Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Business insights: elance and google answers

If you are an entrepreneur in need of a website, some legal assistance, an advertisement, a business plan, accounting help or any other type of regular business need, check out Elance.
This is an ebay owned company that uses the ebay approach to services. I used them to get a quote for an LLC filing a year ago. Great source of information.

The greatest site on the web no one is talking about is Google Answers. IF you ever wanted to know, "how many banana pie manufacturers were located in New York and Florida", you simply post the question, offer a price for how valuable you think the information would be and wait for "experts" to answer your question. You can submit a question for as little as $2.50.

Hurricane katrina: profits on the horizon?

It is hard to imagine the devastation of entire cities, but for centuries this is nothing new. My thoughts are with the people that are suffering, but I know that life will go on for these people. I was watching Mad Money with Jim Cramer yesterday and boy that guy only sees money. Which in business I guess is key. In your private life you can care and have compassion but in the business world, you can only care about profits, loses and legalities that may affect either.

This got me to thinking. As a real estate investor, can you imagine the damage that has been done to properties? Now, using the Mad Money mentality, can you imagine the awesome deals that are to be had in the region? Profiting off of other people's misery may be very cruel, but when you think in black and red, you can see opportunities clearly.

Lastly, I am so tired of the media's sensationalism when it comes to reporting money. " The government is spending 30 billion for this" " The hurricane damage may be $25 billion for this" I wish they would stop with such misleading reporting. The Wynn Casino in Las Vegas cost well over 3 billion to build and that is one building. You must think to yourself, billion is slowly becoming the new million. Stop telling yourself, if I only made a million I would.... Think bigger than your mind constrains you.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Idea #6: The New SAT tutoring

Disclaimer: Do not try this at home!

Business Type: Not very legal service: SAT tutoring

Estimated Start Up: less than $100

Where: Affluent kids that are not smart enough to cheat on their own whose parents are morally challenged.

Have you ever watched the Godfather and sat in awe by the effort the men gave to ensuring their family was doing well? What about seeing Denzel Washington in Training Day, rooting for the bad guy? Earth to you guys! THEY WERE CRIMINALS.

As Pacino said in Scarface, " You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your f+++&$n' fingers and say, "That's the bad guy." So... what that make you? Good? You're not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don't have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth."

Back to the idea. How easy is it to take an SAT test for someone else in high school. Lets check the security hurdles. A proctor, usually a school assistant or para-eduactors looking to make some extra dough. Most teachers wont work 5 hours for $80. You should have a valid high school id, about as hard to make as chocolate chip cookies. Then you have the option of taking the test in any school in the country. This test is just begging to be worked.

Here is the plan. Organize a group of college kids that scored well on the SAT. Discretely acquire parents to pay you $2 for every point you score on the SAT, for their kids. The test is out of 2400 points.

Lets say on average you get a 2000 score, you make $4000 bucks. You pay the college kid $500 for 5 hours of work. Save about $200 to hush up money. And you are looking at $1300 profit for organizing like vito corleone!

Because so many scholarships and admissions decisions are tied directly to grades and test scores, $2000 is a small price to get into "great private school" compared to "party state college". In other words for $4000 investment, your child can have exposure to some of the finer things in academic life. Please don’t be so naive to think this is not already happening, I just wanted to bring it to light.

Lastly, I would never do this, and I encourage you to read this only for its entrepreneurial content, but imagine the possibilities of success or failure, cash versus possible jail time. The caper would be too easy. Just make the administrators offers they cant refuse.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Make money on the web 101

I would like to attempt to make a good list of several ways that I know how people are making money on the web, if you know of others please let me know.

1. Sell original merchandise ( |
2. Sell original service (| SEO | web designers)
3. Resell a product or service (resell web hosting)
4. Sell personal items ( |
5. Affiliate Marketing (| | small companies)
6. Paid search displays (AdSense)
7. Sell Banner Ads: (on site or blog
8. Phishing (wikipedia)
9. Pharming (wikipedia)
10. Online Rebates (
11. Other illegal activities, (I'll never tell!)
12 Online Poker (I know most people lose with this but many make a healthy, questionably illegal, living doing this) -Thumb
13. Creating a small program that helps people via the web and then get bought out by an internet giant ( Konfabulator bought out by Yahoo | Blogger bought out by Google) -Thumb

need inspiration:

A cool website called Meet Up, allows people to form and join groups in which members have common interest or goals. I know its been around for a while, but hey everyone may not be as fast as you are speed racer, cut me some slack!

However if you are looking for long lost vampire buddies or a flag football team to join, here is the place to find it. Aside from the cost of your time and sorting through many bogus groups, should you find the diamond in the rough group your life could receive a real quick boost.

If I come across any good entrepreneurial groups, I will let you know.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Idea #5: Cookies for sell online

This concept is one of those, "we dont invent a lot of the things you buy, we make a lot of the things you buy better!"

Business Type: Online Cookie Store

Estimated Start Up: $2.5K. ( marketing, website, quality packaging)

Where: Online and Domestic

Cookies anyone? Ok I will admit that I have the world's sweetest tooth, because every time I eat something sweet, I think of a way to bring my sugar high to the masses! My friends call me the cookieman!

