7 Unusual Businesses

7 Unusual Businesses

Business doesn't always means suits and ties, stocks and offices. It sometimes seems that people will do just about anything to accumulate money. Here are seven examples of unusual businesses which are, surprisingly, turning a profit.

1 -

Reserve a spot in Heaven

There is a website where you can reserve yourself a spot in Heaven, just in case you are scared that you might not make the cut. The company sends you a certificate in the mail to prove that you have your place, and offers a money back guarantee if you don't get in (whether or not it is possible to prove this is a different question entirely). A place in Heaven costs $15USD and there are discounts for large group bookings.

2 -

Hangover Helpers

Two people from Boulder, CO, have decided to lend a hand to their fellow partygoers by assisting them in their hungover states. The idea is that after the party you call them up and they will arrive with a burrito and some Gatorade to help cure the hangover. They will then proceed to clean every room in the house that requires it, including scrubbing the plates and recycling all the empty bottles. They're so successful they have been featured in Forbes Magazine and on CBS.

3 -


This service effectively allows you to send an anonymous message to your friend containing a fresh cologne wipe and a note stating that somebody thinks they smell bad. The company assures their customers that all packages are untraceable so if your friend really does take offence, there is no way to find out that it came from you.

4 -

Pet Rock

The concept here is that animals have been proven to reduce stress and to provide companionship, however some people are just too busy to look after and care for a pet. A rock doesn't require feeding, walking, grooming or neutering, so it is effectively the ultimate pet. The rock came with an instructional manual that informed owners how to teach it commands like "sit", "fetch", and even "attack". The original product was discontinued in 1976, however the owner had sold over 1.5million rocks at $4 each.

5 -

The Something Store

This is a website which will charge you $10 and then deliver a product to your house with a value of equal to or more than what you initially paid. The catch is that you have no idea what the "something" might be. This seems like a strange concept, however the company has sold over 200,000 somethings since opening in 2007.

6 -

Potato Parcel

This service allows you to send a message of fifteen words or less written on the side of a potato. Once requested, the potato with the message will be delivered to your chosen recipient. You can even print photos and postcards on the side of your potato. The company also filters all requests with hateful and threatening messages.

7 -

Rent a cow

In Switzerland it is possible to rent the services of a cow without actually owning one. This entitles the renter to all of the milk and cheese that the cow produces and allows them to visit and milk the cow if they so desire. They can also watch their designated cow over a webcam.

It just goes to show that although people may laugh at your crazy ideas, they still has the potential to become a profitable and functioning business. The absurdity of your business can even become a selling point, particularly now with platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to spread the message.

The Stock Exchange for Beginners

The Stock Exchange for Beginners

The Stock Market is a phrase we all know and use but many of us, when put on the spot, know absolutely nothing about. We all picture men in suits waving paper in the air and shouting at other men in suits in front of screens, when actually in reality the vast majority of stock trading on the market floor has been replaced by trading over a computer network. As a first time investor it often feels like walking into a casino and throwing your money on the nearest roulette table. Obviously people who immerse themselves into this world for years haven't perfected the art of trading stocks, and it takes a lot of time and wit to fall into flow, but here is a simplified explanation for those wishing to understand a little more.

Essentially, The Stock Market is the buying and selling, or trading, of stocks bonds. The Stock Market itself is the location that buyers and investors trade stocks and bonds, whether electronically or on the market floor, and it allows people to instantly make transactions. Stocks are units of ownership of a company, and a bond is a debt investment, or money borrowed for a defined period of time.

When you buy stocks in a company, you basically "own" part of the company, and so if the value of the company increases, as does the value of the stock that you possess. The goal of stock and bond trading is to make a profit, and this is achieved by selling the stocks and bonds for a higher price than you purchased them for. The general practice is to buy them when they are worth less and to sell them when they are worth more, however judging this is the "gambling" element as stock prices can both increase and decrease.

Companies sell stock to the public to create money for the company which they can then invest in trying to turn around a profit. The benefit of selling stock as opposed to taking out a loan is that the company would have to repay the loan with interest, and selling stock allows the company more freedom. The people who invest in these stocks have to believe that it will be beneficial to them and that the stocks will bring them a positive return. The more shares that the company offers, the lower the value of each share.

If a company provides bad results for the quarter then their value and the value of their stocks will fall. If a company is performing well or the market for their product is quickly increasing then their shares are likely to rise. Naturally, it's far more complex than this and a company's value fluctuates depending on a multitude of different factors, from politics and the news, the company's earnings, growth expectations and also general activity in the banks and other companies and much more. Because this is so unpredictable, short term investment is very high risk. Understanding how these factors effect a company's value is the key to making a profit out of intelligence instead of luck.

Owners of company stock get paid a percentage of the company profits on an annual basis. They also become part of the corporation and have some say on how the company is run, so most company owners will buy a percentage of the stocks to make sure they maintain majority control and can continue to run the business as they wish.

