started working on his idea. After a few months, Pet Rocks were everywhere. The package would come in a cardboard box with a rock and manual on how to take care of the rock inside. Businesswise, the product was genius, because it took only a few cents to produce, while the selling price would be 4 dollars. Gary managed to sell over 1.5 million Pet Rocks in only a year. After that, the fad died out. But, you can still order this product from the PetRock.com website.
7 Scrub Daddy
If you’re a fan of the reality television series Shark Tank, then you’ll recognize this product. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of the show, it is basically a way for young entrepreneurs with a vision to talk some of the biggest businessmen in the world into investing in their ideas. So, back to our story – the Scrub Daddy was not doing so well before the owner of the company Aaron Krause came to the show. Back then, nobody thought that there was actually even the slightest chance that you could put a new spin on the sponge. However, he made a few changes to the classic sponge (made it last longer, changed the shape, etc.), and these smiley-faced scrubbers actually did it. After Aaron managed to get on Shark Tank and businesswoman Lori Greiner decided to help him with his business, they actually managed to achieve over $15 million in sales over the next 12 months. Who knew that shaping a sponge differently would make it much more loveable?
6 Santa Mail
Ever since 2002, people are able to order a personalized letter from Santa Claus for their children for 10 bucks. It sounds like too simple or even stupid of an idea to work, but the business actually managed to accumulate over $3.5 million during the last 12 years. The whole business is run from a website called SantaMail.org, where you can find 14 different types of Christmas letters from Santa in English. There are also 6 different types of letters written in Spanish, too.
5 Eternal Reefs
Back in the ’80s, two college roommates decided to go to the Florida Keys while they were on a break. Since they loved diving, they noticed how the reefs were constantly deteriorating. These two guys felt like it was their responsibility to do something about this, and it didn’t take them long to come up with something called the reef ball, which was nothing more than an artificial underwater habitat. However, the father-in-law of one of the creators was very impressed with the idea, so much that he even wanted his ashes to be incorporated into one of these reef balls. Instantly, the strange idea for Eternal Reefs was born. The business now makes over half a million dollars every year.
4 Koosh Balls
Koosh balls may not be as popular as they were during the ’80s and ’90s, but you can still find them in many stores across the globe. The idea behind this toy is often cited as very simple and stupid, as it consists only of a soft rubber core to which a number of rubber strings are attached. Koosh balls were invented by Scott Stillinger, who simply wanted to make a toy that his kids won’t have a problem catching. It didn’t take him much time to create the product we know today, and thanks to the fact that small kids like playing with them, he became a millionaire in just a few years.
3 Chia Pets
Chia Pets are still pretty popular, even though they were invented in 1977. If you’re unfamiliar with Chia Pets, they are figurines that come in a variety of animals and cartoon characters, and are used to sprout chia so that the plant will look like the hair or fur of the figurines. Although over half a million Chia Pets are sold every year, you can only see them in stores during the holiday season.
2 Million Dollar Homepage
The Million Dollar Homepage is an internet phenomenon that’s still talked about regularly, even though it was launched nearly 10 years ago. The whole idea behind this project was thought up by a student from England named Alex Tew. He made a website that consisted 1 million pixels, and sold the space in 10x10 blocks to various companies who wanted to buy ads on it. He would charge a dollar per pixel, which made him a millionaire by January 2006. Ever since the website was created, a large number of copycats immediately started to emerge and are still trying to recreate the impact this website created, but like Alex himself said – this type of thing can only happen once.
1 The Microwaveable Pillow
In 2002, a female entrepreneur named Kim Lavine designed a microwaveable pillow called the Wuvit, which completely changed the financial situation of her family. Before she decided to give her idea a go, her husband had just lost his job and there was absolutely no income in their household. But that changed pretty fast, as she managed to earn nearly a quarter million dollars in the first 8 weeks she started selling the microwaveable pillow. Even though Kim made her fortune on a relatively simple and unusual idea, she’s still considered to be one of the great female entrepreneurs of our time. She is even a published author now, and has written 2 business books.