A few years ago I sat talking with my friend, her visiting uncle and her mother. The relatives were reminiscing about their childhood when the uncle told me an interesting story.
Back in the 1950s when he was just a child, he had an idea.
“We should put water in bottles to carry around with us to drink,” he’d said. But when he told his family and friends of his idea, they brushed it off, saying “it was crazy,” “that would never work,” and “no one would ever buy that.”
Well today, as we all know, putting water into bottles for consumption is a multi-billion dollar industry.
I think at some point or another, we’ve all had (or will have) a seemingly “wacky” idea; one that sounds so far off it’s hard to believe in its success. But let me tell you, I’ve seen some pretty crazy inventions, and you’d be surprised at what people will buy.
If you have an idea for a product or business, why not give it a try? You never know just how successful your entrepreneurial endeavors may be. Take these following five business ideas, for example. Although weird and, for some, unbelievable, these companies may have started out as a strange idea, but have flourished into successful (and profitable) businesses:
One day Ken and Roni di Lullo noticed that their dog kept squinting in the sunlight. After unsuccessfully putting their sunglasses on the dog, the husband and wife came up with an idea—why not make the dog a pair of its own glasses? And thus, Doggles, eyewear for dogs, was born.
- Multi-billion dollar company
- The US Army ordered Doggles for military working dogs serving in Iraq
- Now has franchise stores around the country
2. Microwavable pillows
After her husband lost his job in 2002, Kim Lavine decided to turn her kitchen table idea, the Wuvit® — a designer spa therapy pillow that you heat in the microwave —into a successful business. She is the author of the book, Mommy Millionaire, which should tell you how profitable her business has become.
- Wuvit is designed to soothe tired and aching muscles
- First sold in Saks Fifth Avenue stores in 2004
- Also has a kid’s Wuvit called Sleepy-Head Fred™
3. Masters of the Hunt
In 2003, Jane Lipps and Lisa Jennings started Masters of the Hunt, an Orlando-based firm that specializes in scavenger hunts. Yes, you read that correctly, this company runs treasure and scavenger hunts for people. The company says the hunts are for “team building, corporate hospitality, promotions and personal celebrations.”
- Has prominent clients such as Verizon, Holiday Inn, Aetna and GNC
- Offers do-it-yourself and personalized hunts
- Very successful “Amazing Chase Hunt” where 2,500 people did a ‘training at sea’ for their company
4. Santa Mail
When you were a kid, did you ever write a letter to Santa? Well, entrepreneur Byron Reese and his Santa Mail company will make sure that the children who do today will receive an answer. Since 2002, the company has sent out more than 325,000 personalized letters.
- Letters cost $9.95 each, with free shipping
Calling herself the Contest Queen, Carolyn Wilman has a business of teaching others how to win contests. She provides information through her book, You Can’t Win If You Don’t Enter, a newsletter, blog and webinars and seminars.
- Her sites says her “Online Contesting System has helped others win over $1,000,000 in cash and prizes”
- She hosted a radio show for two years, “interviewing the movers and shakers in the promotional industry and sweepstaking community”