How One Goofy Idea Can Make You Millions

Thousands of people who want to start a business never try. Many of them fear their business ideas aren’t original or big enough. And that’s sad.

Business success requires neither original nor big ideas. In fact, you can achieve tremendous business success … even if all you have is one “goofy” idea.

For example, Bert and John Jacobs started with a “goofy” idea and created what is now a $100 million empire.

Their company? Life Is Good. Their idea? T-shirts featuring a smiling stick figure (Jack) and their trademark phrase: “Life Is Good.”

Then there’s Shawn D. Nelson from Salt Lake City, Utah. He founded a company known as LoveSac. At last count, LoveSac was doing over $30 million in yearly sales.

His idea? An oversized “bean bag” seven feet in diameter. But instead of being filled with small beads, it’s filled with soft, pliable foam.

Here’s another from Brian Scudamore. He’s created a lucrative worldwide franchise that rivals Subway and Mail Boxes Etc. in size.

His company? 1-800-GOT-JUNK. His idea? A service that comes to your home and hauls off your junk … no matter what it is.

As you can see, these aren’t what most people would consider to be “breakthrough” ideas. In fact, if it weren’t for their remarkable success, most people would think they were pretty goofy. Despite this, they’ve made millions for their creators.

What “silly” or “goofy” idea(s) have you been tossing around in your head?

It doesn’t matter how off-the-wall it is. It could make you a millionaire. The key to making it happen is to test your idea in the marketplace.

What does this mean? Simply, you want to see if your idea actually sells. This way, you avoid investing too much time or money in it – only to find out no one wants it. Without going into detail, that’s how the three entrepreneurs mentioned above got started:

  • Bert and John Jacobs of Life is Good took their T-shirts to flea markets and local fairs … making their initial sales from the back of their van.
  • Shawn Nelson of LoveSac loaded his oversized “bean bag” onto his pickup truck and took it everywhere he went. His friends and fellow college students started asking where they could get one. Pretty soon, they were paying him to make LoveSacs.
  • Brian Scudamore of 1-800-GOT-JUNK got started, while he was in college, when he found out that people were more than happy to pay him to haul their junk away in his truck. Before long, he made the decision to drop out of college and focus on growing his business full-time.

You need to find out – without investing too much time or money – whether or not your “goofy” idea is going to take off. So no matter what your idea is, test it. See if there is a market for it.

Michael Masterson talks about this process in his latest book, Ready, Fire, Aim. Check out Chapter 4: “The Supremacy of Selling” (pages 43-65). You’ll get a great education on how to test your ideas cheaply.

And remember, the most important thing here is to take action. Don’t wait until you get the “perfect” idea. If you’ve got an idea, no matter how off-the-wall it may seem, test it out. If it doesn’t work, try something else. Eventually, you’ll find something that works … and you’ll gain invaluable experience along the way.

Keep an eye out for future issues of The Golden Thread. You’ll be getting more tips on how to test your business ideas inexpensively … and profit from them.

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Published: April 23, 2008

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