This is a very short and simple explanation of a very complicated and ever changing force, however understanding the basics is vital for both professionals and beginners in the field.

Time Management

Time Management

There are 24 hours in each day, each filled with 60 minutes of sixty seconds. This is the physical reality of the world we live in and it cannot be denied, but there never seems to be enough time when we need it and there's always too much when we don't. They key to time management is not about finding out how much you can accomplish within a set amount of time, it is more about finding out how you can utilise those 24 hours to maximum effect, because we all know that time is money. Here are some ideas to making the most of your time.

Sometimes we have to spend time to make time. It helps considerably to spend a little time planning how you intend to spend your time. This is most effective when done on a weekly and on a daily basis. Before you start your working week, know what you want to achieve on each day. At the start of each day, know what you want to achieve and what is possible to be completed by particular times. An appointment book is far more effective and clear than a todo list.

Prioritisation is obviously an important factor in time management. When you are creating your daily plan, make sure to define which are the most important tasks and ensure these are completed first. This will relieve a lot of stress when you are trying to complete the less important tasks later on in the day.

Building in time for interruptions and urgent matters ensures that you will not end up with an overwhelming amount of work because of a pressing email that turns up in your inbox. Not everything can be predicted, but we can predict that something is likely to turn up that requires our attention or that something is going to go wrong, and for the sake of your sanity as well as effectively managing your time, this should be considered when planning your work day.

By avoiding distractions, you can complete your work in a quicker time frame. Tools such as Facebook and other social networking sites may be excellent marketing tools, but they also offer and endless supply of wasted hours. Switch off your mobile when possible, close your social accounts and focus your energy on your work to ensure you are achieving your goals at a reasonable rate.

Maintaining a positive attitude and discipline towards your appointment book is vital to preserving motivation. Make sure you have a clear goal in mind, both short term and long term, to ensure you have the energy to power through your work, even when it feels like the seconds are stretching out.

By focussing on one task at a time, you can cut down on useless productivity. If you're constantly switching between your emails and your calls and chasing after everything you will waste a lot of time despite feeling productive. Again, this comes down to discipline and maintaining an effective appointment book.

If you can simplify your work by refining down a process or even eliminating it altogether you will be saving both time and money. Sometimes it pays to spend a few minutes considering what really needs to be done and what can be shortened to save more time in the long run.

Always remember to build in time for yourself. Ensure you are eating a healthy diet, try to get a decent 8 hours of sleep to ensure your body and your mind is functioning properly, and spend enough time doing what you love to help maintain a positive attitude, even while you are at work.

Environmental Social Governance

Environmental Social Governance

The acronym ESG stands for ‘Environmental, Social and Governance' which refers to three factors measuring the sustainability and the ethical impact of investing in a company by evaluating corporate behaviour. Financial assets tend to be placed where the largest return is predicted, however there are a number of different criteria that can affect your decision. There seems to be a positive trend in ESG based decisions and the necessity of sustainability conscious investments have become a practicality in long term investments.

Over time, it has become apparent that fossil fuel dependant companies have become less attractive as people deinvest in them and look for more environmentally friendly alternatives to effectively participate in the battle against climate change. Also, as the planet has a diminishing source of fossil fuels and raw materials, with the knowledge that these will one day run out, investing long term in a company that relies upon them is could be problematic in the future when they struggle to continue their business because of a shortage of material. Investors are even beginning to look at how a company deals with waste products and pollution. Your choice of investment can be a source of activism upon your own values; by investing in a more environmentally friendly company you will be supporting sustainable business and creating a greener portfolio.

The social factor deals with issues such as diversity, human rights and animal welfare. From the perspective of making a profit on an investment, there is a general belief that the more diversity inclusive a company is when employing new staff, the greater chance there is that they will find the perfect person to fill that position, and therefore can push towards a greater financial return. More from an ethics point of view, this also battles social problems such as racism and sexism. The consumer's growing concern of how animals are treated in business, from animal testing to the quality of life for animals bred for consumption, has had an effect on where investments are being placed and companies with more ethical treatment towards animals are often seen as more favourable as those with less morals in this area. Some investors will also look at the suppliers and partners for the company to see if they are operating with the same social values.

The corporate governance covers more internal issues such as the structure of management, employee relations, and how staff are generally treated. Also, as there is an increasing demand for people in high positions of large companies to be publicly listing their bonus payments and incentives as investors want to see that everybody in the company is being treated fairly. Transparency and accuracy are becoming increasingly valuable in today's market.

By following these criteria an investor is practicing responsible investment, and by keeping these factors in mind you can start to develop your portfolio far beyond merely making a monetary profit. By protecting these factors we can make a positive change to our planet, both environmentally and socially, and protect sustainable business by ensuring its ability to continue in the rapidly developing conditions that we live in.