Author Topic: Ideas for Businesses  (Read 16419 times)

salmp01

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Ideas for Businesses
« on: March 08, 2012, 08:04:36 AM »
I read a posting by SCUBA Stache regarding passive income and purchasing ATMs for an investment so I thought Iíd start another thread asking for some ideas on businesses.  I currently work in the financial industry and make a little over 100k/year in my 8-5 job.  In addition I own several rental properties and my income here is about 70k/year.   Iíve been feeling that too much of much of my overall net worth is in real estate and have been thinking of diversifying a bit.  I recently sold a property and have around 100k to invest.  Iím considering buying more properties but would be interested in branching off to another business.  Iím not too interested in investing in the stock market (I have a fairly sizable 401k in several index funds) but would like to hear some other ideas.  My goal is to leave my corporate job sometime in the near future.  We are expecting our first child and my wife will be leaving her job this May so I will be working for at least 1-2 more years. 

Scuba Stache

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2012, 09:17:07 AM »
Hey psalmela, I will also follow this thread closely as I am searching pretty hard for a new idea. I am focused on semi-passive income so my short idea list so far is the following:
Self Service machines - ATMs, Vending Machines(drinks,food,ice), self service machines(photo booth, games, kiddie rides)
Website - Build a niche website and earn by advertising
Real Estate - Rentals
Create smart phone app
Silent investor in a local small business
Every time I see those food carts outside of home improvement stores / bars, I wish I owned them and paid someone to run it (always a line of customers and equipment that only costs ~3-5k to purchase), but these are likely more of a lifestyle business where it is owner operated.

Let's get the ideas flowing!

Sparafusile

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2012, 09:26:13 AM »
If you wanted to use your skills as a property investor, you could look into investing in Tax Liens. It takes some work and there are a lot of rules, depending on which state you invest in, but you can practically do it from your living room.

Write. Books, magazine articles, etc etc. If you're a financial pro try writing a e-book and self publishing on Amazon or the like. Writing is a LOT of work (I've written and published 3 non e-books), but it does provide passive income.

Learn a trade or skill. I like to build furniture which I can leverage into part time income. I'm also fairly proficient with PhotoShop which I can leverage into additional part time income by "photoshopping" images people take. My father loves model trains so after he retired he bought a lathe and started making replacement parts and selling them.

I also like psalmela's idea of investing in small businesses.

wilk916

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2012, 09:34:36 AM »
Every time I see those food carts outside of home improvement stores / bars, I wish I owned them and paid someone to run it (always a line of customers and equipment that only costs ~3-5k to purchase), but these are likely more of a lifestyle business where it is owner operated.

I'm a regular reader of the my local Business/Commercial For Sale section on Craigslist, and I often see these carts/counters for sale.  This seems right up my alley, but I agree, you'd likely want someone to run it for you.

On a related note, does anyone know of a better publication than Craigslist that lists small businesses for sale?

Mike Key

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2012, 12:18:42 PM »
Why not buy a franchise? You don't have to run it if you pay and treat your manager well enough.


Or buy businesses that need turned around? My uncle is a business investor, and he buys businesses that he feels have value but current management is running poorly and wants out. He comes in, turns the companies around and makes them profitable. Usually he sells, but he does have 4 manufacturing companies in Ohio he's owned for the last 14 years at least.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 12:21:48 PM by Mike Key »

Aloysius_Poutine

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2012, 01:27:57 PM »
I'd buy some astro jumps (aka moon bounces), make a website, and rent them out for $400/day on weekends. Hire someone with a truck to deliver/set up/pick up at the end.

I'd also buy a photo booth and rent it out for weddings. People love spending money on their wedding.

Mr Mark

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2012, 03:50:54 PM »

A friend of mine noted that they'd never seen a closed down Pizza place.

Don't francise. Do you live near a University? Or IT/Med/Business Center?