But for about two years now I have had this pipedream of selling cookies online. Although I do bake and cook rather well, the key to money making is taking yourself the furthest away from the product or service as possible. For instance, you wont catch Warren Buffet selling insurance or Steve Jobs at a crappy Apple Store "Genius Bar" repairing an iPOD battery.

Now here is the deal. Locate a fair size baker or bakery in your area, there cookies/sweets must be loved, like a local legend. Contract to purchase a variety of cookies from this person everyday. These cookies will have possibly an extra pinch of cinnamon or sweetened with a teaspoon of honey, something to make them a lil different. Now comes your part. Contract to have designer boxes and packaging created. Possibly gold foil and a red box like Tiffanys to differentiate yourself from the mom and pops outfits that are polluting the web.

Open up the "" and beat the competition on service and presentation. Think JetBlue. Offer a money back guarantee on all cookies sold. Offer discounted shipping, offset by pricing strategy.

Pricing Strategy: $15 a dozen, $2 shipping - minus $4 wholesale dozen - minus 4 shipping and packaging - $2 Labor = $5 profit.

These cookies are to be sold and marketed as high end cookies to willing customers everywhere. The best part is the fact that you keep no inventory beyond boxes and packaging. Quick entry to market due to the fact that the production infrastructure is already in tact. Your business is winning customers over with presentation and service. If you think that $17 (shipped) is too much for a dozen, do a search for yourself for gourmet cookies.

Marketing the cookies: Too easy, offer affiliate programs, partner to offer giveaways with a company like Crate and Barrel, SEO, link exchange, add a baker's blog, sky is the limit for this cookieman.

Link Exchange

If you add my link I will add yours. I am new to the SEO thing, but I am a fast learner.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Idea #4: Butler Service

Business Type: High End Service

Estimated Start Up: $6K. ( marketing, training, advertising, insurance, back ground checks)

Where: Market to affluent areas as a status symbol.

Remember Mr. Belvedere and Alfred, Bruce Wayne's butler? If you like old guys with British accents then they are perfect choices, but how can you justify paying someone 60K per year to answer your door and serve tea and crumpets or biscottis?

This new age butler is one that is versed in culture, style, fashion, technology and finances. Lets not forget about the traditional knowledge of teaching gentlemen and lady like behavior, table etiquette and even improving your vernacular. Should you buy Joe and Seven for All Mankind Jeans? Ask Jeeves! Should you lease or buy that Hummer H2? Ask Jeeves! Your husband has dinner in Japan next week and needs to learn basic Japanese. Ask Jeeves!

In other words, when this person has completed getting your car washed, filling up the gas tank, changing the oil and organizing your mail you have an instant "queer eye, tech geek, Jim Cramer, James Bond type" at your disposal for instant advice.

The value added benefit to this service is that the service is paid for on a community pay plan. This means that one butler's salary is paid by splitting the butler's costs and time between 4 households. In order to schedule consultations or services, simply logon to "" see available times and reserve your butler. During training you could even teach Englsih accents!

Cost are to be determined, however each butler receives training based on areas that they need knowledge on. The butler is contracted through the New Butler company and all jobs and pay are handled thru the office.

Any feedback?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Google Maps Exploited

Interested in seeing what others are doing with Google maps already? Check them out here:

Also here is a nifty little tool where you can add your blog location to a google map.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Idea #3: Exploit Google Maps

Business Type: Online data resource

Estimated Start Up: $2.5K. (programming cost, marketing)

Where: Local markets at first, with potential for national or regional growth.

Snapshot: If you haven't used GoogleMaps yet, then you were probably too busy playing Oregon Trails on your Apple IIe, or maybe that game of paper, rock scissors was too fun to give up.

But have you seen what some people are doing with Google's open source functions of Google Maps? Take for example. Craig's List + Google Maps = You can see potential apartment listings on a map, for free at least for now.

What if you took a similar approach of exploiting Google Maps with an ethnic/interest based search for specific cities? We know that CitySearch and Yahoo Local, etc have a long way to go before the produce constant useful results; its difficult to be all things to all people on a local level. This leaves room for the little guy.

1. Google Maps + Cuban/Persian/Italian Interest in Austin Texas
2. Google Maps + Gay Interest in San Diego
3. Google Maps + for Budget Minded in Charlotte
4. Google Maps + Athletes in Atlanta
5. Google Maps + BBQ Joints in Seattle
6. Google Maps + Real Estate Investors


1. Google adsense.
2. Affiliate Marketing
3. Potential for interviews
4. Any other suggestions?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Spoils of Success

Which car would you get with your first million dollar paycheck?

Bentley GT?

Bugatti Veyron?

Aston Martin Vanquish?

Either way they are all nice to look at.

Idea #2: Real Estate Agent Ranking Site

Business Type: Online consumer data resource

Estimated Start Up: $15K.

Where: Local markets at first, with potential for national or regional growth.

