Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Unusual start-ups

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     with examples from real businesses

     Getting into business can be a natural outgrowth of youthful activities. Early interests can form the basis for a little--or big--business of your own. 

     Example: Krystal loved jigsaw puzzles and hated her corporate job. She had collected hundreds of puzzles over the years, keeping them neatly stacked in bookcases. Her friend Stan encouraged her to open a puzzle store. She was reluctant, but she finally decided to take the plunge. Krystal and Stan found a small place on a side street and signed the lease. He built shelves and together they painted the place. They found a large farm table, fitted it with a glass top, and surrounded it with chairs they found at thrift shops. Krystal brought in her jigsaw puzzles and searched for more at yard sales. She rounded out the store's offerings with other types of puzzles, board games and video games. Gradually, the place found its customer base with the help of social media and word of mouth. Two nights each week, people gather around the big table doing puzzles in a community talkfest. Krystal never regretted leaving her corporate job. 

     Example: Sheena loved hair. As a child, she helped her sisters and their friends "fix" their hair. She would cut, braid, shape, and curl until she achieved perfection. There was no question about it--Sheena was headed toward a career in hair. She surprised everyone, however, by opening--not a salon, but a wig shop. Sheena had done her research, and she had found a market for high quality wigs shaped and styled professionally. Today, she counts among her clients many celebrities, actors, executives, movie and theater production people. Word of mouth referrals grow Sheena's business. 

     Example: Arthur showed an early interest in glass. Growing up, he could be found melting together glass from broken colored glass bottles. Early on, he discovered the history of glass-making in the United States, and he put himself through an informal apprenticeship with a glass blower. He learned how to blow table pieces and how to introduce color into the glass. In college Arthur concentrated on art glass and began selling some of his pieces. His reputation grew and today he supports his family with a steady production of hand-blown glass pieces, all exquisite and expensive. He attends a couple of high-end shows each year, but much of his work is done on consignment.

     Early interests frequently blossom into the business an adult establishes. Anything can be turned into a business--if you're interested, others are interested. And they become your target market. 

     If you are in a job you can't stand, quit and do something else. If your business doesn't inspire you to jump out of bed every morning, go off in a different direction. The answer is inside your own head. Look to the things you've left behind. 

     These write-ups are meant to inform and inspire. Examples of unusual start-ups are scattered throughout. People turn all sorts of interests into thriving businesses.  

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