Start a quality Pizza place, get a good manager/partner (with FF management experience), a good lawyer/accountant, and go.

salmp01

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2012, 03:52:11 PM »
If you wanted to use your skills as a property investor, you could look into investing in Tax Liens. It takes some work and there are a lot of rules, depending on which state you invest in, but you can practically do it from your living room."


I like this idea!  I have some money in a self directed IRA I could use for this.  I tried googling this and I think for Minnesota they have Tax Deed Sales (as opposed to tax liens).  Do you have any resources you could point me to to get started.

I appreciate the ideas!
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 04:58:58 PM by Sparafusile »

arebelspy

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2012, 04:41:21 PM »
I love these ideas.  Keep em coming everyone!

Since people brought up the ideas, I'll link to a little more reading on the bounce houses and franchising.

A thread on franchising (negative on the idea): http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f27/life-after-fi-anyone-buy-into-a-franchise-60190.html

A thread on bounce houses (positive on the idea - one guy's experiences in a journal type thread.. this is actually the second one, an update, if you're interested you can dig up the original): http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f27/update-mrs-thefeds-inflatable-bounce-house-rental-business-46176.html
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Sparafusile

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2012, 05:03:20 PM »

I like this idea!  I have some money in a self directed IRA I could use for this.  I tried googling this and I think for Minnesota they have Tax Deed Sales (as opposed to tax liens).  Do you have any resources you could point me to to get started.

I appreciate the ideas!

Tax deed sales means you'll end up owning the property, which isn't the case with tax liens. Minnesota has a short redemption period (1 year) so that's a plus. You'll find a lot of questionable resources online so I'd stick with published books. A quick search on Amazon showed a few high rated books that look promising. Some personal advice: learn to do title searches yourself and always, always do you due diligence.

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2012, 09:57:42 PM »
Can anyone else provide more info on tax deed sales? I found my cities tax deed listings for sale, and I've already fumbled thru the listings. I've found two duplexes for a tax deed sale of $5000 but what that means, I have no idea.

Joementum

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2012, 02:10:13 AM »
Can anyone else provide more info on tax deed sales? I found my cities tax deed listings for sale, and I've already fumbled thru the listings. I've found two duplexes for a tax deed sale of $5000 but what that means, I have no idea.

This is my limited understanding. You pay the taxes for the owner and you get paid interest. How much interest varies by state. I believe most states do it auction style. They start at some arbitrary number like 5% and investors keep lowering the number until one of them wins.  If the owner can't pay back the taxes within a set time frame, you will become the owner of the property if there aren't other liens on the property that have priority over the tax lien.

Sparafusile

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2012, 05:34:34 AM »
This is my limited understanding. You pay the taxes for the owner and you get paid interest. How much interest varies by state. I believe most states do it auction style. They start at some arbitrary number like 5% and investors keep lowering the number until one of them wins.  If the owner can't pay back the taxes within a set time frame, you will become the owner of the property if there aren't other liens on the property that have priority over the tax lien.

It's important to note that the laws concerning tax liens and tax deeds in most states are pro investor. For that reason, when you foreclose on a property after buying a lien or deed, most other liens are wiped out - including the mortgage. There are some liens that are not wiped out (sewer liens, federal liens), but they are less common.

Also, when a piece of property goes to a tax lien auction, the starting price is always the total amount of delinquent taxes. When the bidding begins, bidders either bid up the price of the property (Indiana) or bid down the amount of interest they will receive (Florida) if the taxes are paid off. With a tax deed sale, you are buying the property outright. The price starts at the total delinquent taxes like before, but they bidders bid up the total sale price. The winner receives the quiet title to the property. The quiet title is not insurable so investors wont be able to resell immediately.

Because tax liens and deed are guaranteed by the state and backed by real estate there is very little risk involved. The biggest risk is ending up with worthless property and owing taxes on an unproductive piece of land. This is why I emphasized due diligence earlier.

Deed sales are also often called sheriff sales. Even though Indiana is a tax lien state, we do also have sheriff sales at the local level. Hope that helps.

shedinator

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2012, 08:21:26 AM »
Is there a way to find the actual tax lien/deed sale records? I've tried to research this before, and found a bunch of subscription sites that try to tell you there are $500k homes going for $10k, and you can access the "secret" information by paying that site. I assume there should be public records, but I can't seem to track them down.

