When I was 18, (and still now) I was looking for ways to make some money.
Problem is, being 18 means you probably don’t have skills most people want.
If I was 18, had no skills and was looking to start a business, here’s what I’d start.
Let’s start with the Angry Interrogatives™.
“Where the hell is your apartment?!”
If you live in a big apartment complex, you know how hard it is to explain over the phone which building you live in.
“Ok, so go straight, then left, then right.”
Look at the picture on the left, a random apartment complex. Because it’s small enough, maybe you could explain easily over the phone, but I’d bet you’d get a call from a lost buddy.
I live in a big apartment complex and every building looks the exact same, so I always end up standing outside and waving down the person I’m inviting over. Even people who have been there before get lost.
So I figured out a way to solve this problem, and make some money in the meantime.
Have you ever been in a hospital and looked down at the floor and seen those colored lines? (Red to Pediatrics, Green to the OR, Blue to Security etc…)
Creativity and innovation aren’t creating miraculous leaps forward in human consciousness.
9 times out of 10 it’s just taking an idea from there and putting it here.
We’re just going to take the problem of people being lost, and the solution hospitals have already found out, and put the two together.
Here’s a $70 line sprayer. That plus $20 of paint and you’d be ready to open up for business.
Find a complex as big as the one to the left (too big and it’s going to cost you $$$, too small and the need isn’t there.)
Introduce yourself to the management and say “I lived in enough big apartment complexes to know that it’s impossible to explain which building I live in. I’ve got a solution, and I don’t want any money for this. If you’ll let me, I’ll cover all the costs if I can use you as a reference. How does that sound?”
If they agree, bingo. If not, go to another complex until they say yes.
Then you take ‘before’ pictures.
Paint it like the picture on the right. This way, when people are explaining how to find their apartment to their friends, they just say:
“Stay on the blue line until it’s red.”
Give each building entrance it’s own color.
Then take ‘after’ pictures.
Politely interview a few of the tenants. I’m sure you’d get a few who understand how much easier it is to get around the complex now.
Now bring your before and after pictures, testimonials from happy tenants and property managers and make a 1 page informational pamphlet.
Find your local real estate club, and go to a meeting.
Politely ask the guy in charge if you could speak for 3 minutes before the meeting.
Give a 90 second pitch about what value you bring to these guys, hand out your pamphlets, and politely ask if there would be a time you could come out and give a free estimate for how much their complex would cost. Get their contact info.
I have no idea how much you could charge for this, but I know there’s value there.
If I knew my tenants wouldn’t get lost and or pissed off because it’s snowing and they have to stand out in the snow to wave down their girl, I’d be willing to pay for that.
If you don’t have $90 to spend on trying this, don’t bother trying, because owning a business isn’t for you.
If you do have $90, a week to try it, you just might find yourself with a profitable business.
(PS: if you’re paying attention, you could also use the same equipment to offer to re-do the parking lines, and make more money)
If you own real estate, and want to solve this problem without painting your parking lot, here’s another way to do it.
Paint the light posts in front of the building.
When 99% of the people who walk by a light post, the color doesn’t even register.
But if someone is looking for a red light post, they’d pick it up right away.
Until next time,