Your Million Dollar Idea

by STEVE BLOOM

Do you want to be rich? Well, financial independence could just be one idea away from happening. Most people think the next million dollar idea is going to appear to someone in a lab coat at a major University or by some egghead engineer at Apple. However, many of the best ideas could really be made by anyone, so why not you?

Unlikely Million Dollar Ideas

I’m no millionaire, but I can see how many others have done it and it’s easy to see that even the simplest ideas can make a boatload of cash. For example, how much would people pay for a bathrobe that you wear backwards? If you asked Scott Boilen, the inventor of Snuggie, it would amount to several million dollars (and counting).

The same goes for the Million Dollar Homepage. Alex Tew created this site to help pay for his student loans. It’s a website with one million pixels he sold in chunks for $1 a pixel of ad space. If he sold them all he would make one million dollars. He sold every single pixel…in only five months. And because the demand was so high, he auctioned off the last set of pixels for a gross income of $1,037,100 ($650,000-$700,000 after taxes).

My Million Dollar Ideas

How often have you come up with an idea you think could make you rich? If you’re like most people, you’ll say none. For me, I’ve had about a half dozen ideas. My first idea was to invent a toy where the user could put a wheel in the heel of their shoe. It was similar to rollerblades, but the user would have more control over their movement. Plus they would be able to walk when needed.

I came up with this idea in the mid 90’s. I thought it was an interesting idea, but I didn’t do anything with it. Imagine my surprise when I saw the very same product several years later advertised late at night on tv. If you don’t already know what I’m referring to, the product is Heelys and it made the creator Roger Adams millions.

The next idea I had involved paper towels. I was frustrated by the square paper towels I would put on top of food containers in microwaves that had spinning carousels in them. As the containers spun, the paper towels would continually be knocked off. I imagined a paper towel with perforations on them that would make the paper towel circular and therefore perfect for spinning microwaves. I even went so far as to talk to a patent lawyer friend of mine. Unfortunately, he said that I couldn’t patent the idea.

Lately, I’ve been trying to figure ways to make money on the internet. I create many great ideas, but soon after I research them, I realize they are already being done. I had an idea to create a wiki site that allows you to create your own wiki database. Similar to Wikipedia, but would allow a user to create a more narrow niche. I also thought of another wiki site that let’s you edit news sources for people to research news topics and get the entire background on them. They are already out there; Wikipedia owns both (I should have guessed).

The latest idea I came up with is to make a website for public domain movies. Since they’re public domain, there are no copyright issues and I could do with them as I want. I imagined a site like Youtube. Once again, this is already out there.

Even though my ideas are already out there, it encourages me. It means I’m on the right track. I know I will come up with more ideas and perhaps one day I will come up with something that makes me rich. At least for the moment, I can take comfort that my ideas are doable and worthwhile. And that gives me courage to continue.

Anyone Can Be the Next Millionaire

I’m going to be dead honest with you: anyone can become a millionaire, but most people won’t. If you really want to become rich, then you’ll need three things: brainstorming skills, follow through and luck. Most people won’t be able to get through the brainstorming part.

Constantly come up with ideas you believe will make you money. As I explained earlier, even silly or seemingly stupid ideas can make a lot of money. Not everything will work, but it’s really so hard to tell beforehand that it’s just a matter of trial and error.

Here’s how I brainstorm for ideas. I read a lot, keep my mind open to new ideas and come up with new ways to solve older problems. Basically, I try to come up with ways to make anything in life more efficient or easier. That’s how I came up with some of those websites. I figured that putting together all the public domain movies in one spot would be a great way for anyone to have access to them without doing countless Google or Youtube searches.

Once you have an idea, follow through with it. Since you never know what will be the million dollar idea, follow through with everything, especially if it isn’t already being done. Don’t discount anything as being too stupid an idea. Some of the most ridiculous ideas are the most profitable. The Million Dollar Homepage and the Pet Rock are two examples of very lucrative and silly ideas.

Follow through with your idea quickly too because what is your idea today could be someone else’s tomorrow. My Heelys idea could have made me a fortune by now if I had actually done something about it. However, I hesitated, someone else got there and now they’re the ones making millions.

Don’t discount luck either; it’s just as important. The creator of the Snuggie was not the first person to have this idea. The sleeved blanket had been out for years marketed under the Slanket. And before that the Freedom Blanket was there. Luck (and good marketing skills) is always a factor.

Becoming Rich in the Recession

According to the research and consulting firm Spectrum Group, there were 7.8 million families with at least one million dollars in 2009. That is up from 6.7 million the year before. What’s most striking about this is that it is in the middle of the recession.

Some people are going to discount their ideas now because of the economy’s weakness. We’re not in recession anymore, but it sure feels like it. Nothing, not even the state of the economy, should stop you.

Just remember that during the Great Depression, Hewlett-Packard, Pepperidge Farms and many others were founded. People can become rich at any time, and so can you. Keep at iT and, one day, you too could sell a rock as a pet or a backwards robe and make millions.

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Comments

  1. We used to talk about these ideas all the time in my Entrepreneurship class. I have friends that have a notepad with ideas they think of.

    I still plan on getting to a million the old fashioned way…the lottery. :)

    • A notepad is a great if you have ideas all the time, but they don’t come to me often enough for me to carry one. By the way, I play the lottery too, but so far I think the only people I’ve seen make any money on it is the state lottery itself.

  2. I’m always coming up with my next big idea. As a kid, I had prototypes for all kinds of Barbies. I even sent my ideas to Mattel, only they said they couldn’t use any of them. I swear, I’ve seen some of my ideas from them over the years though!

    While making a million dollars isn’t really my motivation, I’m thrilled by the idea of living in a country where creative ideas can be rewarded and implemented.

    • That’s awesome that you sent your prototype Barbies to Mattel. I bet you’ll always wonder if they just took your ideas. At least you can take comfort that they were good since they eventually used them.

      Making a million dollars really isn’t my motivation either. My motivation is coming up with new ways of doing things and new ideas themselves and if they happen to make money that would be great – I’ll take it.

  3. Wow that Million Dollar Homepage is a really cool idea! I’ve had some really amazing ideas but I fail to write them down and end up losing them over time.

  4. Those shoes/rollerblades! That was a great idea. It goes to prove that no matter how impractical an idea may seem, people might just be crazy about it. And the paper towel idea – are you sure you can’t patent that? It sounds great to me.

    • The way it was explained to me was since perforations have already been invented that any slight changes to it would not really be a patentable idea. Even though the end result and function would be different, they are esentially the same thing. At least that is what I was told.

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