Entrepreneurship is, at its core, about finding a problem and then solving it. Sometimes that problem is pretty straightforward: people want to share large files with each other, and WeTransfer is born. Learning a new language and staying fresh with a language you have worked hard to learn is tough, so in comes Duolingo.
But sometimes entrepreneurship solves more obscure, more complicated, or more ridiculous problems. Here is a list of our favorite, crazy business ideas that were so wacky, they just worked! They’re great reminders that thinking outside the box can pay off big time, and the value of a good marketing plan!
Sometimes people get cold and need a blanket. And when people use blankets, sometimes they still need the use of their arms to read books or, to be more realistic, post Instagram photos. Enter the Snuggie.
An idea so generic it’s not even patentable, the Snuggie gained nearly all of the market share in bathrobes-worn-backwards by saturating our television advertising with ridiculous commercials. The lesson is clear: if your product is silly, make sure your advertising is at least as absurd.
Later known for selling his last name, entrepreneur Jason SurfrApp (né HeadsetsDotCom, né Sadler) started out by selling his wardrobe choices. Jason dons the shirt of a company for a day, based on a set price. The first year he did this, 2009, his calendar sold out.
As the first profitable human-billboard, Jason has reminded us that brands are willing to pay for creative advertising- thats not such a crazy business idea after all right? He was inspired by the Million-Dollar Homepage, which proved the same point back in 2005.
DeBeers has been telling us that “a diamond is forever” since 1947. And people have been looking for a way to stick around forever for much longer than that. An Illinois company called LifeGem married those two ideas and offers certified diamonds made out of the cremated remains (or a lock of hair) of your loved ones.
The diamonds start around $2,500 each, and with 5,000 sold already, it seems like the idea is paying off!
Have you ever wanted to rent a chicken? If not, you might soon be out of the zeitgeist. Apparently, plenty of people are interested in becoming “fair-weather farmers” and borrowing chickens for the summer, then returning them when cold weather hits. Rent-a-Chicken is not even the only company who offers this service anymore.
For just $250, you can rent two hens and all their accessories (including the coop) for the summer. Enjoy fresh eggs and teach your family about where their food comes from, without the 10–12 year commitment of owning a chicken!
- The Pet Rock
A classic ridiculous idea that made someone a millionaire, the pet rock phenomenon in the 1970s is proof positive that entrepreneurship can solve problems you didn’t even realize you had. (In this case, that problem is that you want a pet but don’t want any additional responsibility to go with it.)
Gary Dahl sold his pet rocks in a box with holes (for the rock to breathe, of course) with an amusing instruction booklet for $3.95. The product cost him under a dollar to create, and in the 6 months the fad was popular, he made enough money to retire in his 30s. Not bad!