Sunday, July 15, 2007

Business Idea - Kids Crafts Instructor

If you’re experienced with kids, then consider offering craft classes either individually or in groups. Target ages six to twelve years and look for lots of ideas from your local library or bookstore. Or offer birthday parties designed around crafting for kids.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Business Idea - Lamp Shades

Apparently, there’s a specialty market in lampshades. One Vancouver woman was making beautiful, silk shades and selling them out of her studio for $200-500 a pop. Pretty impressive. You can create lampshades to order right in your own home. Or just recover old wire frames that you’ve salvaged from thrift shops. Wire frames can also be purchased ready-made. Offer many different coverings: linen, plastic, parchment, silk, denim and fireproof papers. Place an ad under the “services offered” column in your local newspaper or yellow pages.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Business Idea - Fly Tying

The art of deceiving fish. Like the fish story itself, elusive and colorful, I’ve heard tales of people making a living off of fly tying, but have never actually met anyone that does. If you’re an obsessive fly fishing fan, you’d have a better idea than moi on how to market flies. One idea is to make up a large inventory during the winter, attach them to large cards and then sell them in fishing tackle outlets and sports shows just before fishing season opens.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Business Idea - Decorative Screens

I read about one fellow in the backwoods of BC who paints details from Caravaggio (sp.?) onto wooden screens and gets $5,000 a piece. No guarantees on that kind of money, but if you have even minor artistic talent and beginner’s carpentry skills, you can make a decent profit from these as a specialty item. An average screen is just three decorated panels connected by metal hinges. You can hand-paint them, wallpaper them, install glass louvers in them, mosaic them, or whatever sells. Wholesale them to department, furniture, gift and interior decorating stores. Put a brochure together, using pictures of your designs and send them around to interior decorators listed in the phone book or industry news outlets.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Business Idea - Concrete Molds

Kinda like molding ceramics, but much harder on your back. Buy ready-made molds of lots of different objects, oil the mold, fill with concrete, let it set up, dismantle the mold, clean and oil mold and set aside, let concrete cure, paint the item or just leave it as is, depending on what the customer wants. Make bird baths, urns, animals, outdoor chairs and tables or pretentious and uncomfortable indoor chairs and tables, statues, flower pots and planters, stepping stones, garden elves, gnomes, gargoyles and more. Sell to mortuaries, gift stores, florists, garden supply stores, etc. See public libraries for more information and related subjects.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Business Idea - Cedar Hangers

If you’ve ever lost a favorite item of clothing to a hungry moth, you’ll understand the value of cedar coat hangers. (Cedar also ends up in hope chests and jewelry boxes.) In addition, to repelling moths, cedar makes a stuffy closet smell good. Find an angle to personalize them, maybe carved monograms or other decorative feature and these could sell as a practical handicraft.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Business Idea - Bumper Stickers

Bumper stickers give voice to the voiceless everywhere and lighten up depressing traffic jams, if witty enough. They’re also a great way to advertise a small business. You can set up your own business to print and sell them to all kinds of clients. Pre-sell your orders to tourist attractions, to politicians, church groups, PTAs and gift and novelty shops. Design special stickers for tourist attractions in your area and design specialty stickers just for them, i.e. “I survived climbing Mt. Way-Too-High”, etc. Your overhead costs will be negligible compared to potential profits if you come up with a catchy marketing scheme

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Business Idea - Modern Day Blacksmith

The home renovation craze means that quality craftspeople are in demand. Wrought iron and decorative ironwork are being used in homes for things like banisters, plant and decorative wall hangers, railings and so on. Pick up this reviving trade and become a modern day blacksmith. Check out your local community college for courses.

(And this isn't that far-fetched. I actually have a distant great uncle who does ironwork.)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Business Idea - Bird Feeder Mogul

Be the quirky gal down the block who made her millions manufacturing bird feeders. Collect a selection of plans. Start producing and selling them by mail-order or eBay. Knockdown kits are great to market to parents looking for an easy, project to do with their kids. Sell tallow-seed mixes by mail. Obtain a list of pet-stores and gardening shops and sell at wholesale to them.

Business Idea - Steam Cleaning Service

Again the start up cost of this is not too bad, just the cost of your steam cleaner. Buy your first one used to decrease costs even further. (Check with a local equipment dealer.) You could go door-to-door cleaning car engines or you could work at truck stops cleaning truck engines and undercarriages. Or you could work late nights steam-cleaning restaurant kitchens which become caked with grease. Keep your eyes open for new ways to sell your service.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Business Idea - Apple Doll Maker

I’m not sure how marketable these things are, but I love them anyway. No two ever look alike. Each one is a unique reflection of the inner lives of its creator. (Hmmm... a bit too flowery there, but you get the idea.) Peel the apple under cold water to keep it from browning. Use spoons and knives to carve out the facial features. Soak in salt water for two days. Remove and hang dry for three weeks. Now decorate the face adding beads for eyes and a little acrylic paint for blush on the cheeks. Add a sawdust-filled body and clothes and coat the apple face with floor wax to preserve its appearance. In the end you’ll have neat, little wizened creatures that you can sell as folk art. Get books out of your local library for inspiration. (Try little wizards in home-made hats and gowns to cash in on the Harry Potter craze.) Send me links to pictures of your creations.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Business Idea - Specialty Aprons

Specialty aprons are a great and practical, kitschy gift. Make ‘em for all occasions, Xmas themes, retirement, tourist souvenirs, Halloween, Thanksgiving. Make fancy pinafore ones or over-the-top luxury ones with fake fur or leopard trim for the divas in your customers’ lives. You can sell by mail order or a mall kiosk during holiday seasons. Sell apron patterns and fabrics and you have yourself one well-rounded business.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Business Idea - House Cleaning

Most normal people hate housework and many will pay handsomely to avoid it all together. If you have a strong stomach, this can be a very decent business with very little overhead going in.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Business Idea - Construction Site Cleanup

After the job is complete, construction sites are a mess. Profit by it by subcontracting to do the cleanup. You’ll need a few basic hand tools and a pickup truck will probably come in handy. Sometimes you can even negotiate salvage materials left over as part of your quote.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Business Idea - Washrooms Only Cleaning Service

If you’re got a strong stomach, this could be the business for you. Clean public washrooms are the holy grail of any extended shopping trip. Businesses should know that we all judge their operations by the cleanliness of their bathrooms. Bad bathroom, bad kitchen is the judgment I make of restaurants that don’t care about clean washrooms. A small purchase of cleaning supplies and presto, jingo, you’ve got yourself a Restroom Only cleaning service. Gas stations and restaurants should be easy to convince of the merits of hiring you. Do timed checks throughout the day. Offer a free demonstration. As you expand, hire other people to fulfill your contracts.