I first read 4-Hour Work Week while I was on a “vacation” in Mexico. I put the quotations around that because I spent several hours a day still working and for the hours that I was on the beach, I was reading business related books like this one. However, it was one of my best vacations ever.
My view on it is this. I’d rather be traveling to a different location and working part of the time rather than staying home and working. Some people see it as working on vacation but I see it as a chance to take more vacations because I’m still accomplishing work!
I also love learning and love what I do, so it is never a chore.
Well back to my initial thought. The 4-Hour Work Week has some amazing concepts (many that I had started to realize on my own) and I have since signed up to his blog. His blog posts are amazingly long so I never get around to reading them (maybe I should try his tactics for speed reading…) but this article I did read. It’s a list of some inventive ways that people have begun businesses.
I’ve included some of my favorites in here.
Turn a Hobby into a Business
Latch on to a popular service, then simplify it for others.
Self-described “professional nerd” Brett Kelly wrote Evernote Essentials, the first English-language manual for the popular Evernote software. Brett was hoping for a $10,000 payday over the course of a few months—enough to pay off some bills. Instead, he received $10,000 in two days… and then the sales kept coming.
Originally conceived as a hobby that Brett worked on during nights and weekends, Evernote Essentials now earns more than $160,000 a year in net income. Here’s what Brett says about the results: “The unreal success of this project has not only freed our family from a decade of debt and financial instability, but has also given us the freedom to pursue the kind of life we want.”
Lesson: Simplify things and cash in. Brett developed a comprehensive resource with lots of screenshots and detailed, highly actionable tips. More than 10,000 customers later, it’s still going strong.
Use a Polarizing Argument or Concept
A trend or controversial idea can also reveal a business opportunity.
Jason Glaspey was a follower of Paleo, the controversial diet that is both loved and ridiculed. Jason noticed a common problem among fellow devotees: because of the requirement for regular shopping and planning, Paleo was hard to follow on a regular basis.
Jason created Paleo Plan, a membership site that offers shopping lists and ongoing guidance. The goal of Paleo Plan is to keep its customers on track, with detailed shopping lists and ongoing recommendations. The project now brings in more than $5,000 a month.
Lesson: When large groups of people love and hate something, it’s a good sign there’s a business model hiding in plain sight. Get paid by making things easy for the people who love it.