15 Quirky But Genius Business Ventures That (Somehow) Made Fortunes

In the fluid and ever-changing world of entrepreneurship and the need to survive, individuals have come up with some extraordinary and, at times, eccentric ways to make money. From bizarre jobs to unconventional investments, the quest for financial success has led people to explore uncharted territories.

In one online forum, a user asked the audience about crazy and creative ways people have sought to make money. Here are some of the most shocking responses.

Selling Tumbleweed

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During a small business class in college, students were encouraged to brainstorm unusual business ideas. This led to ideas like selling paperclips door-to-door, refilling car gasoline tanks at home, and summarizing newspapers for executives.

One classmate decided to sell tumbleweed, an unconventional choice. Surprisingly, he left college and built a successful business by collecting tumbleweed in the desert and selling it to Hollywood studios worldwide. His low-cost operation, with minimal expenses for gasoline, storage, and a website, made him the top supplier of tumbleweed to the entertainment industry. 

Trampoline Export

Women on trampoline
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A contributor shared how a friend of their mother’s, who was originally from Norway, visited Texas over 30 years ago. During her visit, she noticed that nearly every garden in Texas had a trampoline, often the “jump king” circular ones with blue mats.

Inspired by this observation, she decided to purchase ten of these trampolines at the company headquarters and brought them back to Norway. The trampolines quickly sold out within days, prompting her to order another 50. This marked the beginning of her journey as the sole importer of these trampolines, eventually amassing a considerable fortune, though the exact figure is unknown. 

Sculpturing Of Horses

Sculpturing of Horses
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A Dublin cab driver shared a story about a passenger who was a sculptor with a unique approach. He closely followed horse races, and when a horse emerged as the winner, he would use social media to contact the horse’s owner directly. He’d then share a digital mockup of a life-sized sculpture of the victorious horse.

The owners of winning racehorses were often incredibly wealthy, including sheiks, oligarchs, and billionaires. Occasionally, one of these owners would be enticed by the idea and invest around €100,000 or more in commissioning a statue to commemorate their horse’s victory.

The sculptor only took on a couple of projects like this each year, allowing him to lead a lavish lifestyle.

Rewrapping Candy Bars

Candy bar
Image credit: Sergey Peterman / Shutterstock.com

One man discovered a highly profitable niche. He would purchase Hershey bars and then customize them with retirement celebration designs or corporate logos. These personalized candy bars would then be distributed at events. What’s truly remarkable is that the process mainly involves rewrapping the bars with custom paper.

He manages to double or even triple his initial investment through this simple transformation.

Pay Customers’ Bills from His Credit Card And Keep the Cash

Waiter taking money
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In a bustling upscale restaurant, a coworker devised a clever scheme to put the cash payments from his customers’ bills on his credit card while keeping the actual cash. This allowed him to repay his credit card quickly, accumulating reward points such as free airfare and more. It worked like a charm for a considerable period.

However, this scheme ended abruptly when the management began to notice an increase in credit card processing fees, with one employee standing out. They swiftly put an end to his strategy.

Suggesting English Names to Chinese Parents

Chinese family
Image credit: polkadot_photo / Shutterstock.com

An English woman offers her services to affluent Chinese parents seeking appropriate English names for their children. In some parts of Asia, it’s customary for kids to have secondary English names used in English classes and, often, during various life situations like business travel.

Parents send her photos of their children; she provides name suggestions for a fee, typically around $50 each.

Maintenance of Rich Peoples’ Vacation Homes

Luxury vacation home
Image credit: Marina Kuma / Shutterstock.com

One user’s job entailed periodically flushing rich people’s toilets and driving their cars several times monthly. Additionally, he was responsible for opening the houses for workers and coordinating food and other deliveries when the homeowners came to stay in their secondary homes.

Collect and Resell Discarded Items

Yard sale
Image credit: New Africa / Shutterstock.com

Another user purchased an old school bus, refurbished it, and removed all the seats. After each semester, she would embark on a route through the upscale off-campus neighborhood, where many affluent students resided. Her mission was to collect the items discarded by these well-off individuals as they prepared to move or return home for the summer break.

