Monthly Archives: April 2017

Businesses You Can Start with Your Kids

Starting a business has a host of benefits for a young mind. A child or teen can learn the importance of financial responsibility, how to build professional relationships and how to be independent. But depending on their age, they likely won’t be able to get a business off the ground by themselves. If you’ve always wanted to start a business yourself, why not take the opportunity to encourage your young entrepreneur and launch a company together? Here are a few ideas for businesses you can start with your children.

  • Cooking and baking
  • Public interest in upcycling and recycling clothing and other items has led to the success of stores such as ReStore and vintage clothing shops. Collect unwanted items from neighbors, friends and family members, restore items to better quality, and sell them for fair prices. It’s a great way to be green and make some money from previously unwanted items. Whatever new opportunity you and your child choose, this is a great time to teach the importance of work-life balance, responsibility and the importance of taxes. Encourage young entrepreneurs to try their best and seek success with their new business. Even if it doesn’t turn out as planned, you can show them that adversity is a part of life, and that failure is an opportunity to retool an idea or open a door to a new opportunity.

  • If your teen excels in a specific subject or has exceptional grades, encourage him or her to assist those in need of help through tutoring services. Your child can get paid for his or her knowledge and time spent helping others learn a skill or subject matter. This type of business is scalable, and live videoconferencing and electronic payments can bring your child’s skills online as well.

  • Social media consultant

    Kids are absorbing tons of social media knowledge at a young age. They’re becoming YouTube and Instagram stars with millions of followers for just being themselves. This could be invaluable knowledge for small businesses in your area. Encourage your child to apply his or her understanding of social platforms to consult for local shops and restaurants.

Pet-Inspired Businesses

Pets are a part of your family. They play with you, sleep in your bed and gleefully greet you after you’ve had a long day at work. Many pet owners are on the lookout for items to spoil their four-legged friends or that will make their pets’ lives easier. Here are just a few businesses offering unique products and services for your furry family members.

  1. Cats are capable of taking care of themselves for the most part, minus cleaning their litter boxes and getting fed (in some cases, however, they know how to break into that, too). But what if your cat could use a cat-size toilet? Dream no more. The Cat Genie, is a full-size cat box that looks, and operates, similarly to a toilet. According to the site, Cat Genie is a full-size, automatic cat box that uses permanent Washable Granules. Unlike disposable cat litter, Cat Genie’s Washable Granules never need changing and are 100 percent dust-free, biodegradable and septic-safe. The self-cleaning product rids itself of liquid and solid cat waste without owners ever having to handle cat litter again.

  2. If leaving your felines alone while you go off to work every day makes you sad, Kittyo might be just the thing you need. Cat owners can use the device and app to interact with their furry friends even when they’re not in the same room. The device, which retails for $249, allows users to speak to their cats, play with them, dispense treats to them and even watch what they do while the owners are gone. The product works by connecting to a smartphone app, which in turn allows you to control the device from anywhere, as long as you’ve got an internet connection. You can use the device to shine a laser around the room for your cat to play with and record videos with a few taps on your screen. With Kittyo, you don’t have to work from home to play with your cat on your lunch break.

  3. Cuddle Clones creates one-of-a-kind plush replicas of your pets, based on photos and your chosen customization options. You can personalize everything from eye color and ear position to pose and tail position, so that your stuffed animal is as close to the real thing as possible. And yes, you can even get one that’s true to size. You’re not limited to dogs and cats, either; Cuddle Clones will replicate horses, turtles, rabbits, ferrets, birds, pigs and more. Cuddle Clones also donates to animal-related causes, so while you’re getting a plush copy of your furry friend, you’re also helping Cuddle Clones give back and assist animals in need.

  4. The thought of having farm-fresh eggs at your disposal and an adorable feathered friend to call your own might be appealing to some, but not everyone is equipped to handle a hen. Rent The Chicken gives you the opportunity to see exactly what goes into raising chickens before you bring one into your home permanently.  So how does it work? According to the company’s website, Rent The Chicken provides you with everything you need, including two egg-laying hens, a portable chicken coop, food and water dishes, enough food (with a non-GMO option as well) for the length of your rental time, and instructions for everything. Rental periods are open from May to November, which is when chickens lay the most eggs. And, of course, if you absolutely fall in love with your chickens, you can adopt them for a fee that includes their supplies.

Strange Businesses You Didn’t Know Existed

  1. The Beerbelly

    The Beerbelly sells products that help you creatively hide alcoholic beverages, like a flask disguised as a hairbrush and a pouch for holding liquor that conveniently goes around your torso and looks like – you guessed it – a beer belly. Some other products are available on this website as well, like a flask that looks like a bottle of sunscreen and a sports bra (The WineRack) with beverage pouch inserts and a straw.

  2. Cuddle Party

    We all need a hug sometimes. Thankfully, things like “cuddle parties” exist. Cuddle Partydoes more than just hold on to you; they also teach you skills for creating boundaries and connections. After opening with a welcome circle and learning some basic skills, the floor opens up to free-style cuddling. Cuddle Party’s services are available in various places in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia.

