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5 Weird Business Ideas for 2018


April 17, 2018 | Stephen Jackson

If you’re an entrepreneur, then you’re probably used to people cornering you at parties and pitching their business ideas. I suspect this because although I don’t own a small business, I’m definitely guilty of delivering an unsolicited, meandering proposal to a stranger in the wee hours of the night.

But there’s a universe of ideas out there, and technology constantly changes the landscape of what’s possible. We’ve already touched upon some small business trends to be on the lookout for in 2018, such as augmented reality and the rise of the remote worker. But now that we’re well into the year (and on Tax Day, you may be thinking about changing your life anyway), let’s take a look at some promising opportunities for today’s entrepreneurs.

Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a unique form of e-commerce in which an online store is set up to sell a product, but the proprietor doesn’t actually hold any inventory. Rather, he or she makes a percentage off the sale acting as a middleman between the customer and the wholesaler or retailer actually stocking the item. If done right, this can be lucrative and requires little overhead.

However, be aware that there are scams out there offering promises to “make money from home” by setting up a storefront and charging exorbitant fees to access a list of retailers. You are also at the mercy of the seller who has the product in stock, so you might run the risk of promising to deliver on a product that could take a few weeks to once again be available.

Start a Facebook Ads Consulting Firm

Before the current data-breach revelations, Facebook earlier this year dropped a bombshell announcement about changes to its ranking algorithm. You can read about it here; it purports to give less priority to business and promotional content, and more love to interaction between friends and family. While this may be a noble cause, it’s going to push people to buy more ads if they want to continue using the platform for their business — which is where you come in. Become a wiz at Facebook ads, then offer your consulting services to businesses that don’t have time to do that themselves. Here’s a helpful guide to get you started. Though the company is in a state of serious flux, it will most likely continue be a powerful source of marketing for the foreseeable future. But: proceed cautiously; loose algorithms ahead.

Self-Publish a Book on Amazon

These days, self-publishing a book has the actual potential to make money (not saying that it never has in the past… but, kinda). Remember, these are online texts made for a Kindle. This guy claims to make $1,000 a week off his self-published Amazon books, and he even made a handy little guide. It appears that if you can get a few hundred sales in the first week (hint: set your initial price at $.99), Amazon will even take care of some of the promotion for you.

Start a Tattoo Shop (Really)

One of the more interesting ideas I came across was starting a tattoo shop. While it seems ridiculous, it’s apparently backed up by some numbers, according to The Balance. To wit:

  • “40 percent of American households have at least one member with a tattoo, up from 21 percent in 1999
  • 22 percent of young millennials have at least one tattoo
  • 30 percent of people aged 25-39 have tattoos and 40 percent of adults aged 30-39
  • Tattoos are also popular with middle-aged adults ​— 30 percent of those aged 40-49 have at least one”

So, from a market-research standpoint, opening a tattoo parlor appears to be a surprisingly good idea. Of course, you’ll need to find people with some actual talent to do the work. Don’t assume you can make a fortune just doing anchors and Chinese characters.

Start a Podcast

If getting into the tattoo game is a bit off-brand for your taste, then you could also think about starting a podcast. Like tattoo shops, there is definitely a market for this form of media, as is exhaustively illustrated in this infographic. In fact, we profiled a niche business a while back that generates revenue off, among other things, a podcast geared toward people interested in starting their own float centers.

There is a lot of competition out there, but podcast enthusiasts are extremely loyal, so if you do it right, there are tons of advertising and affiliate marketing opportunities upon which to capitalize. The overhead is also super-low, so if it doesn’t work, it’s not like you’re out thousands of dollars. Hey, you could even start a podcast about opening your own tattoo shop. Then write a book about it.

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