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Hi, Finance!

Entrepreneurial ideas for a new economy

Hi, Finance!
Photo by Lars Leetaru (Illustration)

Dear Diary,

The economy is in bad shape these days. Hard times. There’s a lot of belt-tightening, especially for those of us who rely on money as a means of exchange. Been reading a lot of tips about how to cut back on expenses—good ideas for sure. Stopped bathing the dog every month in Dom Pérignon; have switched to bathing him every other month in Yellow Tail Shiraz. What an eye-opener. Didn’t even realize how the small stuff really adds up.

Also got ideas for making extra cash with stuff I have around the house, like books or unused sporting equipment. I never got into hot-air ballooning the way I’d hoped, and now it’s just taking up a lot of space in the living room. Listed it on Craigslist—practically money in the bank. Also selling off all my used greeting cards. Been saving all those birthday, Christmas, and wedding cards. Not really “used,” I guess, just “pre-signed” and a bargain at half the price for some lucky, lazy cheapskate. I knew they’d come in handy some day.

Also trying to come up with ways to make some extra money. Must think like an entrepreneur. What have entrepreneurs been doing ever since the dawn of entrepreneuring? That’s right—find a need and fill it!

Salt. A mineral essential for life. Bingo! How to capitalize on this? Make the old palm-sized salt shaker obsolete. Instead, build one the size of a dinner plate—one shake, everything salted. Call it “Essential Mineral Delivery System.” Marketing angle: efficiency for today’s busy lifestyle. Focus on consumer’s concern about skyrocketing cost of table salt.

Think. Think! What skills can parlay into an income-generating activity? I can worry real good, if I do say so myself. I could contract with people to do their fretting for them—a despair doula. (Things to consider: Charge by the hour? Or the number and/or degree of worries? How to prioritize? Must worry about that.)

Everybody knows that bananas have a 30-second window in which they are actually edible. How about a banana delivery service! Get to market every morning to get bananas in their prime for clientele. Downside: need a car. Also: time-consuming to stop, jump out, and run to client’s door. Maybe I could just throw them at the entryway like a newspaper?

Another opportunity knocks! Every spring, thousands of teenagers need a confirmation sponsor. I could go pro. Pass out flyers at churches, create website. Selling point: experience with filling out worksheets, having meaningful conversations about the Almighty, buying crosses as gifts. Could take up to 20 youngsters a time. Franchise potential. Bonus: Work the high season, take the rest of the year off.

What about bed and breakfasts? Bor-ING! Instead: a hip deconstruction of B&Bs—Futon and coffee. Pro: Already have futon on floor of my efficiency apartment and lots of coffee packets from motels. Con: Don’t like people. But ignoring guests could be part of the eccentric charm of the place. Maybe I could make guests clean my apartment as part of the “experience”? Something to consider: May conflict with my turtle-rescue organization (are people put off by free-roaming box turtles?). Conduct focus group to determine if this is trendy—or merely stupid.

Universal problem: shorts that ride up. Solution: a shorts valet. Shadow people who need discreet assistance when their shorts become wedged between their thighs, and clandestinely tug them into place. Dress to blend in with scenery. High season: Minnesota State Fair. Idea: prepay for number of pull-downs with a punch card, and offer one free adjustment.

Time to go, dear diary, (Dancing with the Stars is on in two minutes!). Wait, news flash. What do women want? Jewelry! And comfort food! Solution: Tater Tot jewelry—attractive and satisfying, and great with ketchup!


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