Concept: What if you could view the stats of a real estate agent as easy as a professional ball player? Is the agent good or great? Expensive or competitive? Bilingual? What if you were a Texan that wanted to invest in San Diego real estate, but wanted an agent that specialized in multi family properties near universities?

This company would be in the business of data collection of real estate agents performance. Of course it would help if you started of local as there are well over 1 million real estate agents in the country. The company would communicate directly with the state department of real estate to secure the names and other public information stored on licensed agents and brokerages.

It would be in the mode of a "wiki" site where users play a large role in the addition of new data. Users add their experience and rank agents according to various ranking criterias.

1. Experienced buyers and sellers post comments on agents
2. New users come to find an agent
3. Agents come to read posts about themselves and competition

1. Possibly seek power of a market by centralizing information that was previously not available.
2. Advertise mortgages and related real estate services.
3. Publish annual reports
4. Advertising

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Idea #1: How to website video

With the Internet's Big three: Yahoo, Google and MSN attacking the world of video search, the market for videos is ripe.


Create a website that offers how to videos on demand for people to use and learn from. Topics ideas:

I. Cooking - "How to bake a pound cake"
II. Home Improvement - "How to lay concrete" Four part series.
III. Child Care - "How to swaddle your baby"
IV. Auto Care - "How to check your breaks"
V. Computer - "How to color correct in PhotoShop"

The concept is to make videos ranging from 1-4 minutes that users can view and learn for free. Novice film makers using iMovie or other small scale editing tools can easily upload a clip for review and even get paid for each time their clip is viewed.

The site is free to registered users. The money is made via traffic, advertisements and category sponsorship and other creative ways of compensation. When the "VideoPod" becomes a hit then little videos like these would be perfect to watch on the go.

Any suggestions?

Real Estate Investment Group

Business Type: Real Estate Investing Local Shares

Estimated Start Up: $100K-$250K.

Where: Housing markets mentioned in the pending "bubble".

Do you think there is a bubble coming? I am not here to argue for or against, but inform you that either way, the intelligent investor is still making money whether it rains or shines.

The run up in real estate prices over the past 4 years has been nothing short of breath taking, especially in my two hometowns of Manhattan and Los Angeles. But I am really concerned when my old high school friends that used to take the remedial math class, approach me about taking out a an option ARM mortgage or buying a $100K house in November and selling that same house for $350K.

But for those of us that are experienced in real estate investing or making money wisely period we must realize that no one man is an island. Of course you can flip here and there, but when you are in a market where your investment candidates are 500K plus, one must be careful that their next investment is not their last.

So use the strength of many investors to secure higher end properties, less prone to market moves and competition. Essentially this idea is nothing new, but on a local stage, many 6 figure candidates are missing out on the potential to leverage their investments with the funds of investing partners.

Gather a pool of 5-10 investors, appoint and pay a manager to acquire, analyze and invest in higher end properties that may be too risky for one person to do by themselves. Highlights include background checks, LLC formation, attorney consultation but once the "foreplay" is over, the potential to dominate a market with deep pockets is endless. Of course mortgages are involved and business banking but this is an effort take beginner's from investing Chump to Mogul Trump.

Each investor is allocated a shares of the property and investment fees, but I would rather see 7.5% of $500K profit than 100% of a $12K profit.

Sour milk and cereal

Ok, since you really have no way to validate this besides taking my word, I hope you will give me the benefit of the doubt. But nearly 4 years ago I came up with the idea of creating a gourmet cereal bar. I even had a name, "Poppa Krunch."

Much like Starbucks is a gourmet coffee house, I thought it would be great to go down to the local Poppa Krunk and pay $6.50 for a bowl of gourmet granola cereal with chocolate soy milk, fresh strawberries, blue berries and a glass of fresh squeezed OJ. You know all the milk choices, cow, goat, soy, almond, rice; toppings bananas, berries, spices, sugars, honey, etc. Now the kicker would be the fact that the company would not sell regular cereal, but exclusive gourmet cereals like you might find in Whole Foods or Wild Oats market.

I said why not, people pay $1.00 for a Krispy Kreme and a $5.00 for Coldstones ice cream, things that can easily get from the grocery store, so why not charge them for a bowl of custom made cereal. Laugh now, but they laughed at Ben and Jerry as well.

Then last year I read an article in Business 2.0 about a company called Cereality.

Although I was a bit crushed, I felt good that my idea had been implemented. Now for some more original ideas.


I decided to start this blog, to get some feedback on the way I think as an entrepreneur. Many times I have gotten great, at least what I considered to be great ideas for a product or service based business, but after sharing them with people that are not motivated, or after dissecting the ideas myself, I have found myself becoming stagnant in my follow through. So this blog is to serve as my sounding board to see if my mind is made for the boardroom suites or for the alleyway streets.

I know intellectual property and ideas are our greatest asset, blah, blah, blah, but until I take an idea and push it through, it just an idea.

I was really motivated to write this blog after finding
Neville's Financial Blog .

It was like I found some college kid, then saw his links on the web and began to realize that I was not alone in my quest to get out of the rat race and in the race of life.