Examples of Creative Businesses
By Steve Gillman - February 2, 2013
In the course of researching various ways to make money I
sometimes come across some entrepreneurial ventures that immediately
make me smile. Below I have details on a few of these more creative
businesses. Some of them are just fun or are the kind where you
think to yourself, "Why didn't someone do that sooner?"
But a few of these are also very successful, and so might offer
not just entertainment, but inspiration and motivation to get
out there and start something new.
Cafe With Free Coffee
I heard about this concept when National Public radio did
a story on it in early 2013. The cafe is in Moscow, Russia, and
instead of charging for the food or coffee, customers pay for
their time spent there. The prices were in Rubles, of course,
but they were the equivalent of about $4 for the first hour,
and then $2 for each hour after that, with a maximum of about
$10 no matter how long a customer stayed.
They note the time when customers arrive and place a clock
on their table so they have an idea of how long they have been
there. Coffee and donuts or cookies are free. I assume that the
menu is relatively limited, although the new story did not get
into those details. The place is apparently packed most days.
The timing is right now that so many of us go to a coffee shop
to sit for hours using the internet.
A New Kind of Motivational T-Shirt
Drew and Caroline Yacu, who are brother and sister, started
a business that creates and delivers t-shirts with various motivational
messages on them. However, these shirts are not printed in the
usual manner. Their creative twist is to have the inspirational
message written on each shirt backwards, so that you can clearly
read it whenever you are standing in front of a mirror.
People may scratch their heads when they see your shirt, but
these messages are meant for the wearer. Presumably that backwards
message will remind you of something useful or motivational every
time you look in a mirror. It might say something like, "I'm
making this a good day," or "What am I grateful for
Flat Rate Taxi
Swiss taxi company called Taximobil, is planning to offer
fixed rate taxi service in some cities in Southern Germany in
2013. Customers get unlimited use of their service for 48 Euro's
per month, which is about $64 at current exchange rates. They
can buy a monthly card online or at various places. Then they
call for a car to pick them up and deliver them anywhere in the
There is one minor "catch" to this service. If there
are other customers headed the same way as you the taxi will
stop to pick them up as well. This allows them to operate more
efficiently. In other words, it might be a bit slower to get
where you're going, though not much. And you get to meet new
Where this company gets really creative is in how they are
obtaining taxis. Instead of buying a fleet of cars for the service,
they plan to pay for the use of idle taxis that are already out
on the streets. This naturally benefits the existing taxi companies
when they are running at less than full capacity.
Foreclosure Cleaning Service
Foreclosure cleaning services can no longer be considered
a new or creative business idea. In fact, it seems that there
will come a time (hopefully soon) when the service is less needed.
But a new twist on this is to have a system that you franchise.
I just recently read about such a company. An entrepreneur can
buy into their system and have all the guidance necessary to
start cleaning up and preparing foreclosed homes for sale.
There is probably more than enough business for the moment,
and a good cleaning and yard makeover probably means the lenders
can sell homes for a couple thousand dollars more than they would
How much can you make cleaning and preparing foreclosed homes?
Here's an excerpt from my book, 101
Weird Ways to Make Money:
Pricing is difficult in this business,
because jobs vary so much. An occupied 1,300-square-foot home
is typically cleaned for $100 to $300, depending on local prices
and whats included. The same home, as an empty foreclosure,
might be easier or much more difficult to clean depending on
what the previous owners did before leaving. I just saw a bid
of over more than $6,000 on a 4,000-square-foot home, although
$3,000 of that was for paintingsomething not often handled
by cleaners. One recently- interviewed foreclosure cleaner said
he does 10 and to 20 jobs weekly at between $250 and $2,500 each.
When better times do come for home owners you might transition
out of the foreclosure market without losing too much revenue
by getting into a related market like preparing vacant apartments
for rent. Depending on where you are in the country and what
you include in your service, managers and landlords will pay
$70 to $150 per unit for cleaning up apartments in preparation
for re-renting them (ideally you want to do several at a time).