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2012, 09:50:00 AM »
With a tax deed sale, you are buying the property outright. The price starts at the total delinquent taxes like before, but they bidders bid up the total sale price. The winner receives the quiet title to the property. The quiet title is not insurable so investors wont be able to resell immediately.

Because tax liens and deed are guaranteed by the state and backed by real estate there is very little risk involved. The biggest risk is ending up with worthless property and owing taxes on an unproductive piece of land. This is why I emphasized due diligence earlier.

Deed sales are also often called sheriff sales. Even though Indiana is a tax lien state, we do also have sheriff sales at the local level. Hope that helps.

http://www.pinellasclerk.org/tributeweb/

Well I've found listings for actual DEED SALES here in Pineallas County where I live. So if I understand this, I'd be bidding on the actual deed to the property. What happens to any liens on the property? Or would there not be any?

Differently something I need to go to the library about and start researching. Very interested, I've been interested in real estate for some time, but this seems like a lower entry point for me than waiting to buy SFH at full price.

Sparafusile

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2012, 11:29:53 AM »
Is there a way to find the actual tax lien/deed sale records? I've tried to research this before, and found a bunch of subscription sites that try to tell you there are $500k homes going for $10k, and you can access the "secret" information by paying that site. I assume there should be public records, but I can't seem to track them down.

You can do this with a title search, which is public record, but you'll have to know what you're looking for. Sometimes counties will post previous sales, what was the starting price, and what it sold for. Unfortunately, not only do states differ greatly, but the individual counties do as well. If you cant find the information, find out what department in the county government is responsible for the sale, call them up, and ask for past records.

If you're looking for information near High Point NC, try these links:

http://publicrecords.onlinesearches.com/NC_Guilford.htm
http://publicrecords.onlinesearches.com/NC_Davidson.htm
http://publicrecords.onlinesearches.com/NC_Randolph.htm
http://publicrecords.onlinesearches.com/NC_Forsyth.htm

Specifically where it says "Property Search" will allow you to do a title search on any piece of property in the county and "Sheriff Sales" which are usually deed sales.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 11:31:28 AM by Sparafusile »

sol

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2012, 03:41:28 PM »
Back on topic a bit:

Reading this thread really got me to thinking about all of the different ways to generate income once I quit my day job.  About an hour of hard brainstorming came up with about fifteen ideas, some requiring full time work and some that are nearly passive.

What I really noticed about my final list was how easy it would have been to generate with a different approach.  Namely, everything on it is something that I consider to be a complete rip off.  Like if no good Mustachian would ever pay for it, then it's probably a good way to make a bunch of money off of other suckers who will pay for it.

The private ATM idea that came up elsewhere is a great example.  I find the whole idea of paying $2 to get $20 in cash to be idiotic in the extreme, but I know other people do it and it thus might be a good way to make some money, if you don't mind ripping off the people in your community.  Then I realized that basically every idea on my list involved ripping people off somehow, or exploiting some market inefficiency, and then I realized that this is the whole point of capitalism and maybe I should just get over it.

Want to start a business?  Find something you think is stupidly overpriced, and do that.

Sparafusile

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2012, 04:55:35 PM »
I agree with sol. I recently helped my wife start a brick-and-mortar business. At almost every step of the process were would look at each other and say "we should have been [insert overpriced profession here]" and made more money. That list included:

Lawyers
Accountants
Plumbers
Equipment re-sellers
Distributors

The list was almost too long to remember. The really horrifying part was that most of the people were completely incompetent and could barely do their jobs well at all. We jokingly said that we should start a business, call it "Competent", and try to live up to the name. We could easily be about twice as efficient and, well... competent than most of the businesses we dealt with. It's a shame really.

arebelspy

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2012, 03:51:37 AM »
Reading this thread really got me to thinking about all of the different ways to generate income once I quit my day job.  About an hour of hard brainstorming came up with about fifteen ideas, some requiring full time work and some that are nearly passive.