  3. Ugly Furnitures

    You can purchase one-of-a-kind furniture through Ugly Furnitures. A group of guys who always wanted to own their own business chose to go into furniture-making, and they have come up with some truly creative (and handmade) pieces, all of which they claim are ugly. You won’t find quality like this anywhere else.

  4. Neuticles

    Bob Barker spoke wise words when he encouraged everyone to spay and neuter their pets. But are your pets really the same after they get snipped? If this is something you’re worried about, you can buy artificial testicular implants for your furry friends from Neuticles. The company claims that its implants will boost your pet’s self-esteem – because obviously, your pets are very concerned about their sudden lack of body parts and don’t want their animal friends to know that they’ve been under the knife.

  5. Face Slapping Massage

    You can pay to be slapped in the face for several minutes in order to tighten your skin and remove wrinkles. However, the results aren’t permanent; you’ll have to go back to be slapped around some more. This type of massage, also known as face boxing, is popular in Thailand, but there is only one certified business in the United States, which is located in San Francisco. The company warns against fraudulent slappers who claim that they practice this “Thai wisdom.”

  6. Squirrel Census

    Do you want to learn more about squirrels? Specifically, do you want to learn more about the squirrels of Inman Park, Georgia? Pick up a copy of the latest squirrel census. The Squirrel Census organization tells stories of the gray squirrels in Inman Park, their fight for freedom from human suburbia, the jobs they do and their family lives. You can purchase copies of the latest census or buy t-shirts, beanies and other merchandise from the online store. Be sure to also sign the petition for squirrel representation in emojis.

  7. Dirty Rotten Flowers

    Bad breakup? Good sense of humor? Have enemies but you’re not quite ready to hire a hitman? Dirty Rotten Flowers is for you. This business sends bouquets of dead, rotting flowers to your not-loved ones. Just keep in mind that because you’re not sending fresh, live flowers, this person doesn’t get the opportunity to love something and then watch it die and feel guilty because they kill everything they touch; however, sending a rotten bouquet will send a clearer message.

Social Media Solutions for Small Businesses

Want to turn your social media accounts into a profitable e-commerce business? Or use Instagram, Facebook and other platforms to boost sales? With social media selling, anyone can become an online merchant without having to invest in a website or give online marketplaces a cut of their profits. Social media e-commerce is a big hit because it lets you turn your social media accounts into online stores — and your posts into sales.

Here are 7 social media selling solutions to help you get started.

  1. Designing Facebook Page campaigns can seem like rocket science for people who aren’t tech savvy. Heyo simplifies the process with a drag-and-drop campaign builder that anyone can use. The service works a lot like do-it-yourself website builders: Start by choosing a template, and then edit or customize elements to fit your campaign and brand. Whether you’re running a contest, sweepstakes, special deals or other promotions, campaigns built on Heyo can then be easily plugged into your Facebook page — no coding necessary.

  2. Facebook for Business is the one-stop shop for finding out which types of Facebook selling campaigns will work best for your business. The service lets you create Facebook Pages and purchase Facebook ads, as well as integrate Facebook into your website or mobile app. Facebook for Business helps merchants create buzz, raise brand awareness, find new customers and drive sales, using one centralized hub. The service also includes analytics tools that provide key insights and measure campaign performance.

  3. There’s a saying that consumers don’t trust brands; they trust their friends. That’s essentially the principle behind Pinterest for Business, which lets businesses create Pinterest accounts as a brand. In addition to pinning items just as regular users can, businesses can add the Pin It button wherever their items appear on the Web. For example, e-commerce website Etsy added the Pin It button to each individual listing — when Pinterest users click on the Pin It button, the corresponding Etsy item will be added to their Pinterest boards for their followers to see. These pins include the seller’s shop name and pricing information, so viewers know the item is for sale. The idea is to drive traffic, grow followers and ultimately boost sales based on other Pinterest users’ recommendations.

  4. Even if you own an e-commerce website, cross-selling products on social media is a great strategy to boost sales. One service that makes this possible is Beetailer, which lets online merchants import their store into Facebook. After the initial migration, the system is basically hands-free — it requires no installation, configuration or maintenance, and products are automatically updated based on the website’s inventory data. Included in the service are marketing tools like campaigns and promotions, detailed analytics, and integration with existing checkout systems.

  5. Chirpify is another hashtag selling tool, but differentiates itself by connecting on- and offline channels with social media. It basically acts as the middleman that connects brands and consumers and instantly convert sales. It works by taking unique campaign hashtags — referred to as “actiontags” — and uses them to enable purchases across multiple social networks. Customers can find actiontags on social media, print, television and other marketing channels. All they have to do is post the actiontag on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to activate a purchase, participate in a campaign or take advantage of promotional offers, such as giveaways.

  6. There’s more to hashtags than categorizing and finding similar posts. inSelly, an Instagram marketplace, facilitates the process by aggregating Instagram listings using hashtags, and then making them searchable to anyone around the world. Sellers can list items from their Instagram feed in three simple steps: upload a photo on Instagram, add the hashtag #inselly, and then log in to their account to add product descriptions, prices and other details. inSelly also makes it easy for customers to make purchases. All they have to do is comment the hashtag #soldtome under the Instagram post containing the item they wish to buy. inSelly will then automatically send them a checkout link to complete the transaction.