The discarded items she collected ranged from flat-screen TVs and couches to computers and tables. It was astonishing to witness what people would dispose of, only to replace these items in the following semester, rather than dealing with storage units or moving logistics.

She sold all these retrieved items on Craigslist over the summer or at the beginning of the next semester, and this endeavor turned out to be highly profitable.

Maintenance of Major Corporations’ Car Tire Pressure

Auto mechanic man with electric screwdriver changing tire outside. Car service. Hands replace tires on wheels. Tire installation concept.
Image Credit: Dusan Petkovic / Shutterstock.com

One user’s friend from school became a millionaire by recognizing the potential of maintaining the tire pressure of car fleets for major corporations.

He would conduct random tire pressure checks in the parking lots of these companies. He provided them with data-driven calculations, illustrating the significant cost savings they could achieve on fuel for each vehicle by ensuring proper tire pressure.

By extrapolating these savings across the entire fleet, he proposed a deal to the companies: he would regulate their tire pressure periodically and, in exchange, take a commission from the resulting difference in fuel costs.

The big corporations quickly became his customers. He invested in just a van and an air compressor, spending his days inflating tires. Over time, he allegedly amassed substantial wealth, allowing him to own two villas with swimming pools and a boat.

Being Present

Night time security guard
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A local office building required someone to be present on-site around the clock, serving as the point of contact for first responders in case of emergencies. They hired one user in the forum for this purpose, and her role involved arriving at the building in the evening when the maintenance crew was finishing their work. She would then sleep for the night in a designated bedroom. In the morning, she would return the building to the regular office employees and continue with her day.

Care for Pets Left Behind by Raptured Individuals

English bulldog running and playing in the woods
Image credit: rebeccaashworthearle / Shutterstock.com

A group of atheists seized the opportunity and launched a business after a religious group gained significant traction and followers by predicting a specific end-of-the-world date. In response, the group advertised that in the event of ‘the rapture,’ when Christians ascend to heaven, they would take care of the pets left behind by the ‘raptured’ individuals.

Numerous Christians signed contracts and paid non-refundable deposits for this service. However, as expected, the predicted rapture did not materialize, and the atheists walked away with a substantial amount of money. It’s a scheme that some might describe as quite clever, albeit highly unethical.

Selling Refurbished Appliances

Man fixing washing machine
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Another forum member acquired a broken clothes dryer for free from a Craigslist listing. It turned out that the heating element was the issue, so he crimped the wires back together and then sold it on Craigslist for $80.

He delivered the repaired dryer to the buyer and removed her non-working one, for which she tipped him $20. He invested $15 in parts to fix the defective dryer. He sold the repaired dryer to another individual, who handed him two old washers and a dryer but also gave him $80.

He explains that his garage is now filled with many appliances, and he has a constant influx of people wanting to offer broken appliances or purchase functional ones from him.

Hotel Testers

Woman having breakfast at hotel
Image credit: Mariia Korneeva / Shutterstock.com

Some forum members explained how they are paid to enjoy a complete vacation in high-end hotels in exchange for reviews or online advertising. Sounds like a pretty good deal!

Playing Video Games

Woman playing video games
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Another user explained that he met many Venezuelans who spend approximately 10 hours a day playing RuneScape to generate in-game gold. They then trade this virtual currency with other players for real money, usually through PayPal transactions. The forum member goes on to explain, “The Venezuelan bolivar is worthless, so an hour of fictional video game money is worth more USD to that games’ community than most entry-level jobs in Venezuela.”

Selling Feet Pictures

Image of feet and hands
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Thanks to social media and the emergence of certain apps, there is now a market for everything, including the sale of ‘feet pictures.’ One forum member explains that they have a friend who sells pictures of her feet in various scenarios, including feet in heels, barefoot squishing cake, in mud, etc. She also charges extra for special requests.

Apparently, she never shows anything above the calf, so she can’t be identified. The user goes on to explain, “All proceeds go to her kid’s college fund. She has made enough to fund a PhD!”

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