Willing to share?
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sol

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2012, 08:59:06 AM »
Willing to share?

In general outline, sure.

Several of them are essentially arbitrage schemes for investments.  In much the same way that a hedge fund leverages loans to build a risk profile, a person with enough capital can find low interest money and apply it to higher interest areas.  Credit card arbitrage is one form, or a HELOC, but places like Lending Club allow you to both borrow money and lend money.  A competent investor could utilize that spread for passive income if he knew enough about distributed risk profiles.

Several of them are teaching skills that I already have.  If you are an expert at something, chances are good that you can either charge people directly to pass on that knowledge or work as an independent contractor for someone else's business.  Examples might be music lessons, teaching martial arts, SAT prep classes, SCUBA instruction.

Many people with professional skills who currently work for someone else can likely replace at least part of their income doing the same job as an independent.  Consider that your work is theoretically profitable enough that somebody else is paying you to do it and making money off the top from your labor.  Stop giving away your earnings and work for yourself.  In many cases, an employer offers that air of credibility, economy of scale, or list of contacts that an independent might not have, but if you are good enough at your job you can build all of those things around yourself personally instead of around your employer.

Small scale manufacturing or assembly, in your own home, can pay a decent hourly wage if you're creating a product that is horribly enough overpriced.   These are usually specialty items for expensive hobbies, but things like desktop computers also usually retail for about 60% markup over the cost of their components, and can be assembled in less than hour if you know what you're doing.  Keep in mind that Spanx lady starting making underwear on her personal sewing machine and is now a billionaire.

Write a book or a piece of software.  Either going through an agent or self-publishing, even a moderately successful publication generates passive returns once it is set loose on the world.  It's a lot of work up front, but for someone who enjoys the creative process it can be a way to make money off of something you were going to do in retirement anyway.

Pretty much any of these jobs can be outsourced, if you don't mind contributing to the downfall of the American economy.  If there is money to be made by doing a job in the US, there is probably money to be made by paying someone else to do that same job, especially if you can pay someone in India.  Even keeping the labor local, there is basically no limit to how many businesses you can start up if you're just paying someone else to do the work you would otherwise be doing yourself.

And that's the real secret of capitalism, I think.  The vast majority of the workforce is working for someone else's benefit for a fixed wage, instead of taking profit from someone who performs labor for you at a fixed wage.  The more little businesses you run, the more diversified your income stream becomes, and the less risk this entails.

Aloysius_Poutine

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2012, 12:51:55 PM »
We got an electric flour mill for our wedding. I had no idea what to do with it until my father in law gave me a 50lb bag of oats. All of a sudden, oat flour! It's gluten free. My wife and I are working on packaging-- heavy brown paper with screen printed logos. We're going to mark it up and sell it as 'local gourmet' at farmers markets this summer. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunflower

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2012, 02:26:02 PM »
We got an electric flour mill for our wedding. I had no idea what to do with it until my father in law gave me a 50lb bag of oats. All of a sudden, oat flour! It's gluten free. My wife and I are working on packaging-- heavy brown paper with screen printed logos. We're going to mark it up and sell it as 'local gourmet' at farmers markets this summer. I'll let you know how it goes.

Before you sell it as gluten free...please make sure that the 50lb bag of oats is certified gluten free! Oats can easily be contaminated so celiacs stay away from oats unless they are guaranteed to have been grown and processed away from any place that also grows/processes wheat.

keepingmobens

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2012, 04:01:01 PM »

The vast majority of the workforce is working for someone else's benefit for a fixed wage, instead of taking profit from someone who performs labor for you at a fixed wage.

This reminds me of something I recently read, how on an evolutionary level, people in general traded the thrill of the hunt, (and the resulting feast/famine) for the constant drudgery (and security) of organized farming and ranching. Kind of like entrepreneurs vs. employees of today.

