Open a market stall which sells hats and other headgear. Your stock will include: ladies hats, scarves, men’s caps and Balaclava helmets.
Start a firm which designs and manufactures noticeboards for the home and office. These might have a special feature, for example, cover the boards with a fabric which has an exotic design or make boards which have an unusual shape.
Produce a correspondence course about how to design saleable knitting patterns. The main market for this would be people who want to design knitting patterns for profit rather than for enjoyment.
Take everyday objects such as clocks, water taps and calculators. Remove the outer casing and mount them to make educational aids or ornaments. Also, you might label the most important parts of each object.
Recreate classic chess games on video. Start a business which hires and sells these to chess enthusiasts.
Start a miniature brassware ornament of the month club. Or produce a mail order catalogue which has a very wide range of brass ornaments.
Bring out a correspondence course about how to compose and write hymns. Advertise in the religious press. Also arrange for agents in foreign countries to sell the course.
Produce an encyclopedia of self-improvement on audio cassettes. This should cover all subjects related to self-improvement and might be 20-50 cassettes in length. Sell in monthly instalments or as a complete course.
Set up a market stall at a tourist town which sells all kinds of belts from the highly fashionable to the personalized.
Start a service which finds companions for those who want to go on cycling or hiking holidays. Advertise in publications for cyclists or hikers.
Take suitable sea-shells and sell them as sleep shells. Those who have difficulty in sleeping at night listen to a sleep shell. The soothing sound of the sea will aid sleep.
Turn large sea-shells into money boxes. Cut a slot in the shells for inserting coins and add an opening for extracting the money and block it with removable cork. These are sold as ornaments and as money boxes.
Create a mail order business which sells matchboxes and labels to collectors. Collectors automatically receive the latest matchboxes each month. Alternatively, you might put together a catalogue of old and rare matchboxes.
Organize overseas information gathering tours for businesspeople. These might be for those who want to look at an overseas market or who want to visit similar businesses to their own in other countries. For example, consultants in this country can visit their foreign counterparts.
Do your own research to discover ghost stories from your region. Record the best stories on audio tape. Have the cassettes duplicated and labelled and distribute to shops throughout the region covered.
Start a business which organizes cricket holidays and weekend breaks. During these breaks arrange for guests to receive tuition from a professional cricketer.
Organize bridge holidays and weekend breaks.
Set up a quiz games postal club. Club members compete against each other to win quizzes through the mail. The quizzes could be published in a regular newsletter which would also give the answers to the previous newsletters quiz.
Invent and make wooden 2-D and 3-D executive puzzles. For example: 3-D puzzles which have lots of interlocking pieces. Have them stocked at gift shops and stationers.
If you live in a busy road and you are at home all day, place a good looking sign outside you house stating that you do car washing and polishing. Also advertise that you give a personal service and that car owners can call at your house any time.
Design and have printed novelty joke licenses. Each license has a space for a name to be added. The license may state that the named person is: a genius, certified insane, international sex maniac, etc. Distribute to shops which sell souvenirs, jokes and gifts.
Organize the production of photographic business cards and sell these direct to businesspeople. You might also produce blank photographic business cards for printers. For example, a card features a photograph which is representative of a trade, a printer would print personal details next to the picture.
Put together a home study course about the technical aspects of film making. This course might be the cornerstone of your own postal film school. Sell from ads in film magazines.
Seek out as many recipes as you can for nougat. Devise, with the help of these, your own brand of delicious nougat. Have sizeable quantities made and sell from a stall or get it stocked at shops.
Frame photographs of well-known boxers. Get these stocked at sports shops or sell by mail order from ads in boxing and sports papers and magazines.
Bring out X-rated cardboard cut-outs of female or male models. Sell by mail order from ads in adult magazines.
Design souvenir badges which read ‘I’ve been to (name of town)’ or ‘I love…….. ‘. Pay to have your badges professionally made. Arrange for shops in the named town to stock these badges.
Each month produce and interesting lecture on audio cassette. Sell these through a monthly club. The subjects should be something which appeals to an established market such as science fiction fans, business opportunity seekers or sales people.
Start a private school for florists. Provide courses for those who want to either set up in business or want to get a job as a florist. Advertise in women’s magazines.
Bring out a card index box which has reprinted cards for holding different kinds of information. This is a card index version of personal organizers, instead of carrying around a pocket folder of information, everything is held on pre-printed cards in a desktop card index box.
Design and organize the production of stop smoking penalty boxes. Every time a person smokes, he or she pays a fine. Pay a plastics injecting moldings firm to manufacture the boxes. Distribute the finished plastic boxes to wholesalers and a wide range of retailers.
Make good, old-fashioned wooden tool carriers and have them stocked at hardware shops and tool shops. Or produce kits for making tool carriers and sell by mail order from ads in DIY magazines.
Produce and distribute a selection of ashtrays which feature the face of a hated person. Every time a smoker finishes a cigarette they stub it out in the face of the hated person.
Make leather folders for salespeople to use when making presentations. Have these stocked a stationers or produce a catalogue about your range of folders and send it to businesses.
During the Christmas period, sell holly and mistletoe door-to-door.
Put together a home study course about theatrical directing. Call this business a postal drama school. Students will include: amateur drama directors, professional actors and other theatre enthusiasts.
Write and publish a manual which is about how to start and organize your own football team. Sell from ads in football magazines and programs.
Set up a window cleaning round and employ students and other young people to do the work. Build up lots of individual rounds and employ a person for each one.
Place classified ads in newspapers which read: ‘Anything bought, Cash paid’ or ‘Houses cleared’. Make money from reselling what you pick up.
Start a romantic time-capsule burying service. A man or woman can immortalize the one they love by having a time-capsule buried to tell future generations about their loved one.
Organize weekend breaks where individuals can have their career assessed by professional career advisers. Advice should also be given on how to develop a career or how to make a change. Advertise in up-market or business publications.
Bring out a careers guide to self-employment. Sell this through as many bookshops as possible. Hopefully this guide will become an annual publication which will appeal to a new crop of people every year.
Make life-size string puppets. Each puppet is controlled by someone standing on a roof, balcony or scaffold. Use for promotion or entertainment.
Begin a mail order firm which sells personalized everyday objects such as pens, towels, handkerchiefs, notepads, combs, etc. Produce a catalogue and advertise in up-market publications. Offer customers hampers of personalized products.
Run a business which deals in the memorabilia of a region. You can buy your stock from various sources, for example, history books from publishers, photographs from photo libraries and films and videos from film making and film distribution companies.
Write and publish a newsletter which is specifically for budding and practicing freelance writers. Give the newsletter a title like: ‘Freelance Writer’. Give ideas and tips about how to sell work and have a section for articles, letters and classified ads.
Become a wholesaler of spoken word audio cassettes. You act as the middleman between publishers and retailers. This is a growth area and it might not be long before every bookshop has many shelves of audio cassettes. Will these cassettes be supplied by you?!
Set up a mail order business which sells plans, equipment and supplies for making mosaics. Produce a catalogue and advertise in crafts magazines.
Sell cheap labor saving devices door-to-door, for example: potato peelers, chip cutting machines, easy-to-use can openers, etc.
Design and make original fashion clothes. Begin by selling your work from a market stall. This will give you the valuable experience of meeting fashion buyers face-to-face. If you discover you can make clothes which are popular, branch out and sell to boutiques.