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2012, 03:29:30 AM »
   Sell goat/horse treats.  There are a lot of goats as pets where I live and I helped a friend with her internet goat treat business.  People are actually willing to pay a lot of money to buy goat treats, very little competition, and there are minimal laws about making animal food (the health department will not come inspect your kitchen.)  I bought the recipe from her.  Sold a few orders online, then decided it wasn't what I wanted to do with my time.

   Sell funny T-shirts online.

   Personal chef.  Every Monday stop by my house and drop off 5 paleo dinners for the week.

   I've always wanted to own a gym. 

  Of course, the biggest problem is that you are well compensated at your day job.  It is harder to find ways to make $ if you don't get out of bed for less than $40 an hour (just throwing out a number.)

    My mom and I always talked about having a very high priced daycare specifically for kids who are sick.  Your kid has a cold/ the flu/ strep but you can't miss another day at work?   For $200 I'll risk getting it and take care of a whiny, miserable kid for 8 hours.  Okay - maybe $300.  Or, if you haven't slept in 2 weeks, I'll stay up all night with your cholicy baby.   Another childcare idea - there are a lot of single moms I work with (nurses) who would love to work nights for the extra money but have problems getting good overnight childcare.

   I've always wanted a dog kennel.  Maybe when our dogs move on, I will take in a couple dogs at a time.  $10 a day (very inexpensive for boarding) and they can run around my yard, watch TV with us, get spoiled all day by my kids.

   I've thought about suggesting to my daughter that she can sell fry bread to the neighbors.  Very common where we live.

  Heidi

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2012, 06:15:26 AM »
You could offer classes (either through a community college or an enrichment class business) about real estate  investing, or finance.   You could also find another real estate investor and become his hard money lender on a couple of houses.  Or find a young but promising RE investor, and become his mentor.
I may eventually go down the teaching path.  Several things I could probably teach now.  Or I would have to go back for my masters, but I could probably teach nursing online classes for a university.  Or just nursing classes.  I'm just not interested in getting a masters right now - plus it is a lateral move in terms of pay. 

I hear, "What would you do all day even if it didn't pay?" as a way to find new profit.  I am an info-seeker.  I constantly research things that seem to be random.  Haven't found a way to make money on that yet, but maybe some day.
Heidi

arebelspy

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2012, 09:32:55 AM »
You could offer classes (either through a community college or an enrichment class business) about real estate  investing, or finance.   You could also find another real estate investor and become his hard money lender on a couple of houses.  Or find a young but promising RE investor, and become his mentor.

Speaking as a real estate investor, most of those require quite a bit of work.  HML aside, the teaching ones will pay a low hourly rate, in general.

They're great to do if it is your passion (you love real estate and you love teaching and sharing it with people), but don't expect it to pay a lot, or be a scalable business.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

HeidiO

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2012, 03:17:00 PM »
Yes - most (all) of the ideas I have come up with do require a lot of work for not that much money.   I think that's why I am not doing them.  Sigh.

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2012, 09:49:24 AM »
Does anyone have any hands-on experience with those coin-operated machines in malls, etc, that teach kids how easily it is to get ripped off? (I'm thinking of those crane-type grab-a-crappy-soft-toy-made-in-china machines especially)

It would seem once you've paid for the machine and some stock it's only a few hours a week ... and if you can find a good secure location with lots of kids and parents with cash, hey presto!

HeidiO

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #28 on: March 30, 2012, 01:10:39 AM »
  Ah the crane machine - my son's passion when he was younger.  (He could usually get a toy, sometimes even 2 with 1 attempt.)  He was the crane whisperer.  Then he would re-gift them as presents to us.  Thanks honey.
 Heidi

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Re: Ideas for Businesses
« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2012, 03:42:04 PM »

I think that even if you won on every attempt of the crane machine the operator is still making money. (Same as at the carnival side shows.)

I did a bit of research and the main issue is finding good locations. The big coin operators are always on the lookout.

What about 'Organic Gum-Balls'? Machine cost ~$400. No electricity req. Cost per gum-ball ~3c, sale price 25c.